Annotated Links

African American Racial Identity Lab Provides an overview of the work of Robert Sellers and the African American Racial Identity Lab at the University of Michigan. Includes presentations, publications, measures, and descriptions of current research studies on Identity Development, Racial Socialization, Racial Discrimination, Identity and Well-being and more. Most research reports are available in PDF format on the site.

Are You a Different Person in a Different Language? People who are bicultural and speak two languages may actually shift their personalities when they switch from one language to another, according to research by David Luna, Torsten Ringberg, and Laura A. Peracchio using a modified version of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI). The original article was published in the Journal of Consumer Research but you can read an extensive and critical summary of this article and related research here by Mark Liberman on his Language Log blog.

Bonding with Avatar May Alter Perception of Virtual Reality When individuals create their own avatar and modify it, the difficult situations faced by their alter egos may influence the perception of the virtual environment according to research by Shyam Sundar and colleagues summarized here for PsychCentral, May 6, 2013.

Ethics: Psychopharmacology and the Self From the website: The development of psychotropic drugs has stimulated a renewed interest in questions about what constitutes "the self" and one's personality. Does an authentic, static, and incorrigible self exist? Do antidepressants alter, enhance, or corrupt the authentic self? Is cognitive enhancement possible and desirable, and if so, is it ethical? This module, prepared by the High School Bioethics Project at the University of Pennsylvania, takes students and teachers on an exploration of the impact of psychotropic drugs on our understanding of the self, including the use of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, drugs often used by students as study aids. Includes a downloadable pdf filled with group projects, individual activities, teacher-directed classroom discussion, case study, and references. Written for high school students, much of the information can be revised for use in some college classes.

Facebook Profiles Raise Users' Self-Esteem and Affect Behavior A Facebook profile is an ideal version of self, full of photos and posts curated for the eyes of family, friends and acquaintances. A new study shows that this version of self can provide beneficial psychological effects and influence behavior according to research by Catalina Toma sand colleagues published in Media Psychology and summarized here in Science Daily, May 31, 2013.

Goal Setting Powerful Written Goals In 7 Easy Steps by Gene Donohue for the web page Top Achievement, a self-improvement website.

I control therefore I am: chimps self-aware Chimpanzees are self-aware and can anticipate the impact of their actions on the environment around them, an ability once thought to be uniquely human according to research by Takaaki Kaneko and Masaki Tomonaga and summarized here in PhysOrg.Com, May 4, 2011.

I feel like a Different Person Wray Herbert summarizes the work of Claire Ashton-James on the relationship between mood and identity in his blog We're Only Human from March 12, 2009. He takes up the question of How much of our self is subject to the vagaries of our moods? by summarizing Shton-James's research on mood, attitudes, and cultural stereotypes.

Imposterism or Self-presentation? In this article from the New York Times, Benedict Carey reviews current research which suggests that Feelings of phoniness appear to alter people’s goals in unexpected ways and may also protect them against subconscious self-delusions.

Mirrors Don't Lie. Mislead? Oh Yes. A good overview of current research on self-recognition in humans and other animals, self-awareness, and other interesting mirror-related phenomena by science writer Natalie Angier. Published: July 22, 2008. (Remember that an on-line subscription to The New York Times is necessary but free to view this and other articles from The New York Times).

Monkey Hijacks Photographer's Camera and Shots Self-Portraits While filming macaque monkeys in an Indonesian national park, photographer David Slater lost his camera to one of his subjects. The resulting self-portraits are both comical and all too human and illustrate nicely the question of self-recognition as a uniquely human capacity.

Multiple Identities for Everyone! With the many tools and contexts available now on line for people to define and express themselves there is an increase in the number of users who construct multiple online presences. Pundits predict that this splintered approach is likely to increase. What this means for identity, friendships, and social identity is up for debate.

Online Images Have you ever wondered what was behind people's profiles on social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace? According to researcher Adriana Manago at UCLA, young people use these sites to explore who they are by posting particular images, pictures or text. Read a summary of this research, originally published in the November-December issues of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, in Science Daily from November 22, 2008.

People Present Themselves in Ways That Counteract Prejudices Toward Their Group Individuals from stigmatized groups choose to present themselves in ways that counteract the specific stereotypes and prejudices associated with their group. This, according to a study by Rebecca Neel and her colleagues published in Psychological Science and summarized here in Science Daily, April 17, 2013.

Personality Identity: A Philosophical Look Philosopher Eric T. Olson wrote this philosophical discussion of identity for the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, based on his piece Personal Identity in The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, edited by S. Stich and T. Warfield, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

Personality Plagiarism From the Mind Hacks web site:When you present yourself to potential suitors in an online dating profile, you are, in the terminology of psychology, 'constructing the self'. Perhaps it's not surprising then, that the most attractive profiles are being ripped off and plagiarized by lazy daters wanting to freeload on the most creative members' personalities.

The Remarkable Human Self According to Roy Baumeister in his Award Address delivered at the 25th APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC, the self is not part of the human anatomy, but rather a powerful interface between our animal bodies and the complex cultural systems in which we live. Without the concept of self … scientific analysis of social and economic processes would be all but impossible. You can read a summary of his talk or watch a video of the entire talk (48 minutes and 24 seconds) here. Posted January 2014.

Scholarly Reflections On The ‘Selfie’ Oxford dictionaries choose ’selfie’ as their Word of the Year 2013. To celebrate, several scholars from different fields shared their thoughts on this phenomenon including psychologists Robert Arkin and Mark R. Leary.

Self-Conceptions from Childhood to Adolescence: A Brief Experiment. All graduating seniors in the Psychology Department at Sweet Briar College leave behind a legacy in the form of a project which inspired them as a student. Alumnae to Chantal Yavari '02 summarizes the results of a study she did in which four participants aged 5, 11, 16, and 20 answer the question "Who am I?". This makes a good class exercise as well as providing interesting examples for a class on identity development.

Self-Handicapping and Procrastination Summarizes research on self-handicapping and procrastination which suggests that even though procrastination is often used as a self-handicapping strategy, they are not the same thing. While people use self-handicapping to protect their self-esteem, chronic procrastinators may just be delaying a aversive task rather than protecting themselves. Procrastinators and self-handicappers may have different motives for engaging in the same behavior.

Self-Handcapping Summarizes the work of McCrea (2008) on the difference between excuse-making and self-handicapping and common ways people self-handicap.

Self-Promotion: Why Arnold's Self-Statue Is Very Serious. Really. Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a larger-than-life bronze statue of himself in his body-building days as part of a museum dedicated to Schwarzenegger in his hometown of Thal, Austria. Is this an example of egoism or merely the latest example of self-promotion harkening back to the ancients? From LiveScience, October 2, 2011, by Stephanie Pappas.

Self in Teaching Social Psychology Jonathan Mueller at North Central College, in Naperville, Illinois, put together the extensive website (and newsletter!) Resources for Teaching Social Psychology. Check out his resources for the self.

Self-Recognition: Cross-Cultural Reflections on the Mirror Self-Recognition Test. The British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog urges caution when extrapolating Western research findings to other cultures. While early studies suggested that children in non-western cultures were delayed in self-recognition, better-designed research found that they were merely more compliant or timid than western children, failing to question the researcher's intentions by marking their foreheads in a such a strange manner.

The Soundtrack of Your Life Describes an activity where students identify eight major events in their lives (e.g., deaths, first car, entering high school, etc.) and find songs (music and lyrics) to correspond to these events, designing an imaginary soundtrack of their lives. Students write about the experience, submit their compilations, and/or present a song to the class with an explanation of its import. Originally designed to be a writing assignment, with some additional guidance this activity can be used to illustrate narrative psychology, the self, Erikson's stages, and other theories of personality psychology.

We Actually 'Become' Happy Vampires or Contented Wizards When Reading a Book [R]eading satisfies a deeply felt need for human connection because we not only feel like the characters we read about but, psychologically speaking, become part of their world and derive emotional benefits from the experience according to research by Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young, published this month in Psychological Science and summarized here in Science Daily, May 10, 2011.

What Does Your Avatar Say About You? Old or young, beautiful or sinister -- the choices are endless when designing an avatar or a virtual alter ego. In the end, do people choose one that is really different from themselves? Usually not, according to new Concordia University research that shows in most cases, avatars reflect the personality of their creators according to research by H. Onur Bodur and Jean-Francois Belisle published in the August issue of Psychology and Marketing and summarized in Science Daily, July 26, 2010.

What Does Your Facebook Profile Picture Say About You? As one of the finalists of the BBC Radio 4's So You Want to Be a Scientist? project 17-year old Nina Jones conducted a survey of Facebook users and identified the interesting ways in which people used their photos as a form of self-presentation.

What Does Your Handshake Say About You? While not exactly a window into the soul, handshakes do play an important part in generating a first impression. People can accurately judge a target's extraversion and, for men only, conscientiousness, from a handshake. Given that consciousness is an effective predictor of success at work, both men and women may want to think about the impression their handshakes create, according to research by Frank Bernieri and Kristen Petty published this month in Social Influence and summarized here in The British Psychological Society's Research Digest, May 13, 2011.

When the Self Emerges: Is That Me in the Mirror? An overview of the mirror test which remains the best experiment yet developed for examining the emergence of self-concept in infants according to Jeremy Dean in PsyBlog.

When Self-Esteem Is Threatened, People Pay With Credit Cards People shop for high status items when they're feeling low, and they're more likely to make those expensive purchases on credit, according to a study in Social Psychological and Personality Science by Niro Sivanathan and Nathan Pettit and summarized here in Science Daily, May 6, 2011.

Assignments, Exercises, and Activities

Mask-Making Activity The Archdiocese of St.Louis sponsors special programs to reach out to teens. On their REAP website they describe a mask-making activity designed to help teens: recognize the masks he/she might wear, recognize the masks that others put upon him/her [and] view other students with more compassion in regards to the masks they wear.

Self-Conceptions from Childhood to Adolescence: A Brief Experiment. All graduating seniors in the Psychology Department at Sweet Briar College leave behind a legacy in the form of a project which inspired them as a student. Alumnae to Chantal Yavari '02 summarizes the results of a study she did in which four participants aged 5, 11, 16, and 20 answer the question "Who am I?". This makes a good class exercise as well as providing interesting examples for a class on identity development.

Two Interactive Exercises for the Personality Psychology Course: The Personality Collage Randall E. Osborne, Indiana University East, first presented these two interactive exercises for the personality psychology course at the 9th Annual Conference on Undergraduate Teaching of Psychology: Ideas and Innovations, in 1995. In the Personality Collage students and someone who knows them well each create a collage of the student's personality. Students compare and contrast the two collages by answering various questions and come to understand the differences between self-view and other's view of themselves. (In the second exercise students must guess the defense mechanism depicted in a brief skit presented by their classmates.) Opens in PDF format.

What's In A Name? First Day of Class Ice Breaker What's in a name? John Suler, Rider University, suggests this ice breaker in his Teaching Clinical Psychology website. Students state their name, and explain how they got their name. This is an especially powerful exercise for small classes or for classes where students work closely with each other over the course of a semester.

Electronic Texts

Calkins (1915) Mary Whiton Calkins (1915). The Self in Scientific Psychology. American Journal of Psychology, 26, 495-524.

Mead (1913) George Herbert Mead (1913). The Social Self. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 10, 374-380.

George H. Mead (1934) Mead, G. H. (1934) Mind Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist (Edited by Charles W. Morris). Chicago: University of Chicago.

The Mead Project The Mead Project: Foundational documents in sociological social psychology is sponsored by the department of sociology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. Find original writings by George Herbert Mead, Williams James, Charles Horton Cooley and others.

Overview of Theories Chapter 7: Social Psychology: Past, Present, and Some Predictions for the Future by Nyla R. Branscombe, University of Kansas and Russell Spears, University of Amsterdam. The online book The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the 21st Century edited by Jane S. Halonen & Stephen F. Davis and Published by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology(2001) provides a broad overview of what research agenda and approaches this new century calls for across many of psychology's subdisciplines. Although this chapter is about social psychology, theories of identity and self are also discussed.

Wegner (2008): Self is Magic Wegner, D. M. (2008). Self is magic. In J. Baer, J. C. Kaufman, & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Are we free? Psychology and free will (pp. 226-247). New York: Oxford University Press. (opens in PDF format)

Self-Affirmation Improves Problem-Solving Under Stress Research suggests that the identifying and thinking about one's most important values can increase individual' problem-solving abilities. This, according to research by J. David Creswell and colleagues published in PLOS ONE and summarized here in Science Daily, May 3, 2013.

Case Studies

NPR: Radio Diaries The NPR project Radio Diaries encourages teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard to document their lives for public radio. Their stories are often powerful, surprising, intimate, and timeless, illustrating many aspects of the self, including self-concept, self-esteem, and social identity.

Examples and Illustrations

McDonald’s Advertisements and Culture: I’m Loving It The McDonald’s famous I’m Loving it campaign looks different, depending on the culture in which the ad is targeted. For example, in India the ad features more collectivistic values: A father and son share a bonding moment. In the individualistic United States, the ads most often feature a person alone. Würtz (2005) explains all about cultural differences and advertisements and this companion website includes many illustrations of McDonald’s Ads from China, Japan, India, and the United States.

Monkey Hijacks Photographer's Camera and Shots Self-Portraits While filming macaque monkeys in an Indonesian national park, photographer David Slater lost his camera to one of his subjects. The resulting self-portraits are both comical and all too human and illustrate nicely the question of self-recognition as a uniquely human capacity.

NPR: Radio Diaries The NPR project Radio Diaries encourages teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard to document their lives for public radio. Their stories are often powerful, surprising, intimate, and timeless, illustrating many aspects of the self, including self-concept, self-esteem, and social identity.

Who's that Beautiful Baby? How can we have changed so much from when we were children and yet still be the same person? Use this entertaining slide show quiz of celebrity baby pictures to introduce the idea of self-concept and personality continuity.

Lecture Notes

The Social Self Tamara J. Ferguson at Utah State University lecture notes on the Social Self from her Social Psychology course.

Slide Presentations

Tests, Measures, and Scales

Black Identity Robert Sellers, director of the African American Racial Identity Lab at the University of Michigan, provides measures used in their research including The Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI), The Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI) and The Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity-teen (MIBI-t).

Culture and the Self Find measures here related to: Asian-American Identity, Racial Identity, Racial Ethnic Identity Scale, Possible Selves, Plausible Possible Selves, Individualism and Collectivism, and the Spanish Translation of Possible Selves and Racial Ethnic Identity Questions.

Happiness Self-Assessments This website, developed by Martin Seligman as a companion site to his book Authentic Happiness, provides a chance for people to develop insights into yourself and the world around you through these scientifically tested questionnaires, surveys, and scales. The site provides registrants with the chance to take numerous personality tests to understand authentic happiness in their own lives. Registration is free, and extensive feedback is provided for various tests including meaning in life, optimism, personal strengths, and many others.

Procrastination Scale (Lay, 1986) Ron Okada, York University, Toronto, maintains this handy page for his students conducting research. It contains scales and scoring instructions for many tests relevant for both social and personality psychology. The tests are available in PDF or Word 2002 formats for the downloading.

Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffin, 1985) Ron Okada, York University, Toronto, maintains this handy page for his students conducting research. It contains scales and scoring instructions for many tests relevant for both social and personality psychology. The tests are available in PDF or Word 2002 formats for the downloading.

Self-Consciousness Scale from Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522-527.

Self-Control Scale Both the short and the long version of this scale, and scoring instructions, are available here. From Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. (2004). High Self-Control Predicts Good Adjustment, Less Pathology, Better Grades, and Interpersonal Success. Journal of Personality, 72(2), 271-324.

Twenty Statements Test The TST is a long-standing psychological and social psychological "test" for use in regards to one's sense of self. In particular, it helps identify those self-designations which may be due more to our roles than who we really are or could be. It's very simple to administer...just ask someone to write the question, Who am I? at the top of a page and then have them answer it 20 times. [Includes] guidelines to help assess the answers given.

Audio and Video

Body Image: 2 People Described the Same Persona to A Forensic Artist And This is What Happened This amazing demonstration, actually part of the Dove soap Real Beauty campaign is quite a powerful demonstration of how our own body image may differ from what others see when they look at us. (Runs 3 minutes, 1 second).

"i," a short film by Chris Ladd Skidmore senior Chris Ladd created this 32 minute film about the search for identity. From the webstite: "i" is a short documentary with a simple question as its premise: Who am I? Who is anybody? What is identity? To find out, 'i' looks to psychology, to philosophy, to friends, and a professional psychic, and comes to a conclusion that shakes the film's premise to its core. Along the way the film summarizes Freud, projective testing, Jung, objective testing, the MBTI, the MMPI, criterion keying, and existentialism.

Identity through the lifespan The song One Hundred Years by Five For Fighting captures what it's like to be 15 and madly in love and then follows that love through an imagined life time. Check out the lyrics here. Would make a good introduction to identity, Erikson, and personality stability and change. First link was to the original, try this unusual montage here.

Identity vs. Role Confusion The song and video Numb by Linkin Park vividly illustrates Erikson's Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. Check out the lyrics here

Discovering Psychology: The Self (Program 15) The complete updated series hosted by Philip Zimbardo is available online for streaming in the classroom or for outside of class viewing as well as in DVD format. From the website: Psychologists systematically study the origins of self-identity and self-esteem, the social determinants of self-conceptions, and the emotional and motivational consequences of beliefs about oneself. This program explores their methods of discovery. With Dr. Hazel Markus of Stanford University and Dr. Teresa Amabile of Harvard University. Updated. 30 minutes.

Monkey Hijacks Photographer's Camera and Shots Self-Portraits While filming macaque monkeys in an Indonesian national park, photographer David Slater lost his camera to one of his subjects. The resulting self-portraits are both comical and all too human and illustrate nicely the question of self-recognition as a uniquely human capacity.

NPR: Radio Diaries The NPR project Radio Diaries encourages teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard to document their lives for public radio. Their stories are often powerful, surprising, intimate, and timeless, illustrating many aspects of the self, including self-concept, self-esteem, and social identity.

Psychologists Put the 'Selfie' On the Couch Psychologists Lisa Obran and Andrew Przybylski explore both the positive (e.g.,self exploration and identity experimentation in the service of relatedness needs and identity formation) and the negative (e.g., indulg[ing] in a narcissistic activity) of selfies in this video for the #BBCtrending program. (runs 1 minute, 29 seconds).

The Remarkable Human Self According to Roy Baumeister in his Award Address delivered at the 25th APS Annual Convention in Washington, DC, the self is not part of the human anatomy, but rather a powerful interface between our animal bodies and the complex cultural systems in which we live. Without the concept of self … scientific analysis of social and economic processes would be all but impossible. You can read a summary of his talk or watch a video of the entire talk (48 minutes and 24 seconds) here. Posted January 2014.

Self-Recognition: Dolphins In The Mirror. Scientist Diana Reiss at the Baltimore Aquarium illustrate the intelligence --- and self-recognition behavior --- of dolphins in this brief documentary explaining the work of Reiss and her colleagues with dolphins and elephants (runs 5 minutes, 8 seconds).

Self-Recognition in Dolphins. Three very brief movies showing dolphins engaging in self-directed behavior after mirror exposure and markings. From Diana Reiss and Lori Marino (2000). Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin: A case of cognitive convergence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98(10), 5937-5942.

Self-Recognition in Elephants. Three very brief movies showing Patty, Maxine, and Happy, three elephants, engaging in self-directed behavior after mirror exposure and markings. From Joshua M. Plotnik, Frans B. M. de Waal and Diana Reiss (2006) Self-recognition in an Asian elephant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(45), 17053-17057.

Six Years of Noah Noah K., a 26 years old professional photographer, started taking a self-portrait every day when he was 19 years old. Now 6 years later he is still at it. He set the images to music and posted the photo montage online for all to see how he has changed over the years (click here for more information about Noah). For other interesting time photography see 25 years of the Brown Sisters, and 25 years of the Golberg Family.

Virtual You Changes the Real You This episode of Scientific American's podcast 60-Second Psych summarizes research from the Virtual Human Interaction lab at Stanford University. Watching a digital clone of oneself jogging led participants in the experimental group to exercise almost an hour longer than participants in the control group who watched a clone of another person.


Page last modified by February 26, 2014, at 08:14 PM
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