PSY415 Psychology of the Self

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PSY415Psychology of the SelfWeek 1IntroductionWho am I?“Imagine you want someone to know who you are really like. You can tell this person 20 things about yourself.…
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PSY415Psychology of the SelfWeek 1IntroductionWho am I?
  • “Imagine you want someone to know who you are really like. You can tell this person 20 things about yourself. These can include … anything that helps the person know what you are really like. What would you tell them?” (Brown, 1998, p. 20)
  • What did you ask yourself in your mind and/or considered in writing these statements?
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The I and ME
  • I see the BOARD vs. I see ME
  • The self as I is the agent of action, the subject
  • It is not only the mental processes involved in knowing or our affection toward ourselves, but the awareness of this process of knowing and feeling
  • ME is the object of one’s attention or knowledge of himself / herself
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.What Psychologists Mean by Self
  • ME is also subjective
  • It refers to people’s ideas, beliefs, thoughts about themselves about
  • WHO THEY ARE &
  • WHAT THEY ARE LIKE
  • These ideas or beliefs are called self-referent thoughts
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.What Psychologists Mean by Self
  • There are two aspects of the ME
  • The way we think about ourselves is the cognitive component of the self, which is called the self-concept
  • The way we feel about ourselves is the affective component of the self, which is called the self-esteem
  • The self is both the I and the ME
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Self-Concept vs. Self-Esteem“Self-concept is the totality of the individual’s thoughts and feelings with reference to himself as an object, which eventually explains himself, and the world at large, to himself.”(Rosenberg, 1979, p. ix; Steele, 1988, p. 262)“Self-esteem ... is a positive or negative attitude toward a particular object, namely, the self.”(Rosenberg, 1965, p. 30)Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.What is the Self?
  • There is no consensus on a conceptual definition
  • Baumeister (1998) highlights three roots of selfhood
  • Reflexive Consciousness
  • Interpersonal Aspect
  • Executive Function
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Reflexive Consciousness
  • It is the subjective experience of “conscious attention turning back toward its own source and gradually constructing a concept of oneself” (Baumeister, 1998, p. 680)
  • The self has unity and temporal continuity
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Interpersonal Aspect
  • The self is not only constructed subjectively, but it is affected by the social context as well
  • Self is “vital for making interpersonal relationships and interactions possible” (Baumeister, 1998, p. 680)
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Executive Function
  • The self is the agent of all actions and the decision-maker (Baumeister, 1998)
  • Original meaning of the self, as first appeared as a noun in the 14th century English, is “sinner” (Danziger, 1997)
  • What do you think about why it meant so?
  • Volution, Agency, Responsibility
  • It is the essential source of motivation to activate or inhibit actions
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Self-Psychology and Personality: The Difference
  • Self-psychology is concerned with subjective experience, whereas personality psychology is more concerned with the objective experience
  • “I think I am an extraverted person”vs.“My BFI score indicates that I am extraverted”
  • Asch (1952)
  • Ego is the representation of the organism
  • Self is the awareness of ego
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Self-Psychology and Personality: The Similarities
  • What we really are influences how we think about ourselves – not always!
  • Self-aggrandization
  • What we really are influences how we feel about ourselves
  • Temperament
  • Self is one aspect of personality
  • cf. individual differences
  • Self-report is often used to measure personality
  • Rosenberg (1965) Self-Esteem Scale
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Self-Psychology and Phenomenology
  • Not the objective but the subjective reality determines our consciousness at a given moment
  • Wertheimer’s (1912) Apparent Movement Experiment
  • Lewin (1951) argued that objective world is important to the extent that it affects our subjective perceptions
  • Our thoughts and feelings about ourselves are subjective as well – the self as perceived
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The Study of Self in American Psychology
  • The Behaviorist Movement
  • Psychology is an experimental branch of natural science which aims at predicting and controlling behavior by carefully observing phenomena objectively
  • Positivism and mechanism led the rejection of self as a legitimate subject matter of psychology
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The Study of Self in American Psychology
  • The Decline of Behaviorism
  • Cooley (1902) – The Looking-Glass Self
  • Others serve as mirrors from which we see ourselves reflected – perspective taking
  • Mead (1934) – Symbolic Interactionism
  • It is the socialization process in which the self develops – perspective-taking
  • Maslow (1954) – Self-Actualization
  • There is an inborn striving in humans for growth, which lead to realize the potential
  • Personality Theorists – The Concept of Ego
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The Study of Self in American Psychology
  • The Cognitive Revolution
  • “Behavior reeks of purpose.” (Tolman, 1932, p. 12)
  • Whereas behaviorism emphasized the past history of reinforcement as a determinant of behavior, cognitivism emphasized future planning, choice, and expectations
  • Self became a legitimate subject matter
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.Is there a Self?
  • Hilgard (1949) proposed that all (defense) mechanisms imply self-reference (p. 375)
  • Defense mechanisms are defenses against anxiety – guilt feelings – self as an agent of good or bad choices
  • Defense mechanisms are self-deceptive – bolstering self-esteem as through self-deception
  • Self can be investigated in awareness introspectively
  • Self can be investigated as an external object – Inferred Self
  • “… a pattern of existing habits and attitudes” (p. 378)
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The Functions of the I
  • Our awareness of ourselves is functional in
  • distinguishing ourselves from others
  • motivating behavior, exerting control over environment and other people
  • providing us with a sense of continuity and unity
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.The Functions of the ME
  • Our thoughts about ourselves has
  • a cognitive function and influence the way we perceive and process information
  • a self-regulatory function and guide our behaviors
  • a motivational function and helps us to direct our behaviors to achieve certain ends
  • Kürşad Demirutku, Ph.D.
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