A system of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that continue over time and events
1. Self-concept: how we think about ourselves
2. Self-esteem: how we feel about ourselves
If other sources of information are absent, we learn things about our self by observing our own behavior
For example, how do you know if you are or were hungry?
“Looking Glass” Self
Reaction of others is an important source of self-knowledge
Miller, Brickman, & Bolen (1975) - “You’re Tidy” study
The multiple roles and situations we CAN see ourselves
How do we deal with possible selves?
We organize them according to our roles and activities
Self-complexity is the number and diversity of our self-aspects in different roles 1.
Low self-complexity: many similar self-aspects
High self-complexity: many independent self-aspects
High Self-Complexity Self-Concept
Low Self-Complexity Self-Concept
At the Dorm
In Activities (
Assertive Imaginative Affectionate
Ss completed a self-complexity scale
Ss took a bogus I.Q. test
Some were told they were in the top 10% of Yale students, while others were told they were in the bottom 10%
Increasing Self Complexity
Become more involved in many social roles and activities
See these roles as having different aspects of your self
Make clear distinctions between these different selves
Reflected in agreement with statements like, “I feel I am a person of worth.”
People feel pretty good about themselves
The self-enhancing bias
“The Lake Wobegon effect”
What Do We Think of Ourselves
Business People: Job performance, ethics, leadership
Los Angelenos: Health
Australians: Job performance
Drivers: Driving ability
Americans: Intelligence and attractiveness
College Students: Life expectancy
Not at All 1 2 3 4 5 Very Much
1. I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others
2. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
3. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
I am able to do things as well as most other people.
5. I feel that I do not have much to be proud of.
6. I take a positive attitude toward myself.
7. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
8. I wish I could have more respect for myself.
9. I certainly feel useless at times.
10. At times, I think I am no good at all.
Sources of Self-Esteem
1. We choose situations where we can do well
2. We interpret our behavior to give us the benefit of the doubt
3. We inflate our contributions to joint efforts
Problems with Self-Esteem
Risk taking due to overconfidence
Culture and Self-Esteem
Man made part of the environment...
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