Cultural Influences of Self-Concept

Post your response to the following: A person’s self-concept plays a large role in how he or she views the world; it helps a person process social information, judge feedback, and influences what he or she notices in others. Culture teaches people what values are important and can determine if they view themselves as independent, emphasizing being unique and expressing oneself, or interdependent, emphasizing a social connectedness. Your culture includes your family, friends, city, and country. Explain how your culture has influenced your self-concept.

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Well, I really liked the test that we took this week in our chapter. Of course all of my “I am…” were independent and about myself. I wrote things like: I am a Christian. I am a reader. I am a father. I am a husband. I guess those are the things that identify who I am. After reading more of the chapter it was apparent that I am independent as a product of my society. As it turns out people who are brought up in an interdependent society have completely different descriptive words for themselves, like: I am part of a good family or I am part of a good company. So culture affects our self-concept in that culture sets the stage, so to speak, for the play that is our lives. Culture informs us of our overall outlook on life. If we are born in an independent country then personal achievement, like a promotion, is seen as a positive event. However, in an interdependent country, a promotion could be viewed as a negative event if it does not line up with the greater family goals. So the same event can have completely different impacts depending on what type of culture a person is raised in. To put it all together, our self-concept is affected through culture by way of our ideal self. See our culture is part of our ideal self, the person that we want to be or would be if we could. Social conformity is a very strong factor when considering the ideal self. Even when we try to resist social conformity we still feel guilt and shame because social pressures help form our ideal self and self-concept. We measure ourselves against the social norms of our culture in order to determine the distance between our actual self and ideal self. It is a quagmire for which the only cure is to conform or alter our ideal self.

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Bolt, M. (2004). Pursuing human strengths: A positive psychology guide. New York, NY: Worth Publishing.


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