Self, identity, and self

Self, Identity, Self-esteem
• Self- totality of you
• Physical body but also your identity, others’
perceptions, etc.
• Self constructed out of meaning
• Self-concept = individual’s beliefs about
himself or herself; ideas about yourself
• Self-esteem = how you evaluate yourself
• Identity = who you are
• How do people learn about themselves?
• Infancy – learns boundaries of own body
• 2nd year of life – learn how to do things,
develop idea of mastery
• Smile when learn something
• Able to identify self as child, gender
• 3- 5 years of age
• Emphasize skills and abilities
• Think about self as physical body
• Tends to be very broad
• Only some pieces salient at any one
• Boy/girl groups studies
Self-knowledge motives
1. Gain accurate info. about self
2. Gain confirmation of what you already
believe about self
3. Learn positive, favorable things about
People tend to have all 3 motives
Which is strongest??
Typical rankings of motives based
on empirical findings
1. Self-enhancement
2. Consistency
3. Accurate info. – distant third
Sober cognitive response will recognize
dubious nature of many flattering
pieces of info.
Emotionally potent info. rules
Self-concept – development cont’
• 6 to 11: sense of competency & control
continue to increase
• See competencies in more complex terms
• Social comparisons important
• Idea that some of self as being hidden from
view emerges
• Teen age years: self-consciousness
increases. Reflects ability to imagine how
one appears to others
Measurement issues
• Think about how one might measure
self-concept or self-esteem. What
potential problems do you see?
Measurement issues cont.
1. Self-presentational concerns
2. Biases in self-perceptions: accuracy??
3. Implicit vs. explicit self views
(awareness vs. unawareness)
Greenwald & Farnham
Implicit Association Test – designed to
address that last issue
• Measures implicit self-esteem
• Actual task somewhat complicated to
describe—try it online at
IAT/Greenwald cont’
• Indirect measure does not rely on
• Not susceptible to self-presentational
Asendorpf et al.
• IAT applied to shyness
• Want to look at differences in the way
that people report shyness and implicit
measures of shyness
• Shy people may lack self-insight?
• Unwillingness to report being shy?
• 139 heterosexual young adults
• Videotaped in shyness-inducing social
• Took personality questionnaire
• Took shyness IAT
• Significant correlations between selfratings and IAT shyness ratings