HSBH 1005 - Week 6 Lecture - Identity 20

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Published on December 15, 2008

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Identity and Health Behaviour : Identity and Health Behaviour Lecturer: Dr Louise Ellis Course: HSBH 1005 Date: 3rd September 08 Overview : Overview We will be looking at: Various conceptualisations of the self Theories of Personality The Infant - The emerging self The Child - Emerging self-concepts The Adolescent - The identity crisis Critical thinking exercise What is ‘personality’? : What is ‘personality’? An organised combination of attributes, motives, values and behaviours unique to each individual. Personality trait: a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations Five factor model of personality traits (McCrae & Costa, 1987, 1997, 1999): Extraversion: energetic, tendency to seek stimulation & the company of others. Neuroticism: tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily. Openness: curious, imaginative, flexible, unconventional attitudes. Agreeableness: compassionate and cooperative towards others. Conscientiousness: disciplined, dutiful, dependable & aim for achievement. Characteristics of the “Big Five”: Factors are dimensions; Stable beginning with young adulthood; Partly Heritable; and Universal. What is ‘self-concept? : What is ‘self-concept? Your perceptions, positive or negative, of your unique attributes and traits. “The totality of a complex, organized, and dynamic system of learned beliefs, attitudes and opinions that each person holds to be true about his or her personal existence” (Purkey, 1988) Self-concept is different from self-esteem (feelings of personal worth and level of satisfaction regarding one's self) Self-concept development is a continuous process. In the healthy personality there is constant assimilation of new ideas and expulsion of old ideas throughout life. There are a several different components of self-concept (Eg. physical, academic, and social). The self-concept is not restricted to the present (Eg. past selves and future selves). What is ‘identity’? : What is ‘identity’? Overall sense of who you are, where you are heading, and where you fit into society. “people’s concepts of who they are, of what sort of people they are, and how they relate to others” (Hogg and Abrams, 1988) “relatively stable, role-specific understandings and expectations about self” (Wendt, 1992) The process of developing an identity begins with the infant's discovery of self, continues throughout childhood, and becomes the focus of adolescence. Eric Erickson was the first to draw major attention to identity and adolescence. Identity is multidimensional and may include physical and sexual identity, occupational goals, religious beliefs, and ethnic background. Adolescents explore these dimensions, and usually make commitments to aspects of their identity as they move into early adulthood. Psychodynamic Perspectives : Psychodynamic Perspectives Includes all the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud, which focus on unconscious mental states. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was one of the first, and one of the most influential, theories of how the personality develops from childhood to adulthood Sigmund Freud: 1856-1939 Freud: Structure of Personality : Freud: Structure of Personality Three key components of personality: the id, the ego and the superego. A person’s behaviour is the outcome of interactions among these three components. Id: primitive, instinctive component that operates according to the pleasure principle. Ego: decision-making component that operates according to the reality principle. Superego: moral component that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong. In a mature, healthy personality, a dynamic balance operates. Psychological problems arise when psychic energy is unevenly distributed among the id, ego and superego. Freud: Psychosexual stages : Freud: Psychosexual stages Psychosexual stages: developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality. Child moves through 5 psychosexual stages: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. At each stage, the id’s impulses and social demands come into conflict. Fixation is the failure to move forward from one stage to another. Did not see psychosexual growth continuing throughout adulthood (ends at adolescence). Personality is formed during the first 5 years of life and remains fairly stable thereafter. Erikson: Psychosocial stages : Erikson: Psychosocial stages Eight major stages, or conflicts: Trust vs. mistrust (birth to 1 year) Autonomy vs. shame (1 to 3 years) Initiative vs. guilt (3 to 6 years) Industry vs. inferiority (6 to 12 years) Identity vs. role confusion (12 to 20 years) Intimacy vs. isolation (20 to 40 years) Generativity vs. stagnation (40 to 65 years) Integrity vs. despair (65 years and older) Erikson vs. Freud : Erikson vs. Freud Similarities: People everywhere progress through systematic stages of development, undergoing similar personality changes at similar ages. Powerful effects of childhood experience. Differences: Personality is not set in stone during the first 5 years of life; human development continues during adulthood. Less emphasis on sexual urges as drivers of development and more emphasis on social influences (eg. Peers, teachers, schools and broader culture) More positive view of human nature, seeing people as active in their development, largely rational, and able to overcome the effets of harmful early experiences. Behavioural perspectives : Behavioural perspectives A theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should only study observable behaviour. Originated with the work of John B. Watson: Associated today with the name of B.F. Skinner, who made his reputation by testing Watson’s theories in the laboratory. “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.” (Watson, 1925) B.F. Skinner: 1904-1990 Skinner’s ideas applied to personality : Skinner’s ideas applied to personality Emphasis on overt behaviour. No provision for internal personality structures (similar to Freud’s id, ego and superego) because they can’t be observed. Behaviour is fully determined by environmental stimuli. Explains how various response tendencies are acquired through learning. Personality development is a continuous lifelong journey. No developmental stages. Paid no special importance to early childhood experience. Bandura’s social cognitive theory : Bandura’s social cognitive theory Rejects universal stages of development and the existence of enduring personality traits. Personality is largely shaped through learning. Emphasis on human cognition. “people are self-organising, proactive, self-reflecting, and self-regulating, not just reactive organisms shaped and shepherded by external events” (Bandura, 1999) Reciprocal determinism: internal mental events, external environmental events, and overt behaviour all influence one another. The Infant: The emerging self : The Infant: The emerging self Do infants have any awareness that they exist or any sense of themselves as distinct individuals? Most theorists believe that infants are born without a sense of self. Self-recognition: the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or photograph. Lewis and Brooks-Gunn (1979): “Rouge test”. Not until 18 months do infants show any clear signs of self-recognition. Is that me in the mirror? The Infant: The emerging self : The Infant: The emerging self Categorical self: a person’s classification of the self along socially significant dimensions such as age and sex. This usually occurs once toddlers display self-recognition What does it take to become self-aware? Cognitive development Social experiences The “looking glass self” is the idea that a child’s self concept is largely determined by the ways other people respond to him or her (Charles Cooley, 1902). The Child: Elaborating on a sense of self : The Child: Elaborating on a sense of self By the age of 2 toddlers are using personal pronouns (I, me, my and mine) when referring to the self. Preschoolers self-concept is very concrete and physical. Their self-descriptions are typically based on their physical appearance (‘I’m THIS big!’), possessions (‘I have a puppy’), typical activities (‘I go to preschool’), or skills (‘I can tie my own shoes’). Young children are less likely to mention their psychological traits or inner qualities They tend to use global terms such as nice or mean and good or bad. The self-esteem of young children is often inflated, which may give them the energy and enthusiasm they need to explore and try new things.  However, their self-evaluations are not especially accurate or stable. The Child: Elaborating on a sense of self : The Child: Elaborating on a sense of self Self-conceptions become more sophisticated around age 8, largely because of cognitive development. Social comparison: using information about how they compare with other individuals to characterise and evaluate themselves. As children move into middle childhood, their overall self-evaluations are less globally positive than they were in preschool, but they are also more thoughtful and differentiated.  Differentiation among 5 aspects of self-perception: scholastic competence; social acceptance; athletic competence; behavioural conduct, and physical appearance. Self-concept is multidimensional: researchers now tend to look at how children evaluate themselves in specific domains Through the primary school years and into adolescence self-perceptions in these areas become increasingly accurate and realistic. The child: Influences on self-esteem : The child: Influences on self-esteem Why do some children have higher self-esteem than others? Competence Social Feedback (eg. from parents teachers, and peers) Child’s own thoughts and perceptions School experiences Illness, disability or injury Culture Religion Adolescent transition : Adolescent transition Takes place between ages 12 – 18 “one of the most fascinating and complex transitions in the life span: a time of accelerated growth and change second only to infancy” (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1995). During this time frame adolescents need to deal with: Physical and sexual maturation New cognitive capabilities Desire for personal independence independence Complex ethical and moral reasoning Increases in peer pressure Adolescence: The search for identity : Adolescence: The search for identity Erikson’s 5th stage: identity vs. role confusion. Main challenge for adolescence is to form a clear sense of identity. Adolescents must integrate the many separate perceptions that are part of self-concept into a coherent sense of self. Wrestle with issues such as selecting a career, college, religious system, and political party. Erikson believed that many people experience an ‘identity crisis’. Adolescence: The search for identity : Adolescence: The search for identity James Marcia (1966, 1980): the presence or absence of crisis and commitment can combine in various ways to produce 4 different identity statuses. Not stages people pass through, but orientations that may occur at a particular time. Marcia’s four identity statuses Adolescence: The search for identity : Adolescence: The search for identity Foreclosure: made premature commitments to visions, values and roles prescribed by their parents. Diffusion: not made a commitment; evades the struggle. Moratorium: delaying commitment for a while to experiement with alternative ideologies and careers. Achievement: involves arriving at a sense of self and direction after some consideration of alternative possibilities. Time of storm and stress? : Time of storm and stress? G. Stanley Hall (1904): the adolescent years are characterised by convulsive instability and disturbing inner turmoil. Evidence: Lower self-perceptions Lower school achievement More psychological problems Increase in suicide rates More recent evidence suggests that “storm and stress” is not universal. “not all adolescents experience storm and stress, but storm and stress is more likely during adolescence than at other ages” (Arnett, 1999). Factors that affect adjustment : Factors that affect adjustment Adolescents can be likened to the dolls described below: “Imagine three dolls laying side by side. One doll is made of china, another is made of metal, and the third doll is made of rubber. A person strikes a hammer against each doll. The china doll shatters into a million pieces, never to be repaired. The metal doll is dented, but doesn’t break. The rubber doll barely shows any marks and bounces back to its original shape.” (Clark, 1995) Research findings: Individual factors Coping resources (problem solving, seeking social support, avoidance) Expectancies for success (optimism) Contextual factors Social support (family and peers) School connectedness Critical thinking exercise: Big fish in a little pond : Critical thinking exercise: Big fish in a little pond If the goal is to have a high self-esteem, is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? Evidence suggests that schoolwise average achievement is negatively related to academic self-concept. That is, a student’s academic achievement tends to be less positive when the average academic achievement of his/her classmates is high than when school average academic achievement is low. Implications for: Gifted students? Students with intellectual impairments?

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