Social Psychology - Napa Valley College

Social Psychology - Napa Valley College

6th edition Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University

Chapter 5 Self-Knowledge: How We Come to Understand Ourselves Introspection is difficult and fallible. The difficulty is simply that of all observation of whatever kind. William James, 1890 In an early episode of the television show Friends, the character Ross faces a dilemma. In trying to choose between Rachel who has finally shown interest in him and Julie, his new girlfriend, Ross makes a list of the things he likes and

dislikes about each woman, to try to clarify his thoughts. Was it a good idea to make a list to help him understand his own feelings? More generally, what is the nature of the self, and how do people discover it? Source of image: Source: http://www.friends-serie.de/image/6022.jpg THE NATURE OF THE SELF Who are you? How did you come to be this person you call myself? The founder of American psychology, William James (18421910), described the basic duality of our perception of self.

Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. THE NATURE OF THE SELF The self is composed of our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, or what James (1890) called the known, or, more simply, the me. The self is also the active processor of information, the knower, or I. In modern terms, we refer to the known aspect of the self as the self concept, which is the content of the self (our knowledge about who we are), and to the knower aspect as self-awareness, which is the act of thinking about ourselves. These two aspects of the self combine to create a

coherent sense of identity: Your self is both a book (full of fascinating content collected over time) and the reader of that book (who at any moment can access a specific chapter or add a new one). THE NATURE OF THE SELF Studies suggest that chimps and orangutans, and possibly dolphins, have a rudimentary self-concept. They realize that the image in the mirror is themselves and not another animal,

and when someone alters their appearance, they recognize that they look different from how they looked before. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. THE NATURE OF THE SELF Self-recognition develops at around age 2. As we grow older, this rudimentary selfconcept becomes more complex. Typically, a childs self-concept is concrete, with references to clear-cut, easily observable characteristics like age,

sex, neighborhood, and hobbies. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. THE NATURE OF THE SELF Self-recognition develops at around age 2. As we grow older, this rudimentary selfconcept becomes more complex. Typically, a childs self-concept is concrete, with references to clear-cut, easily observable characteristics like age, sex, neighborhood, and hobbies. As we mature, we place less emphasis on physical characteristics and more on psychological states (our thoughts and

feelings) and on how other people judge us. Functions of the Self Why do human adults have such a multifaceted, complex definition of self? Researchers have found that the self serves both: An organizational function, and An executive function Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. ORGANIZATIONAL FUNCTION

OF THE SELF Self-Schemas Mental structures that people use to organize their knowledge about themselves and that influence what they notice, think about, and remember about themselves. ORGANIZATIONAL FUNCTION OF THE SELF Self-Schemas Mental structures that people use to organize their knowledge about themselves and that influence what they

notice, think about, and remember about themselves. Self-Reference Effect The tendency for people to remember information better if they relate it to themselves. SELF-REGULATION: THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION The self regulates behavior, choices, and future plans, much like a corporations chief executive officer. We appear to be the only

species that can: Imagine events that have not yet occurred, and Engage in long-term planning. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Consider an approach to self control called the self-regulatory resource model. According to this model, self control is a limited resource, kind of like a muscle that gets tired with frequent use but then rebounds in strength.

Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. To test this idea, researchers ask participants to exert self-control on one task, to see if this reduces their ability to exert control on a subsequent and completely unrelated task. In one study, people instructed to suppress a thought (dont think about a white bear) were worse at trying to regulate their emotions on a second task (try not to laugh while watching a comedy film), compared to people who did not first have to suppress their thoughts.

Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Former smokers are more likely to take up smoking again when stressed. Dealing with stress depletes the self resource, such that there is less to spend in other areas. Similarly, efforts at self-control are more likely to fail at night, when the self resource has been depleted by a day of making choices and resisting temptations. Dieters are more likely to break their diets at night. People are best at self-control when they are wellrested, such as in the morning after a good nights sleep. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

Cultural Differences in Defining the Self In many Western cultures, people have an independent view of the self. Independent View of the Self A way of defining oneself in terms of ones own internal thoughts, feelings, and actions and not in terms of the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people. Cultural Differences in

Defining the Self In many Western cultures, people have an independent view of the self. Westerners learn to Define themselves as quite separate from other people, and Value independence and uniqueness. Cultural Differences in Defining the Self In contrast, many Asian and other non-Western cultures have an interdependent view of the self.

Interdependent View of the Self A way of defining oneself in terms of ones relationships to other people; recognizing that ones behavior is often determined by the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. Cultural Differences in Defining the Self In contrast, many Asian and other non-Western cultures have an interdependent view of the self. Connectedness and interdependence between people is valued, whereas independence and

uniqueness are frowned on. Cultural Differences in Defining the Self The squeaky wheel gets the grease. American proverb The nail that stands out gets pounded down. Japanese proverb Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Cultural Differences in Defining the Self We do not mean to imply that

every member of a Western culture has an independent view of the self and that every member of an Asian culture has Within an interdependent viewcultures, of the there are differences in the selfself. concept, and these differences are likely to increase as contact between cultures increases.

Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Gender Differences in Defining the Self Is there any truth to the stereotype that when women get together, they talk about interpersonal problems and relationships, whereas men talk about anything but their feelings (usually sports)? Although this stereotype of clueless men is clearly an exaggeration, it does have a grain

of truth and reflects a difference in womens and mens self-concept. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Gender Differences in Defining the Self Women have more relational interdependence, meaning that they focus more on their close relationships, such as how they feel about their spouse or their child. Men have more collective interdependence, meaning that they focus on their memberships in

larger groups, such as the fact that they are Americans or that they belong to a fraternity. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Gender Differences in Defining the Self Starting in early childhood, American girls are more likely to: Develop intimate friendships, Cooperate with others, Focus their attention on social relationships. Boys are more likely to focus on

their group memberships. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Gender Differences in Defining the Self When considering gender differences such as these, we need to be cautious: The psychological differences between men and women are far fewer than the ways in which they are the same. Nevertheless, there do appear to be differences in the way women and

men define themselves in the United States, with women having a greater sense of relational interdependence than men. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Knowing Ourselves through Introspection Introspection The process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts, feelings, and motives. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

Knowing Ourselves through Introspection Introspection The process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts, feelings, and motives. (1) People do not rely on this source of information as often as you might think. (2) Even when people do introspect, the reasons for their feelings and behavior can be hidden from conscious awareness. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory Self-Awareness Theory The idea that when people focus their attention on themselves, they evaluate and compare their behavior to their internal standards and values. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory Sometimes people go far in their attempt to escape the self. Such diverse activities as alcohol abuse,

binge eating, and sexual masochism have one thing in common: All are ways of turning off the internal spotlight on oneself. Getting drunk, for example, is one way of avoiding negative thoughts about oneself (at least temporarily). The fact that people regularly engage in such dangerous behaviors, despite their risks, is an indication of how aversive self-focus can be. Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory Self-focus is not always damaging or

aversive. If you have just experienced a major success, focusing on yourself can be pleasant. Self-focus can also be a way of keeping you out of trouble, by reminding you of your sense of right and wrong. Judging Why We Feel the Way We Do: Telling More than We Can Know Even when we are self-aware and introspect to our hearts content, it can be difficult to know why we feel

the way we do. What is it about your sweetheart that made you fall in love? How much does sleep affect your state of mind? What really determines what mood youre in? Judging Why We Feel the Way We Do: Telling More than We Can Know Causal Theories Theories about the causes of ones own feelings and behaviors; often we learn such theories from our culture. e.g.: Absence makes the heart grow

fonder. The problem is that our schemas and theories are not always correct and thus can lead to incorrect judgments about the causes of our actions. The Consequences of Introspecting about Reasons Tim Wilson and his colleagues have found that analyzing the reasons for our feelings is not always the best strategy and in fact can make matters worse. When people list reasons why they feel as they do about their romantic partners, they often change their attitudes toward their partners, at least

temporarily. Why? It is difficult to dissect the exact causes of our romantic feelings, so we latch on to reasons that sound good and that happen to be on our minds. The Consequences of Introspecting about Reasons Reasons-Generated Attitude Change Attitude change resulting from thinking about the reasons for ones attitudes; people assume their attitudes match the reasons that are plausible and easy to verbalize. Remember the Friends episode we mentioned in which Ross

makes a list of reasons for his feelings toward Rachel and Julie? As in the research studies, Ross found it easiest to verbalize reasons that did not match his feelings. Although he loved Rachel, he seemed unable to explain why, so he wrote things like Shes just a waitress and Shes a little ditzy. The Consequences of Introspecting about Reasons If people base an important decision on their reasons-generated attitude (Hmm, maybe my partner and I dont have much of a future), they might regret it later, when their original feelings return.

Several studies have found that the attitudes people express after analyzing their reasons do not predict their future attitudes and behavior very well. KNOWING OURSELVES BY OBSERVING OUR OWN BEHAVIOR Self-Perception Theory The theory that when our attitudes and feelings are uncertain or ambiguous, we infer these states by observing our behavior and the situation in which it occurs. 1. We infer our inner feelings from our behavior only when we are not sure how we feel.

2. People judge whether their behavior really reflects how they feel or whether it was the situation that made them act that way. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation Intrinsic Motivation The desire to engage in an activity because we enjoy it or find it interesting, not because of external rewards or pressures. Extrinsic Motivation The desire to engage in an activity because of external reasons, not because

we enjoy the task or find it interesting. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation Source of image: http://www.congregationalbert.org/2000/2000-03/2000-03bbc.htm Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation Many teachers or parents reward kids for good grades with compliments, candy, gold stars, or toys. Several years ago, Mel Steely, a professor at West Georgia College,

started a program called Earning by Learning in which low-income children were offered $2 for every book they read. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation But people are not rats, and we have to consider the effects of rewards on whats insidepeoples thoughts about: Themselves, Their self-concept, and Their motivation to read in the future.

The danger of reward programs is that kids will begin to think they are reading to earn money, not because they find reading to be an enjoyable activity in its own right. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation But people are not rats, and we have to consider the effects of rewards on whats insidepeoples thoughts about Overjustification Effect

Overjustification Effect themselves The of people to view their The tendency tendency of people to

view their their self-concept behavior as caused by compelling behavior as caused by compelling

their motivation to read in the future. extrinsic extrinsic reasons, reasons, making making them them The danger of

reward programs is that underestimate the extent to which underestimate the extent to which kids will begin toby think

theyreasons. are itit was caused intrinsic was caused by intrinsic reasons. reading to earn money, not because they find reading to be an enjoyable activity in its own right. PRESERVING INTRINSIC INTEREST Fortunately, there are conditions under which overjustification effects can be avoided.

1. Rewards will undermine interest only if interest was initially high. If a child has no interest in reading, getting him or her read by offering free pizza is not a bad idea because there is not initial interest to undermine. PRESERVING INTRINSIC INTEREST Fortunately, there are conditions under which overjustification effects can be avoided. 1. Rewards will undermine interest only if interest was initially high.

2. The type of reward makes a difference. Performance-contingent rewards might do better than taskcontingent rewards. PRESERVING INTRINSIC INTEREST Task-Contingent Rewards Rewards that are given for performing a task, regardless of how well the task is done. Performance-Contingent Rewards Rewards that are based on how well we perform a task.

Understanding Our Emotions: The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion Consider how happy, angry, or afraid you feel at any given time. How do you know which emotion you are experiencing? This question probably sounds kind of silly; dont we know how we feel without having to think about it? The way in which we experience emotions, however, has a lot in common with the kinds of self-perception processes we have been discussing.

Understanding Our Emotions: The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion Stanley Schachter (1964) proposed a theory of emotion that says we infer what our emotions are in the same way that we infer what kind of person we are or how interested we are in math games: In each case, we observe our behavior and then explain why we are behaving that way. The only difference is in the kind of behavior we observe.

Understanding Our Emotions: The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion Two-Factor Theory of Emotion Schachters idea that emotional experience is the result of a twostep self-perception process in which people: 1. Experience physiological arousal, and then 2. Seek an appropriate explanation for it. Understanding Our Emotions: The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion An implication of Schachters theory is that

peoples emotions are somewhat arbitrary, depending on what the most plausible explanation for their arousal happens to be. Schachter and Singer (1962) demonstrated this idea in two ways: 1. They prevented people from becoming angry by providing a nonemotional explanation for why they felt aroused. 2. They could make participants experience a very different emotion by changing the most plausible explanation for their arousal.

Finding the Wrong Cause: Misattribution of Arousal To what extent do the results found by Schachter and Singer (1962) generalize to everyday life? Do people form mistaken emotions in the same way as participants in that study did? In everyday life, one might argue, people usually know why they are aroused. Finding the Wrong Cause: Misattribution of Arousal Misattribution of Arousal

The process whereby people make mistaken inferences about what is causing them to feel the way they do. Residual arousal from one source (e.g., caffeine, exercise, a fright) can enhance the intensity of how the person interprets other feelings (e.g., attraction to someone). Interpreting the Social World: Appraisal Theories of Emotion Appraisal Theories of Emotion Theories holding that emotions result from peoples interpretations and explanations of events, even

in the absence of physiological arousal. Two kinds of appraisals are especially important: (1) Do you think an event has good or bad implications for you? (2) How do explain what caused the event? Interpreting the Social World: Appraisal Theories of Emotion Schachters theory and cognitive appraisal theories differ on the role of arousal, but are not incompatible. When aroused and not certain where this arousal comes from, how people explain

the arousal determines their emotional reaction (Schachters two-factor theory). When not aroused, how people interpret and explain an event determines their emotional reaction (cognitive appraisal theories). USING OTHER PEOPLE TO KNOW OURSELVES Social contact is crucial to the development of a self-concept. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others How do we use others to define ourselves? One way is to measure our own abilities and attitudes by seeing how we stack up against other people. If you donate $50 to charity and find out your friend Sue donates $10, you can feel generous. If you find out Sue donated $100, you might not feel like youve been generous. Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others

Social Comparison Theory The idea that we learn about our own abilities and attitudes by comparing ourselves to other people. The theory revolves around two important questions: (1) When do you engage in social comparison? (2) With whom do you choose to compare yourself? Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others (1) When do you engage in social comparison?

When there is no objective standard to measure themselves against and when they experience some uncertainty about themselves in a particular area. Example: If your office donation program is new and you are not sure what amount would be generous, you are especially likely to compare yourself to others. Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others (2) With whom do you choose to compare yourself? Peoples initial impulse is to compare

themselves with anyone who is around. This initial comparison occurs quickly and automatically. Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others If we want to know the top level to which we can aspire, we engage in upward social comparison: comparing ourselves to people who are better than we are

on a particular ability. Youll feel better about yourself if you engage in downward social comparison: comparing yourself to people who are worse than you on a particular trait or ability.

Knowing Ourselves by Adopting Other Peoples Views Charles Cooley (1902) described the looking glass self, by which he meant that we see ourselves and the social world through the eyes of other people and often adopt those views. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. Knowing Ourselves by Adopting Other Peoples Views

Social Tuning The process whereby people adopt another person's attitudes. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT: ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE Impression Management The attempt by people to get others to see them as they want to be seen. People have many impression management strategies.

Ingratiation The process whereby people flatter, praise, and generally try to make themselves likable to another person, often of higher status. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT: ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE Impression Management The attempt by people to get others to see them as they want to be seen. People have many impression management strategies.

Ingratiation Self-Handicapping Self-Handicapping The people flatter,obstacles praise, and The strategy whereby and Theprocess strategywhereby whereby people

people create create obstacles and excuses so do generally trythemselves to make themselves likable to excuses for for

themselves so that that ifif they they do poorly poorly on they avoid themselves another person, often of blaming

higher status. on aa task, task, they can can avoid blaming themselves.. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT: ALL THE WORLDS A STAGE There are two major ways in which people selfhandicap.

1. People may create obstacles that reduce the likelihood they will succeed on a task so that if they do fail, they can blame it on these obstacles rather than on their lack of ability drugs, alcohol, reduced effort on the task, and failure to prepare. Example: pulling an all-nighter before a test. 2. People devise ready-made excuses in case they fail blaming shyness, test anxiety, bad moods, physical symptoms, and adverse events from their past. Example: complaining about not feeling well when you take a test. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

Culture, Impression Management, and Self-Enhancement Self-Enhancement The tendency to focus on and present positive information about oneself and to minimize negative information . The desire to manage the image we present to others is strong in all cultures, though the kinds of images we want to present depend on the culture in which we live. 6th edition Social Psychology

Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University

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