social psychology - self and identity

  • Created by: M.e.D
  • Created on: 08-01-16 18:29

two importnat questions:

  • is there a core self above concious exeriences
  • is identity socailly  created

is there a core self

is identity more than just a bundle of concious experiences 


  • 18th century philoshipher 
  • in + to concious experiences there is a essemntial self that is the agent
  • the self experiences expereinces and then acts on them 

this percpective is known as ego theory 

idea that there is some essnce beyond our concious experiences - something more than   just a bundle of concious experiences - that something is the self


  • Hume
  • there is nothing beyond concious exoerince
  • each time  we contmeplate our thoughts, feelings ect. that is simply just another vconcious experience
  • bundle theory - we are simply the result of our concious experinces 'bundle of mental experiences'
  • but then why is thought continous across different experinces
  • maybe cause we have a core self
  • of maybe not......
  • willima james (1890) 
  • thought is 'senisbly concious' 
  • we have a 'stream of thought - carrying us through conciousnss and subjective life

Dennett (1991)

  • we think about oursleves as a s eperte me being inside us - we feell like we are more than this
  • we construct or world - with some 'self' at the core
  • we have stream of concious though - but a web of narratives or representations of self that that tie them togther
  • it is our narrtiaves or represnetations that make us think  there is a 'self' inside us whenin relaity there isnt
  • "our tales are spun, but for the most part wedont spin them, they spin us" (Dennett, 1991, p.418, cited in blackmomre 2010, p.8)
  • basicallly there are core values (narratives of self) and our behviour should be consistent

idenity is socially constructed

symbolic interactionalism

a collection of approaches concerned with the ways in which sense of self is scoially based

  • Cooley( 1902/22)
  • idenitity is intrinsically linked to sociiety
  • Mead (1934) developed this
  • our sense of m is actually (At eleast party) dependant on how experince other peoples conceptions pof us when we engage in social interaction
  • snese of self = malleable - ccan change as interactions change
  • sense of self = social - depends on interactions

support and research

  • shrauger and schoeneman (79)
  • people dont se themselevs as others actually saw them
  • but howthey think other poelpe saw them
  • we percieve poeple as thinking u=of us in a certain way and this informs our 'self'

Kuhn and mcpartland (1954)

  • 2878 undergraduates
  • asked to write answers to the queastion 'whio am i?'
  • people tended to write more direclty socially anchored statemnets
  • consnual statemtents = e..groups or classes they belong too

but if idenitty is so mallebale why to we have a sense of contuinutity?```

Rossan (87)

  • diffeniates betwene continousn "core" and peripherale "sub- indenties"


  • bundle theory contradicts sense of self (a western sense)
  • but this does not mean it is not true, just hilights how our common snese works
  • Ego theory = more consistenant with common snese views
  • but no clear specific specification fo…


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