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Self Concept

The idea we have of ourselves. 

  • Self Esteem (How we feel about ourself)
  • Ideal self (who we would like to be) 
  • Self Image (The picture we have of ourself)
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Khun and Mcpartland (1954)

Khun and Mcpartland researched 'how people from different ages groups percieved themselves'    (SELF IMAGE)

  • Conducted on 7 year olds and undergraduates
  • Findings fell into two categories

- Social roles: The parts we play, ascribed or achieved. Eg: Daughter, Student 

- Personality traits: Statements what we think we are like. Eg: Nice

  • Young children fell into the personality trait
  • Where as older participants fell into the social roles

- Showing, as we age we become attached and indetify ourself from the things we achieved and have got from it (Eg: Jobs, Cars) 

- Supports FLUID. we change over time.

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Ideal Self/Self Image

Ideal Self / Self image is the kind of person you would like to be at best. This realtes to the various versions of the self which are being portrayed.

  • Intellectual Self 
  • Emotional Self
  • Bodily Self (Body image is important because of the society we live in where                        we stereotype body images)

- Gatekeeping: We filter out information that could cause negative perceptions.

- In expressing our ideal self, we resort to projecting these on to others (Role models). But this can get your role models and ideal selves confused

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Rogers (1961)

Rogers (1961).  Concentric Circles Model

  • The fact we select role models is evidence that we all are self-conscious.
  • Due to self-esteem
  • The modelling of ourself in terms of others (famous people) is the process which creates, presents and maintains our 'public self'

- The 'public self' is more superficial verision of the self compared to the the one we 'show' to close friends and family, let alone the 'core'self that remains with us at all times. 

Incongruence: Self image different to Ideal self. Congruence: Self image closer to ideal self

  • Supports that we have a FLUID personality as we change depending on who we are with 
  • Supports FIXED because shades of youself awlays come through
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Coppersmith (1967)

Coppersmith (1967) defines self esteem as:

'A personal judgement of worthiness'

  • This means it measure how good you feel about youself
  • High self-esteem is aided by socially valuable attributes such as attractiveness.
  • BUT, is mostly helped by the respect of others.
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Dimbleby and Burton (2006)

Dimblebly and Burton (2006) in the creation of a sense of self, three are directly concerned with the realtionships we have with others: 

  • Reaction to others
  • Comparisons with others
  • Identification with others

The respect of others is a significant aid to boosting self-esteem

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Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion Effect - The idea that expectations of one person can have an impact on another. 

Self-fulfilling prophecy: Telling someone they will succed drives them to be more succesful 

  • Self-esteem can result in potentially extreme changes in behaviour either negatively or postively 

- Shown by an experiment, Blue eyed students were told they would do academically well over a year and the blue eyed students became more academic compared to the brown eyed students. 

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Looking Glass Theory (Cooley (1922))

Looking Glass Theory is the version of ourselves we see in others responses. Eg: when we get dressed for a night out we partly see ourselves in other peoples reaction to us. 

  • We recieve judgements and evaluations of ourselves from others and then modify our beahviour accordingly.
  • How we believe others percieve us, shapes and froms our own identity/self concept. 

Cooley (1922) 

'The greater our engagment with a person, the more significant the mirror effect' 


These variations depend upon our stability and consistency as personalities, our capacity to percieve and interpret feedback accurately and our ability to respond appropriately to others

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The Johari Window

The Johari Window suggests we are powerfully influenced by our involvement in communication with others.

  • It shows how we increasingly become more open to others as we get to know them and share information about ourself 
  • As realtionships develop we begin trusting eachother and tell more information about ourself 

The four 'panes' of the window realte to different aspects of the self. Information can move from one pane to the next as you develop mutual trust and find similarities and things in common. 

Open self: Consists of information about your behaviour, knowledge, emotions and experience that you willing make available to others. HOWEVER, this may depend on who those others are.

The Blind self: Aspects of yourself which are known to others but not you. Postive or Negative.

The Hidden Self: Contains the aspects that yo know of yourself but keep hidden. You reveal more to who you like and have long standing realtionships

The Unknown Self: the area of youself known neither to others or youself. Such as talents or strengths or weaknesses 

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Social Identity Theory - Taj Fel

Social identity is a person's sense of who they are based on their group membership. Taj Fel states that the groups people belong to gives us a source of pride and self esteem which gives us a sense of social identity, belonging to the world. 

  • To increase our self image we enhance the status of the group / self image. (Eg: England is the best country in the world!) 
  • Or to discriminate and have prejudiced views against the out group (Eg: The Americans are losers!)
  • Through this process of social catergorisation we put people into social groups known as in groups and out groups

Taj Fel stated we tend to group things together and in doings this we tend to exaggerate:

  • The diffrence between groups 
  • Similarities of things in the same group, the same group being more similar than they are
  • Examples: Gender and Social class

We categorise people in the same way too.

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Bernstein - Gender identity and roles

 It seems a feature of our culture that we learn is gender roles and how play them and are not encouraged to question them. It's obvious that this learning is partly achieved through the role-modelling that goes on across our cultural experience - in the family, in school, in the media. 

Bernstein said that socialisation is 'a process for masking people safe'. It does this partly by alerting us to danger.

  • In our earliest years these dangers seem mostly physical (Eg: Road Skills) 
  • Later the dangers become more subtle and justify the tendency to stick to established social norms. (Eg: Getting a tattoo) 
  • This act is seen dangerous to your chances of being accepted as a fully paid up memeber of society with all the benefits that this implies. 

We sometimes prefer to keep our heads down and to fit in, preferring conformity to alienation.

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Gender Role and Identity

Gender Identity is defined as a personal conception of one self as male or female. (Or rarely both or neither). Gender Identity is self identified it is wether you see youself as male or female

Gender Roles are outward manifestations of personality that reflect gender identity

  • It has observable factors such as behaviour and appearance 
  • Gender role is often an outward expression of gender identity but not necessarily 
  • Some can recognise they are male yet express themself in a feminine way 

The media use gender roles and stereotypes to get the genders attention particularly in advertisement

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