More Theories on the Self

* Self-awareness theory
* Self-perception theory
* Overjustification effects
* Self-handicapping
 

Self-Awareness Theory

* Focusing on ourselves leads us to compare current behavior to internal standards and values
* In other words, becoming self-conscious leads us to become objective observers of our own behavior
 

More Self-Awareness

* You can become self-aware by seeing yourself in a mirror, being in front of an audience, watching yourself on videotapeÖ
* If your current behavior is inconsistent with your values or standards, you then either change your behavior or flee from the state of
        self-awareness
 

Limitations of Self-Awareness

* Even when we are self-aware, we often can't be accurate about why we feel or act the way we do
* We come up with causal theories to explain our behaviors and feelings, but these are not always accurate
* Sometimes thinking about why we feel a certain way even leads to attitude change
 

Self-Perception Theory

* When our attitudes or feelings are ambiguous, we often infer them by observing our own behavior
* In other words, we often decide whether or not we like something based on whether or not we do it (as opposed to vice versa)
 

More Self-Perception

* Example: Do I like lettuce?  I've never thought about it before, but I guess I must since I eat almost everyday in a salad.
* Cognitive dissonance makes same prediction:
    - If I don't like lettuce but I'm willing to eat it in salad, this might lead to dissonance arousal, and I will change my lettuce
        attitude accordingly.
* With external justification (if I'm paid to eat lettuce), no attitude change or self-perception
 

More on external justification

* When extrinsic motivation is very strong, people discount the influence of intrinsic motivations
* This leads to overjustification effect, decreasing the likelihood of my engaging in the behavior in the future
 

Back to lettuce...

* Someone offers to pay me $1,000 for each day this week that I eat lettuce
* Even though I eat it anyway, I come to view my lettuce-eating as resulting from the $$ incentive (thereby discounting my internal
        motivations to eat lettuce anyway)
* This overjustification to eat lettuce might lead to me stop eating lettuce altogether once the week is over and the $$ justification ends
 

Rewards and Behavior

* When rewards provide an overjustification for behavior, the behavior becomes less likely in the absence of rewards
* This is especially the case for task-contingent rewards for simply doing something
* Performance-contingent rewards depend on how well you do the task, and this might actually increase intrinsic motivation
 

Self-Handicapping

* Definition: setting up excuses that we can later use if we do poorly on a task
Examples:
    - Staying out late before a test
    - Getting drunk before a big game
    - Playing mini-golf left-handed
* If you fail, you have a built-in excuse
* If you succeed, you're that much better!
 

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