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THE SELF

AND SOCIAL
UNDERSTANDING
MARCH 22-27, 2019
SOCIAL COGNITION

• Understanding of the • Understanding others


social world • Their minds
• Understanding the self • Their personalities and
characteristics
• Self-concept
• Self-esteem • Understanding social
interactions
DEVELOPMENTAL TRENDS IN SOCIAL
UNDERSTANDING
• Children’s social-cognitive development:
• Proceeds from concrete to abstract
• Becomes better organized with age
• Changes from simple one-sided explanations to complex, interacting
relationships
• Moves toward metacognitive understanding

• More complex than nonsocial cognition


SELF-AWARENESS
Explicit Self-Awareness By Age 2

• Mirror self-recognition
• Point to self in photos
• Use their own name
• Personal pronouns
• Scale errors declining
THE ROUGE TEST
SELF-RECOGNITION IN OTHER SPECIES
DEVELOPMENT OF SELF-AWARENESS

• Acting on the world; cause and


effect
• Interactions with others
• Sensitive caregiving
• Secure attachments

• Culture
SELF-CONCEPT
DEVELOPMENT OF SELF CONCEPT
• Awareness of physically distinct self
1–2 years • Recognizes own image
• Body self-awareness
• Observable characteristics
3–5 Years • Constructs life-story narrative
• Typical emotions and attitudes
• Personality traits
6–10 Years • Positive and negative
• Social comparison
11 years • Unifies separate traits into abstract ones
and up • Organized self-concept system
DEVELOPING SENSE OF SELF:
Preschool
• Children define themselves by concrete,
observable characteristics.
• Physical attributes
• Physical activities and abilities
• Psychological traits

• Self-evaluations during preschool years are


unrealistically positive.
CULTURAL VARIATIONS IN PERSONAL
STORYTELLING
• How we talk with children about personally-relevant events influences their
self-concept
• The events that we choose to talk about
• How child behavior is framed
• E.g., Chinese parents are more likely to talk about times child misbehaved
and include direct teaching. Irish-American parents did not discuss bad
behavior (or excused it)
• Individualistic vs. Collectivistic
• Implications for self-esteem
DEVELOPING SENSE OF SELF:
Elementary School
• Concept of self is refined by engaging in social
comparison
• By middle to late elementary, conceptions of
self:
• Become integrated and more broadly
encompassing
• Use higher-order concepts

• Children’s self-concepts are increasingly based


on their relationships with others and others’
evaluations of them
• Implications for self-esteem
Global SE
SELF-ESTEEM “I have
worth/value”

• Judgments we make
about our own worth and
Academic Social
the feelings we have Competence Competence
about it
• Includes
• Global appraisal
• Judgments of different Physical/Athletic Physical
aspects of self Competence Appearance
INFLUENCES ON SELF-
ESTEEM
• Age, school transitions
• Culture
• Child-rearing practices
• Warm, responsive – high SE
• Controlling – low SE
• Indulgent – narcissism (unrealistically high,
unstable SE)
DEVELOPING SENSE OF SELF:
Adolescence
• Use abstract thinking to add abstract characteristics
to their sense of self
• Attitudes
• Personality traits
• Beliefs
• Orientation to future

• Adolescents’ can also conceive of themselves in


terms of a variety of selves, depending on the
context
• What does it mean to be a ________-________?
SELF-ESTEEM CHANGES
ATTRIBUTIONS:
Explanations for the Causes of Behavior
• ”Why did he/she/I do that?”
• Characteristics of attributions:
• External/environmental OR internal/psychological
• Ability/stable OR effort/changeable

• In adolescence, one type of particular importance:


attributions about achievement
ATTRIBUTIONS ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT

• Achievement motivation  persistence at difficult tasks


• Attributions about success and failure affect expectations, which affect
motivation

• Influenced by parenting and schooling


• Intrusive, critical, controlling parents  children are less likely to persist, lower
self-esteem
ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATIONS

MASTERY-ORIENTED PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED
• Attribute success to ability • Attribute failure to lack of ability
• Incremental view of ability • Entity view of ability
• Can improve by trying, effort • Cannot be changed

• Focus on learning goals • Focus on performance goals


• Learned helplessness
LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
GOAL ORIENTATION
Mastery-Orientated Performance-Oriented
Success defined as… High grades, higher
Improvement, progress,
performance compared with
mastery, innovation
others
Error viewed as… Part of the learning process; Failure; evidence of lack of
informational ability
Ability viewed as… Developing through effort Fixed
Expectancy of success is… High Low
Strategies and Behavior • Effective metacognitive • Lack of metacognitive and
and self-regulatory skills self-regulatory skills
• Persistence at challenging • Avoidance of challenging
tasks tasks
WHAT ABOUT YOU? SQUARECAP

• What were your attributions for academic success and failure when you
were in elementary school?
• Did they change by high school?
• What are they like now?
• What messages from others may have contributed to your attributions?
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS/TEACHERS…

NOT DO? DO?


• Have entity beliefs themselves • Attribute failures to effort
• Make trait statements • Emphasize learning (not
performance)
• Focus less on grades
• Focus on improvement
MINDSET
The framing of praise is important.
ROSENTHAL & JACOBSON (1968)
PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
ERIK ERIKSON

• Theory of psychosocial development


• Main element – development of ego identity
• Conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction
• Developed through the resolution of crises, or challenges that help us
further develop or hinder the development of identity

• 8 age-based crisis oriented stages that go from birth to death


Stage Basic Conflict Important Event Summary
(Age)

Birth – 12/18 Trust vs. Mistrust Feeding Infant must form loving, trusting relationship with
mos caregiver.

18 mos – 3 Autonomy vs. Toilet training Development of physical skills. Learns control but
years Shame/Doubt may develop shame and doubt if not handled well

3-6 years Initiative vs. Guilt Independence Becomes more assertive, but may be too forceful,
leading to guilt

6-12 years Industry vs. Inferiority School Deal with demands of education or risk a sense of
failure & incompetence
12-18 years Identity vs. Role Peers Must achieve sense of identity in occupation, sex
Confusion roles, politics, religion

19-40 years Intimacy vs. Isolation Love Must develop intimate relationships or suffer
feelings of isolation
40-65 years Generativity vs. Parenting Must find some way to satisfy and support the next
Stagnation generation

65++ Integrity vs. Despair Reflection Culmination; have a sense of oneself as one is and
feeling fulfilled; Acceptance
STAGE 1: BIRTH TO 12/18 MONTHS

• Basic Conflict: Trust vs. Mistrust


• Can I trust the world? (based on
relationship with caregiver)

• Important event: Feeding


• Infant must form loving trusting
relationship with caregiver
• Failure to resolve this conflict
• Sensory distortion and withdrawal
STAGE 2: 18 MOS – 3 YEARS
• Basic Conflict: Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt
• Autonomy – ability to control their bodies and environment

• Important Event: Toilet training


• Self-control, will
• Development of physical skills (walking, manipulating objects)
• Learns control but may develop shame and doubt if not handled
well
• Shame and doubt develop when the child is shamed or forced
to be dependent in areas in which they are capable of
independence
• Compulsivity, impulsivity
STAGE 3: 3-6 YEARS

• Basic Conflict: Initiative vs. Guilt


• Initiative  independent decision making
about planning and doing various activities
• Important Event: Independence
• Purpose, direction
• Children are active and have powerful
imagination
• Becomes more assertive, but may be too
forceful, leading to guilt
• Ruthless, inhibition
STAGE 4: 6-12 YEARS

• Main Conflict: Industry vs. Inferiority • Success: They want to be productive


• Industry  motivation to keep learning instead of just wanting to play
and practicing
• Failure
• Important Event: School • When not encouraged to work and learn
• Developing competencies skills, begin to feel inferior and
• Gain real adult skills (reading and unmotivated
writing) • Conflict between what they should do and
• Interactions with peers what they shouldn’t do

• Deal with demands of education or risk a


sense of failure and incompetence
STAGE 5: 12-18 YEARS

• Main Conflict: Identity vs. Role confusion


• Important event: peers
• Must achieve sense of identity in occupation, sex roles, politics, religion
IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT

• Adolescents either develop an identity or suffer an identity confusion


• “crisis of identity versus identity confusion”
• Identity Confusion – earlier conflicts were resolved negatively or choices are
limited
• Identity Foreclosure – when adolescents accept their parents or society’s roles
and values without questioning or exploration
• Negative Identity – when adolescents adopt an identity that is opposite of
expectations; Usually happens when society’s roles are
unattainable/unappealing, but they can’t see attractive alternatives.
• Defining yourself by what you are not
MARCIA’S CATEGORIES

• Identity-diffusion status: the individual does not have firm commitments and is not
making progress toward them
• Foreclosure status: the individual is not engaged in any identity experimentation and
has established a vocational or ideological identity based on the choices or values of
others
• Moratorium status: the individual is in the phase of experimentation with regard to
occupational and ideological choices and has not yet made a clear commitment to them
• Identity-achievement status: the individual has completed a period of exploration and
has achieved a coherent and consolidated identity based on personal decisions
regarding occupation, ideology and the like
MARCIA’S CATEGORIES

• Adolescents and young adults who have attained identity-achievement status are
socially more mature and higher in achievement motivation than their peers
• Identity diffusion and moratorium progresses to achievement over time, but
foreclosure tends to stay the same
• Foreclosure status more likely if their parents are overly protective or employ a cold
and controlling parenting style (i.e., authoritarian)
• The individual’s own behavior and social and historical contexts are also factors in
identity formation
MARCIA’S STATUSES OF IDENTITY
DEVELOPMENT
Has the person made a commitment?
Yes No
Has the person Yes Identity Identity
explored Achievement Moratorium
meaningful
alternatives No Identity Identity Diffusion
regarding some
Foreclosure
identity
question?
FACTORS AFFECTING
IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
• Personality  cause and consequence
• Family  secure base?
• Peers  diversity
• School, Community, & Gender 
exploration
STAGE 6: 19-40 YEARS

• Major conflict: Intimacy vs. Isolation • Success


• Intimacy: Making a permanent commitment • Renegotiating independence, redefining
to an intimate partner identity
• “Will I be loved, or will I be alone?” • Secure identity associated with fidelity

• Milestone: love • Fosters favorable friendships and work


relationships
• Failure: hesitant to form/fearful of close ties
• Fear of losing identity; competitive; rejecting
of differences
• Threatened by closeness
STAGE 7: 40-65 YEARS

• Crisis: Generativity vs. Stagnation • Live for short-term gratification


• Generativity  desire to leave a legacy for • Generativity can develop in a number of
the next generation ways
• Can I make my life count?
• Biological – parenthood (biological)
• Major task/event – family relationships; • Parental – raising children; interactions with
parenting children
• Work/Technical – passing on knowledge
• Failure  stagnation
• Cultural – sharing of cultures, ideas, and
• Sense that they have done nothing for the
traditions
next generation; feel unproductive
• Lack long-term goals and commitments
MIDLIFE CRISES

• Transition to middle adulthood often includes the


transition to being/feeling young to being/feeling old
• Reaching the half-way stage of life and feel time is
running out  increase in anxiety and depression
• The 40s are a decade of reassessing and recording the
truth about the adolescent and adult years
• Only a minority of adults experience a midlife crisis
(1/3 of adults)
• Typically triggered by life events such as job loss,
financial problems, or illness
LIFE EVENTS APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT
• How life events influence the individual’s • Stressful Life Events in Middle Adulthood
development depend on: • Death of a spouse, child, sibling or parent
• Life event itself • Changes in health
• Mediating factors • Caring for one’s parents
• Individual’s adaptation to the life event • Financial Difficulties
• Life-stage context • Concern about one’s appearance, weight, or
• Sociohistorical context aging
• Moving
• Age may not be a trigger for life crises – life
events trigger change • Change in employment; change in
responsibilities at work
• Problem: doesn’t account for the stability • Changes in relationships
that typically characterizes middle • Daily experiences may be stressful as well
adulthood
STAGE 8: 65+ YEARS “Hope is both the
earliest and the
• Conflict: Integrity vs. Despair most indispensable
• Coming to terms with one’s life virtue in the state of
• Task: retrospection, wisdom
being alive. If life is
to be sustained,
• Integrity hope must remain,
• Feel whole and satisfied with achievements
even where
• Adapted to life’s triumphs and disappointments
confidence is
• View one’s life in the larger context of humanity
wounded, trust
• Despair impaired.”
• Feel that they have made many mistakes and bad decisions and that they have no time to fix it
--Erik Erikson
• Difficult to accept that death is near
• Bitterness, defeat, hopelessness
• Often expressed as anger and contempt for others, which disguises contempt for oneself
ERIKSON: STAGE 8
Is it okay to have been me?
Did I lead a meaningful life?

Fear death but accept as


completion of life
LIFE SATISFACTION

• Activity
• The more active and involved older adults
are, the more likely they are to be satisfied
with their lives.
• Socioemotional selectivity theory
• Older adults become more selective about
their social networks
• Spend more time with individuals with
whom they have had rewarding
relationships
YOUR FOCUS IN LIFE CHANGES. TO SOME
DEGREE.
PERSONALITY
TEMPERAMENT TO PERSONALITY

• Temperament • Personality
• Individual’s behavioral style and • Based on temperament
characteristic emotional responses • Affected by environmental changes
• Easy and difficult temperaments • Distinctive thoughts, emotions, and
• Inhibition behaviors that characterize the way an
• Ability to control one’s emotions individual adapts to the world
• Influence of biology
FROM TEMPERAMENT TO PERSONALITY
DIFFERING OUTCOMES: INHIBITION
• Sensitive, accepting, and flexible • Controlling caregivers who force
caregivers child into new situations
• Opportunity to retreat when there is • No escape from overstimulation
too much happening
• Child feels rejected in peer group
• Peer groups with similarly inhibited
• Child feels undervalued at school
children (child feels accepted
OUTCOME: Individual is closer to
• At school, child feels they can make
introversion and has more emotional
a contribution
problems
OUTCOME: Individual is closer to
extraversion and emotionally stable
PERSONALITY AND STABILITY: BALTIMORE
STUDY

• 1000 college-educated adults aged 20-96


• Started collecting data in 1950s, continues today
• Big Five Personality Traits

• Stable traits: intellectual orientation, self-confidence, openness to new experiences


• Subtle increases in agreeableness and conscientiousness
• Subtle decrease in neuroticism
• Traits that changed the most
• Extent to which individuals were nurturant or hostile
• Whether or not they had good self-control
PERSONALITY

• Conscientiousness  lower mortality


risk from childhood through late
adulthood
• Low conscientiousness & high
neuroticism  early death
• Higher conscientiousness,
extraversion, and openness  lower
risk of earlier death