CPSY6245 The Self-Knowledge Process
In the past, people developed self-knowledge primarily through social interaction, based upon the discernments of others they connected with in face-to-face discussions. Unfortunately, the predominance of social media platforms such as Facebook has obstructed this traditional self-knowledge process. This is since the substance shared on social media tends to be skewed toward idealized forms of one’s self, displaying a sifted self-image that does not continuously accurately coincide with the subject’s reality (Wright et al., 2018). Moreover, those constrained to associate with social media do not continuously get the same level of nuance in evaluating each other, making them less dependable sources of self-knowledge (Riyanto & Zhang, 2016).
Even though the self-knowledge process is compromised when sifted through social media stages, individuals can still access meaningful self-knowledge by interacting in significant ways with those around them. Aronson et al. (2019) highlight that an individual’s self-perceptions around themselves are subject to external evaluation, which it terms as social comparison. Through this process, individuals can evaluate their self-concept against their peers, which can act as a source of self-knowledge. Making companions and engaging in significant conversations and exercises will help to give an accurate evaluation of each other’s self-concept, compared to the sifted and idealized version seen on social media.
In addition, to advance and improve the self-knowledge process, people can draw upon subjective attribution to assist in understanding themselves in the setting of their environment (Aronson et al., 2019). Through this process, individuals can understand the environment in which they connect with others and the elucidations they have made from the circumstances they have found themselves in. By engaging more with their environment, individuals better understand their convictions, values, and objectives, which can give a more accurate perception of the self.
Contrary to Fein and Spencer (1997), individuals may use discrediting others to reinforce their self-worth. Though this may be seen as a practical implication of self-knowledge, it is imperative to note that this strategy does not provide a solid frame of self-understanding. In place of depending on others’ assessment of self, each person must form a practical understanding of self that is partitioned from the evaluation of those around them. Building this awareness can effectively come from engaging in significant discussion with those who honestly represent their self-image.
As social media impediments conventional self-knowledge, people should endeavor to gain a more critical understanding of self by engaging more with their environment. By engaging in significant discussion and exercises with those around them and encouraging subjective attribution, people can better gain a practical and accurate appraisal of their claim sense of character, which can further develop self-knowledge.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Akert, R. M., & Sommers, S. R. (Eds.). (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Fein, S., & Spencer, S. J. (1997). Prejudice as self-image maintenance: Affirming the self through derogating others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 31–44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.52
Riyanto, Y. E., & Zhang, J. (2016). Putting a price tag on others’ perceptions of us. Experimental Economics, 19(2), 480–499. doi:10.1007/s10683-015-9450-3
Wright, E. J., White, K. M., & Obst, P. L. (2018). Facebook false self-presentation behaviors and adverse mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(1), 40–50.