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WHAT IS SELF–CONCEPT, AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

  • Our self–concepts are made up of all the various beliefs we hold about ourselves. They develop as we mature, and they are apt to change depending on circumstances and context.

  • According to social identity theory, we develop our identity from our group memberships. Culture may impact the influence of the social groups we belong to.

  • Our self–concepts are influenced by our behaviour (self–perception theory) and our awareness of how close our ideal selves are to our actual selves. Our self–concepts are tied to our motivation too; if we believe we are doing something for its own sake (intrinsic motivation), we are more likely to enjoy it.

IN WHAT WAYS DOES OUR NEED FOR SELF–ESTEEM MOTIVATE OUR ACTIONS?

  • To maintain a high self–esteem, people often engage in biased thinking when assigning responsibility for the causes of events or outcomes. High self–esteem can lead to more happiness and success, but it can also cause stress and anxiety in attempts to attain it. We also engage in biased, self–serving thinking in the ways we compare ourselves to others.

HOW DO WE REPRESENT OURSELVES TO OTHERS?

  • Because the self occupies an important place in our thoughts, we often believe that we occupy an important place in other people's thoughts, and, as a result, we go to great lengths to control the way others perceive us.

  • We may modify our behaviour so that our opinions and attitudes seem to match those of the people we are around, or we may use flattery to get others to like us. We feel most comfortable when we are around people who see us as we see ourselves.