Define self-concept and also discuss exactly how we build our self-concept.Define self-esteem and discuss how we develop self-esteem.Explain how social to compare theory and also self-discrepancy theory affect self-perception.Discuss exactly how social norms, family, culture, and media affect self-perception.Define self-presentation and also discuss common self-presentation strategies.

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Just as our tardy of rather affects how we communicate, therefore does ours perception of ourselves. Yet what impacts our self-perception? just how much that our self is a product the our own making and how lot of that is constructed based on how others reaction to us? exactly how do we present ourselves to others in means that keep our feeling of me or difficulty how others view us? we will begin to price these inquiries in this section as we explore self-concept, self-esteem, and also self-presentation.


Self-concept describes the as whole idea of who a human being thinks the or she is. If i said, “Tell me that you are,” your answers would certainly be clues regarding how you see yourself, your self-concept. Each person has actually an in its entirety self-concept that could be encapsulated in a short list the overarching features that he or she find important. Yet each person’s self-concept is also influenced by context, an interpretation we think differently about ourselves depending upon the instance we space in. In some situations, personal characteristics, such together our abilities, personality, and other distinguishing features, will ideal describe who we are. You might take into consideration yourself to adjust back, traditional, funny, open up minded, or driven, or you can label you yourself a leader or a thrill seeker. In other situations, our self-concept might be tied to team or cultural membership. For example, you might take into consideration yourself a member that the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a Southerner, or a member that the track team.

Our self-concept is additionally formed with our interactions v others and their reaction to us. The concept of the spring glass self defines that we check out ourselves reflected in various other people’s reaction to us and then type our self-concept based on how we think other world see us.<1> This reflective process of structure our self-concept is based on what other civilization have in reality said, such as “You’re a good listener,” and also other people’s actions, such together coming to you because that advice. These thoughts evoke emotionally responses the feed right into our self-concept. For example, you may think, “I’m happy that people can counting on me to hear to your problems.”

We additionally develop our self-concept v comparisons to various other people. Society comparison theory states that us describe and evaluate oneself in state of just how we compare to other people. Social comparisons are based upon two dimensions: superiority/inferiority and similarity/difference.<2> In terms of superiority and inferiority, us evaluate attributes like attractiveness, intelligence, athletic ability, and also so on. For example, you might judge you yourself to be more intelligent 보다 your brothers or less athletic than your finest friend, and also these judgments are incorporated into her self-concept. This procedure of comparison and evaluation no necessarily a bad thing, however it have the right to have an unfavorable consequences if our reference group isn’t appropriate. Reference teams are the groups we use for society comparison, and they typically change based ~ above what we space evaluating. In terms of athletic ability, many people choose unreasonable reference groups with i beg your pardon to communicate in social comparison. If a guy wants to get into far better shape and also starts an exercise routine, he might be discouraged by his difficulty keeping up with the aerobics instructor or running partner and judge himself together inferior, which can negatively impact his self-concept. Making use of as a referral group human being who have only recently started a fitness program yet have shown progress could assist maintain a more accurate and hopefully hopeful self-concept.

We also engage in social comparison based on similarity and difference. Due to the fact that self-concept is paper definition specific, similarity might be preferable in part situations and difference an ext desirable in others. Components like age and also personality may affect whether or no we want to fit in or stand out. Although us compare ourself to rather throughout ours lives, adolescent and also teen years commonly bring brand-new pressure to be comparable to or various from certain reference groups. Think of every the cliques in high school and also how civilization voluntarily and also involuntarily broke off into groups based upon popularity, interest, culture, or grade level. Some kids in her high school most likely wanted come fit in with and be similar to other human being in the marching band yet be different from the football players. Vice versa, athletes to be probably much more apt to compare themselves, in state of comparable athletic ability, to other athletes quite than children in display choir. Yet social comparison deserve to be facility by perceptual influences. Together we learned earlier, we organize information based upon similarity and difference, however these trends don’t constantly hold true. Even though students involved in athletics and also students involved in arts may seem an extremely different, a dancer or singer may also be really athletic, possibly even an ext so 보다 a member of the soccer team. Just like other aspects of perception, there are positive and an unfavorable consequences of social comparison.

We usually want to understand where we autumn in state of capability and power as contrasted to others, but what civilization do through this information and also how that affects self-concept varies. No all human being feel they need to be in ~ the top of the list, yet some won’t avoid until they obtain the high score on the video game or collection a new school record in a track-and-field event. Some people strive to be first chair in the clarinet ar of the orchestra, while one more person may be contents to be 2nd chair. The education and learning system promotes society comparison v grades and also rewards such together honor rolls and also dean’s lists. Although education and also privacy legislations prevent me from displaying each student’s class on a test or document for the whole course to see, ns do commonly report the accumulation grades, an interpretation the total number of As, Bs, Cs, and so on. This doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy rights, but it permits students to view where they fell in the distribution. This form of social comparison deserve to be used as motivation. The student who was one of only 3 out the twenty-three to acquire a D ~ above the exam knows that many of she classmates room performing better than she is, which might lead her to think, “If they deserve to do it, I have the right to do it.” however social comparison the isn’t reasoned deserve to have negative effects and result in an unfavorable thoughts prefer “Look at how poor I did. Man, i’m stupid!” These an adverse thoughts deserve to lead to negative behaviors, due to the fact that we shot to maintain inner consistency, an interpretation we act in means that enhance up through our self-concept. For this reason if the student starts to concern her scholastic abilities and also then incorporates an evaluate of herself as a “bad student” into her self-concept, she might then act in ways consistent with that, i m sorry is just going come worsen her scholastic performance. Additionally, a student can be comforted to learn that he no the only human who acquired a D and then no feel the require to try to improve, since he has company. You have the right to see in this instance that evaluations we location on our self-concept can lead come cycles that thinking and also acting. This cycles relate to self-esteem and also self-efficacy, i beg your pardon are components of our self-concept.


Self-esteem refers to the judgments and also evaluations we make about our self-concept. When self-concept is a broad description the the self, self-esteem is a much more specifically an review of the self.<3> If i again triggered you come “Tell me who you are,” and then asked girlfriend to advice (label as good/bad, positive/negative, desirable/undesirable) each of the points you noted about yourself, i would obtain clues around your self-esteem. Choose self-concept, self-esteem has general and certain elements. Generally, some human being are more likely to advice themselves positive while others are much more likely to evaluate themselves negatively.<4> more specifically, our self-esteem varies throughout our life expectations and throughout contexts.

How us judge oneself affects our communication and also our behaviors, yet not every negative or hopeful judgment carries the same weight. The an adverse evaluation the a trait that isn’t really important because that our self-concept will likely not an outcome in a ns of self-esteem. Because that example, ns am no very good at drawing. While i appreciate drawing as an art form, i don’t take into consideration drawing capacity to be a very huge part of mine self-concept. If who critiqued my illustration ability, mine self-esteem wouldn’t take a large hit. Ns do think about myself a good teacher, however, and I have spent and also continue to spend significant time and also effort on enhancing my expertise of teaching and also my to teach skills. If someone critiqued my teaching expertise and/or abilities, mine self-esteem would certainly be hurt. This doesn’t average that us can’t be evaluate on miscellaneous we find important. Also though teaching is really important to mine self-concept, i am routinely evaluated top top it. Every semester, ns am evaluated by mine students, and also every year, ns am evaluated by my dean, room chair, and colleagues. Many of that feedback is in the kind of constructive criticism, which deserve to still be daunting to receive, yet when taken in the soul of self-improvement, that is valuable and may even enhance our self-concept and self-esteem. In fact, in skilled contexts, world with higher self-esteem are an ext likely to occupational harder based on an unfavorable feedback, are much less negatively influenced by job-related stress, room able to manage workplace dispute better, and are far better able to work independently and solve problems.<5> Self-esteem no the only variable that contributes come our self-concept; perceptions about our competence also play a function in arising our sense of self.

Self-Efficacy refers to the judgments civilization make about their ability to execute a job within a specific context.<6> as you can see in number 2.2 “Relationship in between Self-Efficacy, Self-Esteem, and Self-Concept”, judgments about our self-efficacy influence our self-esteem, which influences our self-concept. The complying with example likewise illustrates this interconnections.

Figure 2.2 Relationship in between Self-Efficacy, Self-Esteem, and Self-Concept

Pedro go a good job top top his an initial college speech. Throughout a meeting through his professor, Pedro suggests that that is confident going into the next speech and thinks he will do well. This skill-based evaluate is an indication the Pedro has actually a high level of self-efficacy concerned public speaking. If he does well on the speech, the worship from his classmates and professor will reinforce his self-efficacy and lead him come positively advice his speaking skills, i beg your pardon will add to his self-esteem. By the end of the class, Pedro likely thinks of himself as a good public speaker, which may then become an important part that his self-concept. Throughout these points the connection, it’s crucial to remember that self-perception affects just how we communicate, behave, and also perceive various other things. Pedro’s increased feeling the self-efficacy may give him more confidence in his delivery, which will likely result in positive feedback that reinforces his self-perception. He may start to perceive his professor more positively because they share an attention in public speaking, and he may begin to an alert other people’s speak skills an ext during course presentations and also public lectures. End time, that may even start to think about an altering his major to communication or pursuing career alternatives that combine public speaking, which would certainly further incorporate being “a great public speaker” into his self-concept. You deserve to hopefully watch that these interconnections deserve to create powerful positive or negative cycles. While few of this process is under ours control, lot of it is likewise shaped by the human being in our lives.

The verbal and also nonverbal feedback we acquire from people impact our feelings of self-efficacy and our self-esteem. As we observed in Pedro’s example, being given positive feedback deserve to increase our self-efficacy, which may make us more likely to engage in a comparable task in the future.<7> Obviously, an unfavorable feedback deserve to lead to decreased self-efficacy and a decreasing interest in engaging through the activity again. In general, people readjust their expectations around their abilities based on feedback they obtain from others. Confident feedback tends to make world raise your expectations because that themselves and an adverse feedback does the opposite, which ultimately affects behaviors and also creates the cycle. As soon as feedback from rather is different from how we see ourselves, additional cycles may develop that affect self-esteem and self-concept.

Self-discrepancy theory claims that people have beliefs about and expectation for your actual and potential selves that do not constantly match up with what they actually experience.<8> To know this theory, we have to understand the various “selves” that consist of our self-concept, which space the actual, ideal, and ought selves. The actual self consists of the characteristics that girlfriend or someone else believes you actually possess. The right self is composed of the attributes that friend or someone rather would choose you come possess. The chandelier self is composed of the qualities you or someone else believes you must possess.

These various selves can dispute with each other in various combinations. Discrepancies in between the actual and also ideal/ought selves have the right to be encouraging in some ways and prompt world to act because that self-improvement. For example, if her ought self need to volunteer much more for the local animal shelter, then her actual self may be an ext inclined to execute so. Discrepancies in between the ideal and ought selves have the right to be specifically stressful. Because that example, many professional women that are additionally mothers have an ideal view of me that contains professional success and also advancement. Castle may also have an ought me that includes a sense of duty and also obligation to it is in a full time mother. The really self might be someone that does OK at both but doesn’t rather live as much as the expectation of either. These discrepancies do not just develop cognitive unease—they also lead to emotional, behavioral, and also communicative changes.

When us compare the actual me to the expectation of ourselves and others, we can see certain patterns of emotional and behavioral effects. Once our actual me doesn’t enhance up v our own ideals that self, we are not obtaining our very own desires and hopes, which have the right to lead come feelings the dejection including disappointment, dissatisfaction, and frustration. For example, if your appropriate self has actually no credit card debt and also your actual me does, you may be frustrated with your lack of jae won discipline and be encouraged to pole to your budget and also pay off your credit transaction card bills.

When our actual me doesn’t match up with other people’s ideals for us, we might not be obtaining significant others’ desires and also hopes, which can lead to feelings that dejection including shame, embarrassment, and concern for shedding the affection or approval that others. For example, if a significant other sees you as an “A” student and also you acquire a 2.8 GPA your very first year the college, climate you might be embarrassed to share your grades with that person.

When our actual self doesn’t enhance up with what we think other people think we must obtain, we are not living approximately the ought self that we think rather have created for us, which can lead come feelings that agitation, emotion threatened, and fearing potential punishment. For example, if your parents think you have to follow in your footsteps and also take over the household business, however your actual self wants to get in the military, then you may be unsure of what to do and also fear gift isolated from the family.

Finally, as soon as our actual me doesn’t complement up with what we think we need to obtain, we room not conference what we see as our duties or obligations, which have the right to lead to feelings that agitation including guilt, weakness, and a emotion that we have actually fallen brief of our ethical standard.<9> because that example, if your ought self need to volunteer an ext for the local animal shelter, then her actual self may be an ext inclined to perform so because of the guilt that reading about the increasing variety of animals being housed in ~ the facility. The following is a review of the four potential discrepancies in between selves:

Actual vs. Own ideals. We have an in its entirety feeling that we space not obtaining ours desires and also hopes, which leads to feelings of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and frustration.Actual vs. Others’ ideals. We have actually an in its entirety feeling the we are not obtaining significant others’ desires and also hopes for us, which leads to feeling of shame and also embarrassment.Actual vs. Others’ ought. We have an in its entirety feeling the we space not conference what others view as our duties and also obligations, which leads to feelings of agitation including are afraid of potential punishment.Actual vs. Own ought. We have an overall feeling the we room not conference our duties and obligations, which can lead come a feeling that we have actually fallen short of our own moral standards.

Influences top top Self-Concept

We have already learned the other people influence ours self-concept and self-esteem. While interactions we have with individuals and also groups are definitely important come consider, us must likewise note the affect that larger, an ext systemic pressures have on ours self-perception. Social and also family influences, culture, and also the media all play a role in shaping who we think we are and how we feel around ourselves. Although this are powerful socializing forces, over there are methods to maintain some regulate over our self-perception.

Social and Family Influences

Various forces assist socialize us into our respective social and social groups and also play a powerful role in presenting us with options around who we deserve to be. While we might like come think that our self-perception starts with a blank canvas, ours perceptions are restricted by ours experiences and various social and social contexts.

Parents and also peers shape our self-perceptions in hopeful and negative ways. Feedback the we obtain from significant others, which contains close family, can lead to hopeful views the self.<10> In the past couple of years, however, there has actually been a publicly discussion and debate around how lot positive reinforcement people should offer to others, especially children. The complying with questions have actually been raised: carry out we have actually current and upcoming generations that have been overpraised? Is the praise provided warranted? What room the positive and negative effects the praise? What is the finish goal that the praise? let’s briefly look in ~ this discussion and its connection to self-perception.

Whether worship is warranted or no is very subjective and certain to each person and also context, yet in general there have actually been questions raised about the potential negative effects that too lot praise. An ideas is the underlying force that drives us to do things. Periodically we are inherently motivated, meaning we desire to perform something for the love that doing that or the resulting internal satisfaction. Various other times we room extrinsically motivated, an interpretation we perform something to get a prize or prevent punishment. If girlfriend put effort into perfect a quick documentary for a class since you love filmmaking and editing, you have actually been largely urged by intrinsic forces. If you finish the documentary since you want an “A” and also know that if you fail your parents will not provide you money for your spring rest trip, climate you are motivated by extrinsic factors. Both can, the course, efficiently motivate us. Prayer is a kind of extrinsic reward, and if over there is an really reward associated with the praise, prefer money or distinct recognition, some civilization speculate the intrinsic an ideas will suffer. But what’s so an excellent about intrinsic motivation? Intrinsic motivation is much more substantial and also long-lasting 보다 extrinsic an inspiration and can lead come the development of a work ethic and sense of proud in one’s abilities. Intrinsic an inspiration can move world to accomplish great things over long periods of time and also be happy regardless of the effort and also sacrifices made. Extrinsic an ideas dies as soon as the reward stops. Additionally, too much praise have the right to lead human being to have a misguided sense of your abilities. University professors who space reluctant to fail student who develop failing work might be setup those students up to be shocked as soon as their super critiques your abilities or output as soon as they gain into a professional context.<11>

There are cultural differences in the amount of praise and positive feedback the teachers and also parents offer their children. Because that example, teachers offer less confident reinforcement in Japanese and also Taiwanese classrooms than carry out teachers in us classrooms. Chinese and also Kenyan parents perform not frequently praise your children since they are afraid it might make them also individualistic, rude, or arrogant.<12> for this reason the phenomenon of overpraising isn’t universal, and the conflict over its potential results is not resolved.

Research has additionally found that interaction patterns develop in between parents and children that are typical to plenty of verbally and physically abusive relationships. Such patterns have an unfavorable effects top top a children self-efficacy and self-esteem.<13> together you’ll recall from our previously discussion, attributions are web links we do to determine the reason of a behavior. In the situation of wild or abusive parents, they space not as able come distinguish between mistakes and also intentional behaviors, regularly seeing ethical mistakes together intended and also reacting negative to the child. Together parents likewise communicate generally an unfavorable evaluations come their child by saying, because that example, “You can’t perform anything right!” or “You’re a poor girl.” When youngsters do exhibit hopeful behaviors, abusive parental are an ext likely come use exterior attributions that diminish the accomplishment of the boy by saying, for example, “You just won because the other team to be off their game.” In general, abusive parents have unpredictable reaction to their children’s positive and negative behavior, which creates an uncertain and often scary climate for a boy that can lead to lower self-esteem and erratic or aggressive behavior. The cycles that praise and also blame are just two instances of how the family members as a socializing pressure can affect our self-perceptions. Culture also influences just how we check out ourselves.


How world perceive us varies across cultures. For example, countless cultures exhibit a phenomenon known as the self-enhancement bias, an interpretation that we have tendency to emphasize our desirable characteristics relative to various other people.<14> however the degree to which people engage in self-enhancement varies. A evaluation of many studies in this area discovered that people in Western nations such as the United says were significantly much more likely come self-enhance than people in nations such together Japan. Numerous scholars define this variation making use of a usual measure of cultural variation the claims world in individualistic societies are more likely to communicate in competition and openly praise success than civilization in collectivistic cultures. The difference in self-enhancement has likewise been tied come economics, through scholars saying that people in nations with greater income inequality are much more likely to view themselves as remarkable to others or want to be viewed as exceptional to others (even if they nothing have economic wealth) in order come conform come the country’s values and norms. This holds true because countries with high level of economic inequality, prefer the joined States, frequently value competition and also the right to boast around winning or succeeding, while nations with an ext economic equality, prefer Japan, have a cultural norm the modesty.<15>

Race additionally plays a function in self-perception. For example, hopeful self-esteem and self-efficacy tend to be higher in afri American adolescent girls 보다 Caucasian girls.<16> In fact, an ext recent studies have discounted lot of the at an early stage research ~ above race and also self-esteem that purported that African americans of all periods have reduced self-esteem 보다 whites. Self-perception becomes more complex when we take into consideration biracial individuals—more especially those born to couples making up an afri American and also a white parent.<17> In together cases, it is challenging for biracial individuals to adopt both of your heritages, and social comparison i do not care more difficult due come diverse and sometimes conflicting reference groups. Due to the fact that many biracial individuals identify as and are considered African American through society, living and working in ~ a black neighborhood can aid foster much more positive self-perceptions in these biracial individuals. Such a community offers a more nurturing environment and a buffer zone from racist attitudes but simultaneously distances biracial individuals from your white identity. Conversely, immersion into a predominantly white community and also separation indigenous a black neighborhood can command biracial individuals to internalize an unfavorable views of people of color and perhaps construct a feeling of inferiority. Sex intersects with culture and biracial identification to produce different experiences and challenges for biracial men and women. Biracial men have more challenge accepting your potential work limits, particularly if they have white fathers, and also biracial females have an obstacle accepting their black color features, such as hair and facial features. All these challenges lead to a feeling of gift marginalized from both country groups and also interfere in the development of confident self-esteem and also a secure self-concept.

There are some general distinctions in regards to gender and also self-perception the relate come self-concept, self-efficacy, and envisioning best selves. Just like any cultural differences, these space generalizations that have actually been sustained by research, but they do not represent all individuals within a group. Regarding self-concept, males are more likely to explain themselves in terms of their team membership, and women are much more likely to include references to relationships in their self-descriptions. Because that example, a male may note that he is a Tarheel fan, a watercraft enthusiast, or a member of the rotary Club, and a woman may note the she is a mommy of 2 or a loyal friend.

Regarding self-efficacy, guys tend come have greater perceptions of self-efficacy than women.<18> In regards to actual and ideal selves, men and women in a range of nations both explained their ideal self as much more masculine.<19> together was detailed earlier, gender distinctions are exciting to study however are really often exaggerated past the actual variations. Socialization and internalization the societal standards for gender distinctions accounts because that much an ext of our perceived distinctions than do inherent or herbal differences in between genders. These gender norms may be clearly stated—for example, a mother may say to she son, “Boys don’t play with dolls”—or they might be more implicit, v girls being urged to go after historically feminine professions prefer teaching or nursing without others actually stating the expectation.


The representations we check out in the media impact our self-perception. The vast bulk of media images include idealized representations of attractiveness. Regardless of the reality that the images of civilization we watch in glossy magazines and on movie display screens are not frequently what we see once we look at the people around us in a classroom, in ~ work, or in ~ the grocery store store, plenty of of us continue to organize ourselves to an unrealistic standard of beauty and also attractiveness. Movies, magazines, and television mirrors are filled through beautiful people, and also less attractive actors, as soon as they are existing in the media, are typically portrayed together the target of jokes, villains, or just as elevator extras.<20> aside from all at once attractiveness, the media additionally offers narrow depictions of acceptable human body weight.

Researchers have discovered that only 12 percent of prime-time characters are overweight, which is dramatically less than the nationwide statistics because that obesity among the actual us population.<21> Further, an analysis of how weight is disputed on prime-time sitcoms found that more heavier female characters were regularly the targets of an adverse comments and also jokes that audience members comment to through laughter. Conversely, hopeful comments around women’s bodies were related to their thinness. In short, the heavier the character, the more negative the comments, and also the thinner the character, the more positive the comments. The very same researchers analyzed sitcoms because that content concerning male characters’ weight and also found that although comments concerning their weight were made, they were fewer in number and not together negative, eventually supporting the notion that overweight male characters are much more accepted in media 보다 overweight woman characters. Much more attention has been payment in current years come the potential negative effects of such narrow media representations. The adhering to “Getting Critical” box explores the role of media in the building and construction of human body image.

In regards to self-concept, media representations offer united state guidance on what is agree or unacceptable and also valued or no valued in ours society. Mediated messages, in general, reinforce cultural stereotypes regarded race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability, and class. World from in the history marginalized groups must look much harder 보다 those in the dominant groups to find positive representations of your identities in media. Together a crucial thinker, the is necessary to concern media messages and to study who is included and also who is excluded.

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Advertising in specific encourages people to interact in society comparison, regularly connecting to us that we space inferior due to the fact that we absence a certain product or the we need to readjust some aspect of our life to store up with and also be comparable to others. Because that example, for plenty of years advertising targeted to women instilled in them a are afraid of having actually a dirty house, marketing them commodities that promised to keep their home clean, do their family happy, and impress their friends and also neighbors. Now messages tell us to fear coming to be old or unattractive, selling products to save our skin tight and clear, which will consequently make us happy and also popular.