Self concept, self identity, and social identity | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy


Voiceover: Hi everyone, okay,
so in the next set of videos we’re going to be talking about the
concept of self identity. But before we do that we need to start of
by defining some very important key terms and grasping
the understanding behind these terms. So the first is the idea of self-concept. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of this before,
and I think everyone has a loose interpretation of
what it is, their own interpretation. But let’s talk about it in terms of what
psychologists say. So self-concept, according to
psychologists, is a term used to refer to how someone thinks about,
perceives or even evaluates themselves. So to be self-aware is to have a
self-concept. Now, the development of self-concept has
two aspects, and the first of these is the existential
self. And once we have existential self and idea
of that, we can eventually move on to the
categorical self. And I’ll explain this relationship in a
second. So basically, the existential self is the
most basic part of self-concept. So it’s a sense of being separate and
distinct from others. So these are two very important components
of the existential self. We are each separate and distinct entities
or objects from others, from other objects,
from other people. And an existential self is understanding
and having awareness that the self is
constant. So it doesn’t change in life; it’s pretty
constant throughout life. So if someone comes up to you and says,
I’m tired. That’s not their self-concept, that’s not
a good definition of who they are, because it’s a temporary
state. They are not tired all the time. So self-concept is consistent or constant. And a child as young as two or three
months, baby, even realizes this. They realize that they exist separately
from others, and that they exist over time and space. So this arises due to the part the
relationship the child has with the world. So you’ve always seen that when a baby
smiles, someone else smiles back. Or have you ever seen babies play with the
mobiles hanging above their crib? They have this relationship with other
objects, and they realize that they are separate from
that. Now moving on. Once we realize that we have an existential self, we can formulate a
categorical self. In a categorical self comes once this baby
realizes that they are separate. So it’s becoming aware that even though
we’re separate and distinct objects or entities or beings, we also
exist in the world. We exist with other objects and beings and entities, in that, each of these objects
has properties. So, at this point, the baby’s growing. And it’s becoming aware that he or she is
an object with properties. So usually, young toddlers categorize
themselves by age or by gender; sometimes even by some skills they have or even by
their size, how big or small they are. Now the two of the first categories that young children categorize themselves is by
age and gender. You always hear little kids saying, I’m
three, or I’m five, or I’m a girl. So in early childhood, these categories
that children apply themselves to are very
concrete. But eventually as they grow older, as we
grow older, we start to categorize ourselves by including some more internal
psychological traits. So we start to compare ourselves. We start to make evaluations with other
people. We start to categorize ourselves maybe by
our careers or by the type of person that we want to be. So these are more developed categories. Now, you probably remember talking about
Carl Rogers. And I’ll just refresh your memory, but
he’s important in the humanistic branch of psychology. So Carl Rogers believed that the self-concept had three different
components. And the first of these is self-image. So we’ve all heard of this word before. Self-image is the view we have of
ourselves. So there we are. It’s what we believe we are. The second part of his components is
self-esteem. So we can use this word along with
self-worth. How much value do we place on ourselves,
and I’m going to put a little heart here to kind of represent that, so how much love
do we give ourselves, how much do we love
ourselves? How much value do we place on ourselves? And the third is the ideal self. So it’s what we wish to be. What we aspire to be. I’m gonna give it a little star to
represent our ideal self. Okay, so developing this idea of
self-concept a little further, we can use a theory called the Social
Identity theory. So the Social Identity theory has two
parts. It is, it defines it, it defines a theory
in terms of two parts. And those two parts is the personal identity, which is pretty
self-explanatory, so this is the things that are unique to each
person, like personality traits. And the other is our social identity, so
these include the groups you belong to in our
community. So in order to understand the social,
Social Identity theory, and how we categorize ourselves personally and
socially, there’s a mental process involved in this. So this process involves three steps, and
these are the steps we use when we’re evaluating ourselves and others in
the relationship between person personal and
social identities. So first, all humans categorize
themselves. We all categorize our, ourselves without
even knowing it. We actually do this entire amount of
mental process I’m gonna talk about without really knowing we do it, just, I
guess, part of human nature. So we categorize ourselves in order to
understand objects and identify them. So we categorized people into groups. Ones to which we belong and ones that are
different from us. So we use social categories like race, so
black, white, Australian, Chinese, Christian,
student, accountant, whatever it may be. We categorize ourselves and people through
these categories. And if we can assign people to a category,
that tells us things about that person. It, it kind of puts a definition to them. A prejudgment without fully knowing the
person, we have some sort of categor, categorical
term for them. Now, the second step, once we categorize,
is, identification. Now, let me jump back a little bit and
just say that not all people belong to just one
category. We can belong to many different
categories. Okay, so the second step is
identification. So this is when we adopt the identity of the group we have categorized ourselves as
to belonging. So if we’ve categorized our yourselves as
students, the chances are we’re gonna eventually adopt the
identity of a student. We’re gonna start acting like a student
and behaving like a student. So this role starts to feel like a norm. We’re starting to conform to the norm of
the group, the category we belong to. And there’s an emotional significance to
identification, because our self-esteem, which we talked
about up here, starts to become bound with this group identification and sense of
belonging. And the final step is social comparison. We’re always comparing ourselves to
others, all the time, subconsciously, consciously
whatever it is. So once we categorize and identify, we’re
going to eventually start comparing ourselves
with other groups. We’re comparing other groups with other
groups. And the reason we do this is to maintain
our self-esteem. We want to compare ourselves to other
groups in a favorable way. And this whole idea is actually very
critical in understanding prejudice. Because once two groups identify
themselves as separate and rivals, then we start to compete in order to
maintain self-esteem. So we’re gonna look at self-esteem at
another point. But just understand that this plays a very
important role in this mental process that we formulate in
developing a social identity.

32 comments

  1. I'm sorry but your analysis of how a toddler views the World and itself within the World is false.  A child at that age interacts within the environment but does not gain an identity from it.Please read a book on self identity.  I would go further into detail but I have a class in this room with me and was going to use this video as an educational tool until I watched it.  I'm sorry

  2. what about a delusional belief like i think i dont exit and i am just a 3 way opinion interaction between my step moms nephew and her sister this people r for ever in my head i feel they live in my head i know ther is no one in my head but this delusion has swallowed my whole mind i live in this lens how do i free myself ?

  3. Regarding social identity people with well developed senses of self-concept don't identify with one group such as a faith based fringe group, but they are very well socialized and mix with many personalities and groups, nor can they due to their well developed self-worth be intimidated or look to join one dominant group to feel a sense of belonging and self-worth as they feel very content with whom they are, and an internal sense of belonging within themselves, with feelings of wholeness and complete.

  4. Also self concept comes in stages with one stage the development of language which gives us memory m a traditional type of memory. This is from stages of development from Erick Erickson and peatcha

  5. I can't be reading and listening at the same time. Multitasking means everything gets done half ass rather than focus on one thing or another.

  6. I'm taking psychology 101. i would like to know, what is the best selfsteem theory that convinced you??

  7. Everything in nature os shoved by something else flowers dont grow…
    The light from the sun pulls membranes.
    And soil and variois nutrients dictate its flourishment or decay

  8. Is there a theory that would argue that our actions within a category precede our self-identification? The video states that we begin to act like a student if we categorize ourselves as a student, but is there an idea that because we do things like go to class, we identify ourselves as a student?

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