Define and also describe the self-concept, its affect on info processing, and its diversity throughout social groups.Describe the principles of self-complexity and self-concept clarity, and also explain just how they affect social cognition and behavior.Differentiate the various species of self-awareness and also self-consciousness.Describe self-awareness, self-discrepancy, and self-affirmation theories, and their interrelationships.Explore just how we sometimes overestimate the accuracy with which other world view us.

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Some nonhuman animals, consisting of chimpanzees, orangutans, and perhaps dolphins, have actually at the very least a primitive sense of self (Boysen & Himes, 1999). We understand this due to the fact that of some amazing experiments that have actually been done through animals. In one research (Gallup, 1970), researchers painted a red period on the forehead that anesthetized chimpanzees and then inserted the pets in a cage with a mirror. When the chimps woke up and also looked in the mirror, they touched the dot on your faces, not the dot on the encounters in the mirror. This action suggests that the chimps interpreted that they to be looking at themselves and also not at various other animals, and thus we can assume the they are able come realize the they exist together individuals. Many other animals, including dogs, cats, and monkeys, never realize the it is themselves they check out in a mirror.

Figure 3.2 A basic test the self-awareness is the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror. Humans and chimpanzees deserve to pass the test; dogs never do.Getting ready by Flavia ( used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license ( Winter mirror by rromer ( provided under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license ( Fairly Reflection by Valerie ( used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license ( Toddler in mirror by Samantha Steele ( supplied under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (

Infants that have similar red dots painted on your foreheads recognize themselves in a mirror in the same means that chimps do, and they execute this by about 18 months of period (Asendorpf, Warkentin, & Baudonnière, 1996; Povinelli, Landau, & Perilloux, 1996). The child’s knowledge around the self continues to construct as the boy grows. By 2 years of age, the infant becomes conscious of his or her sex as a young or a girl. At age four, the child’s self-descriptions are most likely to be based on physical features, such as hair color, and also by about age six, the boy is able come understand basic emotions and the concepts of traits, gift able to do statements such as “I am a pretty person” (Harter, 1998).

By the time children are in class school, they have learned the they are unique individuals, and also they have the right to think about and analysis their own behavior. They also begin to show awareness the the social situation—they recognize that other people are spring at and also judging lock the same way that they space looking at and also judging others (Doherty, 2009).

Development and also Characteristics of the Self-Concept

Part the what is arising in kids as they flourish is the an essential cognitive part of the self, recognized as the self-concept. The self-concept is a knowledge representation that includes knowledge about us, including our beliefs about our personality traits, physics characteristics, abilities, values, goals, and roles, and the knowledge that we exist as individuals. Throughout childhood and also adolescence, the self-concept becomes much more abstract and complicated and is organized into a selection of various cognitive elements of the self, well-known as self-schemas. Children have actually self-schemas about their development in school, your appearance, their an abilities at sports and also other activities, and many various other aspects. In turn, these self-schemas direct and inform their processing of self-relevant information (Harter, 1999), much as we witnessed schemas in basic affecting our social cognition.

These self-schemas deserve to be studied making use of the techniques that us would usage to study any kind of other schema. One approach is to use neuroimaging to directly study the me in the brain. Together you have the right to see in Figure 3.3, neuroimaging researches have shown that information about the self is save in the prefrontal cortex, the same place that other information around people is stored (Barrios et al., 2008).

Figure 3.3 This number shows the areas of the human brain that are well-known to be essential in handling information around the self. They include primarily areas of the prefrontal cortex (areas 1, 2, 4, and also 5). Data are from Lieberman (2010)

Another strategy to studying the self is come investigate just how we attend to and remember points that relate come the self. Indeed, due to the fact that the self-concept is the most necessary of all our schemas, it has an extraordinary level of influence on our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Have actually you ever gone to a party whereby there was a many noise and bustle, and also yet you to be surprised to discover that you could easily hear your very own name being discussed in the background? since our very own name is such crucial part of our self-concept, and because we value it highly, the is very accessible. We are an extremely alert for, and also react quickly to, the cite of our own name.

Other research study has uncovered that info related come the self-schema is much better remembered than details that is unrelated to it, and also that details related come the self can likewise be processed an extremely quickly (Lieberman, Jarcho, & Satpute, 2004). In one standard study the demonstrated the prestige of the self-schema, Rogers, Kuiper, and also Kirker (1977) conducted one experiment to assess just how college student recalled details that they had actually learned under different processing conditions. Every the participants to be presented through the very same list the 40 adjectives to process, however through the usage of arbitrarily assignment, the entrants were given one that four different sets that instructions about how to process the adjectives.

Participants assigned to the structural job condition were inquiry to judge whether words was printed in uppercase or small letter letters. Entrants in the phonemic task condition were asked whether words rhymed with another given word. In the semantic job condition, the participants to be asked if words was a synonym of an additional word. And also in the self-reference task condition, participants shown whether the offered adjective was or was not true the themselves. After completing the stated task, every participant to be asked come recall as numerous adjectives as he or she could remember. Rogers and his colleagues hypothesized that different varieties of handling would have different effects on memory. As you deserve to see in Figure 3.4, “The Self-Reference Effect,” the college student in the self-reference task condition recalled significantly more adjectives than did students in any kind of other condition.

Figure 3.4 The Self-Reference Effect

The chart reflects the proportion of adjectives the students to be able come recall under each of 4 learning conditions. The exact same words to be recalled significantly far better when they to be processed in relation to the self than once they were processed in other ways. Data from Rogers et al. (1977).

The detect that information the is handle in partnership to the self is an especially well remembered, well-known as the self-reference effect, is an effective evidence the the self-concept helps us organize and also remember information. The next time you space studying, friend might try relating the material to your own experiences—the self-reference effect argues that doing therefore will aid you much better remember the information.

The specific content of ours self-concept powerfully influence the method that we procedure information relating come ourselves. But how can we measure up that specific content? One way is by using self-report tests. Among these is a deceptively an easy fill-in-the-blank measure that has been widely used by plenty of scientists to get a picture of the self-concept (Rees & Nicholson, 1994). All of the 20 items in the measure are exactly the same, but the human being is inquiry to fill in a different response for each statement. This self-report measure, known as the Twenty Statements test (TST), can reveal a lot around a person because it is draft to measure up the many accessible—and thus the many important—parts the a person’s self-concept. Shot it for yourself, at least 5 times:

I am (please to fill in the blank) __________________________________I to be (please to fill in the blank) __________________________________I am (please to fill in the blank) __________________________________I to be (please to fill in the blank) __________________________________I to be (please fill in the blank) __________________________________

Although each person has actually a unique self-concept, we deserve to identify some attributes that room common throughout the responses provided by different people on the measure. Physical characteristics are critical component that the self-concept, and also they are mentioned by many people when they describe themselves. If did you do it been involved lately the you’ve been getting weight, you might write, “I am overweight.” If friend think she particularly good looking (“I to be attractive”), or if you think you’re too quick (“I am too short”), those things could have to be reflected in her responses. Our physical qualities are crucial to our self-concept because we realize the other civilization use them to referee us. Human being often list the physical attributes that do them various from others in either optimistic or an adverse ways (“I to be blond,” “I am short”), in part because they understand that these features are salient and thus most likely to be supplied by others once judging lock (McGuire, McGuire, Child, & Fujioka, 1978).

A second aspect that the self-concept relating to an individual characteristics is made up of personality traitsthe details and stable personality attributes that explain an individual (“I am friendly,” “I am shy,” “I am persistent”). This individual differences are important determinants of behavior, and also this element of the self-concept different among people.

The remainder of the self-concept mirrors its more external, society components; for example, memberships in the social teams that us belong to and also care about. Typical responses because that this ingredient may include “I to be an artist,” “I to be Jewish,” and “I to be a mother, sister, daughter.” together we will certainly see later in this chapter, group memberships form an important part the the self-concept due to the fact that they carry out us v our social identitythe feeling of our me that involves our memberships in society groups.

Although us all define ourselves in relationship to these three vast categories that characteristics—physical, personality, and also social – some interesting social differences in the relative importance of these categories have actually been presented in people’s responses to the TST. Because that example, Ip and Bond (1995) discovered that the responses from oriental participants had significantly more references to us as citizens of social functions (e.g., “I to be Joyce’s friend”) or social teams (e.g., “I to be a member that the Cheng family”) than those of American participants. Similarly, Markus and Kitayama (1991) reported that oriental participants were more than twice as most likely to encompass references to other people in their self-concept than did their Western counterparts. This greater emphasis on either external and also social elements of the self-concept reflects the relative prestige that collectivistic and individualistic cultures place on an interdependence matches independence (Nisbett, 2003).

Interestingly, bicultural people who report acculturation to both collectivist and also individualist cultures show shifts in your self-concept depending on which society they are primed come think around when perfect the TST. Because that example, Ross, Xun, & Wilson (2002) uncovered that student born in China but living in Canada reported much more interdependent elements of us on the TST when asked to create their responses in Chinese, together opposed to English. These culturally various responses to the TST are additionally related to a broader distinction in self-concept, with world from individualistic societies often relenten themselves making use of internal attributes that emphasize your uniqueness, contrasted with those from collectivistic backgrounds who tend to stress common social team memberships and also roles. In turn, this difference can lead to important distinctions in social behavior.

One straightforward yet an effective demonstration of social differences in self-concept affecting social habits is displayed in a examine that was conducted by Kim and Markus (1999). In this study, participants to be contacted in the wait area that the mountain Francisco airport and asked to fill out a quick questionnaire because that the researcher. The participants were selected according to their cultural background: about one-half that them indicated they to be European Americans who parents to be born in the united States, and the other fifty percent indicated lock were asian Americans whose parents to be born in China and also who speak Chinese at home. After completing the questionnaires (which were not used in the data evaluation except to recognize the cultural backgrounds), participants to be asked if lock would like to take a pen v them together a token that appreciation. The experimenter prolonged his or her hand, which had five pens. The pens offered to the participants to be either 3 or four of one color and also one or two of another color (the octopus in the pens was constantly black). As shown in Figure 3.5, “Cultural distinctions in Desire for Uniqueness,” and consistent through the hypothesized preference for uniqueness in Western, yet not Eastern, cultures, the european Americans preferred to take a pen with the much more unusual color, vice versa, the oriental American participants preferred one with the much more common color.

Figure 3.5 cultural Differences in Desire for Uniqueness

In this study, entrants from european American and East eastern cultures to be asked to pick a pen as a token that appreciation because that completing a questionnaire. There to be either 4 pens the one color and also one of an additional color, or three pens of one color and two of another. Europe Americans to be significantly more likely to pick the much more uncommon pen color in both cases. Data are from Kim and also Markus (1999, Experiment 3).

Cultural differences in self-concept have also been found in people’s self-descriptions on society networking sites. DeAndrea, Shaw, and Levine (2010) check individuals’ free-text self-descriptions in the about Me section in their on facebook profiles. Continuous with the researchers’ hypotheses, and also with previous study using the TST, african American participants had actually the most the most separately (internally) explained self-concepts, and also Asian Americans had actually the many interdependent (external) self-descriptions, through European americans in the middle.

As well together indications of social diversity in the content of the self-concept, there is also evidence of parallel gender diversity in between males and females from various cultures, through females, on average, giving much more external and also social responses to the TST than males (Kashima et al., 1995). Interestingly, these gender distinctions have been found to be an ext apparent in individualistic countries than in collectivistic countries (Watkins et al., 1998).

Self-Complexity and Self-Concept Clarity

As we have actually seen, the self-concept is a rich and complicated social representation of that we are, encompassing both our internal characteristics and also our society roles. In addition to ours thoughts about who we are appropriate now, the self-concept likewise includes thoughts around our previous self—our experiences, accomplishments, and failures—and around our future self—our hopes, plans, goals, and possibilities (Oyserman, Bybee, Terry, & Hart-Johnson, 2004). The multidimensional nature of our self-concept means that we need to think about not just each ingredient in isolation, but likewise their interactions with each other and also their in its entirety structure. Two specifically important structural elements of our self-concept room complexity and also clarity.

Although every person being has a complicated self-concept, over there are nonetheless individual distinctions in self-complexity, the extent to which individuals have many different and fairly independent ways of thinking about themselves (Linville, 1987; Roccas & Brewer, 2002). Some selves are more complex than others, and these individual distinctions can be crucial in determining emotional outcomes. Having actually a complicated self way that we have actually a lot of different ways that thinking around ourselves. Because that example, imagine a mrs whose self-concept has the social identities that student, girlfriend, daughter, psychology student, and also tennis player and also who has actually encountered a wide selection of life experiences. Society psychologists would say that she has actually high self-complexity. ~ above the other hand, a guy who consciousness himself mostly as either a student or together a member the the soccer team and also who has had actually a reasonably narrow variety of life experiences would be stated to have actually low self-complexity. Because that those with high self-complexity, the various aspects of the self are separate, together the confident and an adverse thoughts around a specific self-aspect perform not pour out over right into thoughts around other aspects.

Research has found that contrasted with human being low in self-complexity, those higher in self-complexity tend to experience much more positive outcomes, including greater levels the self-esteem (Rafaeli-Mor & Steinberg, 2002), lower levels that stress and also illness (Kalthoff & Neimeyer, 1993), and also a higher tolerance for frustration (Gramzow, Sedikides, Panter, & Insko, 2000).

The benefits of self-complexity occur due to the fact that the various domain names of the self help to buffer united state against an adverse events and enjoy the positive events that us experience. For people low in self-complexity, an unfavorable outcomes in relation to one element of the self tend to have actually a big impact on their self-esteem. For example, if the just thing the Maria cares around is obtaining into medical school, she might be devastated if she falls short to make it. On the various other hand, Marty, that is additionally passionate around medical school however who has a more facility self-concept, might be better able to change to such a punch by turning to various other interests.

Although having actually high self-complexity seems valuable overall, that does no seem to assist everyone equally in their response to all events (Rafaeli-Mor & Steinberg, 2002). People with high self-complexity seem come react much more positively come the great things that happen to them however not necessarily less negatively to the negative things. And also the positive results of self-complexity are stronger for world who have other positive aspects of the self as well. This buffering impact is stronger for human being with high self-esteem, who self-complexity involves positive rather than an unfavorable characteristics (Koch & Shepperd, 2004), and for civilization who feel that they have manage over your outcomes (McConnell et al., 2005).

Just together we might differ in the complexity of our self-concept, so us may additionally differ in its clarity. Self-concept clarity is the extent to i beg your pardon one’s self-concept is plainly and continuously defined (Campbell, 1990). Theoretically, the concepts of complexity and clarity space independent of every other—a person can have one of two people a an ext or less facility self-concept that is either fine defined and also consistent, or okay defined and also inconsistent. However, in reality, they every have comparable relationships to plenty of indices the well-being.

For example, as has actually been discovered with self-complexity, higher self-concept clarity is positively pertained to self-esteem (Campbell et al., 1996). Why can this be? Perhaps world with higher self-esteem tend to have actually a more well-defined and stable view of their optimistic qualities, conversely, those with lower self-esteem show an ext inconsistency and also instability in your self-concept, i m sorry is then much more vulnerable to gift negatively affected by complicated situations. Continual with this assertion, self-concept clarity shows up to adjust the relationship between stress and also well-being (Ritchie et al., 2011).

Also, having actually a clear and stable watch of ourselves can help united state in ours relationships. Lewandowski, Nardine, and also Raines (2010) uncovered a hopeful correlation between clarity and also relationship satisfaction, and also a far-reaching increase in reported satisfaction adhering to an speculative manipulation of participants’ self-concept clarity. Greater clarity may promote connection satisfaction in a number of ways. As Lewandowski and colleagues (2010) argue, as soon as we have a clear self-concept, we might be much better able to consistently interact who we are and also what we want to our partner, which will certainly promote higher understanding and also satisfaction. Also, perhaps once we feeling clearer about who us are, then us feel less of a risk to our self-concept and autonomy once we find ourselves having to make compromises in our close relationships.

Thinking earlier to the cultural differences we discussed earlier in this section in the paper definition of people’s self-concepts, it might be that self-concept clarity is generally greater in individuals from individualistic cultures, together their self-concept is based much more on internal qualities that are organized to be stable throughout situations, than on exterior social facets that the me that might be much more changeable. This is without doubt what the research suggests. Not only do members of much more collectivistic cultures tend to have lower self-concept clarity, that clarity is likewise less strongly concerned their self-esteem compared with those from an ext individualistic cultures (Campbell et al., 1996). Together we candlestick see when our attention turns to perceiving others in chapter 5, our cultural background not only affects the clarity and also consistency of just how we view ourselves, but also how repetitively we view various other people and also their behavior.


Like any other schema, the self-concept can vary in its current cognitive accessibility. Self-awareness describes the extent to which we are right now fixing our fist on our own self-concept. When our self-concept becomes highly obtainable because of our concerns around being observed and potentially judged through others, we experience the publicly induced self-awareness known as self-consciousness (Duval & Wicklund, 1972; Rochat, 2009).

Perhaps you deserve to remember times when your self-awareness to be increased and you became self-conscious—for instance, when you were offering a presentation and also you were perhaps painfully aware that everyone was looking at you, or when you did something in public the embarrassed you. Emotions such together anxiety and embarrassment occur in big part due to the fact that the self-concept becomes very accessible, and they serve as a signal come monitor and perhaps adjust our behavior.

Not all aspects of our self-concept are equally available at all times, and these long-term distinctions in the availability of the different self-schemas aid create individual differences in state of, for instance, our present concerns and interests. You may know some civilization for who the physical appearance ingredient of the self-concept is very accessible. They inspect their hair every time they see a mirror, issue whether their clothes are making castle look good, and also do a the majority of shopping—for themselves, of course. Other civilization are much more focused on their social team memberships—they often tend to think about things in regards to their role as Muslims or Christians, because that example, or as members that the regional tennis or football team.

In enhancement to sport in irreversible accessibility, the self and its various materials may additionally be made temporarily more accessible with priming. Us become much more self-aware once we room in former of a mirror, when a TV camera is focused on us, once we space speaking in prior of one audience, or as soon as we are listening to our own tape-recorded voice (Kernis & Grannemann, 1988). When the knowledge included in the self-schema becomes much more accessible, it likewise becomes much more likely to be offered in details processing and also to affect our behavior.

Beaman, Klentz, Diener, and also Svanum (1979) performed a field experiment to see if self-awareness would influence children’s honesty. The researchers expected that most kids viewed stealing together wrong but that they would certainly be more likely come act top top this belief when castle were much more self-aware. They carried out this experiment ~ above Halloween in houses within the city the Seattle, Washington. At details houses, youngsters who to be trick-or-treating to be greeted by among the experimenters, shown a huge bowl the candy, and were told come take only one item each. The researcher unobtrusively watched each kid to watch how plenty of pieces he or she actually took. In few of the houses there to be a large mirror behind the liquid bowl; in other houses, there to be no mirror. Out of the 363 youngsters who were observed in the study, 19% disobeyed instructions and took more than one item of candy. However, the children who were in prior of a winter were significantly less likely to stealing (14.4%) than were those that did not check out a winter (28.5%).

These results suggest that the mirror activated the children self-awareness, i beg your pardon reminded castle of their belief around the prominence of being honest. Other research has shown that being self-aware has actually a an effective influence ~ above other habits as well. For instance, human being are an ext likely to stay on a diet, eat much better food, and also act an ext morally in its entirety when they space self-aware (Baumeister, Zell, & Tice, 2007; Heatherton, Polivy, Herman, & Baumeister, 1993). What this way is that once you space trying come stick come a diet, research harder, or interact in other challenging behaviors, girlfriend should shot to focus on yourself and also the prominence of the objectives you have actually set.

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Social psychologists room interested in examining self-awareness due to the fact that it has such critical influence ~ above behavior. World become much more likely to hurt acceptable, mainstream social standards when, because that example, they put on a Halloween mask or connect in other actions that hide their identities. Because that example, the members of the militant White supremacist organization the Ku Klux Klan wear white robes and hats as soon as they meet and also when they connect in your racist behavior. And also when world are in large crowds, such together in a fixed demonstration or a riot, lock may become so much a component of the team that they suffer deindividuationthe ns of separation, personal, instance self-awareness and also individual accountability in groups (Festinger, Pepitone, & Newcomb, 1952; Zimbardo, 1969) and become much more attuned to themselves as team members and to the particular social norms of the specific situation (Reicher & Stott, 2011).

Figure 3.6 examples of cases that may produce deindividuation encompass wearing uniforms that hide the self and alcohol intoxication.08KKKfamilyPortrait by photo Editor (