Lecture 9: Attitudes About the Self Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY320H1F: Social Psychology of Attitudes with C. Midgley > Lecture 9: Attitudes About the Self > Flashcards

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Judge et al. (1997) or core self-evaluations (4)

  1. Generalized Self-Efficacy
  2. Locus of Control
  3. Emotional Stability
  4. Self-Esteem: The most basic appraisal people make of themselves; the overall value one places on oneself.


generalized self-efficacy (4)

  • generalized self-efficacy: One’s estimates of one’s ability to perform well and handle a variety of situations.
  • Can differ in levels of self-efficacy in different domains, but generalized self-efficacy is the global estimate of our ability across a wide range of situations.
  • Measurement: Indicate agreement/disagreement with 8 items on 11-point scale (Judge et al., 1997); e.g. “I am strong enough to overcome life’s struggles,” ”I often feel that there is nothing I can do well” (reverse-scored).
  • People higher in self-efficacy are more likely to take on new tasks and are more persistent.


locus of control (5)

  • locus of control: The degree to which individuals believe they control events in their lives (internal locus of control) or believe that the environment or fate controls events (external locus of control).
    • “Internals” believe they control their own environment.
    • “Externals” believe outside forces control their lives.
  • Measurement: Indicate agreement/disagreement with 24 items on an 11-point scale; e.g. “My life is determined by my own actions,” “Often there is no chance of protecting my personal interests from bad luck happenings” (reverse scored).
  • Internals are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and lives.


emotional stability (4)

  • emotional stability: The opposite of neuroticism; tendency that one is not prone to negative emotions (e.g. anger, anxiety, depression) and reacting negatively to those emotions.
  • Measurement—Eysenck Personality Inventory Neuroticism Scale (1968): Indicate agreement/disagreement with 12-items on an 11-point scale; e.g. “I’m a nervous person,” “I’m a worrier.”
    • Common alternative: Big Five Inventory, neuroticism subscale.
  • Low emotional stability: more insecure, guilty, timid, fearful of new situations, and susceptible to feelings of dependence and helplessness.


self-esteem (2)

  • A person’s overall subjective evaluation of his or her own worth.
  • Encompasses beliefs about the self (e.g. I am competent, I am worthy) and emotional states (e.g. pride, shame).


direct measures of self-esteem (4)

  • Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE, 1965): 10-items, 4-point scale; e.g. “I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others,” “At times I think I am no good at all” (reverse scored).
  • Single Item Self-Esteem Scale, Robins et al. (2001): Single item on a 5-point (or 7-point) Likert scale; 1 (not very true of me) to 5 (or 7; very true of me).
    • The single item is: “I have high self-esteem.”
  • Both are useful, but susceptible to socially desirable responding.


indirect measures of self-esteem (3)

  • Self-Esteem IAT
  • Name-Letter Task
  • Name-Liking Measure


Self-Esteem IAT (7)

  • Based on the idea that people with higher self-esteem will extend their positive self-evaluation to words representing the self (without conscious awareness that self-esteem is contributing to these evaluations).
  • Pair ME / NOT-ME words with PLEASANT / UNPLEASANT words
    • ME: first name, surname, initials;
    • NOT ME: familiar same sex first name 1, familiar same sex first name 2, familiar other surname.
    • PLEASANT: loved, positive, liked, good, worthy, nice; UNPLEASANT: hated, negative, disliked, bad, failure, awful.
  • Easier someone finds it to pair self words with positive words vs. negative words → higher implicit self-esteem.


Name-Letter Task (6)

  • Based on finding that people generally show preference for own initials (and to a lesser extent other letters in one’s name).
    • And based on the mere ownership effect: The tendency to evaluate self-related objects more positively than self-unrelated objects.
  • Judge all the letters of the alphabet (random order).
    • “How much do you like this letter?” or “How attractive do you find this letter?” measured on Likert scale (5-, 7-or 9-point).
  • Compare ratings for initials (or all name letters) to ratings of other letters.
  • More preference for own initials/name letters theoretically correlates with higher implicit self-esteem.


Name-Liking Measure (9)

  • Also based on idea that self-esteem extends to self-related words and objects, but uses whole name because words are encoded holistically (not a collection of individual letters);
    • Distinguishes between names that have the same letters (e.g. Ernie & Irene);
    • And easier to administer—single item: “How much do you like your full name (first and surname together), in total?”; 1 (not at all) to 9 (very much).
  • Like your name → higher self-esteem.
  • The Name-Letter-Task and Self-Esteem IAT scores are often uncorrelated, but Name-Liking Scores correlated with both, indicating that it may be a more global measure of implicit self-esteem.
  • Also correlated with:
    • Explicit self-esteem, and this correlation is larger when Ps are under cognitive load;
    • Well-being measures (with or without controlling for explicit self-esteem).
  • Unlike explicit measures, this is also unrelated to impression management.
  • Conclusion: Probably the best implicit method to use.


self-esteem profiles (6)

  • High Self-Esteem
  • Contingent Self-Esteem
  • Non-Contingent Self-Esteem
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Narcissism
  • Defensive Self-Esteem


high self-esteem (6)

  • Greater sense of self-efficacy, belief in own control over life events (locus of control), higher emotional stability (lower neuroticism).
  • Firmer belief in principles, feeling secure enough to defend them.
  • Better able to trust own judgment and decisions, even if others do not support choices.
  • Live more in the present, not worrying excessively about the past or future.
  • Able to accept differences in ability without seeing self as inherently inferior (or superior).
  • See self as interesting and valuable to others.


contingent self-esteem (3)

  • Self-esteem derived from external sources, such as what others say and one’s successes (or failures).
  • Less stable and reliable.
  • Associated with pursuing constant approval from others and avoiding activities where failure is possible (or likely).


non-contingent self-esteem (1)

  • Self-esteem that is based on a stable belief that one is inherently acceptable.


low self-esteem (7)

  • Lower sense of self-efficacy, belief in external control of life events (locus of control), lower emotional stability (higher neuroticism).
  • Heavy self-criticism and dissatisfaction.
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism from others resulting in chronic general defensiveness.
  • Chronic indecision and exaggerated fear of mistakes and displeasing others.
  • Dwelling on or exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes.
  • More envy and resentment when others succeed.
  • More likely to see temporary setbacks as permanent.


narcissism (5)

  • Excessive or inflated sense of self-worth.
  • Agree with statements such as: “If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.”
  • Overly self-focused, struggle with empathy.
  • Hypersensitive to any insults (real or imagined); hate people who do not admire them, flatter those who do.
  • Exaggerate achievements, persistent bragging, claim to be experts at many things.


defensive self-esteem (1)

  • Positive attitude on explicit measures of self-esteem, but negative attitude on implicit measures of self-esteem


Haddock & Gebauer (2011) (9)

  • Individuals with defensive self-esteem have low ISE and high ESE.
  • Study 1: Participants saw six words in a circle, one of which was related to defensiveness.
    • Low in ISE and high in ESE —> likely to attend to defensiveness words.
  • Study 2: Participants had attitudes towards nuclear power assessed (strength, extremity, ambivalence, and accessibility).
    • Low in ISE and high in ESE —> stronger attitudes, less ambivalence, and higher accessibility.
  • Study 3: Participants were measured on self-esteem and self-ideal discrepancy.
    • Then completed a self-affirmation or control task.
    • Defensive self-esteem participants who self-affirmed —> lower self-ideal discrepancy scores.
    • Demonstrates how defensive self-esteem participants are most likely to benefit from self-affirmation.


formation of attitudes about the self (3)

  • Parenting & Attachment Theory
  • Emotional Learning
  • Cognitions About the Self


parenting and attachment theory (4)

  • Over the course of many interactions, children form expectations about the accessibility and helpfulness of caregivers.
  • This, in turn, informs their working models about themselves and others.
    • Whether or not others can generally be relied upon to provide support and protection.
    • Whether or not the self is someone who people are likely to respond to in a helpful way.


emotional learning (3)

  • Evaluative Conditioning: Pairing the self with positive/negative stimuli.
    • Others (e.g. “You are so ______.”)
    • Self (e.g. “I am so ______.”)
  • Behavioural Conditioning: Positive or negative responses to the self.
    • e.g. Others smiling when they see you.
  • Results in positive or negative feelings about the self.


cognitions about the self (4)

  • self-concept: Our collection of beliefs about ourselves.
    • Made up of multiple self-schemas that are domain-specific.
    • self-schema: Cognitive structures that represent one’s qualities/abilities in a given domain with clarity and certainty.
  • When need to know whether we are [some trait], or how good we are at [some activity], we refer to the relevant self-schema.


models of self-knowledge (5)

  • Exemplar Models
  • Abstraction Models
  • Mixed Exemplar-Abstraction Model
  • Problem: When we make self-judgements, what's the baseline.
    • Lead to the proposal of Social Comparison Theory and Self-Discrepancy Theory.


exemplar models (2)

  • Proposes that we have separate representations of our behaviours in various domains stored in memory.
  • When we need to determine our ability in a given domain, we retrieve the relevant memories and construct the relevant self-schema.


abstraction models (2)

  • Proposes that we use individual behaviours to create summary representations of our traits and abilities in various domains.
  • When we need to determine our ability in a given domain, we access the already created and stored self-schema.


mixed exemplar-abstraction model or Klein et al. (1992) (4)

  • Concluded that we use both exemplar-based and summary-based self-schemas.
  • Initially, when our experience with a given domain is low, we have to create self-schemas based on relevant memories or behavioural exemplars.
  • Over time, self-schemas becomes more permanently accessible without having to construct it each time it is needed.
    • Patients with impaired episodic memories can rate themselves on personality traits; these ratings are indistinguishable from self-ratings (when memory no longer impaired) or ratings made by close others (e.g. family members).


social comparison theory or Festinger (1954) (5)

  • We compare ourselves to others in pursuit of accurate self-evaluation.
    • Of course, there are outcomes of our comparisons, and often this has impacts on our self-esteem.
  • Prefer comparison targets that are similar to us in other domains.
  • If the other person is doing better → upward comparison.
  • If the other person is doing worse → downward comparison.


when upward comparisons have positive outcomes (3)

  • When self-other overlap is high—called ”basking in reflected-glory” (BIRG); e.g. A parent and their child.
  • When are seeking inspiration or motivation.
  • When see outcome as attainable or likely.


when making downward comparisons have negative outcomes (4)

  • When self-other overlap is high (e.g. a teammate, romantic partners).
  • When see that outcome as likely/possible for the self.
    • If you have low self-esteem, you might feel like the bad thing will happen to you.
    • Low perceived control; e.g. cancer patients.


Morse & Gergen (1970) (8)

  • Participants were applicants for a part-time job.
  • Upon arrival, seated at a table to complete forms (including a self-esteem measure, part 1).
  • Another applicant (confederate) arrives and is also seated at the table.
    • They were either well-groomed, wearing a suit and appearing self-confident and prepared (“Mr. Clean”);
    • Or was wearing dirty, ripped clothes appearing unprepared and confused (“Mr. Dirty”).
  • Then completed more forms (including a self-esteem measure, part 2).
  • Sitting with Mr. Clean → lower self-esteem (presumably because they made an upward comparison).
  • Sitting with Mr. Dirty → higher self-esteem.