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Chapter 2 –Page 1 Chapter 2: Communication and Personal Identity “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self.” –Soren Kierkegaard In this chapter, we explore how your personal identity is formed and continuously refined in the process of communicating with others. (40) What is the Self? The Self arises in communication with others oWe internalize many of the perspectives on our identity, and they become part of who we are and how we see ourselves oWe develop selves by internalizing two kinds of perspectives that are communicated to us: the perspectives of particular others and the perspective of the generalized other (40) Particular others oThe first perspectives that affect us are those of particular others. oParticular others are specific people who are important in our lives oFor infants and children, particular others include family members and caregivers. oLater in life, particular others include peers, teachers, friends, romantic partners, coworkers, and other individuals who are especially important in our lives. oFor most of us, family members are the first major influence on how we see ourselves (41) oDirect definition Direct definition is communication that tells us explicitly who we are by directly labeling us and our behaviors. From direct definition, children learn what others value in them, and this shapes what they come to value in themselves. (42) oReflected Appraisal Reflected appraisal is our perception of another’s view of us.One particularly powerful way in which reflected appraisals can affect our self-concept is through self-fulfilling prophecies, which occur when we internalize others’ expectations or judgments about us and then behave in ways that are consistent with those expectations and judgments. Because we internalize others’ perspectives, we may allow their definitions and prophecies for us to become our own. (44) oIdentity Scripts Psychologists define identity scripts as rules for living and identity
Chapter 2 –Page 2 Like the scripts for plays, identity scripts define our roles, how we are to play them, and the basic elements in the plots of our lives. “We are responsible people.” “Our family always helps those in need.” “A good education is the key to success.” Many psychologists believe that the basic identity scripts for our lives are formed very early, probably by age 5. (44) As adults, however, we have the capacity to review the identity scripts that were given to us and to challenge and change those that do not fit the selves we now choose to be. (45) oAttachment Styles