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Posted: August 20th, 2023

Week 3 Discussion (The Self)

Week 3 Discussion (The Self)

Read Chapter 5

And the attached lecture

Please answer all of the following questions:

1. Usually, the concepts of independent and interdependent self are discussed as something that differs between cultures. Do you think this is just a difference between cultures or is it also a difference between individuals, or even within individuals (i.e., individuals having two different parts to their self-concepts)?

2. When is self-awareness a pleasant experience, and when is it an unpleasant experience? What are the consequences of becoming self-aware? Who seems most focused on themselves, people who are feeling good or people who are feeling down?

3. Have you ever received external rewards for completing your work or improving your performance academically in kindergarten through twelfth grade? Describe those rewards and discuss whether or not they truly motivated you, or whether they seemed to take the thrill out of an activity you previously loved.

4. Describe a time when you made a social comparison between yourself and someone else. Was the comparison an upward comparison or a downward comparison? Why did you engage in the comparison? Did the comparison change the way you were initially feeling about yourself?

5. We learned about two strategies for avoiding giving in to temptations when we are trying to exert self-control: implementation intentions and arranging environments. Have you previously used any of these strategies? If so, describe the strategy. Are you generally successful when you use them?

The concepts of independent and interdependent self can indeed differ between cultures, but they can also vary within individuals and between individuals regardless of culture. Culture plays a significant role in shaping individuals’ self-concepts, emphasizing either independence (individualistic cultures) or interdependence (collectivistic cultures). However, even within the same culture, individuals may exhibit different self-concepts depending on the context or situation. For example, a person may have a more independent self-concept at work but a more interdependent self-concept within their family. Additionally, individuals can experience conflict or tension between these different aspects of self, leading to internal struggles.

Self-awareness can be both a pleasant and unpleasant experience depending on various factors. When individuals have positive self-perceptions, being self-aware can enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence, leading to a pleasant experience. However, when self-awareness reveals negative aspects or discrepancies between one’s self-concept and reality, it can lead to negative emotions such as guilt, shame, or embarrassment, making it an unpleasant experience. The consequences of becoming self-aware can vary, but it often involves increased self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-regulation. In terms of focus on the self, research suggests that people who are feeling down or experiencing negative emotions tend to be more self-focused compared to those who are feeling good.

However, receiving external rewards, such as praise, grades, or tangible incentives, for academic achievements can have mixed effects on motivation. While external rewards can initially motivate individuals, they may undermine intrinsic motivation and shift the focus from the inherent enjoyment of the activity to the external reward itself. This phenomenon is known as the “overjustification effect.” It suggests that when individuals receive extrinsic rewards for activities they previously enjoyed intrinsically, their motivation may decrease once the external reward is removed. The impact of external rewards on motivation can vary depending on individual differences and the specific nature of the rewards.

Social comparisons occur when individuals evaluate themselves in relation to others. The comparisons can be upward (comparing oneself to someone better) or downward (comparing oneself to someone worse off). The motivation for engaging in social comparisons can vary, including self-evaluation, self-improvement, or seeking validation. The impact of social comparisons on self-esteem can also vary. Comparisons with others who are doing better (upward comparisons) may lead to feelings of inadequacy or lower self-esteem. Conversely, comparisons with others who are worse off (downward comparisons) may enhance self-esteem by providing a sense of superiority or gratitude. The effect of social comparisons on self-esteem depends on individual factors and the specific context of the comparison.

Implementation intentions and arranging environments are two strategies for improving self-control and resisting temptations. Implementation intentions involve planning specific actions or responses in advance, stating when, where, and how one will act in a given situation. This strategy helps individuals form a mental link between a specific cue or context and the desired response, increasing the likelihood of self-control. Arranging environments involves modifying the physical or social environment to reduce the occurrence or accessibility of temptations. For example, removing unhealthy snacks from the house or avoiding situations where temptations are prevalent. These strategies can be effective in improving self-control, but their success may vary depending on individual factors, the nature of the temptation, and the consistency with which the strategies are implemented.

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