The Self: Development and Issues
of Culture, Gender, Ethnicity, and Age
“I am myself with ardour.” F. Scott Maxwell, The Measure of My Days
After reading this chapter:
The student will demonstrate knowledge of various approaches to defining and studying the self.
The student will be familiar with research and theory on the development and significance of three aspects
of the self: self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.
The student will be familiar with Erikson’s and Marcia’s models of identity development.
The student will be aware of the cultural basis of the self and be able to compare and contrast the self in
individualist and collectivist cultures.
The student will be aware of the effect of gender on the development of the self.
The student will appreciate racial/ethnic differences in the formation of the self.
The student will understand the effect of age on the self.
Defining the Self
The self consists of all the knowledge, feelings, and attitudes we have about our own being as
unique, functioning individuals.
B. The I-self is the active observer of experience, the knower, the phenomenal self.
C. The me-self is the observed, the known, self-concept.
D. The looking glass self is largely derived from our evaluation of feedback from others.
E. Margaret Mead posited that we begin to take the perspective of other people in judging ourselves,
incorporating their standards into our sense of who we are – the generalized other.
II. The Self-Concept: The Cognitive Theory of Self
A. Self-concept refers to the way we perceive and describe ourselves.
B. Self-concept is the cognitive component of self and relies heavily on the work of Jean Piaget, who
described three intellectual tendencies that direct how the mind handles information.
1. Information is organized into meaningful units called schemas.
2. We adapt to new information by either adding it to existing schemas...