How Do Self Schemas Develop And How Are They Maintained?

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How do Self-Schemas Develop and How are they Maintained?
Schemas are detailed cognitive networks stored in long term memory. They organise and relate information from past experiences to represent an individual’s construal of different objects and events (Eysenck & Keane, 2015). Similar cognitive networks about oneself are self-schemas. According to Markus (1977) these guide self-related actions and behaviour, and form self-concept. This knowledge is important for improving oneself, building self-esteem, and striving for success (Suls & Wheeler, 2011). The initial development of schemas and self-awareness is thought to occur in childhood; detailed in Piaget’s Stage Theory (Piaget, 1976). Rather than exploring child cognitive development, this essay will discuss some of the theories of individual self-schema development and some ways they are maintained under threat.
Self-Discrepancy Theory
The first approach to self-schema development we will evaluate is Self-Discrepancy Theory (SDT) (Higgins, 1987). In this theory self-schemas develop to drive the actual self (who somebody is now) towards the ideal self (who somebody wants to be) and the ought self (who somebody should be according to others). Reflected appraisals build a network of the actual self, and this knowledge is used to move towards the ideal and ought selves. Discrepancies between actual and ideal result in dejection, and discrepancies between actual and ought result in agitation (Higgins, Bond, Klein, &
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