NCERT Textbook - Self and Personality Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Psychology Class 12

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Self and Personality Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
Introduction
Self and Personality
Concept of Self
Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Self-regulation
Culture and Self
Concept of Personality
Personality-related Terms (Box 2.1)
Major Approaches to the Study of Personality
Type Approaches
Trait Approaches
Five-Factor Model of Personality (Box 2.2)
Psychodynamic Approach
Behavioural Approach
Cultural Approach
Humanistic Approach
Who is a Healthy Person? (Box 2.3)
Assessment of Personality
Self-report Measures
Projective Techniques
Behavioural Analysis
CONTENTS
Key Terms
Summary
Review Questions
Project Ideas
Weblinks
Pedagogical Hints
After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
describe the concept of self and learn some ways for self-regulation of behaviour,
explain the concept of personality,
differentiate between various approaches to the study of personality,
develop insight into the development of a healthy personality, and
describe some techniques for personality assessment.
Page 2


SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
Introduction
Self and Personality
Concept of Self
Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Self-regulation
Culture and Self
Concept of Personality
Personality-related Terms (Box 2.1)
Major Approaches to the Study of Personality
Type Approaches
Trait Approaches
Five-Factor Model of Personality (Box 2.2)
Psychodynamic Approach
Behavioural Approach
Cultural Approach
Humanistic Approach
Who is a Healthy Person? (Box 2.3)
Assessment of Personality
Self-report Measures
Projective Techniques
Behavioural Analysis
CONTENTS
Key Terms
Summary
Review Questions
Project Ideas
Weblinks
Pedagogical Hints
After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
describe the concept of self and learn some ways for self-regulation of behaviour,
explain the concept of personality,
differentiate between various approaches to the study of personality,
develop insight into the development of a healthy personality, and
describe some techniques for personality assessment.
Psychology
24
CONCEPT OF SELF
From your childhood days, you may have
spent considerable time thinking about
who you are, and how you are different
from others. By now, you already may have
developed some ideas about yourself,
although you may not be aware of it. Let
us try to have some preliminary notion of
our self (i.e. who are we?) by completing
Activity 2.1.
How easy was it for you to complete
these sentences? How much time did you
take? Perhaps it was not as easy as you
may have thought at first. While working
on it, you were describing your ‘self’. You
are aware of your ‘self’ in the same way as
you are aware of various objects in your
surrounding environment, such as a chair
or a table in your room. A newly born child
has no idea of its self. As a child grows
SELF AND PERSONALITY
Self and personality refer to the
characteristic ways in which we define our
existence. They also refer to the ways in
which our experiences are organised and
show up in our behaviour. From common
observation we know that different people
hold different ideas about themselves.
These ideas represent the self of a person.
We also know that different people behave
in different ways in a given situation, but
the behaviour of a particular person from
one situation to another generally remains
fairly stable. Such a relatively stable
pattern of behaviour represents the
“personality” of that person. Thus, different
persons seem to possess different
personalities. These personalities are
reflected in the diverse behaviour of
persons.
Quite often you must have found yourself engaged in knowing and
evaluating your own behaviour and that of others. You must have noticed
how you react and behave in certain situations in a manner different from
others? You may have also often asked questions about your relationships
with others. To find an answer to some of these questions, psychologists
use the notion of self. Similarly when we ask  questions such as why people
are different, how they make different meaning of events, and how they
feel and react differently in similar situations (i.e. questions relating to
variations in behaviour), the notion of personality comes into play. Both
these concepts, i.e. self and personality are intimately related. Self, in fact,
lies at the core of personality.
The study of self and personality helps us understand not only who we
are, but also our uniqueness as well as our similarities with others. By
understanding self and personality, we can understand our own as well
as others’ behaviour in diverse settings. Several thinkers have analysed
the structure and function of self and personality. As a result, we have
different theoretical perspectives on self and personality today. This chapter
will introduce you to some basic aspects of self and personality. You will
also learn some important theoretical approaches to self and personality,
and certain methods of personality assessment.
Introduction
Page 3


SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
Introduction
Self and Personality
Concept of Self
Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Self-regulation
Culture and Self
Concept of Personality
Personality-related Terms (Box 2.1)
Major Approaches to the Study of Personality
Type Approaches
Trait Approaches
Five-Factor Model of Personality (Box 2.2)
Psychodynamic Approach
Behavioural Approach
Cultural Approach
Humanistic Approach
Who is a Healthy Person? (Box 2.3)
Assessment of Personality
Self-report Measures
Projective Techniques
Behavioural Analysis
CONTENTS
Key Terms
Summary
Review Questions
Project Ideas
Weblinks
Pedagogical Hints
After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
describe the concept of self and learn some ways for self-regulation of behaviour,
explain the concept of personality,
differentiate between various approaches to the study of personality,
develop insight into the development of a healthy personality, and
describe some techniques for personality assessment.
Psychology
24
CONCEPT OF SELF
From your childhood days, you may have
spent considerable time thinking about
who you are, and how you are different
from others. By now, you already may have
developed some ideas about yourself,
although you may not be aware of it. Let
us try to have some preliminary notion of
our self (i.e. who are we?) by completing
Activity 2.1.
How easy was it for you to complete
these sentences? How much time did you
take? Perhaps it was not as easy as you
may have thought at first. While working
on it, you were describing your ‘self’. You
are aware of your ‘self’ in the same way as
you are aware of various objects in your
surrounding environment, such as a chair
or a table in your room. A newly born child
has no idea of its self. As a child grows
SELF AND PERSONALITY
Self and personality refer to the
characteristic ways in which we define our
existence. They also refer to the ways in
which our experiences are organised and
show up in our behaviour. From common
observation we know that different people
hold different ideas about themselves.
These ideas represent the self of a person.
We also know that different people behave
in different ways in a given situation, but
the behaviour of a particular person from
one situation to another generally remains
fairly stable. Such a relatively stable
pattern of behaviour represents the
“personality” of that person. Thus, different
persons seem to possess different
personalities. These personalities are
reflected in the diverse behaviour of
persons.
Quite often you must have found yourself engaged in knowing and
evaluating your own behaviour and that of others. You must have noticed
how you react and behave in certain situations in a manner different from
others? You may have also often asked questions about your relationships
with others. To find an answer to some of these questions, psychologists
use the notion of self. Similarly when we ask  questions such as why people
are different, how they make different meaning of events, and how they
feel and react differently in similar situations (i.e. questions relating to
variations in behaviour), the notion of personality comes into play. Both
these concepts, i.e. self and personality are intimately related. Self, in fact,
lies at the core of personality.
The study of self and personality helps us understand not only who we
are, but also our uniqueness as well as our similarities with others. By
understanding self and personality, we can understand our own as well
as others’ behaviour in diverse settings. Several thinkers have analysed
the structure and function of self and personality. As a result, we have
different theoretical perspectives on self and personality today. This chapter
will introduce you to some basic aspects of self and personality. You will
also learn some important theoretical approaches to self and personality,
and certain methods of personality assessment.
Introduction
Chapter 2 ? Self and Personality
25
older, the idea of self emerges and its
formation begins. Parents, friends,
teachers and other significant persons play
a vital role in shaping a child’s ideas about
self. Our interaction with other people, our
experiences, and the meaning we give to
them, serve as the basis of our self. The
structure of self is modifiable in the light
of our own experiences and the
experiences we have of other people. This
you will notice if you exchange the list you
completed under Activity 2.1 with your
other friends.
disclosing her/his personal identity. Social
identity refers to those aspects of a person
that link her/him to a social or cultural
group or are derived from it. When
someone says that s/he is a Hindu or a
Muslim, a Brahmin or an adivasi or a
North Indian or a South Indian, or
something like these, s/he is trying to
indicate her/his social identity. These
descriptions characterise the way people
mentally represent themselves as a person.
Thus, self refers to the totality of an
individual’s conscious experiences, ideas,
thoughts and feelings with regard to herself
or himself. These experiences and ideas
define the existence of an individual both
at the personal and at social levels.
Self as Subject and Self as Object
If you return to your friends’ descriptions
in Activity 2.1, you will find that they have
described themselves either as an entity
that does something (e.g., I am a dancer)
or as an entity on which something is done
(e.g., I am one who easily gets hurt). In the
former case, the self is described as a
‘subject’ (who does something); in the latter
case, the self is described as an ‘object’
(which gets affected).
This means that self can be understood
as a subject as well as an object. When you
say, “I know who I am”, the self is being
described as a ‘knower’ as well as
something that can be ‘known’. As a
subject (actor) the self actively engages in
the process of knowing itself. As an object
(consequence) the self gets observed and
comes to be known. This dual status of self
should always be kept in mind.
Kinds of Self
There are several kinds of self. They get
formed as a result of our interactions with
our physical and socio-cultural
environments. The first elements of self
may be noticed when a newborn child cries
Understanding the Self
Please complete the following sentences
starting with “I am”.
Time Now.............
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am.....................................................
Time when you finished.....................
Activity
2.1
Notice what they have done. You will
find that they have produced a fairly long
list of attributes about how they identify
themselves. The attributes they have used
for identification tell us about their
personal as well as social or cultural
identities. Personal identity refers to those
attributes of a person that make her/him
different from others. When a person
describes herself/himself by telling her/his
name (e.g., I am Sanjana or Karim), or her/
his qualities or characteristics (e.g., I am
honest or hardworking person), or her/his
potentialities or capabilities (e.g., I am a
singer or dancer), or her/his beliefs (e.g.,
I am a believer in God or destiny), s/he is
Page 4


SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
Introduction
Self and Personality
Concept of Self
Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Self-regulation
Culture and Self
Concept of Personality
Personality-related Terms (Box 2.1)
Major Approaches to the Study of Personality
Type Approaches
Trait Approaches
Five-Factor Model of Personality (Box 2.2)
Psychodynamic Approach
Behavioural Approach
Cultural Approach
Humanistic Approach
Who is a Healthy Person? (Box 2.3)
Assessment of Personality
Self-report Measures
Projective Techniques
Behavioural Analysis
CONTENTS
Key Terms
Summary
Review Questions
Project Ideas
Weblinks
Pedagogical Hints
After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
describe the concept of self and learn some ways for self-regulation of behaviour,
explain the concept of personality,
differentiate between various approaches to the study of personality,
develop insight into the development of a healthy personality, and
describe some techniques for personality assessment.
Psychology
24
CONCEPT OF SELF
From your childhood days, you may have
spent considerable time thinking about
who you are, and how you are different
from others. By now, you already may have
developed some ideas about yourself,
although you may not be aware of it. Let
us try to have some preliminary notion of
our self (i.e. who are we?) by completing
Activity 2.1.
How easy was it for you to complete
these sentences? How much time did you
take? Perhaps it was not as easy as you
may have thought at first. While working
on it, you were describing your ‘self’. You
are aware of your ‘self’ in the same way as
you are aware of various objects in your
surrounding environment, such as a chair
or a table in your room. A newly born child
has no idea of its self. As a child grows
SELF AND PERSONALITY
Self and personality refer to the
characteristic ways in which we define our
existence. They also refer to the ways in
which our experiences are organised and
show up in our behaviour. From common
observation we know that different people
hold different ideas about themselves.
These ideas represent the self of a person.
We also know that different people behave
in different ways in a given situation, but
the behaviour of a particular person from
one situation to another generally remains
fairly stable. Such a relatively stable
pattern of behaviour represents the
“personality” of that person. Thus, different
persons seem to possess different
personalities. These personalities are
reflected in the diverse behaviour of
persons.
Quite often you must have found yourself engaged in knowing and
evaluating your own behaviour and that of others. You must have noticed
how you react and behave in certain situations in a manner different from
others? You may have also often asked questions about your relationships
with others. To find an answer to some of these questions, psychologists
use the notion of self. Similarly when we ask  questions such as why people
are different, how they make different meaning of events, and how they
feel and react differently in similar situations (i.e. questions relating to
variations in behaviour), the notion of personality comes into play. Both
these concepts, i.e. self and personality are intimately related. Self, in fact,
lies at the core of personality.
The study of self and personality helps us understand not only who we
are, but also our uniqueness as well as our similarities with others. By
understanding self and personality, we can understand our own as well
as others’ behaviour in diverse settings. Several thinkers have analysed
the structure and function of self and personality. As a result, we have
different theoretical perspectives on self and personality today. This chapter
will introduce you to some basic aspects of self and personality. You will
also learn some important theoretical approaches to self and personality,
and certain methods of personality assessment.
Introduction
Chapter 2 ? Self and Personality
25
older, the idea of self emerges and its
formation begins. Parents, friends,
teachers and other significant persons play
a vital role in shaping a child’s ideas about
self. Our interaction with other people, our
experiences, and the meaning we give to
them, serve as the basis of our self. The
structure of self is modifiable in the light
of our own experiences and the
experiences we have of other people. This
you will notice if you exchange the list you
completed under Activity 2.1 with your
other friends.
disclosing her/his personal identity. Social
identity refers to those aspects of a person
that link her/him to a social or cultural
group or are derived from it. When
someone says that s/he is a Hindu or a
Muslim, a Brahmin or an adivasi or a
North Indian or a South Indian, or
something like these, s/he is trying to
indicate her/his social identity. These
descriptions characterise the way people
mentally represent themselves as a person.
Thus, self refers to the totality of an
individual’s conscious experiences, ideas,
thoughts and feelings with regard to herself
or himself. These experiences and ideas
define the existence of an individual both
at the personal and at social levels.
Self as Subject and Self as Object
If you return to your friends’ descriptions
in Activity 2.1, you will find that they have
described themselves either as an entity
that does something (e.g., I am a dancer)
or as an entity on which something is done
(e.g., I am one who easily gets hurt). In the
former case, the self is described as a
‘subject’ (who does something); in the latter
case, the self is described as an ‘object’
(which gets affected).
This means that self can be understood
as a subject as well as an object. When you
say, “I know who I am”, the self is being
described as a ‘knower’ as well as
something that can be ‘known’. As a
subject (actor) the self actively engages in
the process of knowing itself. As an object
(consequence) the self gets observed and
comes to be known. This dual status of self
should always be kept in mind.
Kinds of Self
There are several kinds of self. They get
formed as a result of our interactions with
our physical and socio-cultural
environments. The first elements of self
may be noticed when a newborn child cries
Understanding the Self
Please complete the following sentences
starting with “I am”.
Time Now.............
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am.....................................................
Time when you finished.....................
Activity
2.1
Notice what they have done. You will
find that they have produced a fairly long
list of attributes about how they identify
themselves. The attributes they have used
for identification tell us about their
personal as well as social or cultural
identities. Personal identity refers to those
attributes of a person that make her/him
different from others. When a person
describes herself/himself by telling her/his
name (e.g., I am Sanjana or Karim), or her/
his qualities or characteristics (e.g., I am
honest or hardworking person), or her/his
potentialities or capabilities (e.g., I am a
singer or dancer), or her/his beliefs (e.g.,
I am a believer in God or destiny), s/he is
Psychology
26
for milk when it is hungry. Although, this
cry is based on reflex, this later on leads
to development of awareness that ‘I am
hungry’. This biological self in the context
of socio-cultural environment modifies
itself. While you may feel hungry for a
chocolate, an Eskimo may not.
A distinction is made between ‘personal’
and ‘social’ self. The personal self leads to
an orientation in which one feels primarily
concerned with oneself. We have talked
above how our biological needs lead to the
development of a ‘biological self’. But, soon
a child’s psychological and social needs in
the context of her/his environment lead
other components of personal self to
emerge. Emphasis comes to be laid on
those aspects of life that relate only to the
concerned person, such as personal
freedom, personal responsibility, personal
achievement, or personal comforts. The
social self emerges in relation with others
and emphasises such aspects of life as
cooperation, unity, affiliation, sacrifice,
support or sharing. This self values
family and social relationships. Hence, it
is also referred to as familial or relational
self.
COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIOURAL ASPECTS
OF SELF
Psychologists from all parts of the world
have shown interest in the study of self.
These studies have brought out many
aspects of our behaviour related to self. As
indicated earlier, all of us carry within us
a sense of who we are and what makes us
different from everyone else. We cling to
our personal and social identities and feel
safe in the knowledge that it remains
stable in our lifetime.
The way we perceive ourselves and the
ideas we hold about our competencies and
attributes is also called self-concept. At a
very general level, this view of oneself is,
overall, either positive or negative. At a
more specific level, a person may have a
very positive view of her/his athletic
bravery, but a negative view of her/his
academic talents. At an even more specific
level, one may have a positive self-concept
about one’s reading ability but a negative
one about one’s mathematical skills.
Finding out an individual’s self-concept is
not easy. The most frequently used method
involves asking the person about herself/
himself.
Self-esteem
Self-esteem is an important aspect of our
self. As persons we always make some
judgment about our own value or worth.
This value judgment of a person about
herself/himself is called self-esteem. Some
people have high self-esteem, whereas
others may have low self-esteem. In order
to assess self-esteem we present a variety
of statements to a person, and ask her/
him to indicate the extent to which those
statements are true for her or him. For
example, we may ask a child to indicate the
extent to which statements such as “I am
good at homework”, or “I am the one
usually chosen for the games”, or “I am
highly liked by my peers”, are true of her/
him. If a child reports these statements to
be true for her/him, her/his self-esteem
will be high in comparison to someone who
says “no”.
Studies indicate that by the age of 6 to
7 years, children seem to have formed self-
esteem at least in four areas: academic
competence, social competence, physical/
athletic competence, and physical
appearance, which become more refined
with age. Our capacity to view ourselves in
terms of stable dispositions permits us to
combine separate self-evaluations into a
general psychological image of ourselves.
This is known as an overall sense of self-
esteem.
Self-esteem shows a strong relationship
with our everyday behaviour. For example,
Page 5


SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY SELF AND PERSONALITY
Introduction
Self and Personality
Concept of Self
Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self
Self-esteem, Self-efficacy and Self-regulation
Culture and Self
Concept of Personality
Personality-related Terms (Box 2.1)
Major Approaches to the Study of Personality
Type Approaches
Trait Approaches
Five-Factor Model of Personality (Box 2.2)
Psychodynamic Approach
Behavioural Approach
Cultural Approach
Humanistic Approach
Who is a Healthy Person? (Box 2.3)
Assessment of Personality
Self-report Measures
Projective Techniques
Behavioural Analysis
CONTENTS
Key Terms
Summary
Review Questions
Project Ideas
Weblinks
Pedagogical Hints
After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
describe the concept of self and learn some ways for self-regulation of behaviour,
explain the concept of personality,
differentiate between various approaches to the study of personality,
develop insight into the development of a healthy personality, and
describe some techniques for personality assessment.
Psychology
24
CONCEPT OF SELF
From your childhood days, you may have
spent considerable time thinking about
who you are, and how you are different
from others. By now, you already may have
developed some ideas about yourself,
although you may not be aware of it. Let
us try to have some preliminary notion of
our self (i.e. who are we?) by completing
Activity 2.1.
How easy was it for you to complete
these sentences? How much time did you
take? Perhaps it was not as easy as you
may have thought at first. While working
on it, you were describing your ‘self’. You
are aware of your ‘self’ in the same way as
you are aware of various objects in your
surrounding environment, such as a chair
or a table in your room. A newly born child
has no idea of its self. As a child grows
SELF AND PERSONALITY
Self and personality refer to the
characteristic ways in which we define our
existence. They also refer to the ways in
which our experiences are organised and
show up in our behaviour. From common
observation we know that different people
hold different ideas about themselves.
These ideas represent the self of a person.
We also know that different people behave
in different ways in a given situation, but
the behaviour of a particular person from
one situation to another generally remains
fairly stable. Such a relatively stable
pattern of behaviour represents the
“personality” of that person. Thus, different
persons seem to possess different
personalities. These personalities are
reflected in the diverse behaviour of
persons.
Quite often you must have found yourself engaged in knowing and
evaluating your own behaviour and that of others. You must have noticed
how you react and behave in certain situations in a manner different from
others? You may have also often asked questions about your relationships
with others. To find an answer to some of these questions, psychologists
use the notion of self. Similarly when we ask  questions such as why people
are different, how they make different meaning of events, and how they
feel and react differently in similar situations (i.e. questions relating to
variations in behaviour), the notion of personality comes into play. Both
these concepts, i.e. self and personality are intimately related. Self, in fact,
lies at the core of personality.
The study of self and personality helps us understand not only who we
are, but also our uniqueness as well as our similarities with others. By
understanding self and personality, we can understand our own as well
as others’ behaviour in diverse settings. Several thinkers have analysed
the structure and function of self and personality. As a result, we have
different theoretical perspectives on self and personality today. This chapter
will introduce you to some basic aspects of self and personality. You will
also learn some important theoretical approaches to self and personality,
and certain methods of personality assessment.
Introduction
Chapter 2 ? Self and Personality
25
older, the idea of self emerges and its
formation begins. Parents, friends,
teachers and other significant persons play
a vital role in shaping a child’s ideas about
self. Our interaction with other people, our
experiences, and the meaning we give to
them, serve as the basis of our self. The
structure of self is modifiable in the light
of our own experiences and the
experiences we have of other people. This
you will notice if you exchange the list you
completed under Activity 2.1 with your
other friends.
disclosing her/his personal identity. Social
identity refers to those aspects of a person
that link her/him to a social or cultural
group or are derived from it. When
someone says that s/he is a Hindu or a
Muslim, a Brahmin or an adivasi or a
North Indian or a South Indian, or
something like these, s/he is trying to
indicate her/his social identity. These
descriptions characterise the way people
mentally represent themselves as a person.
Thus, self refers to the totality of an
individual’s conscious experiences, ideas,
thoughts and feelings with regard to herself
or himself. These experiences and ideas
define the existence of an individual both
at the personal and at social levels.
Self as Subject and Self as Object
If you return to your friends’ descriptions
in Activity 2.1, you will find that they have
described themselves either as an entity
that does something (e.g., I am a dancer)
or as an entity on which something is done
(e.g., I am one who easily gets hurt). In the
former case, the self is described as a
‘subject’ (who does something); in the latter
case, the self is described as an ‘object’
(which gets affected).
This means that self can be understood
as a subject as well as an object. When you
say, “I know who I am”, the self is being
described as a ‘knower’ as well as
something that can be ‘known’. As a
subject (actor) the self actively engages in
the process of knowing itself. As an object
(consequence) the self gets observed and
comes to be known. This dual status of self
should always be kept in mind.
Kinds of Self
There are several kinds of self. They get
formed as a result of our interactions with
our physical and socio-cultural
environments. The first elements of self
may be noticed when a newborn child cries
Understanding the Self
Please complete the following sentences
starting with “I am”.
Time Now.............
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am........................................................
I am.....................................................
Time when you finished.....................
Activity
2.1
Notice what they have done. You will
find that they have produced a fairly long
list of attributes about how they identify
themselves. The attributes they have used
for identification tell us about their
personal as well as social or cultural
identities. Personal identity refers to those
attributes of a person that make her/him
different from others. When a person
describes herself/himself by telling her/his
name (e.g., I am Sanjana or Karim), or her/
his qualities or characteristics (e.g., I am
honest or hardworking person), or her/his
potentialities or capabilities (e.g., I am a
singer or dancer), or her/his beliefs (e.g.,
I am a believer in God or destiny), s/he is
Psychology
26
for milk when it is hungry. Although, this
cry is based on reflex, this later on leads
to development of awareness that ‘I am
hungry’. This biological self in the context
of socio-cultural environment modifies
itself. While you may feel hungry for a
chocolate, an Eskimo may not.
A distinction is made between ‘personal’
and ‘social’ self. The personal self leads to
an orientation in which one feels primarily
concerned with oneself. We have talked
above how our biological needs lead to the
development of a ‘biological self’. But, soon
a child’s psychological and social needs in
the context of her/his environment lead
other components of personal self to
emerge. Emphasis comes to be laid on
those aspects of life that relate only to the
concerned person, such as personal
freedom, personal responsibility, personal
achievement, or personal comforts. The
social self emerges in relation with others
and emphasises such aspects of life as
cooperation, unity, affiliation, sacrifice,
support or sharing. This self values
family and social relationships. Hence, it
is also referred to as familial or relational
self.
COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIOURAL ASPECTS
OF SELF
Psychologists from all parts of the world
have shown interest in the study of self.
These studies have brought out many
aspects of our behaviour related to self. As
indicated earlier, all of us carry within us
a sense of who we are and what makes us
different from everyone else. We cling to
our personal and social identities and feel
safe in the knowledge that it remains
stable in our lifetime.
The way we perceive ourselves and the
ideas we hold about our competencies and
attributes is also called self-concept. At a
very general level, this view of oneself is,
overall, either positive or negative. At a
more specific level, a person may have a
very positive view of her/his athletic
bravery, but a negative view of her/his
academic talents. At an even more specific
level, one may have a positive self-concept
about one’s reading ability but a negative
one about one’s mathematical skills.
Finding out an individual’s self-concept is
not easy. The most frequently used method
involves asking the person about herself/
himself.
Self-esteem
Self-esteem is an important aspect of our
self. As persons we always make some
judgment about our own value or worth.
This value judgment of a person about
herself/himself is called self-esteem. Some
people have high self-esteem, whereas
others may have low self-esteem. In order
to assess self-esteem we present a variety
of statements to a person, and ask her/
him to indicate the extent to which those
statements are true for her or him. For
example, we may ask a child to indicate the
extent to which statements such as “I am
good at homework”, or “I am the one
usually chosen for the games”, or “I am
highly liked by my peers”, are true of her/
him. If a child reports these statements to
be true for her/him, her/his self-esteem
will be high in comparison to someone who
says “no”.
Studies indicate that by the age of 6 to
7 years, children seem to have formed self-
esteem at least in four areas: academic
competence, social competence, physical/
athletic competence, and physical
appearance, which become more refined
with age. Our capacity to view ourselves in
terms of stable dispositions permits us to
combine separate self-evaluations into a
general psychological image of ourselves.
This is known as an overall sense of self-
esteem.
Self-esteem shows a strong relationship
with our everyday behaviour. For example,
Chapter 2 ? Self and Personality
27
children with high academic self-esteem
perform better in schools than those with
low academic self-esteem, and children
with high social self-esteem are more liked
by their peers than those with low social
self-esteem. On the other hand, children
with low self-esteem in all areas are often
found to display anxiety, depression, and
increasing antisocial behaviour. Studies
have shown that warm and positive
parenting helps in the development of high
self-esteem among children as it allows
them to know that they are accepted as
competent and worthwhile. Children, whose
parents help or make decisions for them
even when they do not need assistance,
often suffer from low self-esteem.
Self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is another important aspect
of our self. People differ in the extent to
which they believe they themselves control
their life outcomes or the outcomes are
controlled by luck or fate or other
situational factors, e.g. passing an
examination. A person who believes that
s/he has the ability or behaviours required
by a particular situation demonstrates
high self-efficacy.
The notion of self-efficacy is based on
Bandura’s social learning theory.
Bandura’s initial studies showed that
children and adults learned behaviour by
observing and imitating others. People’s
expectations of mastery or achievement
and their convictions about their own
effectiveness also determine the types of
behaviour in which they would engage, as
also the amount of risk they would
undertake. A strong sense of self-efficacy
allows people to select, influence, and even
construct the circumstances of their own
life. People with a strong sense of self-
efficacy also feel less fearful.
Self-efficacy can be developed. People
with high self-efficacy have been found to
stop smoking the moment they decide to
do so. Our society, our parents and our
own positive experiences can help in the
development of a strong sense of self-
efficacy by presenting positive models
during the formative years of children.
Self-regulation
Self-regulation refers to our ability to
organise and monitor our own behaviour.
People, who are able to change their
behaviour according to the demands of the
external environment, are high on self-
monitoring.
Many situations of life require
resistance to situational pressures and
control over ourselves. This becomes
possible through what is commonly
known as ‘will power’. As human beings
we can control our behaviour the way we
want. We often decide to delay or defer the
satisfaction of certain needs. Learning to
delay or defer the gratification of needs is
called self-control. Self-control plays a
key role in the fulfilment of long-term
goals. Indian cultural tradition provides
us with certain effective mechanisms (e.g.,
fasting in vrata or roza and non-
attachment with worldly things) for
developing self-control.
A number of psychological techniques
of self-control have also been suggested.
Observation of own behaviour is one of
them. This provides us with necessary
information that may be used to change,
modify, or strengthen certain aspects of
self. Self-instruction is another important
technique. We often instruct ourselves to
do something and behave the way we want
to. Such instructions are quite effective in
self-regulation. Self-reinforcement is the
third technique. This involves rewarding
behaviours that have pleasant outcomes.
For example, you may go to see a movie
with friends, if you have done well in an
examination. These techniques have been
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