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3 The Social Self

3 The Social Self - Social Psychology Chapter III The...

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Social Psychology Chapter III : The Social Self The capacity for self-reflection is necessary for people to feel as if they understand their own motives and emotions and the causes of their behavior. The self is heavily influenced by social factors. The way we manage ourselves is influenced by the people around us. The Self Concept “Cocktail Party Effect” - the tendency of people to pick a personally relevant stimulus out of a complex environment. It [also] shows that the self is an important object of our own attention. Self-concept – the sum total of an individual´s beliefs about his or her own personal attributes. Self-schemas – beliefs people hold about themselves that guide the processing of self relevant information. Beginnings of the Self -Concept: Today, many researcher believe that self-recognition among great apes and human infants is the first clear expression of the concept “me”. The ability to see yourself as a distinct entity is a necessary first step in the evolution The second step involves social factors The term looking-glass self suggests that other people serve as a mirror in which we can see ourselves. Among human beings, our self-concepts match our perceptions of what others think of us. But where do peoples self-concepts come from? > five sources: 1) Introspection 2) Perceptions of our own behavior 3) The influences of other people 4) Autobiographical memories 5) The cultures in which we live Introspection Self-knowledge is is derived from introspection, a looking inward at one´s own thoughts and feelings. Introspection sometimes diminishes the accuracy of self-reports. Affective forecasting – the process of predicting how one would feel in response to future emotional events. People overestimate the strength and duration of their emotional reactions – durability bias Two possible reasons for durability bias in affective forecasting: 1) When it comes to negative life events, people do not fully appreciate the extent to which our psychological coping mechanisms help us to cushion the blow. 2) When we introspect about the emotional impact on us of a future event, we become so focused on that single event that we neglect to take into account the effects of other life experiences.
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Perceptions of Our Own Behavior: Self-perception theory – the theory that when internal cues are difficult to interpret, people gain self-insight by observing their own behavior. People learn about themselves through self-perception only when the situation alone seems insufficient to have caused the behavior.
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