Essay Psychological foundations behind Personal Identity

Decent Essays
As a question, ‘who am I?’ poses many complications. Each of us are aware of being someone “with a past, a present and a future…” however, it is the fact that we are not “only aware of inhabiting a distinct personal world, but also…social and cultural…” which leads to confusion. This essay will therefore explore the Psychological foundations behind the question, in regards to evidence provided by the ‘Twenty Statement Test’. Analysis of this study made it apparent that ‘the self’ could be classified into three main groups; social, relational and personal selves, with each of these being readily related to the various theoretical assumptions. This essay will examine how each of these categories seek to answer the question ‘who am I?’, as…show more content…
Thus, one attempt to rectify this is the ‘Social Categorisation Theory’. This suggests that the self is actually an outcome of our cognitive processes. Studies following up Tajfel‘s work, further manipulated self categorisation and found that the self is “affected much more by the presence… of social categorisation than by the presence… of similarity”. Although, as proposed by Haslam, when identifying with a group the process is much more complex- a person is said to use the “perceived social reality” of that group, and through reflecting upon their own cognitive representation of themselves will recognise any similarities, and experience depersonalisation; shifting from a personal self to a social self, though self-stereotyping. Consequently, this theory will aid us when attempting to understand how the self may have both social and personal aspects. A more extreme approach to ‘who am I?’ is then a more personal view, with theorists adopting an individualistic stance over what constitutes the self. The most prominent message being conveyed here is that the self has “…the potential to be anything its owner wants it to be” as it is self-made through exerting control over who you are. However, studies such as that of Cousins seem to show how the individual ‘self’ may not be as prominent world wide. By replicating the TST,
Get Access