Ginger, J.T, Joaquin

What is Self Concept?

Self Concept is the image that we have of ourselves. This image develops in many ways, self concept is composed in two key parts, personal identity and social identity. Personal identity is personal traits and other characteristics that make each person unique. Social identity includes the groups we belong to including our community, religion, college, and other groups. Human psychologist Caral Rogers believed that there were three different parts of self-concept. Which are self image, or how you see yourself, self-esteem, or how much you value yourself, and then ideal self, or how you wish you could be.

James Marcia's Identity Theory: Understanding Adolescent's Search for Identity

             James Marcia's Identity Theory is said to be the most accurate and popular theory out there. It captures four main stages and forms them into one main method to classify identity. The first stage is identity diffusion. People that are in this stage have basically no idea who they are or what they want. The second stage is called foreclosure. This stage includes people that have made commitments to beliefs and a future but without truly exploring options. The third stage is called moratorium. People are persistent in exploring their options and experimenting with different identities. The fourth and last stage is called identity achievement. People have explored many beliefs and have made commitments that make them comfortable and happy.

Social Identity Theory: Saul McLeod, 2008 (article)

Social Identity Theory is a theory about how one shapes their identity, based on the foundation of social customs set in place by the members of a social group, in which a person in apart of. There are three stepping stones to place into a group(s).  The first is categorization. People will find a group that they are most similar to. This can be in race, gender, job occupation, etc. After finding what group one will fit in,  we move to the next step, Social Identification.  Social Identification, is the step where the identity begins to form. A new group member will adapt to the rest of the group's social customs and shape their identity to "fit in" with the rest of the group. After this, we find the final stage, Social Comparison. This stage is where a group member will compare themselves and their group to other groups.

The Looking Glass Self: How Our Self-Image is Shaped by Society

This "mirror" theory is a theory about how our interactions and judgments of other people shape how we see ourselves. We view ourselves comes from the perception and thoughts of how we believe others see us. Charles Horton Cooley says "that a person's self grows out of a person's social interactions with others." This process has three steps, according to Cooley. The first step is we imagine how we appear to another person. Second, we imagine the opinion of that other person based on our appearance. Last, we imagine how the person feels about us, based on those judgments. This thought process is unintentional. We unconsciously shape our self-image on the combination of what other thinks of us and how we see ourselves. This theory closely connects with how our self-esteem is.

  • How do we form and shape our identities?
    • We shape our identities by the experiences that we have in life. Our identities are also greatly influenced by the way we are raised.
  • In a culture where we are bombarded with ideas and images of “what we should be”, how does one form an identity that remains true and authentic for her/himself?
    • They merge social customs from each group they associate with to shape their personality.

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