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Self concept, self identity, and social identity

Video transcript
Voiceover: Hi everyone, okay, so in the next set of videos we're going to be talking about the concept of self identity. But before we do that we need to start of by defining some very important key terms and grasping the understanding behind these terms. So the first is the idea of self-concept. Now, I'm sure you've heard of this before, and I think everyone has a loose interpretation of what it is, their own interpretation. But let's talk about it in terms of what psychologists say. So self-concept, according to psychologists, is a term used to refer to how someone thinks about, perceives or even evaluates themselves. So to be self-aware is to have a self-concept. Now, the development of self-concept has two aspects, and the first of these is the existential self. And once we have existential self and idea of that, we can eventually move on to the categorical self. And I'll explain this relationship in a second. So basically, the existential self is the most basic part of self-concept. So it's a sense of being separate and distinct from others. So these are two very important components of the existential self. We are each separate and distinct entities or objects from others, from other objects, from other people. And an existential self is understanding and having awareness that the self is constant. So it doesn't change in life; it's pretty constant throughout life. So if someone comes up to you and says, I'm tired. That's not their self-concept, that's not a good definition of who they are, because it's a temporary state. They are not tired all the time. So self-concept is consistent or constant. And a child as young as two or three months, baby, even realizes this. They realize that they exist separately from others, and that they exist over time and space. So this arises due to the part the relationship the child has with the world. So you've always seen that when a baby smiles, someone else smiles back. Or have you ever seen babies play with the mobiles hanging above their crib? They have this relationship with other objects, and they realize that they are separate from that. Now moving on. Once we realize that we have an existential self, we can formulate a categorical self. In a categorical self comes once this baby realizes that they are separate. So it's becoming aware that even though we're separate and distinct objects or entities or beings, we also exist in the world. We exist with other objects and beings and entities, in that, each of these objects has properties. So, at this point, the baby's growing. And it's becoming aware that he or she is an object with properties. So usually, young toddlers categorize themselves by age or by gender; sometimes even by some skills they have or even by their size, how big or small they are. Now the two of the first categories that young children categorize themselves is by age and gender. You always hear little kids saying, I'm three, or I'm five, or I'm a girl. So in early childhood, these categories that children apply themselves to are very concrete. But eventually as they grow older, as we grow older, we start to categorize ourselves by including some more internal psychological traits. So we start to compare ourselves. We start to make evaluations with other people. We start to categorize ourselves maybe by our careers or by the type of person that we want to be. So these are more developed categories. Now, you probably remember talking about Carl Rogers. And I'll just refresh your memory, but he's important in the humanistic branch of psychology. So Carl Rogers believed that the self-concept had three different components. And the first of these is self-image. So we've all heard of this word before. Self-image is the view we have of ourselves. So there we are. It's what we believe we are. The second part of his components is self-esteem. So we can use this word along with self-worth. How much value do we place on ourselves, and I'm going to put a little heart here to kind of represent that, so how much love do we give ourselves, how much do we love ourselves? How much value do we place on ourselves? And the third is the ideal self. So it's what we wish to be. What we aspire to be. I'm gonna give it a little star to represent our ideal self. Okay, so developing this idea of self-concept a little further, we can use a theory called the Social Identity theory. So the Social Identity theory has two parts. It is, it defines it, it defines a theory in terms of two parts. And those two parts is the personal identity, which is pretty self-explanatory, so this is the things that are unique to each person, like personality traits. And the other is our social identity, so these include the groups you belong to in our community. So in order to understand the social, Social Identity theory, and how we categorize ourselves personally and socially, there's a mental process involved in this. So this process involves three steps, and these are the steps we use when we're evaluating ourselves and others in the relationship between person personal and social identities. So first, all humans categorize themselves. We all categorize our, ourselves without even knowing it. We actually do this entire amount of mental process I'm gonna talk about without really knowing we do it, just, I guess, part of human nature. So we categorize ourselves in order to understand objects and identify them. So we categorized people into groups. Ones to which we belong and ones that are different from us. So we use social categories like race, so black, white, Australian, Chinese, Christian, student, accountant, whatever it may be. We categorize ourselves and people through these categories. And if we can assign people to a category, that tells us things about that person. It, it kind of puts a definition to them. A prejudgment without fully knowing the person, we have some sort of categor, categorical term for them. Now, the second step, once we categorize, is, identification. Now, let me jump back a little bit and just say that not all people belong to just one category. We can belong to many different categories. Okay, so the second step is identification. So this is when we adopt the identity of the group we have categorized ourselves as to belonging. So if we've categorized our yourselves as students, the chances are we're gonna eventually adopt the identity of a student. We're gonna start acting like a student and behaving like a student. So this role starts to feel like a norm. We're starting to conform to the norm of the group, the category we belong to. And there's an emotional significance to identification, because our self-esteem, which we talked about up here, starts to become bound with this group identification and sense of belonging. And the final step is social comparison. We're always comparing ourselves to others, all the time, subconsciously, consciously whatever it is. So once we categorize and identify, we're going to eventually start comparing ourselves with other groups. We're comparing other groups with other groups. And the reason we do this is to maintain our self-esteem. We want to compare ourselves to other groups in a favorable way. And this whole idea is actually very critical in understanding prejudice. Because once two groups identify themselves as separate and rivals, then we start to compete in order to maintain self-esteem. So we're gonna look at self-esteem at another point. But just understand that this plays a very important role in this mental process that we formulate in developing a social identity.