- The self in our inner being, or who we come to believe we are.
- Every one of us is a unique package. Unique: a one off, which is not repeated; individual.
- Free will: The ability to make your own decisions, uninfluenced by other factors. We are a product of our selves and the self is unique.
Core Theory: Humanistic Theory Of Self
- Developed in the 1950's by Maslow & Rogers. The aim was to take on the behaviourist psychologists. Followers of Freud, who insisted that we are all controlled by our unconscious.
- Each of us has the power to decide on our actions. We should focus on the present and not the past. We are all motivated to fulfil our potential.
- Rogers: Our self-concept (how we perceive ourselves) begins to develop between 1-2 yrs. This depends on how others reflect back to us. Our ideal self is how we would like to be and the difference between the two determines out self-esteem. If others show us unconditional positive regards then this will raise our self-esteem (a measure of how much we value ourselves).
- Maslow: Hierarchy of needs - basic biological needs at the bottom and self-actualisation at the top (fulfilling our potential).
- When someone's self-concept closely matches their ideal self, they have much more reason to value themselves - they are more or less who they want to be.
Continuing of Humanistic Theory
- Unconditional positive regard: Showing an individual love without expecting certain conditions to be met.
- Self-actualisation: The idea that each of us has an inborn drive to want to fulfil our potential. Maslows Triangle - becoming yourself. Level 1 (furthest away)- 5 (there).
Criticisms of the Humanistic Theory
- The ideas are vague and difficult to measure objectively. People cannot easily study 'yourself'. It is difficult to establish what a persons 'ideal self' is or how much they have 'self-actualised'.
- The theory is not scientific. Ideas difficult to test and measure. The research was not very representative.
- Humanists focus too much on the individual.
- The humanistic theory of the self egnores genetic evidence.
Alternative Theory: Trait Theory
Eysenck: Personality has a genetic basis and a biological explanation (mid-brain activity - reticular activating system - activates higher parts of our brain).
He states that personality in stable and can be measured on a scale: extraversion & neuroticism. So, you can score high or low on the extraversion - introversion score and likewise on the neuroticism - stability score.
Core Study: Van Houtte and Jarvis (1995)
Aim: What part do pers have in the psychosocial development of pre-adolescents.
Procedure: 130 pupils (71 boys & 59 girls) from Illinois selected based on whether they were pet owners or not. They were matched and given a questionnaire on a self-esteem scale. Offered the right to withdraw but all chose to participant. Participants were mainly white American.
1) Marital status of their parent. (married, divorced, separated)
2) Socio-economic status of their parents. (occupation, income, housing)
3) Number of brothers & sisters they had.
Results: Pet owners have a higher self-esteem and higher autonomy. So pets can offer unconditional positive regard for pet owners. 11 yr olds positively influence self-concept. Greater impact on children's lives. Pets for the elderly.
Limitations: Self-report questionnaires may be unreliable, lack of qualitative data, sample not representative.
Applications of Research into the self: Counsellin
- Rogers' client-centred theraphy useful in dealing with depression. (Promotes unconditional positive regard & self actualisation). The client leads more than the therapist. Therapist no longer an expert and more of a helper.
- Relate relationship counselling. Basic aim to to make it possible, for example, for couples in a strained relationship and possibly considering divorce. In 2008, relate counsellors saw 150,000 clients at over 600 counselling centres.
- Careers guidance. Connexions careers service. Follows Rogers method to help children with what to do after education.