Self-Esteem and Group Identity/Conformity

Topics: Self-esteem, Motivation, Asch conformity experiments Pages: 2 (822 words) Published: June 20, 2013
According to Elliot Aronson in his book The Social Animal we are in a constant tension between our values of individuality and conformity. We want to fit in with the group without losing our unique qualities. However, at one point or another we all conform whether it be changing our answer from line B to line A in Solomon Asch’s experiment or changing our positions in an argument in order to be more liked by the group. All of this relates to self-esteem in some way, how we perceive our value to the world drastically affects our relationships, our performance in school or other tasks, and can make us less aggressive or jealous. Achieving higher self-esteem is easier said than done but if individuals focus on what they can contribute to others rather than basing their self-worth on appearance or other sources they will be more confident and optimistic. Positive self-esteem can have gratifying effects on an individual’s trust, relationships, work, confidence, optimism, the ability to learn from mistakes, self-care and take charge of his or her life without the anxiety and fear of being rejected. On the other hand, individuals with low self-esteem often feel unworthy or incompetent when faced with day-to-day tasks. In research done by Jennifer Crocker, a psychologist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, people who base their self-esteem on exterior sources like appearance or academic performance are more likely to feel anxiety and encounter other mental health consequences. She surveyed over 600 college freshmen before they went to college, after their first semester and after their second semester. When asked what they base their self worth on 65 percent said their appearance and 70 percent of those were women. Another 77 percent said they base their self worth on their family’s support and over 80 percent said academic performance. However, the students who determined their self worth based on academic success did not receive better...
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