SS Paper 2 - Page |1 Megan Kellen SOC 351 Social Psychology...

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P a g e | 1 Megan Kellen SOC 351 – Social Psychology Summary/Synthesis Paper #2 – September 26 th , 2007 The Empirical Self The readings in part two of Spencer Cahill’s textbook centralize on the human self. The four readings are: Self as Sentiment and Reflection by Charles Horton Cooley, The Self as Social Structure by George Herbert Mead, Young Children’s Use of Radical and Ethnic Identities, by Debra Van Ausdale and Joe Feagin, and finally Media Images’ Influence on Adolescent Girls’ Self Concepts by Melissa Milkie. The self, in terms of social psychology, means that we are both the subject and the object of our own emotions and actions. The self is also seen as an agreement of symbols that we receive from others as well as ourselves. Concurrently, the emotions and actions that we demonstrate to ourselves are also bestowed upon one another. In the first reading, Charles Harton Cooley discusses the empirical self which can be established by observation on an everyday basis. His “looking-glass self” theory suggests that a human uses observations and invented perspectives of others upon forming images of themselves. “The looking-glass” is used as a reflective device to bounce perceptions from one person to themselves. The individual is putting themselves into the insight of the other to imagine how they are being judged on appearance and behavior. This then gives the individual feelings, shameful or flattering, of themselves based on the imaginary perceptions of the other individual. The individual can then establish self-worth in accordance with the reflected images. The second reading is by George Herbert Mead. He focuses on the effect speech has on the human self. He explains speech similar to Cooley’s “looking-glass self” in the sense that we respond to emotions of others. But it is different in the way that speech is not imagined as the
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P a g e | 2 reflections of others are, according to Cooley. When we speak, we are both the subject and object of our focus. We hear what those we are addressing say, and react by responding while we react to what we state as well. In addition, what we say often has the same meaning to us as it does to the addressee so we can therefore predict their reaction and reply. Mead analyzes the self
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course SOC 351 taught by Professor Hunter during the Spring '08 term at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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SS Paper 2 - Page |1 Megan Kellen SOC 351 Social Psychology...

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