Archive for category Blog Entry 2
I would define culture as the beliefs, behaviors, and traditions set up by a certain group and shared from each generation.
Everyone comes from a different background and culture whether its a family culture, or culture based on where your from. I think when we are given the chance to experience someone elses culture we begin to be able to understand them on a better level. I once heard a quote that was something like, “You don’t know where someone is going, until you know where they’ve been.” I think this is a good example of why its important to understand somebody on a cultural level.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend BYU Hawaii for 6 months and the culture of it all was extremely different. I was attending school with people not only from America, but all over Europe, Asia, and some pacific islands. While there I lived in a dorm with a girl from Tonga and I was able to learn more about her culture, which was very different from my own. in our dorm we had a phone and this phone would ring at all hours of the night…While your trying to sleep this gets a little frustrating because not only would she answer it, but she would have a full on conversation at 4 in the morning sometimes. At first I let this go on for awhile because I didn’t want to seem rude, but after some time I finally mentioned to some other friends that my roommate talks and talks on the phone during the night. One of my good friends had taken a Tongan speaking class and in it she learned that not only was it rude to not answer your phone but it was very impolite if you did not have at least part of a conversation with the person who answered. I then began to understand that my roommate and I came from very different cultures and I would need to learn to just go with the flow. At one point tho when she was asleep I would unplug the phone line…needless to say I started sleeping better!
Though optimism is normally a positive thing, optimism can sometimes hinder us when it becomes unrealistic. Studies show that the majority of mankind is optimistic about future events. This means, however, that while we may assume that those around us may fall ill, get in car accidents, or be on the bad side of a deal, we often never assume that it will happen to us. This unrealistic optimism is often infused in us by our parents, who believe that we, more than others, will be successful.
The problem with unrealistic optimism is that it increases our vulnerability. We may not believe that risky actions can lead to serious repercussions, and unwisely the overly optimistic may place themselves in situations where they are doomed to fail.
This video, though comic in nature, represents a form of unrealistic optimism. Though the singer believes that no matter what happens she will be able to move on, she is not recognizing the chance that something unfortunate may befall her at any moment.
The term self-esteem is defined as our perception of the self. In other words, it is how we evaluate ourselves and perceive our self-worth. It is different for the concept of self-efficacy, which focuses instead in our perception of self-competence, or what we are capable of doing in specific circumstances. An important question to consider is if we look at our self-worth based on what others think about us? Or we believe that our self-worth will reflect what others think of us?
Self-esteem is how confident one feels about his self and future. It describes who a person is. Self-efficacy is how confident one feels about his capabilities or talents. It describes what one does. Myers, in Social Psychology, suggests that “if you want to encourage someone, focus on their self-efficacy, not their self-esteem.” I believe that this is an important aspect of the development of people’s wellbeing. Although we should give people specific compliments when they perform tasks well (“You beat the school record on that run!”), I argue that we should also recognize and compliment people’s ontology (“You really are a hard worker when you run.”). Who people are is more important than what they do. When someone does a poor job at shooting a basketball, for example, we should not associate their performance with their self-identity. Instead, we should give people credit for their good performances (self-efficacy) while recognizing that what they do does not determine the status of their internal character or desires of their heart (self-esteem).
These principles of self-esteem and self-efficacy are found in our everyday lives. For example, in his April 2011 conference address of the LDS Church, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the quorum of the seventy touches on two types of human qualities – to be and to do – which I refer to as self-esteem and self-efficacy, respectively. He proposes that when a child comes home with good test results in his hand, a wise parent should compliment his or her child’s self-efficacy by saying, “You did a great job! Way to go!” However, Elder Robbins recommends that a wiser parent commend both the self-efficacy and the self-esteem of the child. For example, the parent could say something like, “Congratulations on doing so well on your test (self-efficacy)! I’m so proud of you because you always try your very best in school (self-esteem).” The do and the be are essential components of people’s lives and can be encouraged and enhanced by others’ verbal statements towards them.
Therefore, the words that we employ towards others can have a great influence on both their self-identity and future actions. While self-esteem describes how confident people feel about themselves and their opportunities for success in the future, self-efficacy explains how confident people feel about their capabilities. It is important that the comments we direct towards others’ behavior is not mistaken for their identity. The degree to which people’s self-esteem and self-efficacy are built – in great part through the words of others – will greatly influence their level of happiness or depression in their lives to come.
“Elder Lynn G. Robbins – What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be” 7:49-8:48: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr6DnuzqtjU
“In helping children discover who they are and helping strengthen their self-worth, we can appropriately compliment their achievement or behavior—the do. But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.
“In a game of sports, a wise way to compliment our children’s performance—do—would be through the point of view of be—like their energy, perseverance, poise in the face of adversity, etc.—thus complimenting both be and do.
“When we ask children to do chores, we can also look for ways to compliment them on being, such as, “It makes me so happy when you do your chores with a willing heart.” When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.””
The spotlight effect is a self absorbed idea. We think that we are being noticed much more than we actually are.
In class, we included feeling self-conscious in the spotlight effect.
Immediately I thought of the spotlight effect that I feel happens most often for me here are BYU. Being half Filipino and half white, I have my mother’s dark hair and tan skin. Anytime a professor mentions minority groups I automatically feel like everyone turns and looks at me. Although this is probably not the case, I can’t help but thinking the professor is directly referring to me and everyone in the class is associating the anecdote with me. (Lesson about Rosa Parks. In my mind, everyone is picturing Janel Glidden sitting down in the front of the bus.)
Another example of the spotlight effect happens in a casual setting. If I am talking to a friend about someone else (not necessarily bad) I am super cautious to talk quietly. I am paranoid of someone else listening into the conversation. My friends call me paranoid. They are probably right. I am careful to keep the conversation private. In my mind, others are trying to listen (for whatever reason). If I think someone is listening in I get super embarrased and tell my friend I will tell them later because someone is listening. I am self conscious about what they might of heard and I sit there and worry about it. In reality, they probably have no idea that I am even there.
I do this all the time. Writing it out and reading it…it sounds ridiculous.
There are behavioral aspects of the self that are executed in a manner to defend, preserve, and enhance our positive self view. One of these behavioral strategies is basking in reflected glory. This behavioral strategy relates to how we identify and associate ourselves with relevant groups. People tend to leech on to groups that are doing successfully (and thus claiming some success for themselves) and tend to distance themselves from failing groups (to avoid attachment to that failure.
My personal encounter with this subject is largely my experience in my family growing up. Each of my siblings exemplify high achievement in different areas, partially to gain attention from our parents. My mother and father had a tendency to utilize the ‘basking in reflected glory’ strategy with their children–highlighting, focusing, and bragging about achievements and ignoring if failing or even just not succeeding. They would highly associate themselves with a child if she was particularly succeeding at the time (focusing in on how their parenting led to that success). But, in moments of failure or below average performance, they would distance themselves from that sibling and voice their dislike for her ‘independence’ or ‘stubbornness’. I am sure all parents do this to some degree, but there was a particularly strong presence of this behavioral strategy in my home growing up.
My parents association/distancing strategies with succeeding/failing children is a clear illustration of the ‘basking in reflected glory’ concept. Their defensive strategy preserved their positive views of both themselves alone and their roles as parents. Thus they enhanced and defended their self concepts. By separating oneself from failure of a child, a parent can attribute blame to that child. But when the child succeeds, they will be more likely to leech onto that success and partially attribute it to themselves.
Some people just have to be surrounded by the rich and the famous. They do almost nothing to contribute to any particular task but are quick to take the recognition for it. They’re the name droppers, the social climbers, they are those that bask in reflected glory, or, well, the Birgers.
Here’s my clip. For the Harry Potter fans out there, this is Slughorn’s dinner party:
Slughorn is the ultimate Birger. He really has very little that he has accomplished in his life besides acquainting himself with the rich, the famous, and the inventive minds of the day.
Basking in reflected glory is really just a defense mechanism. When you can simply hide behind others’ successes, you never need to actually do anything on your own.These people tend to base their entire self worth on their perceived image. It’s not about What you know, but about Who you know.
Planning Fallacy is when someone incorrectly guesses the length of time that a particular action requires.
Description: A description of this is my home subdivision. Just outside of where I live, the road was being reconstructed to contain two lanes as opposed to just one. This construction was started when I was 7 and supposed to be finished just to years later when I was 9. Driving past the end of this construction10 years later when I was 17 demonstrates the existence of planning fallacy.
Conclusion: Planning Fallacy is evident in this example, as this construction taking 10 years to complete as opposed to the 2 years that was assumed and planned displays. Because situations like this can add stress and unpredictability to the lives of those who unsuccessfully predict schedules, it is important to plan and schedule carefully.
The Spotlight Effect is a way to describe someone that feels like the whole world is watching them. This is intensified when they feel like they did something unusual or anything that drew the attention towards them. The faulty thinking of the spotlight effect is that in reality they are not watching you any more closely than the next person.
The faulty thinking comes because typically we are self conscious about the reason we feel people are looking at us. Embarrassment or anxiety tends to make things a bigger deal in our head than they are in reality.
To illustrate the spotlight effect I will tell how I actually felt the effect during the class discussion today and why I think I felt it. Professor Holt-Lunstad had us write on a piece of paper, I am…. and we could fill in the blank. She asked some of the students to say what they wrote down. I, without thinking, just blurted out “I am single.” For the rest of the time in class I felt like every time a fellow student saw me they were thinking “hey thats the kid that announced to the class that he is single.” I don’t make a lot of comments in class so I feel that thats the only thing people are going to remember me by. This is the spotlight effect in action. In reality, I hope, people will forget about it and hopefully I will make some more comments in class that are intelligent to quickly replace the comment that I hope people don’t remember me by.
My husband and I love music. Well, I love music and my husband is obsessed with it. He is in a band and I support him 100%. I used to think that I was a music fanatic until I met him; then I realized I didn’t even come close to deserving the title. He knows every name of every band member known to man and it’s a little bit ridiculous.
Because of our love for music, there will be times when we discuss our loyalty to our favorite bands and MAN does the conversation get heated. The most recent encounter with this situation was just last night. Since my husband is a rockstar and I feel that I have to overcompensate just a teensy bit, I sometimes use stories of my past encounters with favorite artists. Little did I know that I was extremely guilty of “basking in their reflected glory“. This term describes someone who shares publicly how they know certain successful people, when in fact they didn’t have any role in their success at all. It is meant to improve “self-presentation.” Even though it’s embarrassing to share it now, here’s my story.
When I was 17, I was on the varsity dance team. We had just started competition season and I had chosen an amazing song by an incredible and super unpopular (as in not known AT ALL) artist named Chris Mann to choreograph my contemporary solo to. He was so unknown that I couldn’t even (*cough* legally) download his music. So, I messaged him on Facebook and asked him to email me an mp3 of his song so I could perform to it. He responded and sent me the song, wished me luck, and told me to send him a video of the finished dance routine.
Was I jazzed or what?? THEN I found out last night that he is a finalist on the new show “The Voice” (Team Christina if you were curious) and he’s probably going to win the thing. In order to defend my loyalty, I explained to Collin how we had emailed back and forth when no one even knew who he was and he had sent me his music. Basically, I’m the reason for his HUGE success now. Am I? Of course not. Do I know that? Yes. But in order to show that I am loyal to my precious Chris Mann, I need to bask in his reflected glory.
Turns out that wasn’t even the first time I have been guilty of such a crime. My second cousins are a famous (or somewhat famous) country band called SheDaisy. Heard of them? Cool. Me too. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have gone on and on about how we’re related and how we talked and how much merchandise I had. For some reason I thought that it made me seem cool? Not so much. I had only met them once, and the free autographed merchandise was sent to me from their uncle because he had a huge warehouse full of the stuff. Man, oh man, I got so sunburned from basking in their reflected glory to my friends.
THEN there was this time when Andy Grammar told me I was pretty. Even called me “sweetheart.” Yes, we totally have a picture together. I’m SO awesome for knowing Andy Grammar, especially because it happened right on the brink of his rise to the top. I’m basically the reason of why he’s famous…(uh, yeah right). So why do I bring this up to people? It’s not like I am the girl he’s writing all of his love songs to. Sheesh.
Moral of the story? Basking in the reflected glory of others makes us look silly. My husband and I are loyal fans of our particular musicians of choice, but we are not the reason that they are successful, even though we claim to have “loved them from the VERY beginning, before anyone else did.” We can still bicker about who is a more loyal fan, but no longer will I be using these stories of my “special connections” to these successes. Because of this social psychology lesson, I am going to be extra cautious of my self-presentation. Except for just now when I basked in the reflected glory by sharing all of those stories with you. Last time, I promise.
Individualism is something that just in daily life we can all do, however it’s those that it becomes a habit that you really want to watch out for. Individualism is the concept of giving priority to ones goals and defining ones identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications. Individualism can happen in all settings and that includes sports.
When reading about individualism my thoughts instantly went to a play by Ricky Davis a former NBA player who at the time was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers were playing the Utah Jazz and with less than 10 seconds to play they were down by 24 points. The game was over and a bad night for the Cavs, however Mr. Davis was having a pretty good game to that point but was 1 rebound short of getting a triple double which is always a very cool thing to accomplish. However what Ricky Davis did next was about as perfect example of Individualism as you can get, after they threw the ball into him he ran back to his own basket and intentionally missed a layup to get a rebound and get a triple double. Not only was this embarrassing to the team and Ricky Davis himself but it showed exactly where his priorities were and how he cared more about those than the team. Here is a video of the play and link to an article discussing it as well.
Ricky Davis on this night illustrated Individualism in its finest form. As a member of the Cavalier team his goals should be in line with that team and he should go up or down with the results of that team. However on a horrible night for his team his focus was still on getting a personal accomplishment. To steal from the definition he was “giving priority to his own goals….rather than group identifications.” The group he was involved with was very disappointed by the event and it looked badly for all of them. But Ricky didn’t care because “he got his” and escaped that game with a triple double!!
“The Spot-Light Effect” is an effect that causes a person in a certain situation to become extremely self-aware and self-conscious and certain aspects of oneself begin to stand out severely.
When I was younger, my father had the opportunity to go to Taiwan on a business trip. Taiwan was trying to make ties with America so they flew out lots of professors, businessmen, and media people, like my father. During his trip he had a lot of opportunities to meet with dignitaries and highly valued people of Taiwan. During this trip, my father was expected to answer important questions, and he was treated like royalty. Within this context my father’s competency or incompetency became very aware to him. Back home when he was within the context of his office, he felt very competent and able to perform all tasks, but in Taiwan when he was considered like an ambassador he began feeling very incompetent.
This experience relates to the spot-light effect because depending on my Father’s context, he felt very competent or very incompetent. Because of the way he was being treated and his surroundings, his own competency became particularly salient to him. He was very self-conscious and self-aware.
“The Power and Process of Self-Efficacy” by Tatiana Herman
Self-efficacy is the feeling that you are competent and effective. This can be a general feeling that you have about yourself as a person, or it can be geared toward a specific skill. Many people mix up self-efficacy with self-esteem even though they’re markedly different. Self-esteem is all about liking yourself and believing you are valuable simply because you exist. Self-efficacy is specific to performing well in a given area.
“Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll!“ illustrates self-efficacy very well.
In addition to the random but humorous advertising of rock and roll, this clip shows a small boy who feels “happy of himself”. He states that if you believe in yourself you will learn how to ride your bike. If this isn’t enough, then you can practice until you finally achieve your goal. His father is videotaping his proclamation and can be heard stating that he is also happy with his son. This is a perfect example of self-efficacy. The young boy doesn’t say that he is special or awesome, which would be a comment displaying self-esteem. He makes it clear that he is pleased with himself because of what he has accomplished, showing his self-efficacy. His father in turn encourages him to pay this principle forward to the children in the world who may also be learning how to ride a bike.
Most people would agree that “what matters most is how you see yourself” but I might argue that what matters most is how you think others see yourself. One way people try to control what others think of themselves is by self-monitoring.
Self-monitoring is when a person is aware of the social contexts that they are in and attempts to control the way others perceive them by presenting themselves in certain ways and adjusting their behaviors to match the social environment.
I am a high self-monitoring person. This means that I tend to change (or adjust) my actions by the people and situations that surround me.
One example from my life happens to be in high school. I was older for my grade and so I was one of the first to get my license. So, of course, this meant I was responsible for driving my friends around. I was voted “most involved” in my high school because I was involved in all sorts of clubs and activities. I was in student council, cheerleading, choir, theater, and a handful of clubs. Depending on what activities and friends I would have in my car I would change my music. With my cheerleading friends I would listen to pop music, with my theater friends I would listen to musicals, with my student council friends I would listen to “trendy” or alternative music, and with my church friends I would listen to country, and so on…
I would change the music I listened to in the car based on who ever was in the car with me. I did this to try to manage the image that they perceived of me. I wanted to fit in with whatever group was around me. I wanted to ‘look good’ with that group. I personally really enjoy listening to conference talks and church music when I am alone in the car. But I never wanted to seem ‘too churchy’ or like I was trying to be a Molly Mormon, so I would only listen to my church music alone. This is an example of one of the ways I would be self-monitoring. I would change my behavior based on what group of friends I was with. In conclusion, I cared more about how others viewed myself then I did about being true to my identity (are who I thought I was) because I changed who I was (or at least my preference of music) dependent to who I was around. So far me, it was more important to monitor what others thought of me then to listen to my nerdy church music.
Unrealistic optimism is described as having an excessive (and even harmful) belief that all things will have positive outcomes, no matter what. Meet Jessica: an extremely optimistic four year-old. This video is entertaining, but there are plenty of adults who are actually like her.
Although it is good to be positive and optimistic, unrealistic optimism can be dangerous. People who consistently binge drink at parties are being unrealistically optimistic in believing that they will survive the dangers of alcohol toxicity. “It-couldn’t-happen-to-me” syndrome. In Jessica’s case, believing that she “can do anything good” or that she likes “anything” makes herself vulnerable to danger. If she really likes anything, would she like to be kidnapped? I don’t think so. Would she like being in a car accident? Probably not. She doesn’t seem afraid of putting herself in a dangerous situation because she can “do anything.” And that’s what is risky about unrealistic optimism.
Individualism is putting one’s personal needs and goals above those of the collective group or society. It is also defining one’s personal identity based on personal attributes and traits rather than being defined by the attributes of the group or society.
In Lois Lowry’s The Giver, the main character Jonas exemplifies individualism. His society values sameness and conformity; no abnormality is permitted. If twins are born, one is euthanized to preserve sameness. Jonas at first accepts this way of life, but as he reaches his adolescent years he starts to question and is seeing glimpses of color, a phenomenon that has long been erased from his society. Jonas starts to think for himself and form his identity based on his own skills and knowledge rather than what his society tells him his identity should be. In the end he puts his own needs and goals above the society’s and leaves, taking a young child who would have been euthanized with him.
This example portrays individualism because Jonas develops his identity separate from the society, and he forms it based on his own attributes and traits, such as his ability to feel compassion and sorrow for the babies who are euthanized and his ability to see color. Jonas also exemplifies individualism by putting his own goals and needs above those of the society. The societal goal for absolute conformity calls for the death of one baby in a set of twins, but Jonas’ feelings of compassion and sorrow create his goal to save the babies. He puts his own goal first and saves baby Gabriel. He also rebels against a life of complete conformity and, putting his own needs first, leaves his home to search for a new place in which his individualism can be accepted.
It seems to me that our understanding of the consequences of our actions is largely defined by our perception of control. The book’s discussion on Locus of Control focused on the self motivation that comes from internalizing the power you have over your life. For example, it’s those kids that can “say no to the marshmallows and pot” that get good grades and marry hot people, because they are self motivated and feel in control of their lives. However, I believe this idea of locus of control has application elsewhere. I believe that those who externalize their control may justifiably fail, or shirk the responsibility of remorse for social or personal error.
This last weekend I watched the movie No Country for Old Men. In the movie a psychopathic assassin by the name of Chigurh is searching for a man who took two million dollars from a botched drug deal, but not to retrieve the money, simply out of principle. There were two scenes in the movie that display Chigurh’s sense of control. In one scene he is talking to an older man in a rural gas station. The man is immediately suspicious of Chigurh’s intentions, and stuttering tells him he is closing shop and that he would have to leave. Chigurh, annoyed, flips a coin. He asks the man to call it. “For what?” he asks. “Just call it,” Chigurh responds. “I didn’t put nothin’ up,” said the old man. “Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life you just didn’t know it.” “Look, I need to know what I stand to win.” “Everything,” said Chigurh. And the man correctly called heads, so Chigurh left. At the end of the movie, Chigurh flips another coin for a woman, saying “call it.” “No. I ain’t gonna call it.” He repeated, “Call it.” And she said, showing her understanding of self control “The coin don’t have no say. It’s just you.” And Chigurh says finally, “Well, I got here the same way the coin did.”
Chigurh was capable of doing socially repulsive things because he detached himself from his actions. He pushed his locus of control so far from himself, completely into the world of chance, that he took absolutely no responsibility for what he did. In the first situation, he put the man’s life out of his hands, and into the chance of a coin flip and the man’s ability to guess correctly. When he guessed, he simply left. He himself had no intention to kill (according to his own logic), but as is exemplified in the second example, he felt that he, like the coin, was simply following a world of random chance. He was motivated not by self gain, because he had nothing to gain by killing either of these people, but by a skewed sense of the natural flow of the world. The woman at the end also felt that her chances for survival were completely out of her hands, and entirely in Chigurh’s. She didn’t try to flee, but just sat down, accepting that she would die. If she had internalized her control more, she may have tried some way to escape. These examples show how an external locus of control can affect the way one acts, and how an internal locus of control can aid in productivity, as well as acting in a more socially acceptable manner.
Basking in Reflected Glory: This is when an individual publicly displays their affiliation with successful people/events even when they have not played an instrumental role in the success of that person or group.
Mitt Romney and I
This is an example of basking in reflected glory because obviously I have nothing to do with Romney’s success in the presidential elections, however it feels good to bask in the glory of his achievements.
Self-efficacy: Self-efficacy is the act of believing you can accomplish a task. It is the combination of confidence (“I can do this”) and control (“I can effect the outcome”).
In high school, I tried out for All-State Show Choir. In order to try out, you needed to sing a major scale and a chromatic scale. You also were taught a 2-3 minute dance routine in 20 minutes and were expected to perform it for a panel of judges. I knew what to expect and had practiced for the tryouts for weeks and weeks. I could not see any way I could be more prepared for tryouts. When tryouts came around, I believed in myself and performed to the best of my abilities, and succeeded. I was chosen to participate in All-State Show Choir.
This is an example of self-efficacy. I felt confident that I would be able to make it in (I believed that I could accomplish the task). Not only was I confident in myself, but I also felt like I had control over the task. I had practiced a great deal in order to get the scales correct. Also, our choir had done workshops to prepare us for the performance portion of the tryout—we were taught short routines to various songs in the appropriate time (20 minutes each) and performed it in front of our fellow choir members. This all allowed me to feel as if I could effect the results because I knew what to expect, which was more than many first-timers could say. Therefore, because I was confident and felt in control, this is an example of self-efficacy.
As you learned in class today, my favorite chapter 2 topic is the spotlight effect. The spotlight effect is an individual’s tendency to assume everyone’s world revolves around them, just as their own does. Thus, people mistakenly assume that people pay more attention to them than is actually true, and one may believe they are always in the spotlight from any individuals point of view. In class, Dr. Lunstad described the spotlight effect as a potential to increase one’s nervousness or errors because they believe everyone is watching them, which I didn’t mention in my brief presentation.
The clip I used to illustrate the spotlight effect is the following sketch from Saturday Night Live:
As the party begins, Kristen Wiig’s character (in the green dress) is basically requesting to sing for the other partygoers as they plead for Jon Hamm’s character to play the piano. She repeatedly remarks “Don’t make me sing….” under her breath, and continues to get louder – a sign that she was assuming they had heard her, but continued to get loud until they certainly did. The partygoers acknowledge that no one is making her sing, and no one asked her to, but she can if she wants – Kristen simply assumed that everyone wanted her to sing, and that her activity and performance was at the top of everyone else’s mind, just as it was on hers. Kristen continues to illustrate the spotlight effect as Jon Hamm finishes playing, by apologizing for missing her cue while others are congratulating Jon on his phenomenal piano skills. Kristen’s overcompensation and concern for others’ opinions are almost embarrassing, when the other partygoers could not have cared less about her and her performance.
Changing behavior in different situations in order to obtain social acceptance is called self-monitoring.
Over the summer I worked as a wildland firefighter in Nevada. I came into the job in a very unexpected way, so it was a shock to me how much the life styles and behaviors of the firemen differed from my own. Because of this, the way I acted at work began to change. By the end of the summer, I found that the person I was at home was much calmer and reserved than the person I was at work.
In my situation over the summer, I had high selfl-monitoring. It was important for me to get along with the people I spent 24 hours a day with. Making friends was not too difficult since there are very few female firefighters, but I found that in order to keep friends, I had to blend in. I never did anything that went against my beliefs, but I started changing who I was in order to appear less strange to my coworkers. I felt pressure to change my personality and I did so in order to gain social acceptance.
Self-monitoring is when people are aware of their social position and change their attitudes and behaviors to match their setting. They become socially adaptive to whatever environment or setting they are in. High self-monitoring people change their ideas and behavior to match that of others. Most times they take on opinions or behaviors they do not agree with.
Several years ago I found myself in a situation where I became a high self-monitor. I was talking with some friends about a teacher we’d had. One of my friends shared her opinion and I started agreeing with her. My other friend pointed out that I had shared a different opinion with her previously. I was caught trying to change my opinions and ideas based on someone elses ideas and opinions. Since then I have tried very hard not to do that and have become more aware when others try to do it.
High self-monitoring is a common social adaptation. People want to be pleasers and want others to think well of them, so they feel the need to change who they are to make it happen. I found myself in that situation and have since been more aware when others, including myself, try to do it. It is an interesting way of presenting oneself and ties back into our self identity.
Our class discussion about basking in reflected glory was really interesting to me, mostly because I see this everyday. The concept of basking in reflected glory means that people want to affiliate themselves with those who are successful, regardless of whether or not they play a role in that success. In so doing, we create this self-perception of being more socially desirable, successful, and other attributes that we deem as “positive”.
Take into consideration the game “Six degrees to Kevin Bacon”. If you have never played it, you simply try to associate yourself with Kevin Bacon in six steps. Whoever makes it to Kevin Bacon in the fewest amount of steps wins. For example: William Shatner made a movie in my hometown and he know Leonard Nimoy. Leonard Nimoy has worked with Steven Spielberg who in turn worked with Kevin Bacon in “Apollo 13”. So, I have four degrees to Kevin Bacon. My roommate can make it to Kevin Bacon in five steps. So, I get the bragging rights when it comes to knowing Kevin Bacon.
Now, it’s not that any of us have ever actually met Kevin Bacon or any of the actors involved in getting to Kevin Bacon. In fact, I wasn’t even alive when William Shatner made the movie in my hometown. Nonetheless, I view myself as more awesome and cooler than my roommates simply because I take the fewest steps to associate with Kevin Bacon’s success. This doesn’t effect my success is any way, it’s just a fun game to play that gives you a bit of an ego boost.
It is believed that how we come to know ourselves is how we compare with those around us, or in other words we understand our skills and abilities through social comparisons. If we can throw a softball harder than our teammates, we must be good at softball. If we achieve one of the highest grades in class, then we perceive ourselves as brilliant. To illustrate this notion of social comparisons, I found a clip in a musical posted on Youtube called “Holy Musical B@man”.
(watch this clip until 1:55)
In the part before this clip, Superman and Batman had raced to determine if Superman’s powers were faster than Batman’s Batplane. Superman won the race, and because of that Batman becomes depressed. He believes that because his plane is not faster than Superman, that he is not worthy to be a superhero any more. In fact he says “If I can’t even fly faster than Superman, I might as well die…”
Batman illustrates how social comparisons exist (although his example is an extreme) because he compares his powers to Superman. The fact that he is a mortal man trying to fill a superhero’s shoes does not matter to him, it’s the fact that because he cannot build a plane that can fly faster than Superman degrades his self-worth in his eyes.
The aspect of chapter two that I will be focusing on is the Self-Serving Bias. This effect essentially is that human beings tend to take credit for successes while blaming others for failures. Furthermore, it is a tendency to generally view situations of which we are a part in such a way that we look better to ourselves and others than perhaps we really are.
I again will illustrate this effect using the example of politics, namely with the current President of the United States. I will preface my words by saying that what I write is not a political statement, and similar remarks could be made about any President of the United States, as they all reflect this principle to some degree; that is simply the nature of politics. I will isolate my example to two events: one good, one bad. The first is the killing of Usama Bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. The Obama administration has been touting this event as a major success of President Obama. Whether or not the credit should be as liberally applied to the president is its own discussion, but the point is that he is quick to apply the credit to himself. As for an example of a bad happening, our economy has been in recession for some time. While Obama is often criticized by many as one who has no handle on our very-slowly recovering economy, Obama has been quick to blame the republican-controlled congress for not passing much of his legislation that, according to him, would have led to significant growth and success for our country economically.
I take no stance in this blog post as to how credible Obama is on these points. And again, similar illustrations could be made with any other president. My point is to show that when something good happens (the killing of Bin Laden), a person generally has no problem being the responsible one who answers for what happened. While on the other hand, when something bad happens (our struggling economy), responsibility suddenly falls elsewhere, leaving the person without any blame for such things.
Self-Handicap: this is to have an explanation for why you might be bad at something. It’s a way of protecting ourselves from failure that could occur later. It is a common occurrence for almost anyone in our every day lives.
Example: Giving a talk in church, is the first thing I thought of when we learned about this concept. So I made a meme.
And to further the example, apparently I’m an idiot, because I can’t figure out how to attach a picture. I hope the link works.
My meme is an example of self-handicap because the speaker gave an excuse before he gave the talk just in case he didn’t do very well on the talk. As was stated above, and in class, you can self-handicap by preparing (and then using) excuses for possible failure ahead of time, or you can create real obstacles for yourself. In this case, the speaker made an excuse for himself, thereby falling into the self-handicap category.
There are many reasons one may feel out of place in a situation. One of these reasons is social comparison, the idea that one may feel normal acting in a certain way in one setting but out of place acting the same way in a different setting. People who experience social comparison may be part of a minority in the social setting or suddenly be around people who are very different than those who experience social comparison are typically around.
Social comparison is quite apparent in my life as I have grown up a member of the LDS church in a largely non-LDS community. I have recently been under much skepticism from friends back home as relationships move rather quickly at BYU compared to many other places. While I feel completely confident in our relationship while I am at BYU, I just recently went home to many questions and concerns about how well I really know him and how successful our marriage will be. I even began questioning things myself, though as soon as I returned to campus, I regained my confidence and felt as though our relationship is completely normal.
The fact that I began to be concerned while I was at home about the relationship I was so confident in while at BYU exemplifies social comparison. While I was in a setting where people meet and get married in only a few months on a regular basis, I felt as though things were progressing at a normal pace. However, when I realized that the vast majority of people outside of Provo think that marrying someone that quickly is completely absurd, I eventually became very concerned about the commitment I was once prepared to make. Social comparison is shown in this example because what I felt normal doing at BYU, I did not feel normal doing at home. Nothing changed in the relationship itself, only the social setting.
Impact bias means to overestimate the strength of an emotion-causing event. Examples of impact bias can include feeling like you’ll never get over your recently-ended relationship, or that once you get married you’ll never fight with your spouse. In both cases, the event (the break up, the marriage) is presumed to have lasting effects on your behavior and quality of life.
An example of impact bias can be seen in my own life, as I anticipate buying my first laptop for next Fall. I keep thinking that once I have that laptop, I’ll finally be content (or at least reach a plateau of tech-contentedness) and not think so much about computers. Thinking that ‘I’ll finally be content’ suggests that I think getting a laptop will be such a powerful experience that I’ll never lust after technology again. This, of course, is unreasonable for two reasons: 1) I will continue to want the latest tech toys, regardless of whatever I own at the time, and 2) I will likely not want to stop wanting new tech toys. It’s fun to get new stuff, and be able to do new things, so I likely won’t want to stop any of those things from happening.
Basically, my impact bias about the experience of getting a laptop skews my vision of what my future interest in technology will be.
In chapter 2, the term Spotlight Effect is introduced. Spotlight Effect refers to our belief that everyone is staring at us, and that we are the center of attention. It is the belief that everyone is watching our every move, judging us on appearance and actions. However, in reality, we are far more conscious of ourselves than anyone is of us. It is rare that people are constantly watching us, we only think this because of our focus on ourselves. One example that the book shared to help put it in context was that of how self-conscious an African American felt living in Africa. The book explained that our social surroundings are one way in which our self-awareness is affected.
As I was thinking of this concept, one of the first things that came to mind was the move Elf. Buddy is a human who was raised by elves in the north pole, however, he does not seem to be too much aware of himself or his differences until he overhears the other elves talking about his limitations as a human. As Buddy becomes aware of his social surroundings, he suddenly feels completely out of place and more self-aware.
Going back to the spotlight Effect, Buddy became in that instant the perfect example of this mindset. He saw his own insecurities and differences. These were heightened by his social surroundings. Buddy felt out of place and judged because he was not the same as the elves that surrounded him. As Buddy gained this new sense of self, he desired to learn more about who he actually was and where he came from. This experience with self-awareness, and through his experiences with the elves, caused him to re-enter the human world. Here he also gained similar experiences in realizing that he was different from the humans in the real world. However, these only reinforced his sense of self, and helped him to realize and gain a better understanding of who he was, and how he viewed himself.
How do you maintain your self esteem? Whether it done through self evaluation or the validations of others, anyone’s self esteem will suffer, especially in the face of competition and there are specific strategies we use to protect our self image.
As the picture shows, in the face of competition our self-esteem is at risk. In order to defend against a blow to the ego it is common for people to exhibit several different behaviors, sometimes not even conscious that they are doing it. The self-serving bias is where an individual who feels their ego threatened will justify their current failings as being something that is not in their control but if something GOOD happens that same person would then justify that they and only they were the cause of that success. Often in the face of challenges, an individual might self-handicap themselves before they attempt the challenge. A girl might invite a boy to a friendly game of Halo and slightly apprehensive of a “pwning” the boy would say something like, “I haven’t played in a real long while” so that even if he plays like a total noob he has an excuse and his ego is protected. Then there is the hanger ons, the groupies, the same kind of people who would show up to your door just as the cookies are coming out of the oven saying with a feigned nonchalance attitude, “So are those the cookies that you made with my roommates sugar that I let you borrow?” These same kind of people will associate themselves as being part of a success that they really weren’t a part of. They didn’t make the cookies, they really expended nothing of themselves and yet they want the glory, their own piece of the pie….the cookie pie. These defensive tactics are not necessarily evil but are often practiced in the hopes of ‘saving face’ and maintaining self-esteem when it butts heads with the self-esteem of another.
Social comparisons are something that we all engage in every day, whether we notice it or not. This is when we judge the value and quality of our skills by comparing them to the skills of others around us. This is one way in which we develop our sense of self.
When I was growing up, I took violin lessons for many years. In high school, my neighbor Sarah, who had also been playing for many years, began taking lessons from my teacher. We would drive together and take notes for each other during lessons. I couldn’t help but notice that even though Sarah was a year older than me, she was always one song behind me. While I didn’t hold this against her by any means, it did boost my confidence in my own violin skills. Around this same time, Kimmy, another student and our teacher’s younger sister, started coming to the “advanced” group lessons with Sarah and me. Kimmy was a child protégée in every sense of the word. She practiced everything she was told for at least an hour every day, she never messed up, and she never came unprepared. She had far passed my skill level and she was only in middle school. Kimmy was a big threat to my self-concept. I had always viewed myself as a talented violinist, but the young Kimmy was showing me otherwise.
By comparing myself to both Sarah and Kimmy, I showed the different effects social comparisons can have on our self-concepts. By comparing my skills as a violinist with Sarah’s skills, I felt good about myself. When I saw that I was one step ahead of someone who was older than me, I felt more comfortable identifying myself as a talented violinist. I also felt satisfied with my abilities. However, when I compared my skills with Kimmy’s, I felt inferior. I was no longer satisfied with my abilities and constantly reminded myself to practice harder so that I could be more like Kimmy. In the end, how I felt about myself as a violinist depended on who I was around.