The Self

Topics: Gender role, Self-esteem, Role Pages: 8 (759 words) Published: July 19, 2013
The Self

The Self

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

Self-Perception Theory

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?

Imagined behaviors

“Looking Glass” Self

Reaction of others is an important source of self-knowledge

Miller, Brickman, & Bolen (1975) - “You’re Tidy” study

Possible Selves

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

Self-complexity is the number and diversity of our self-aspects in different roles 1.Low self-complexity: many similar self-aspects
2.High self-complexity: many independent self-aspects

High Self-Complexity Self-Concept

In RelationshipsWith Friends At School
( ((
Outgoing Humorous Quiet
Playful Relaxed Studious
Reflective Assertive Organized
Mature Outgoing Emotional
Reliable Mature Industrious

Low Self-Complexity Self-Concept

At the Dorm At Home In Activities ( ((
Relaxed Humorous Relaxed
Playful RelaxedHelpful
Humorous Not Studious Assertive Imaginative Affectionate Outgoing Playful Imaginative

Linville (1985)

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.

4.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

Low Self-Esteem


Eating Disorders

Substance Abuse

High Self-Esteem




Risk taking due to overconfidence

Culture and Self-Esteem

Man made part of the environment...
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