Chapter Two Communication and Identity: The Self Messages
I am not what I think I am
I am not what you think I am
I am what I think you think I am
Communication and the Self Concept
Self-concept: The relatively set of stable perceptions you hold about yourself. Not only our physical features but also other aspects of yourself-emotional states, talents, likes, dislikes, values, roles and so on.
Self-esteem is the part of the self-concept that involves evaluations of self worth.
People with High Self Esteem--
Summarized by Don Hamacheck Encounters with Self
are more willing to communicate than those with low self esteem.
are more likely to think highly of others and be more accepted by others.
evaluate their behaviors more highly than are people who are less secure.
are not afraid of others reactions and perform well when watched.
they work harder for people who demand high standard of performance and they are comfortable with others they view as superior in some way.
are able to defend themselves when confronted with critical comments.
"Self respect is the best means of getting the respect of others"
People with Low Self Esteem--
are likely to disapprove of others and expect rejection
are critical of their own performance
are sensitive to possible disapproval of others
perform poorly when being watched
work harder for undemanding, less critical people
fell threatened by people they view and superior in some way
have difficulty defending themselves against others negative comments
People can be terribly brutal with themselves.
Out of the whole animal kingdom,
only humans are endowed with this capacity
to make themselves miserable.
S.A. Bower and Godon Bower.
The Man in the Glass
Some people may think you a straight-shooting' chum, and call you a wonderful guy, but the man in the glass says you're only a bum, if you can't look him straight in the eye.
He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest, for he's with you clear up to the end, and you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test, if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years, and get pats on the back as you pass, but your final reward will be heartaches and tears, if you've cheated the man in the glass.
How the Self Concept Develops
We are not born with our self-concept. It comes from reflected appraisal and social comparison
Each of us develops a self concept that matches the way we believe others see us.
Created by Charles Cooley in 1912 and he used the mirror metaphor
Infants learn to judge themselves based on the way that other's treat them,
How are cries attended to, how does the parent speak to the child
As children they listen to messages about themselves
"You're so cute." "What's the matter with you, can't you do anything right?"
When the messages come from significant others (those whose opinions we value heavily) it has a powerful impact
The influence of significant others becomes less powerful as people grow older.
By age 30, most people's self concepts don't change radically.
In a study of those ages 14-23
63% of the males' self esteem increased
33% of the males' self-esteem decreased
57% of the women's self esteem decreased
43% of the females' self-esteem increased
Children Lean What they Live
Dorthy Law Nolte
If a child lives with criticism he learns to condemn
If a child lives with hostility he learns to fight
If a child lives with ridicule he learns to be shy
If a child lives with shame he learns to feel guilty
If a child lives with tolerance he learns to be patient
If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise he learns to appreciate
If a child lives with fairness he learns justice
If a child lives with security he learns to have faith
If a child lives with approval he learns to like himself
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship he learns to find love in the world.
Evaluating ourselves in terms of how we compare with others
Evaluate if I am superior on inferior to others
Am I same or different from the reference group
Self Efficacy is the belief about our ability to perform behaviors that should lead to expected outcome.
Characteristics of the Self-Concept
Self Concept is Subjective-
Self-reported communication skill is rated higher by college students than is there actual performance.
Distorted self evaluations can occur because of obsolete information. I failed algebra in 7th grade, I will never do math.
Distorted feedback can occur when overly critical parents cause an unnecessarily negative self image. Or a boss may feel better than they are because employees showers him with praise.
We look for people who will confirm our self concept and self-verify. We are less concerned with learning the truth about ourselves than with reinforcing familiar self concept.
Our society emphasizes perfection and this comparison can cause distorted feedback and negative self concepts. "A well adjusted person has no faults"
Social expectations cause a distorted view. We expect people to downplay their strengths in the name of "modesty." Those who emphasize their strengths are "braggarts," and "egotists"
The Self-concept Resists Change
is the tendency to seek and attend to information that conforms to an existing self-concept.
People tend to cling to an outmoded self-perception even with the new self-perception would be more favorable.
Influences on identity
Western Cultures are highly individualistic whereas others are collective
In collective societies there is a higher level of communication apprehension because they are taught not to be the nail that sticks out
In Western culture assertiveness would make one feel proud, in Asia it would be a cause for shame
"I gotta be me" could be a western motto, "If I hurt you I hurt myself "could be the Asian motto.
The Self in Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures
Adapted by Sandra Sudweeks from material in H.C. Triandis,
"Cross Cultural Studies in Individualism and Collectivism"
Self is separate, unique individual; should be independent, self-sufficient
People belong to extended families or in groups; "we" or group orientation
Individuals should take care of him/herself and immediate family
People should take care of extended family before self.
Many flexible group memberships, friends based on interests and activities
Emphasis on belonging to a few in-groups that have a strong influence over the person
Reward for individual achievement and initiative; individual decisions encouraged; individual credit and blame assigned
Reward for contributions to group goals and well-being, cooperation with in-group members; group decisions valued; credit and blame shared
High value on autonomy, change, youth, individual security, equality
High value on duty, order, tradition, age group security, status, hierarchy
If you are part of the dominant group , you probably aren't as conscious of your ethnicity.
If you are a non-dominant ethnic group, it's likely you included ethnicity in the most important parts of who you are.
Sex and Gender
Males and Females form self concept differently
according to research by Michael Schwalbe and Clifford Staples
social comparisons are the most important
reflected appraisals are the most important
value reflected appraisals of parents
value reflected appraisal of friends
self confidence comes from achievement
self confidence from attachment
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy and Communication
Occurs when a person's expectations of an event make the event more likely to occur than would have otherwise been true.
Self-imposed prophecy occur when your expectations influence your behavior.
Self-fulfilling prophecy can be Imposed by one person on another
20 student names were randomly drawn.
Teachers were told that 20% of children showed unusual potential for academic growth.
Eight months later the special children showed significantly greater gains on IQ than did the remaining children.
The children did better not because they were smarter but because the teachers and others believed they could.
Changing your Self-concept
Have a realistic perception of yourself
Have realistic expectations
Have the will to change
Have the skill to change
Presenting the Self-Communication as Identify Management
Public and Private Selves
The perceived self
is a reflectional your self concept. It is the person you believe yourself to be in moment of honest self-eveluation.
is the public image the way we want others to view us. Also know as "face"
My Declaration of Self-esteem and Self Acceptance
I AM ME
I am me.
I am unique. There's not another human being in the whole world like me -- I have my very own fingerprints and I have my very own thoughts. I was not stamped out of a mold like a Coca-Cola top to be the duplicate of another.
I own all of me -- my body, and I can do with it what I choose; my mind, and all of its thoughts and ideas; my feelings, whether joyful or painful.
I own my ideals, my dreams, my hopes, my fantasies, my fears.
I reserve the right to think and feel differently from others and will grant to others their right to thoughts and feelings not identical with my own.
I own all my triumphs and successes. I own also all my failures and mistakes. I am the cause of what I do and am responsible for my own behavior. I will permit myself to be imperfect. When I make mistakes or fail, I will know that I am not the failure -- I am still O.K. -- and I will discard some parts of me that were unfitting and will try new ways.
I will laugh freely and loudly at myself -- a healthy self-affirmation.
I will have fun living inside my skin.
I will remember that the door to everybody's life needs this sigh:
I have value and worth.
I am me, and I am O.K.
-- Adapted from Self Esteem by Virginia Satir
Characteristics of Identity Management
The ability to construct multiple identities is one element of communication competence
Identity Management is Collaborative-All
conversations provide an arena in which communicators construct their identifies in response to the behavior of others.
Identity Management Can Be Deliberate or Unconscious. -
Research subjects only made faces of disgust in reaction to eating sandwiches laced with a supersaturated saltwater solution only when there was another person present. When they were alone they made no faces while eating the same sandwiches.
Identity Management Varies By Situation
College men changed their self-presentation more when they were talking to women they found attractive than they did when talking to less attractive women.
Research suggest that we are less concerned with identity management among familiar people of the same sex than with less familiar people of the same sex or people of the opposite sex, regardless of how well we know them.
People Differ in Their Degree of Identify Management.
High Self Monitors
Have the ability to pay attention to their own behavior an other's reactions, adjusting their communication to create the desired impression.
They are good people readers who can adjust to get the desired reaction
The analytical nature of these individuals may prevent them from experiencing events completely because a portion of their attention will always be viewing the situation form a detached position.
Their ability to act means that it is difficult for them to tell how they are really feeling.
They can act interested when bored or friendly when they feel the opposite.
Express what they are thinking and feeling without much attention to the impression their behavior creates.
They have a more simple, focused idea of who the want to be
Have a narrower repertoire of behaviors and can be expected to act in more or less the same way regardless of the situation.
They are easy to read. "What you see is what you get."
This lack of flexibility may make their social interactions less smooth in many situations.
They can be counted on to be straightforward communicators.
~ Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "Press On" has solved, and always will solve the problems of the human race.
~ Calvin Coolidge
In Class Overheads
How Self Concept Develops
What were you taught?
What comparisons do we make the most?
Two Main Points
Self Concept is Subjective:
The information may be distorted
Self Concept Resists Change
When a personís expectations of an event make the event more likely to occur than would have otherwise been true.
Tell me your story...
RATIONAL -Knowledge Seeking Personality
Architect, Mastermind, Inventor, Organizer
Trust in reason;
Hunger for achievement
Abstract in communicating
Utilitarian in implementing goals
Plan, invent and configure
Proud that they are competent in action, autonomous, and strong willed
Individualizing as parents
Mindmates as spouses
Learning oriented as children.
Comprise between 5% -7% population
Einstein/Disney/Bill Gates/Thomas Jefferson
Idealist-Identity Seeking Personality
Healer, Counselor, Champions, Teachers
Continual self renewal
Abstract in communicating
Cooperative in implementing goals
Highly skilled in in diplomacy
Teach, counsel, and tutor.
Instinct for interpersonal integration, learn ethics with ever increasing zeal
Often speak of the abstract world of their imagination.
Proud to be empathic, benevolent, and authentic; Trust their intuitive feelings
Hunger for deep and meaningful relationships and a little romance each day,
In family they strive for mutuality,
Provide spiritual intimacy for the mates
Opportunity for fantasy for their children
8% to 10% of the population
Gandhi/ Buddha/ Plato/ Eleanor Roosevelt/Camus
Artisans-"Sensation Seeking Personality"
Composers, Crafters, Performers, Promoters
Concrete in communicating
Utilitarian in implementing goals
Highly skilled in tactical variation
Promotions, displaying, composing, improvising
Hunger to have an impact on others.
Permissive as parents,
Playmates as spouses,
Play oriented as children.
35% -40%of the population.
Elvis Presley/Magic Johnson /Madonna / George Patton/ Donald TrumpThe
Guardian "Security Seeking Personality"
Inspector, Protector, Supervisor, Provider
Concrete in communicating
Cooperative in implementing goals
Skilled in Logistics
Supervising, inspecting, supplying, protecting
Proud to be reliable in action, that they do good deeds and act respectable,
Trusting in legitimacy
Hungering for membership.
Enculturating as parents
Helpmates as spouses
Conformity oriented as children.
40% -45% of the population.
Dan Rather/George Washington/Jimmy Carter/Mother Teresa/Brigham Young
Go around the room and ask a person three questions.
Once you have the answers to all three questions, try to guess the personís personality type.
You get five point for each personality type you guess correctly.
You have 10 minutes to gather as many points as possible.