Living Psychology: From the Everyday to the Extraordinary Edited by Jim Turner and Meg John Barker

YOU ARE DOING POTION please use books 1 & 2 use below Living Psychology: From the Everyday to the Extraordinary Edited by Jim Turner, Claire Hewson, Kesi Mahendran and Paul Stevens Living Psychology: From the Everyday to the Extraordinary Edited by Jim Turner and Meg John Barker EMA INSTRUCTION: MUST USE Contents – The assignment – Learning outcomes – Student notes for Part 1 – Relevant material – Student notes for Part 2 – Relevant material – Checklist The assignment Cut-off date: 24 May 2016 Important: These pages provide guidance on how to write your assignment. Please ensure you read all of this information right through until the checklist at the end. Before you start work on this assignment, please ensure that you have read the Assessment Guidance specific to this module and are familiar with the advice in Social Sciences Assessment Information. These sources contain support and guidance that you may need in writing your TMA including, for example, advice on plagiarism, referencing and the marking system. Note that failure to comply with relevant guidance could result in the loss of marks or other penalties. Please note that the regulations on word limits and deadlines for EMAs are different from those for TMAs, so you should check the EMA guidance carefully. There are two parts to the EMA. Please note that you must complete both Part 1 (essay) and Part 2 (report). The EMA contributes 100% towards your overall examination score (OES). Part 1 carries 50% of the marks for the TMA and Part 2 also carries 50% of the marks. Part 1: Essay Drawing on examples from across the module, evaluate the extent to which psychology has explained how people understand either (a) themselves or (b) each other. Word limit: 1800 words Part 2: Report Write a report analysing the (fictional) blog post provided below, drawing on psychological theories and research to explain why the author is making the claims in the blog post. Your report should be suitable for reading by a non-academic audience. Blog post Greetings fellow climate-truthers! I want to write about two things in the news this week that will probably worry you as much as they worry me. The first was an announcement by the President that the Department of Environment is going to treble subsidies for so-called green energy. The second was the press release from Gardiner University that claims theyve confirmed that global warming is happening because of carbon emissions. So, the Pres. announces a spending hike and completely coincidentally some research comes out that supports it. Does that seem as suspicious to you as it does to me? Look, the fact is that climate change is a lie. The world is not getting warmer – any of you who had to shovel snow off your driveway in March like I did know that! I dont care how many pretty graphs the scientists put out, we know what the real danger is: an out-of-control government cutting our freedoms (no way Im giving up my SUV without a fight!) and giving away our taxes to these scientists! Oh yeah, did you know that? Guess who funded the Gardiner University research? Thats right the Department of Environment. Do you think theyre doing that for the good of our health, or so that the scientists come up with the right answers? Well, while youre thinking about that, guess where the head of the Department of Agriculture which shares a building with the Department of Environment got her politics degree? Have ten points if you said Gardiner University! Do you think thats a coincidence? If this seems kind of familiar to you, it probably is. For a start, if you look at the climate change websites the honest ones, not the ones in the pocket of the government and the green lobby youll see that several of them have made this link before (Illuminati-watch did a great piece on it just yesterday). Im not the only person to have noticed this, and maybe together we can fight back. More importantly, as some other bloggers have said, this could be HIV/AIDS all over again. Remember how the Department of Health convinced everyone that HIV just somehow came out of nowhere in the ’80s and caused an AIDS epidemic? Big Pharma has made a fortune out of that sweet little deal with the government, selling anti-HIV drugs (that probably dont even work), and it looks like Big Green is the next one with its hand in the cookie jar! Add this to the long history of the government using science lies to sell us all a story that their paymasters can profit from. Ill write more on this later in the week, but for now, dont let the green-meanies get you down! Word limit: 1200 words In the following pages you will find: – learning outcomes addressed by this assignment – student notes for each part of this assignment – a checklist to ensure you have done everything required for this assignment. Learning outcomes The EMA assesses the following learning outcomes: Knowledge and understanding – Understand a wide range of basic psychological concepts and appreciate how they apply to everyday life. – Understand how psychology addresses issues of diversity, difference and social functioning. Cognitive skills – Describe and evaluate a range of key concepts in psychology. – Construct arguments based on psychological theories and research findings, recognising the significance of differing approaches and subject positions. – Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and methodologies in psychology, and the relative value of different sources of data and information. Key skills – Carry out directed literature searches to identify a range of sources of information, and apply appropriate criteria to select relevant material for specific purposes. – Communicate psychological knowledge in a variety of formats suitable for both traditional academic audiences and wider, non-academic audiences. – Apply an appropriate referencing system. Practical and/or professional skills – Produce written work that shows evidence of independent judgement in answer to a set problem. – Use and recognise critical, evaluative, practical and ICT skills that are highly transferable to workplace and other settings. Student notes for Part 1 Focus This part of the EMA is intended to assess your skills of evaluating an issue (psychological explanations of peoples understandings) and using your judgement to select appropriate material to illustrate your points. There are two options from which you can choose: option (a) focuses on how people understand themselves and option (b) focuses on how people understand others. You should only answer one of these options in Part 1 of the EMA, not both. Whichever option you choose, your task is the same: you need to evaluate the extent to which psychology has explained it, basing your answer in examples from across the module. Command words The command word in the essay question is evaluate. This means that you will need to make an appraisal of the worth, validity and/or effectiveness of psychological explanations of peoples understanding (of either themselves or others). You should consider the strengths and weaknesses of those explanations, the soundness of the evidence base for them, and/or their usefulness in the real world. Tips for writing The essay question specifically asks you to draw on examples from across the module, so when selecting which material to cover make sure you demonstrate a breadth of knowledge (e.g. dont draw exclusively or very heavily from just one topic, no matter how interesting you find it). It would be appropriate for you to draw on additional material that you have found in your independent study time to help illustrate your points, such as recent research papers that you might have found through the Open University Library. However, you should make sure that you use these to support points that are based on examples from within the module, rather than introducing entirely new topics or areas. Relevant material It is up to you to use your judgement to decide which parts of the module you want to draw on to develop and illustrate your answer. Many topics on the module contain relevant examples that you could include in your essay, and there will not be space within the word limit for you to cover everything that might be relevant. You will therefore need to be selective, choosing examples that build a coherent storyline for your essay to follow. The lists below give some suggestions for topics that you should consider revisiting when deciding what to include, in the order in which they appear in the module. However, they are not intended to be a menu of what you should cover, and you may find other useful examples in other parts of the module. You may also find it useful to review the module consolidation (Week 28), and perhaps also to refer back to the module introduction (Week 1), as this may help you to consolidate your understanding of the connections between different module topics. Option (a): themselves – Week 7: Self-esteem – Week 10: Nations and immigration – Week 12: Boundaries of the self – Week 24: Sex and sexuality Option (b): other people – Week 2: Mindreading – Week 4: Mindreading difficulties examples from clinical psychology – Week 8: Conflict in close relationships – Week 10: Nations and immigration DD210-15J Week 7: Self-esteem Kesi Mahendran © 2015 The Open University All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. WEB03819 7 1.1 Contents – 1 Introduction – 2 Self-help understandings of self-esteem – 2.1 Measuring your own self-esteem – 3 Everyday perspectives: self-esteem – 4 The relationship between self-esteem and social networking sites – 4.1 Creating a new self online? – 4.2 Relationship status: its complicated – 4.3 Krämer and Winters study: offline and online personality – 4.4 Social capital or social compensation? – 4.5 SNSs and self-esteem: examining the relationship further – 4.6 Facebook and self-esteem: a misunderstood relationship – 4.7 Facebook and self-esteem: conclusions – 5 Relational self-esteem and beyond – 5.1 Beyond managing self-esteem – 6 Focus on methods: self-report questionnaires – 6.1 Types of scale – 6.2 The Thurstone scale and the Guttman scale – 6.3 The Likert Scale – 6.4 Developing a new self-esteem scale – 7 Developing your skills: searching for literature in psychology – 8 Summary – References 1 Introduction Have you ever made the excuse that youre just not yourself today, or perhaps felt that a well-intended gift you received was not really you? Each of us has some sort of working conception of our self. Researchers and theorists have long been interested in the way we think about our self (or selves). This week you will examine the nature of our relationship with our selves by focusing on one specific concept: self-esteem. You will no doubt be familiar with the term self-esteem; you may even use the term frequently. But where did the concept of self-esteem come from and what precisely does it mean? Over the week you will look at how self-esteem has been defined, explore its origins and consider one key concern: the extent to which, as individuals, we are in control of our levels of self-esteem. After studying this week you will be able to: – explain the origins and history of the concept of self-esteem and how it has been defined – critically examine the notions of self-objectification and body-esteem – understand the relationship between self-esteem and social networking sites such as Facebook – measure psychological concepts using self-report questionnaires, a key research method in psychology – undertake an effective online literature search. 2 Self-help understandings of self-esteem You will begin this week by examining how self-esteem is currently being defined in self-help campaigns. Activity 1: Assessing self-esteem campaigns Allow 20 minutes for this activity Have a look at the Happy to be Me campaign video (there is no need to watch the whole video the first ten minutes will give you the overall aims of the campaign), then answer the following questions in the text boxes provided. You will refer back to your answers later in the week. 1. What are your immediate reactions to the campaign? Provide your answer… 2. How is self-esteem defined in this campaign? Provide your answer… 3. What factors are said to affect self-esteem in the video? Provide your answer… 4. Do you have any criticisms of the video campaign? Provide your answer… 5. The campaign assumes that we can manage our self-esteem in a daily way. Do you think this is true? Provide your answer… 6. The video was made in Australia and is aimed at young people. Do you think it is applicable to where you live and to adults? Provide your answer… View discussion – Untitled part 2.1 Measuring your own self-esteem Before turning to Chapter 4, you will now measure your own self-esteem in order for you to develop more of a sense of how self-esteem is measured and defined. You will use one of the most well-known and frequently used measures of self-esteem: the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965). Activity 2: Rosenbergs Self-Esteem Scale Allow 20 minutes for this activity Answer the questions in Rosenbergs Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). At this stage, as a student studying psychology, do not think too deeply about the questions or begin a process of soul-searching; rather, just make a quick decision on the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statements. The focus here is not your actual score, but rather your reflexive processes when answering the questions. Once you have submitted the questionnaire you will be given a RSES score out of 30 (reported as the grade.) A score below 15 is considered an indication of low self-esteem and a score of 15 or above is considered an indication of high self-esteem. You will immediately spot that the scoring system does not allow for a moderate categorisation of self-esteem level. You will return to this aspect of the scale in the next section. Note: Once you have completed the scale, return to this activity to reveal the discussion. View discussion – Activity 2: Rosenbergs Self-Esteem Scale 3 Everyday perspectives: self-esteem You should now have a sense of how self-esteem is used by self-help campaigns and how it is frequently measured through the RSES by psychologists. In this section you will look at how self-esteem is understood in an everyday sense. Below you will find the Everyday perspectives video for this week, in which people answered the following questions: – How do you define self-esteem? – What factors do you think can affect self-esteem? – Why do you think some people have high self-esteem and others have low self-esteem? – Can self-esteem be measured? – Do you ever think about your self-esteem? Video content is not available in this format. Everyday perspectives: self-esteem View transcript – Everyday perspectives: self-esteem Activity 3: Everyday definitions of self-esteem Allow 30 minutes for this activity In this activity you are going to examine everyday understandings of what self-esteem is and the factors that can affect it. Part 1 Having watched the Everyday perspectives video, choose four people featured in the video and then complete the table below based on their responses. You may need to watch the video a few times to complete the activity. Interactive content is not available in this format. View description – Uncaptioned interactive content Part 2 Now that you have assessed the responses of your chosen four people, spend a little time examining what they reveal. View discussion – Part 2 Now read Book 1, Chapter 4, Self-esteem, before continuing with this study week. 4 The relationship between self-esteem and social networking sites Chapter 4 gave an overview of the history of the psychology of self-esteem as well as how self-esteem has been defined by psychologists, by people in everyday contexts and within self-help contexts by the self-help industry. Hopefully you will see that a central concern of self-esteem researchers is the extent to which we as individuals are in control of our own self-esteem. There are two important related questions: – Can self-esteem be improved? – Why do some people have higher or lower self-esteem than others? This can be related to the chapters reappraisal of the terms high self-esteem and low self-esteem, which noted that the term low self-esteem is often misunderstood. Hopefully you also realised that high self-esteem may not be the same as narcissism or self-aggrandising behaviour; rather, it may be a result of sociocultural factors, which affect people differently according to both where they live and the generation into which they were born. As the chapter discussed, Generation Me has become a term that refers to a new generation of people, mostly but not exclusively based in Western countries, who are likely to have different attributional patterns and perhaps be more concerned with their own profile than older generations and people based in Eastern countries. However, given globalisation, this is a cultural and generational difference that is likely to be changing. Do social networking sites (SNSs) play a role in this? The main question in this section, then, is: do SNSs, such as Facebook, play a role in our levels of self-esteem? Cyberpsychology is a new direction in social psychology that aims to examine our relationship to online environments. Box 1: The Facebook experiment Facebook made the headlines in July 2014 when it revealed the findings of an experimental study it had carried out using data from over 689,000 Facebook users. Unbeknown to the users, Facebook data scientists Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory and Jeffrey Hancock (2014) manipulated the program that selects stories to feature on Facebook users newsfeeds. A randomly-selected sample of nearly 700,000 Facebook users had their newsfeeds manipulated by the researchers. Some users newsfeeds were adjusted so that fewer emotionally negative stories were prioritised in the newsfeed, while others were adjusted so that fewer emotionally positive stories were prioritised. Kramer and colleagues then observed whether users made more positive or negative posts themselves as a result. The researchers found that people who had viewed fewer emotionally negative stories in their newsfeeds made fewer negative and more positive posts, while those who had viewed fewer emotionally positive stories in their newsfeeds made more negative and fewer positive posts. The nature of the users own posts therefore reflected the type of stories they had been exposed to in their newsfeeds. Although the overall effect was small (amounting to approximately one extra positive or negative word per thousand words posted by users), across such a large sample it was statistically significant. The study has given rise to a host of questions concerning the ethics of the experiment, how social networking sites may be manipulating their users, and the possibility of emotional contagion (which refers to people synchronising their emotions with each other, often through copying other peoples reactions) among users of social networking sites. It also raises the question of whether social networking sites such as Facebook could have other effects on their users, including affecting their self-esteem. 4.1 Creating a new self online? At the same time as Facebooks experiment, cyberpsychologists Sagioglou and Greitemeyer (2014) conducted comprehensive experiments which argued that, rather than improve mood, Facebook could lower mood and increase anxiety, making people feel worse about themselves immediately after using the site. Over the last few years there has also been a series of media articles all suggesting that SNSs such as Facebook risk raising anxiety and lowering self-esteem. The public and media reactions to the experiment conducted by Facebook are an indication of the extent to which social networking sites have become ingrained in our lives (you will learn more about this in Block 5). The question of whether your preferred social networking site is manipulating your emotions is for only you to answer. The central question in this section is whether peoples online presentations of themselves and their reactions to the SNS can increase or decrease their self-esteem. So when did social networking begin? Online SNSs have existed since the late 1990s. Zizi Papacharissi (2002) is considered to be one of the earliest investigators of how we present ourselves online. Working in the USA, she investigated how people use website home pages to reflect their personalities online. Papacharissi used four websites available at that time: Yahoo! GeoCities, AOL, The Microsoft Network (MSN) and EarthLink. She identified six factors that motivate people to maintain profile pages: – passing time – entertainment – news (e.g. current affairs) – self-expression – professional advancement – communication with family and friends. Around the same time, Shaw and Gant (2002) directly measured self-esteem levels of 40 student participants and then set up a series of internet chats among the participants, after which they measured self-esteem levels again. They found improved self-esteem. So in the early days of social networking research, the view was that SNSs were generally positive for self-esteem. With over a billion users, Facebook is by far the main SNS used across the world (Sagioglou and Greitemeyer, 2014). Facebook started in February 2004 at Harvard University, then opened up to other universities. In September 2006, it was opened to anyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address. Most research into this area now works with Facebook. One of the attractions of such networking sites is the possibility of creating a new self. Users of social networking sites can create a new improved self by withholding information, hiding undesirable features and role-playing (Mehdizadeh, 2010, p. 358). This is one of the reasons why SNSs are attractive to people. So, if in the late 1990s SNSs were viewed as being able to enhance self-esteem, why have they now become the source of such disenchantment? 4.2 Relationship status: its complicated In the video below, the cyberpsychologist Chris Fullwood talks about the relationship between self-esteem and SNSs. Video content is not available in this format. Chris Fullwood: Researching the relationship between self-esteem and social networking sites View transcript – Chris Fullwood: Researching the relationship between self-esteem and social networking … Fullwood reveals that studies into the relationship between self-esteem and Facebook are complicated, not least because it depends a great deal on what method you use; that is, either observational approaches or self-report approaches. Different studies draw different conclusions because they are measuring different aspects of SNS use, including: – frequency of use – type of use – presentation of self-image – reactions to status and activity updates. Further, some researchers look for changes in mood or self-appraisal after SNS use, whereas others look for a difference in SNS use and therefore start by using the RSES (the self-esteem test you completed in Activity 2) and then divide participants according to whether they have high or low self-esteem. Despite these differences in research design, a picture of the relationship between self-esteem and SNSs is emerging. Fullwood identifies two factors that changed the relationship between SNSs and self-esteem. First, SNSs such as Facebook now exist in an anchored reality; that is, they are no longer anonymous in the way they were at the time of the Shaw and Gant study. People who are connected to you (as the social networker) can see your profile, therefore your information acquires a degree of permanence. Second, people’s motivations when using sites have changed, which may relate to professional networking, manage impressions or staying in touch with friends and family who live far away. It is these motivations for using the SNS and the actual nature of the information revealed which Fullwood regards as promising lines of enquiry. 4.3 Krämer and Winters study: offline and online personality Impression management online View description – Impression management online Nicole Krämer and Stephan Winter (2008) focus on motivation in their examination of impression management. They focused on the relationship between offline and online personalities. Their sample consisted of 58 users of, a German social networking site similar to Facebook and generally used by university students. As they explain, when people are on SNSs they cannot tailor their self-presentations to the specific interaction partner since in contrast to face-to-face interaction they are addressing a broad audience (Krämer and Winter, 2008, p. 106), so they tend to focus on stable traits. Rather than the popular perception that people play with identities or personalities on such sites, their evidence on personality measured using the RSES scale as well as scales for self-efficacy and extroversion suggests that peoples personalities offline positively correlate with their personalities online. They focus on three stable personality traits that have been shown to influence impression management and self-presentation behaviours: – self-esteem – extroversion – self-efficacy. They asked a specific research question: Does online self-presentation differ between users with high and low self-esteem? Pause for thought Do you think that people categorised as having high or low self-esteem present themselves differently when they are online compared to when they are not? Consider this before revealing the discussion. View discussion – Pause for thought So, while social networking is unlikely to be involved in any profound changes in personality, could it affect self-esteem itself? 4.4 Social capital or social compensation? View description – Uncaptioned figure If you have a Facebook, or other SNS, account, its worth thinking about the way you make use of it. Perhaps it isnt all about the way you present yourself; its also about sustaining relationships with friends and acquaintances. A number of psychologists have looked specifically at this more social aspect of SNSs. Charles Steinfeld and colleagues (2008) were interested in whether Facebook could provide bridging social capital. Social capital is a widely adopted term developed by the sociologist Robert Putnam. Putnam distinguished between two forms: – Bridging social capital: that which we gain from knowing a wide and diverse network of people. – Bonding social capital: that which we gain from our friends and family. Steinfeld and colleagues measured the relationship between self-esteem (using the RSES) and bridging social capital for young students, and then measured it again two years later. They divided their sample into high self-esteem and low self-esteem students, then correlated their self-esteem level with the extent of their Facebook use and their bridging social capital. Pause for thought Which group do you think gained the most from using Facebook in terms of bridging social capital those categorised as having low self-esteem or those categorised as having high self-esteem? View discussion – Pause for thought You could at this point think, OK, so people who have low self-esteem will compensate by building up more relationships on their social networking sites. This is exactly what Zywica and Danowski (2008) examined. They asked the following question: Do high and low self-esteem users use social networking sites differently? (As you may recall from earlier in the week, the RSES forces everyone into one of two categories, high self-esteem and low self-esteem, so unfortunately there isnt any research based on moderate or average self-esteem.) Zywica and Danowski looked at two hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: social enhancement, which relates to people who have good social skills. This hypothesis is also known as the rich get richer hypothesis, as people can build on existing social advantages. Hypothesis 2: social compensation, which relates to people who have relatively poor social skills in face-to-face encounters. This hypothesis is also known as the poor get richer hypothesis, as people can compensate for a lack of social skills. This argues that those who perceive their offline social networks to be inadequate compensate for them with more extensive online social networks. They found that high self-esteem users did indeed use Facebook differently from low-self-esteem users: A higher percentage of low self-esteem users (27.9%) thought it was at least somewhat important to look popular on Facebook when compared to the high self-esteem users (20.2%) (Zywica and Danowski, 2008, p. 17). They also found that nearly three times as many low self-esteem users revealed more about themselves to people they knew online than they revealed to offline friends. These users explained that there were things about themselves they would reveal to online friends that they wouldnt reveal to offline friends. Some (around 10 per cent of low self-esteem users) went as far as to admit that their friends and family would be quite surprised by their profile. 4.5 SNSs and self-esteem: examining the relationship further As you can see from the previous section, the relationship between SNSs and self-esteem is complicated. In the video below, Fullwood, who you first encountered in Section 4.2, further assesses the relationship between self-esteem and SNSs and these two hypotheses. Video content is not available in this format. Chris Fullwood: Becoming a different person on social networking sites View transcript – Chris Fullwood: Becoming a different person on social networking sites As Fullwood explains, in his view, both the social enhancement and the social compensation hypotheses are correct. 4.6 Facebook and self-esteem: a misunderstood relationship Section 5 of Chapter 4 introduced the idea of self-objectification the tendency to view the self as an object from a third-person perspective. Self-objectification has also been examined in relation to SNS use. Here, the results are perhaps a little surprising; rather than a potentially oppressive lens, objectification becomes a means of presenting an idealised version of yourself. So there are two opposing theories: The hyperpersonal model maintains that treating yourself as an object becomes a means of self-enhancement. Object self-awareness theory, on the other hand, proposes that focusing on yourself objectively, say, via a mirror or a photo, will lower your self-esteem due to social comparison; that is, you will unfavourably compare yourself to others. Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock (2011) (this is the same Jeffrey Hancock now conducting research on behalf of Facebook) put both theories to the test. Pause for thought Do you think that evaluating yourself in terms of an object can be a positive experience, or does it risk lowering self-esteem as predicted by objective self-awareness theory? View discussion – Pause for thought Despite these findings, more and more studies continue to argue that SNSs cause loneliness, low self-esteem and anxiety. There are a number of points to draw out from the existing literature. First, you may have realised that there do not seem to be many researchers willing to move away from using scales such as the RSES to measure self-esteem. Pause for thought Why do you think so many studies have continued to use the the RSES scale? View discussion – Pause for thought 4.7 Facebook and self-esteem: conclusions The activity below allows you to consolidate your understanding of the relationship between Facebook and self-esteem. Activity 4: Assessing the relationship between self-esteem and Facebook Allow 20 minutes for this activity Thinking back to the video of Fullwood in Section 4.5, select which of the three conclusions below

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