How differing people tend to descibe themselves

This research paper aims to research further in to the self-descriptions of two individuals relating to the findings of Morris Rosenberg (1979). Rosenberg stated that younger children generally illustrate themselves in physical conditions, i. e. activity and characteristics, whereas older children and adults more regularly use character features and relationship personal references.

Two individuals were interviewed by using a semi-structured style and the information accumulated was then divided into four categories cited by Rosenberg, that are; physical, character, relationships and inner. The information from both participants was then compared to the results of Rosenberg. Then self-evaluation, personal while others, ideal self applied and locus of self-knowledge was also discussed, as Rosenberg said that these also change as we get older.

My results do ascent with Rosenberg's results that once we get older we do not use physical information just as much, and my studies also agree that there does seem to be a switch from locus of self-knowledge from parents to the home with age.




This study studies into the self-descriptions of two people relating to the studies this included in Morris Rosenberg (1979), who worked off of the results from Bannister and Agnew (1977). They at first mentioned that "children little by little become better in a position to differentiate themselves psychologically from others as they get older and also become more capable of thinking about themselves in different ways". (1) Rosenberg expands on this by advocating that small children depict themselves in conditions of physicality, activities and behaviour, whilst teenagers and individuals use personality and human relationships more psychologically.

Rosenberg interviewed an example of 8 to 18 year olds arbitrarily from 25 classes. He asked the individuals questions "Who am I?" and then labeled the answers given into four categories. These are; Physical - information of physical features or physical activities; Character - explanations of personality, emotional characteristics and emotional control; Connections - descriptions of relationships with others and social traits; and, Interior - explanations of emotions, attitudes, wishes, beliefs and secrets, such as self-knowledge. (2)

Rosenberg's study discovered that the explanations from younger children were placed on physical exertions and characteristics, while older children used more character information about themselves, thus promoting that older children send more to connections and inner features.

Rosenberg additionally looked at the "locus of self-knowledge". This refers to how children develop an independent, self-reflective sense of self, different from others, i. e. parents. Rosenberg asked questions to attempt to ascertain who understood the children best, themselves or their parents. He found that youngsters were much more likely to rely on another person as a research point to who they are, with only 15% inserting the locus of self-knowledge within themselves, weighed against nearly 50% of the teenagers. (2). So, as the children get older there's a shift that we know ourselves more than others, for example, parents, educators, etcetera.

To research further into Rosenberg's results a semi-structured interview was completed to realize information from members. The answers are then put into the four categories, which includes proven difficult to do, especially as some answers could get into several of the categories, i. e. what I've positioned into one category might well have gone into another one quite easily. Additionally, another person may also interpret the answers in different ways and put them into a contrasting category as well. Furthermore, older children can provide a false response to a question so that it might make them look better, and they may deduce the solution that they feel the interviewee is looking for. The hypothesis is to determine if a more radiant child use more physical self-descriptions and also have a locus of self-knowledge from others, compared to older children who'll summarize themselves using inner qualities and have more of their own locus of self-knowledge.





The analysis is aimed at exhibiting how self-descriptions can change as we get older. The questions asked were created by The Open University to duplicate that of Rosenberg's. First of all, the two members were asked "Who am I?" in order that they will make a hand written list of at least ten self-descriptions about themselves. The answers were then split into one of the four of Rosenberg's categories of either; Physical (P), Figure (C), Connections (R) or Interior (I). (See Appendix A and B) A semi-structured interview was then carried out to get more information from both participants of their locus of self-knowledge.


Two people took part in the study, one woman and one guy. The researcher didn't know either of them. The feminine is 8 yrs. old and the male is 16 yrs. old. The interviews were carried out on an individual and confidential basis.


Both participants received the same bedding to write on for "Who am I?" questions and provided with pens and extra paper if needed. Also, a tape saved was used to track record the interviews with both individuals.


The members were up to date that the answers must be as honest as possible, and this there have been no right or wrong answers. The participants were designed to feel at ease and since comfortable as could be throughout the interview, which explains why writing the answers down at the start of the interview was a good idea and an ice-breaker, than going straight for the semi-structured design of interview immediately. The semi-structured interview was saved and brief notes were also created by the interviewee.


The interviews were completed in accordance with The English Psychological Society's code of conduct for psychologists. Consent was extracted from the child's parents plus they were debriefed before the interviews took place. Everything maintains private and apart from their first brands used, no further personal information is used. The interview was conducted in a professional manner.




The results of the questions sheets "Who am I?" were put into the Rosenberg's four categories (see Appendix A and B), then the proportion of the total coded reactions that get into each one of the four categories was carried out. This can be shown more evidently in the pie graphs (see Appendix C and D). There is only an 8 year age difference between both individuals, but the ratings for physical traits were both high. The ratings for internal and character features are both higher by half for the more aged participant, in support of the older child shows signs of being more involved with connections with others than younger child.

Referring to development styles in locus of self-knowledge the answers to "Who am I?" do show a style towards the older participant (Appendix B) developing a locus of self-knowledge associated with themselves, as these questions were all responded to as the "self", compared to the younger child, other answers related to others, mainly parents. So, these results do substantiate Rosenberg's results that "there is a shift with age in the locus of self-knowledge from important others, especially the parent or guardian, to the self". (2)

There is also a few distinctions in self-evaluation, younger child focuses mainly on their own physical advantages and weaknesses, for example, ears and legs, whereas the old child targets inner features, for example, being approachable and friendly. The perfect do it yourself is manifested in the younger child in what job they wish to do when they are more mature and it is not viewed in conditions of personality, persona or inner features, and the old child on the other hand wants to do a particular job as it would be interesting and interesting.




The investigation demonstrates both participants decided descriptions more to the physical features of Rosenberg's categories, it reduced slightly with age group as Rosenberg postulated. Although this is an extremely over-generalised and simplistic set of conclusions, as only two participants were analyzed. Also, like Rosenberg's results, mine also agreed with the locus of self-knowledge that as people get older the locus of self-knowledge comes more from within us psychologically, than from others. Younger child accepts that others, for example, their own parents, have knowledge about themselves, however, not necessarily from other people they know. Therefore, when asked "Who has learned you better?" the correct answer, although there is no specific right or wrong answers, must have intended for their teacher as a reply given that at the time the child is at school, however when out of university, the child's parents would know them better. In stating this, the younger child is aware an appropriate adult is aware of them like they actually. This is practical as it is through parents that children get to know themselves.

The main concern I associated with this analysis is categorising the children's explanations of "Who am I?" into the four categories Rosenberg advised, way more as the interviewee and researcher were two different people who didn't converge at any time to discuss the analysis. It might have been more profitable and valid if the categorisation have been done by two different people, and then got together to see what was put where and the reasoning behind the chosen categories. This procedure may have reduced the margin of error and biased results from the researcher, as the researcher can impact the effect by trying to place self-descriptions into certain categories to achieve a desired and more favourable result. A bonus is usually that the interviewee didn't really know what results were expected, as well as the researcher and interviewee didn't know either of the members, so there is no prejudice in that respect. But, the results cannot be completely regarded to be genuine given these situations.

Erik Erikson (1904-1994) regarded adolescence as an important level in the introduction of identity and so physical information about ourselves is where we commence to identify who our company is and then we build ourselves, i. e. our personality features from there. (3) Cultural differences also need to be considered, as with Western societies/cultures "Who am I?" may be predicated on life encounters, education and cultural activities, all of these vary for every country to another. Also, time distinctions have to be taken into account, as we all change as we get older and invariably wiser, so a longitudinal research may be considered a valid thought.

The first participant, the younger child described mainly physical attributes, whereas the second participant, the aged child was evenly worried about both physical and internal qualities, so life encounters and personality features may play a essential role. That is agreed by Piaget's theory of cognitive development (4), which suggests that at roughly 12 years old there's a displacement from the "concrete functions" stage for development in to the final level of "formal operations". This later level is where older children start to compose their own individuality and they are able to placed into framework erudition and sociable ideas about what it is to be an adult and manifest on their own self.




To conclude, the results out of this particular little bit of research show that Rosenberg's primary hypothesis of locus of self-knowledge has been deemed to be appropriate, even though it has been proven on a very small range from only two participants. I agree that youngsters do tend to describe themselves literally while teenagers and people rely on associations with others and independently inner thoughts and thoughts, so this helps Rosenberg's theory in regards to a switch from physical self-descriptions when we are younger to more detailed character and interior behaviours of whenever we are older. Therefore, in retrospect Rosenberg's 1979 research continues to be relevant over 30 years later for these results. But, it is still onerous to measure and explore the idea of self-image and locus of self-knowledge just from these results. Inner emotions and thoughts are abstruse to determine on individuals, especially hoping to determine how individuals think about themselves as well as others, and when only using four categories.


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