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31 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

The Self

The content of what people believe to be true about themselves

Examples of multiple self-aspects

Social roles, goals, relationships, superordinate goals, skills, activities, social identities and groups

Self-complexity theory (Linville 1985)

- Several self-aspects that overlap or are distinct to varying degrees

- The active self is context dependent

- Positive or negative social feedback impact the no of self-aspects and feelings about the self

Spill-over Amplification Hypothesis (McConnell)

If self-aspects are:

- Overlapping: evaluation of the self-aspect will have a greater overall affect on the self

- Distinct: evaluation of the self-aspect will impact a smaller proportion of the self

Two parts of the origins of the self


Socio-cultural environment

How does birth order affect the self?

- Sibling Conflict + adaptations

- Older Sibling: bigger, powerful, embraces status quo, dominant, achievement orientated; eg: presidents

- Younger sibling: rebellious, challenges status quo, agreeable, open; eg: revolutionary scientists

What are the sources of self-knowledge?

The Looking Glass Self


Social Comparison Self-perception theory

The Looking Glass Self

We learn who we are through other people through direct social feedback


Self-perception theory

We know ourselves through privileged access to inner thoughts

Social Comparison

We know ourselves by seeing who we are not

The value of our skills, traits and attributes become meaningful by comparison

Upward comparison: motivating and discouraging

Downward comparison: boost in self-esteem

We seek similar people (for accurate self-evaluation, empathy, connectedness, inspiration) and then construct our own uniqueness (how we differ)

Self-enhancement motives/bias

The desire to learn flattering things and good things rather than the truth

- biases our attention to social feedback to create overtly positive evaluations

Self-handicapping (Snyder & Higgins)

Putting an obstacle in the way of one's own performance so that anticipated failure can be attributed to the obstacle rather than the self

Characteristics of High self-esteem

- Positive self-evaluation

- Confident in abilities

- Perceive less risk of failure

- Take more choices

Characteristics of Low self-esteem

- Neutral self-evaluation

- Afraid of failure

- Self-concept confusion

- Self-protection

Dunning-Kruger Effect

Unskilled individuals suffering from illusory superiority

- difficult to recognise one's own competence

- due to a metacognitive inability to recognise ineptitude

Self-discrepancy Theory (Higgins)

Appropriate behaviour is guided by the cultural and moral standards regarding the:

- ideal self: promotion focus

- ought self: prevention focus

Guilt and shame are produced when these are violate

Self-image bias due to Culture

Western: use own skills and behaviour standards to judge others, stress self-schema, unique individual, constant and stable, private self, traits that describe them across situations

Eastern: use others' skills and behaviour standards to judge others and themselves, emphasise roles and relationships with others, promote group goals, fluid and variable public self

Actor-observer differences in attributions

The tendency to attribute:

- our own behaviour to situational causes

- others' behaviour to their inner characteristics

Ways of achieving coherence in the self

- Limited accessibility to other inconsistent roles

- Selective memory: reconstructed past to suit, remember more successes than failures

- Attribution: behaviour to circumstances

- Selecting key few traits: create self-schema


A signal of how well you are doing in successfully adapting to your own social world

- tracks net result of successes and failures

Self-evaluation maintenance model (Tesser)

Depends on:

- closeness of other person

- importance of the attribute in question

Why do we self-enhance?

1. Self-improvement/successful self-regulation

2. Protection against stress and threats to the self

Role of emotions in the self

- Thoughts, feelings, bodily reactions caused by appraisals of a self-relevant object/event.

- Mark meaningful moments

- Direct behaviour toward a goal

Negative effects of self-discrepancies

Exaggerate awareness of our discrepancies from our self-guides


A motive for choosing behaviours that are intended to reflect and express the self-concept


A motive for choosing behaviours intended to create in observers a desired impression of the self


A personality characteristic defined as the degree to which people are sensitive to the demands of social situations and shape their behaviour accordingly

High s-m: shape to current audience demands

Low s-m: shape to internal attitudes

Threats to the well-being of self

1. Inconsistent info

2. Major failures

3. Daily hassles and stresses

Most threatening: those out of our control

Methods of defence against threat

1. Emotion focused coping

2. Problem focused coping

Emotion-focused coping

- Escape and distraction

- Downplaying: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, redefinition

- Self-expression: talk to others

- Can be used for uncontrollable threats

Problem-focused coping

- Respond to threat directly, take control

- Reinterpret or remove negative situation

- Make excuses

- Self-handicapping

- Can be used for controllable threats