 William
James
I – self as knower, experiencer,
present tense, story teller
Vs.
Me – self as known,
experienced, past tense,
story
Components of Me:
Physical – awareness of
appearance
Social – awareness of others’
perceptions
Spiritual – awareness of qualities,
attributes
 Organized
set of constructs
pertaining to ones self
◦ Research emphasis is on processing
information
Republicans
masculine
Jogs
Athletic
Fred
No
quiche
beer
Pizza
Tennis
 Effects
◦ Perceptions of others
 Use central traits in perceiving others
◦ Self memory
 Recall schema-consistent behaviors
Different from self-concept?
Evaluation of attributes multiplied by
their importance.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
Mean = 29.2; Quartiles = 25/34
 Stable
or Unstable?
◦ Individual Differences – Narcissism
 Implicit – Explicit self esteem divergence
◦ Self complexity – More facets – more
stable
 Does
high self esteem have
positive benefits?
◦ California self esteem funding
Academic?
Positive correlation; causal direction
unclear
Crime?
No overall relationship
High, unstable SE = increased
aggression
Risky behaviors (drugs, etc.)?
High SE more likely
Interpersonal relations?
High SE report more positive
Actual (peer ratings) – no relationship
Job performance?
High SE persist longer after failure
Subjective Well Being (Happiness)
Strong positive correlation
Depression
Strong negative correlation
Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
Mean = 7. Mild: 14-19; Moderate: 20-28
SE – BDI correlation: r = -.5
Why SE – Depression relationship?
Self esteem as buffer
Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins);
relationship due to real-ideal discrepancy
Real Self
Ideal Self
Ought self

Major Cultural Dimension
(transmitted):

Individualism – Individuals’ goals have
priority


Vs.
Collectivism – Groups’ goals have
priority

Individualism = Independent self
Mother
Friend
Friend
Self

Collectivism = interdependent
self
Mother
Self
Friend
Friend

Cultural Differences in Self Reflected in
Language:
◦ Independent/individualist:
 1st person singular pronoun
 Non pro-drop (pronouns usually required)
 Family name last
◦ Interdependent/collectivist:
 Pronouns marked for relationship
 Pro-drop (pronouns optional)
 Family name first

Selected Manifestations of Cultural
Differences in Self:
◦ Fundamental Attribution Error
◦ Cognitive Dissonance
◦ Locus of Control

How and When does Self-Concept
Develop?
◦ Awareness of Physical Self at 18-24 mos.

Development as Social Process (Mead)
◦ Reciprocal Role-Taking
 Imagine how perceived by others (social me)
 Some feedback but misinterpretations possible
 Generalized Other: Me = sense of how
perceived by people in general
◦ Self concept dependent on others

Evidence for Self as Social Construct
◦ Humans/chimps raised in isolation
◦ Myamoto & Dornbush
 Collect ratings of:
 Beliefs about how perceived by specific others (e.g. other
frat. members)
 Beliefs about how perceived by people in general
 How one is actually perceived by others (other frat.
members)
 Self ratings

Evidence for Self as Social Construct
◦ Mere presence (Morse & Gergen):
◦ Male Ps apply for job
◦ Complete application forms including self esteem
measure
◦ Another job applicant (confederate) enters
 Mr. Clean – self esteem drops
 Mr. Dirty – self esteem increases
◦ Social comparison and Instability


Entirely Dependent on Others?
Strategies for Lessening Influence of Others:
◦ Choose with whom to interact
 Prefer self-consistent or positive feedback?
◦ Choose with whom to compare
 Downward social comparison
◦ Behavioral Confirmation
 Swan study:
 Dominant and submissive Ps given contradictory feedback
 Act to confirm self view

Ervin Goffman (self-presentation/impression
management)

Act so as to convey desired image (Behavioral
Confirmation)

Personality = performance (no internal traits)

Self influenced by others’ perceptions; but
actively strive to influence others’ perceptions
◦ “All the worlds a stage,
◦ And all the men and women merely players”

1. Everything we do carries identity
implications (can be used in impression
formation)
◦ Choices regarding personal appearance, room
appearance, consumer products, etc.
 Gosling and Music choices:
 Blues, jazz, classical and folk: "reflective and complex"
 Heavy metal and alternative: "intense and rebellious“
 rap/hip-hop, soul/funk: "energetic and rhythmic”
◦ Cannot not communicate

2. People take implications into account in
order to convey a particular image
◦ Habitual/automatic and Conscious/deliberate
◦ Always self presenting? Exceptions?
◦ Positive images only?
 Braginsky, Braginsky, & Ring
 Schizophrenia and self-presentation
 Interview for release or backward
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Self - Ball State University