Self-concept is the perception of oneself through an in-built mirror showing how one thinks of himself or herself. Self-concept arises from self-evaluation. It is the awareness that arises as concerns to what concepts best describe oneself. Self-concept comprises of the distinction one makes from others concerning oneself and how one views the world around him or her. The process of defining oneself starts from an early age and continues to develop depending on the environment and the persons who influence the child’s growth. It involves recognition of certain properties that are inherently constant and others that can be changed, as regards to the determination of one’s identity. Self-concept is linked to the knowledge of what one’s temperament, likes and dislikes are (Smith, 2000).
Different people have different self-concepts and these differences are best reflected through the behavior and mannerisms of different people. Self-awareness is a deep comprehension of one’s emotions, behavior and thoughts. The understanding also encompasses how these personal traits affect the environment around you in as much as they affect the individual. It is the elation from the point of being merely existing to the discovery of purpose or motivation for deliberately enjoying a fulfilling life. It involves creating of the bridge that allows one to do specific activities and actively reflect the genuine inner character through these activities. Self-awareness acts as a light of the goals that set the path that one ought to follow to enjoy happiness and make the right decisions. It may be a consciousness of how others view you as an individual (public awareness). Furthermore, it may be a conscious discovery of certain aspects regarding oneself.
Public awareness results in compliance to societal standards and norms that are acceptable. It may be physical and psychological; for example an attraction to certain types of women. Self-schemas are the pillars on which the definition of self-concept is built. They are the beliefs that build an individual’s identity and upon which they evaluate themselves as well as others. Schemas are internal mirrors that reflect how people view themselves. Most comparisons to other people are based on these in-built blocks after which the individual forms conclusions about himself. Self-schemas are mostly inspired by stereotypes in society. They normally create certain forms of bias since decisions made by an individual are perpetually determined by these building blocks. The acting self is a culmination of various aspects of an individual. It comprises of how one’s identity interacts with other factors before making certain decisions and acting in a certain manner.
Self-esteem is the level of valuation that one accords to himself or herself. It is an approval of what one is or has become thus far. Scholars note that is the acceptance, or lack thereof, concerning one’s identity and inherent competencies and inadequacies. A positive estimation of oneself results in a high self-esteem. Most individuals with high self-esteem are optimistic, confident, and extroverts. A negative estimation of oneself results in low self-esteem. Consequently, such persons are fidgety, indecisive, pessimistic and lacking in confidence. Self-efficacy is closely related to self-esteem. However, it is unique since it is the belief in one’s competency as far as delivering on a certain task is concerned. It is the confidence that may enable one to attain personal goals, combat challenges and emerge victorious even in difficult tasks. It may be dependent on conditioning by parents and peers, or through prior experience. Persons with high self-efficacies have positive views towards challenges. Such people look forward to mastering such tasks, as opposed to avoiding the challenge altogether. The specificity of self-efficacy means that it can be learned and conditioned.
The judgments made concerning other people are dependent on external and internal attributions. Internal attributions depend on an individual’s way of thinking and sense of awareness. A good illustration is a person who has grown up in a church setting. The estimation such a person will have towards a secular lifestyle is different from one who has grown up in a different setting. Different people will relate differently to the same people. In most situations, people who are like-minded people find it easy to develop friendships among themselves. Self-concept plays a crucial part in judging others since it acts a reference against which an individual analyzes the acts of others. Self-schemas dictate the direction of one’s bias. One’s mood may also determine how one will judge others. Bad moods may cloud sound judgment and result in wrong conclusions in the estimation of other’s character and nature. External factors are also attributed to be responsible in the estimation of others.
The most common measure of judging others is the way they portray themselves- their appearance. One’s appearance in terms of the clothes they are wearing, their confidence, how they talk, their posture and other externalities determine how they are viewed. It is automatic for one to make an initial estimation of another purely based on how they look. Behavior is crucial in displaying the true nature of an individual. Therefore, it is an effective tool in making conclusions regarding others. Behavior is a manifestation of the inner being and reflection of the true person. Observation of how people carry themselves yields a correct analysis of their nature. The fact that reference can be made to past behavior is enough reason to conclude that the behavior is one of the most effective tools for judging others. Consequently, even judicial systems use behavior to measure the innocence of accused people (Baron, 2011).
Attitudes can also be an effective tool for judging others. Attitudes may be expressed verbally or non-verbally. Non-verbal cues are hard to miss since it is easy to judge if one is bored, angry, motivated or indifferent towards a certain activity or person. Facial expressions are good indicators of one’s attitude towards others. This makes it easy to determine whether a person likes you or not. Prejudice indicates preference and hence is effective in reflecting if one dislikes you or not. Bias is sometimes instinctive in indicating whether one can get along with another. Individuals make judgments about others based on prejudice. The prejudice is based on personal preferences and differences in mindsets between two people or groups of people. Stereotyping is one of the most common forms of judgments that is dependent on prior knowledge concerning a certain group of people. A good example is the knowledge that a certain race of people is hardworking or violent or has a certain unique characteristic and using such knowledge to conclude that everyone from this group must be the same (Hogg & Vaughan, 2007).
Consequent encounters with different individuals from that particular group may impede proper judgment. This is because one may fail to see the uniqueness of an individual just because he or she is from a specific group. The same principle applies to discriminating against certain groups of people. Many people are discriminated from getting certain jobs or participating in sports activities because of their race, sex or gender. This is a judgment of people without giving them an opportunity to display their abilities, competencies or lack thereof. This phenomenon is common in the workplace and in various areas of human life. Discrimination may also be based on economic or financial status. Some people are treated better or worse compared to others based on how large their bank accounts are or appear to be.
The power of persuasion is utilized in everyday events and occurrences. Children always need to persuade their parents to get them certain things or to allow them to do certain things such as extend their playtime. Young men use the power of persuasion to court their female counterparts and to convince them that they are the best option for them to spend the rest of their lives with. Salespersons and marketers use the power of persuasion to convince potential buyers that their products are the most suitable and how much beneficial they will be to their client’s lives.
Bosses and leaders use the power of persuasion to motivate their employee to work hard in order to reach the organization’s goals. Some of the techniques used by all these people are common, tailored to suit the varying situations. Advertisements used by salespersons and marketers are made to be unique and enthusiastic. This way they create a sense of interest in the potential buyer. Persuasion requires the setting of a positive mood prior to trying to convince anyone of a certain thing. This is why people who want to persuade others smile. A person in happy mood is easier to persuade than one who is not. Trust is another key element of any persuasion procedure since most people only value advice from people they consider their friends. The appeal to logic reasoning (logos), human emotions (pathos), and character (ethos) enables the process of persuasion to be effective. The message that is to be conveyed in the process of persuasion must be short, relevant and precise to ensure that the person being persuaded does not lose interest. The persuader must be enthusiastic, eloquent and believable (Kassin & Markus, 2014).
Aggressive behavior causes an individual to conform to set rules due to the fear of the consequences of certain actions. This is why corporal punishment has proven to improve obedience and discipline in young children. In other instances, aggression cues such as threats reprimand and similar cues cause an individual to recognize the possibility of pain becoming a possible consequence. This fear prompts retraction from a certain action. Prosocial behavior such as volunteering and giving back to society promotes conformity and obedience since it acts as a show of empathy. Parents use this tool to acts as a good example for their children to model and hence ensuring that they conform to societal or personal rules. The building of strong relationships based on genuine love is the strongest force in influencing others to conform and to be obedient. This is because it brings a willingness to please others due to the concern of not hurting them (Stainton, 2011).
There are various types of social groups. One that meets regularly to discuss various matters is a recurrent group. Formal groups have structured memberships and regulations that are adhered to. Informal groups are most common due to the lack of written rules; as is found among friends and family. Groupthink may cause an individual to make rush and wrong decisions. Loss of personal identity and goals is a common effect of groupthink. Groupthink kills the uniqueness and originality of many people as they struggle to conform to the ideologies set by the majority.
Social psychology is a field of study that analyzes human behavior. The technological changes that have occurred in the world have changed how people relate with one another. With reduced socialization in the world due to the effect of social media, human relations will become strained if no interventions are made. New research regarding the dynamism of how the virtual and actual relationships interact may help predict human behavior in the phase of changing technology.
Smith, E. R., & Mackie, D. M. (2000). Social psychology. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
Kassin, S. M., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2014). Social psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Hogg, M. A., & Vaughan, G. M. (2007). Social psychology. Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Stainton, R. W. (2011). Social psychology: Experimental and critical approaches. Maidenhead:
Open University Press.
Baron, R. A. (2011). Social psychology + new mypsychlab with etext. S.l.: Prentice Hall.