"Self-construction" redirects here. For other uses, see Self-construction (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Self-awareness, Self-consciousness, Self-esteem, Self-image, or Self-perception.
One's self-concept (also called self-construction, self-identity, self-perspective or self-structure) is a collection of beliefs about oneself that includes elements such as academic performance,gender identity, sexual identity, and racial identity. Generally, self-concept embodies the answer to "Who am I?".
Self-concept is distinguishable from self-awareness, which refers to the extent to which self-knowledge is defined, consistent, and currently applicable to one's attitudes and dispositions. Self-concept also differs from self-esteem: self-concept is a cognitive or descriptive component of one's self (e.g. "I am a fast runner"), while self-esteem is evaluative and opinionated (e.g. "I feel good about being a fast runner").
Self-concept is made up of one's self-schemas, and interacts with self-esteem, self-knowledge, and the social self to form the self as whole. It includes the past, present, and future selves, where future selves (or possible selves) represent individuals' ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, or what they are afraid of becoming. Possible selves may function as incentives for certain behavior.
The perception people have about their past or future selves is related to the perception of their current selves. The temporal self-appraisal theory argues that people have a tendency to maintain a positive self-evaluation by distancing themselves from their negative self and paying more attention to their positive one. In addition, people have a tendency to perceive the past self less favorably (e.g. "I'm better than I used to be") and the future self more positively (e.g. "I will be better than I am now").
Psychologists Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were heavy influences in popularizing the idea of self-concept in the west. According to Rogers, everyone strives to reach an "ideal self". Rogers also hypothesized that psychologically healthy people actively move away from roles created by others' expectations, and instead look within themselves for validation. On the other hand, neurotic people have "self-concepts that do not match their experiences...They are afraid to accept their own experiences as valid, so they distort them, either to protect themselves or to win approval from others."
The self-categorization theory developed by John Turner states that the self-concept consists of at least two "levels": a personal identity and a social one. In other words, one's self-evaluation relies on self-perceptions and how others perceive them. Self-concept can alternate rapidly between the personal and social identity. Children and adolescents begin integrating social identity into their own self-concept in elementary school by assessing their position among peers. By age 5, acceptance from peers has a significant impact on children's self-concept, affecting their behavior and academic success.
The self-concept is an internal model that uses self-assessments in order to define one's self-schemas. Features such as personality, skills and abilities, occupation and hobbies, physical characteristics, etc. are assessed and applied to self-schemas, which are ideas of oneself in a particular dimension (e.g., someone that considers themselves a geek will associate "geek-like" qualities to themselves). A collection of self-schemas make up one's overall self-concept. For example, the statement "I am lazy" is a self-assessment that contributes to self-concept. Statements such as "I am tired", however, would not be part of someone's self-concept, since being tired is a temporary state and therefore cannot become a part of a self-schema. A person's self-concept may change with time as reassessment occurs, which in extreme cases can lead to identity crises.
According to Carl Rogers, the self-concept has three different components:
Researchers debate over when self-concept development begins. Some assert that gender stereotypes and expectations set by parents for their children impact children's understanding of themselves by approximately age 3.However, at this developmental stage, children have a very broad sense of self, typically, they use words such as big or nice to describe themselves to others. While this represents the beginnings of self-concept,others suggest that self-concept develops later, around age 7 or 8. At this point, children are developmentally prepared to interpret their own feelings and abilities, as well as receive and consider feedback from peers, teachers, and family. Despite differing opinions about the onset of self-concept development, researchers agree on the importance of one’s self-concept, which influences people’s behaviors and cognitive and emotional outcomes including (but not limited to) academic achievement, levels of happiness, anxiety, social integration, self-esteem, and life-satisfaction.
Academic self-concept refers to the personal beliefs about their academic abilities or skills. Some research suggests that it begins developing from ages 3 to 5 due to influence from parents and early educators. By age 10 or 11, children assess their academic abilities by comparing themselves to their peers. These social comparisons are also referred to as self-estimates. Self-estimates of cognitive ability are most accurate when evaluating subjects that deal with numbers, such as math. Self-estimates were more likely to be poor in other areas, such as reasoning speed.[clarification needed]
Some researchers suggest that, to raise academic self-concept, parents and teachers need to provide children with specific feedback that focuses on their particular skills or abilities. Others also state that learning opportunities should be conducted in groups (both mixed-ability and like-ability) that downplay social comparison, as too much of either type of grouping can have adverse effects on children's academic self-concept and the way they view themselves in relation to their peers.
Worldviews about the self in relation to others differs across and within cultures.Western cultures place particular importance on independence and the expression of one's own attributes (i.e. the self is more important than the group). Asian cultures, however, favor an interdependent view of the self: interpersonal relationships are more important than one’s individual accomplishments, and individuals experience a sense of oneness with the group. Such identity fusion can have positive and negative consequences. Identity fusion can give people the sense that their existence is meaningful (e.g. Japanese nuclear plant workers expose themselves to radiation to help fix the plant after a tsunami); and this type of mindset is associated with a high quality of life.
A small study done in Israel showed that the divide between independent and interdependent self-concepts exists within cultures as well. Mid-level merchants in an urban community were compared to those in a kibbutz (collective community). The collectivist merchants valued the interdependent self more than the urban ones, who held more value to independent traits. The individualists described themselves largely in terms of personal traits, while collectivists used more hobbies and preferences. When the individualists did give interdependent responses, most responses were focused on work or school; individualist responses from interdependents focused most on residence.
Research from 1997, inspired by the differences in self-concept across cultures, suggested that men tend to be more independent, while women tend to be more interdependent. A study from 1999 showed that, while men and women do not differ in terms of independence or interdependence, they differ in their types of interdependence. Women utilize relational interdependence (identifying more with one-to-one relationships or small cliques), while men utilize collective interdependence (defining themselves within the contexts of large groups).
Gender differences in interdependent environments appear in early childhood: by age 3, boys and girls choose same-sex play partners, maintaining their preferences until late elementary school. Boys and girls become involved in different social interactions and relationships. Girls tend to prefer one-on-one (dyadic) interaction, forming tight, intimate bonds, while boys prefer group activities. One study in particular found that boys performed almost twice as well in groups than in pairs, whereas girls did not show such a difference.
Girls are more likely to wait their turn to speak, agree with others, and acknowledge the contributions of others. Boys, on the other hand, build larger group relationships based on shared interests and activities. Boys are more likely to threaten, boast, and call names, suggesting the importance of dominance and hierarchy in groups of male friends. In mixed-sex pairs of children aged 33 months, girls were more likely to passively watch a male partner play, and boys were more likely to be unresponsive to what their female partners were saying. The social characteristics of boys and girls as they develop throughout childhood tend to carry over later in life as they become men and women, although characteristics displayed as younger children are not necessarily entirely reflective of later behavior.
Why do people choose one form of media over another? According to the Galileo Model, there are different forms of media spread throughout three-dimensional space. The closer one form of media is to another the more similar the source of media is to each other. The farther away from each form of media is in space, the least similar the source of media is. For example, mobile and cell phone are located closest in space where as newspaper and texting are farthest apart in space. The study further explained the relationship between self-concept and the use of different forms of media. The more hours per day an individual uses a form of media, the closer that form of media is to their self-concept.
Self-concept is related to the form of media most used. If you consider yourself tech savvy, then you will use mobile phones more often than you would use a newspaper. If you consider yourself old fashioned, then you will use a magazine more often than you would instant message.
Main article: Outline of self
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How to write definition essay? Here is some good news for the students around the world. There is nothing difficult about writing an academic definition essay. As you can guess from its name, it’s about explaining a particular word or phrase. However, it is not enough to provide the meaning.
No matter whether you have to make a paper on the specific nouns like “bread” or “grass,” or more abstract terms such as “sympathy” or “honor,” it is important to complete a full essay with its regular structure:
It’s up to the student to decide on the writing technique. He can choose individual voice. An effective definition essay can be:
- Based on one term
- Based on full phrase
- Broad (all interpretations included)
- Narrow (one description involved)
An example of broad definition would be:
Humans are two-legged mammals.
An example of narrow meaning is:
Humans are religious creatures.
A broad type contains issues that are not referents of the concept. It is different when it comes to narrow descriptions. Historical research is critical to collect diverse meanings.
It is important to make sure that you obey the accepted guideline and useful prompts. Free online paper examples are useful too.
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How to Write a Definition Essay: General Rules
It is possible to explain the term using real life examples. Another way is to make a story based on your own life experience. Professional examples help to understand the item better. If you work in some organization, share the professional application of target word.
Write the definition essay in both official and personal manner. It should combine dictionary meaning and personal reflection. You are allowed to write down supporting essay elements. (See point 3 below)
In short, follow three easy steps:
- Let a reader know your topic
- Include abstract with clear, background information
- Add jokes, quotes, shocking facts, rumors, personal feelings, and another memorabilia.
If you enjoy writing the essay, the audience will love it too.
Effective Definition Advice
Writing an effective definition requires avoiding typical mistakes:
“A widespread error is selecting a word which has too broad meaning. Narrow it down to make it simpler to identify. Pay attention to the word’s origin and history. If we take “crush,” it is important to point to its Nordic roots. It means multiple definitions are available. Make a list of existing meanings in your paper. A person may have a crush on another person. Godzilla is crushing everything around. Still, make an original definition example. Think about how this particular word has impacted your life. Readers love observing vivid and unique examples given by the writers.”
Taylor Summers, Professional Academic Writer
Approaches Used to Define Particular Term
Except for watching the definition of the selected word on the site of Merriam-Webster or another online dictionary, you should add other valuable information. The different ways to explain the meaning of your term make the topic more understandable.
- Analysis: Before you write, divide the subject into sections. Explain how many types of friendship or love exist. Include the definition of the romantic, platonic, parental, and immortal love. What makes particular term stand out from the rest?
- Comparison: The writer contrasts some subjects. An essay may appear more lucid to the readers. An example may be comparing two political regimes, music genres, religions, etc. Such process is a part of analysis approach. It helps to identify item’s unique features.
- Structure: Explain the way something is organized/joined.
- Details: Not only physical traits and internal features are great for defining the term. To make the meaning of your word clear, it is good to add conceptual background and traditional views on the matter.
- Negation: People sometimes understand things better if you include the wrong definitions in your essay too. You may stress that Hinduism has nothing to do with Christianity. Start writing about the differences between the two religions. A good idea is to begin essay this way.
- Examples and Anecdotes: A smart and witty writer always adds samples and jokes. It is especially helpful when an abstract concept has to be defined. E.g. if you have to write about the definition of “accountability,” highlight this term with the help of some good real-life story.
- Origins and Causes: Sections refers to history. It is important to include the word’s background in the structure of your definition paper. Trying to define “light,” you may recall the history and origins of how the initial lamp was invented. Note: To learn more information on the essay’s structure, read this blog carefully.
- Outcomes, effects, and causes: Words and phrases like “Gender Discrimination” or “Poverty” cannot be fully defined without explaining the consequences that they have for the humanity. Such terms as “Cataclysm” and “pollution” lack poignancy. Mention their effects and causes.
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Know These Recommended Steps Before Writing Definition Paper
Now, it is time to pay attention to five steps that may help you to write the definition essay better.
The basic steps in the process of writing a good definition essay include:
- Conduct a research to select a word.
- Searching the meaning in the official dictionary.
- Asking people around what they think is the best definition of the term.
- Look how the term is defined in cinema, press, literature, and social media to gather many good definitions.
- Look at the gathered information. Analyze different meanings of the word.
- Grabbing audience’s attention with a powerful hook.
- Developing effective thesis statement the way you do for any other academic project. In this sentence, determine the target word as well as provide a short explanation.
Although you should use your imagination, do not ignore important sources that will help you explain the meaning of any chosen word or term:
- Dictionary definitions
- Personal interviews
- Social media questionnaire
- YouTube videos
Consider two basic types of definition essays. They are argumentative and narrative papers.
- Argumentative essay definition (tries to prove the given interpretation is the only correct and acceptable)
- Narrative essay definition (writer includes a story to create an image in reader’s mind with details, plots, and characters)
Definition Essay Mistakes
Top Selected Definition Essay Topics
Here are some of the best topic ideas for your future definition essay:
- Human body
- Excellent weekend
- Global warming
- True love
- A real problem
- Personal crisis
- Having a Rest
- American Dream
- Good Music
You may counsel professional academic writers to get more definition essay topics ideas.
Follow This Definition Essay Outline
Have a look at these simple instructions before writing your definition essay:
- Work on your topic idea. Find a really cool word.
- Find what the term means in the official dictionaries. Write them down in your own words to avoid plagiarism.
- Use various articles and videos to help to define and explain the chosen word.
- Write down some possible interview questions.
- To better understand the concept, interview people around to find out how they define the topic. Get people of different ages, areas of specialization, titles, and with different life experiences.
- Social media may help to gather more information if you post the questions/answers online.
- Have you worked with each source individually? Grab the best meanings the sources offer. Separate all responses in groups/categories before writing the final version of your definition essay.
Ways You May Use to Analyze Sources
- Get ready to write the essay on love or any other selected word by observing the gathered information. From the first interview to the last article, analyze the meanings and put a number on each separate definition. Divide definitions into the official ones, those offered by people, and your own thoughts. Choose the most commonly met meaning. It would be the best definition ever.
- Develop a numbered list of all definitions from various sources. Write the names of people who shared their thoughts.
- To explain the word properly, analyze all results repetitively.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated about explaining the meanings of different words. You can purchase affordable online help with any sort of academic essays online. There are many writers online who offer their services. We recommend turning to the time-tested website which delivers all orders on time without much expenses from the customer’s side.