Processes in Social Psychology

Chapters 3 and 4 discuss important concepts related to our social self: how we come to think about and view ourselves and then the factors that influence how others perceive us. These factors and processes are critical to developing our overall sense of self and well-being. How we think and feel about ourselves influences how we react and respond to others, how we view life, what kinds of life goals we set for ourselves, the motivations we have in life, and our general sense of personal value, competency, and quality of life.

We can all think of experiences we had as child, as a teen, at home, in school, at work, socially, with family, with friends, etc. that impacted us in significantly positive/affirming ways and negative/hurtful ways. Those experiences affect how we see the world and ourselves and how we chose to interact with others. The text talks about processes we use to develop a sense of how we define ourselves (self-concept, self-schema, self-esteem), how we perceive life (affective forecasting, belief in a just world, cultural values, confirmation bias, halo effect, fundamental attribution error, counterfactual thinking, attribution biases), processes we use to evaluate ourselves (self-perceptions, social comparisons, introspection, self-discrepancy), processes we use to bolster our sense of self (implicit egoism, self-serving beliefs, self-handicapping, basking in reflected glory, downward social comparisons), and how we choose to interact with others (strategic self-presentation, self-verification).

There are many ways we are not self-aware. Many people perceive themselves one way while those who know them perceive them very differently. We live our lives with underlying beliefs and approaches that our life experiences have built into us and we “react” to life based on those experiences. Reflect on what some of your basic patterns – beliefs and behaviors – that characterize your approach to life. Some people find the world a safe and positive place with which they want to connect and interact. Others find the world a dangerous and threatening place against which they need to defend themselves. Most of us are a mixture of those polarities and have developed an approach to life that balances different motivations and concerns.

Please describe two of your basic beliefs and resulting behaviors about yourself and the world. Explain how those beliefs influence your choices and behaviors. Describe what you think is positive and what is negative about these basic beliefs, what has been helpful about them, what you’d like to change about them, and a plan for making changes. Then I challenge you to come up with a plan to make yourself accountable to work on those changes. Changing habits and beliefs which moves us out of a comfort zone is difficult, but it is much more possible than we think if we have a plan and follow it over time.

In response posts to your classmates, offer specific examples of how you may have dealt with similar thinking and behaviors, lessons learned, or how you may have been affected by someone with a similar beliefs and behaviors. Include related “You Tube” or article links if they can support your point.

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