Inaccuracies of the Self
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What are the problems with the reflected self, introspection and social comparison?
- The reflected self depends on who is looking
- People do not understand why they think the way they do in introspection, only what they think. This is an incomplete picture
- Social comparison is dependent on the person we choose
What are self enhancement motives?
- The desire to learn flattering things about ourselves that biases the attention we pay to the feedback we get- Sedikides, Constantine & Aiden (2008)
- Our desire to feel good about ourselves outweighs our desire for truth
- People employ strategies to maintain our self worth such as downplaying negative aspects or criticising people who appear to be better
- People with higher self esteem tend to process feedback in a more biased and positive way, whereas those with low self esteem avoid situations in which their flaws might become apparent- Kunda (1999)
What is self handicapping?
- Snyder & Higgins (1990)
- The process of intentionally placing objects in the way of good performance so they can be blamed if things turn out badly
- Avoidance takes place in order to prevent future failure that might hurt self esteem
- Allows them to maintain a competent image and is more common in those whose achievements have already been recognised (quit while you're ahead)
- Seen with Deschapelles when he began to age and decline (offered every opponent an extra piece and move)
Describe a study into self handicapping
- Berglas & Jones (1978)
- P's IQ tested
- P's either given true or more positive feedback
- Told about an intelligence inhibiting drug and an enhancing one
- One of which must be taken before IQ test 2
- Significantly fewer people who were given positive feedback chose to take the inhibiting drug, suggesting that people try to self handicap when faced with failure
What are the features of high self esteem?
More confident in their abilities
Perceive less risk of failure
- Take more chances and experience
- more positive feedback (helped by the
- confirmation bias)
What are the features of low self esteem?
- Neutral self evaluation
- Same desires and ambitions as those with high self esteem but fear of failure means they pursue them more readily
- Show self confusion and uncertainty
- Self protective rather than self enhancing
Who investigated positive illusions?
- Svenson (1981)
- Asked people to rate their driving ability
- 90% of people thought they were above average
- Links to optimism bias: downplaying the chance of negative things and overestimating the chance of positive things happening to you
- Shown with first time bungee jumpers thinking they are at less risk of injury than others Weinstein & Klein (1996)
What is the Dunning Kruger effect?
- Dunning & Kruger (1999)
- Unskilled individuals mistakenly assess their ability to be much higher than accurate
- Could be the fact that they lack the metacognitive tools to recognise their ineptitude
- Could be due to overestimation of the abilities of others
- Tested logical reasoning, humour and grammatical skills, showed them the test results and asked them to rank themselves against other participants
- The less adept ranked themselves as higher
Do depressed people suffer from inaccurate self perception?
- Show more accurate self evaluation than those who aren't
- Take a reasonable amount of blame for failure
- Accurate about who likes and dislikes them
- Realistic about chances of success
Why would positive illusions be an evolutionary advantage?
- Promotes initiative by fostering self confidence
- Promotes wellbeing and wards against stress that is detrimental to health and survival
What is the self discrepancy theory?
- Higgins (1987)
- People are motivated with self guides concerned with the ideal self
- Appropriate behaviour is guided by cultural and moral standards that promote the ideal self
- Failure to adhere to these standards causes guilt
- Actual self is the person you are
- Ideal self is the person you want to be, this is regulated with the presence of positive outcomes such as love
- Ought self is the representation of attributes to should possess, this is maintained through criticism and other negative outcomes
What is self image bias?
- The tendency to judge others based on how similar or dissimilar they are to you
- Lewicki (1983) found that the attributes that people rate themselves most highly on are also the most important ones they look for in others
- Westerners use their own skill level as a standard to judge other people on
- Easterners use the skill of others to judge themselves and others
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