Self-concept emerges as a child develops an increasingly rich concept of him or herself, separating the notion of “I” from other people and objects. In addition to he concept of “I” a child develops a separate notion of “Me” which has certain defining features and qualities. William James defined “Me” as one that is observed and perceived. “It is the Me that one sees when attention is focused on the self, the Me as an object, represented in self-concepts, in how we see ourselves.”
The notion of “I” is represented by actions of an individual.
The “I” self-regulates, self-monitors, and presents the self to others in most appropriate way. Self-concepts involve an integration and organization of an enormous amount of information. The self-concepts are utilized with the individual’s past experiences as well as his or her future preferences. The individual who learns to perform more competently achieves more gratification and is also likely to develop more positive attitudes toward himself or herself. Once one can overcome fears and stressful feelings, one will become more confident as a result.
Evaluation of one’s behavior may play a significant role on how the individual perceives himself.
Critics of behavioral therapy note that people may suffer not because their behavior is inadequate but because they evaluate it improperly. Some people have problems with distorted self-concepts more than with performance. These distorted self-concepts can be seen as a person labels himself and reacts to his own behaviors differently than people around him. Thus, many human problems involve a false self-evaluation and self-reaction. The roots of out self-concepts are the evaluations and the impressions of others in their responses to our interaction with them.
The significance that a particular event has on individual depends on the concepts that it activates to encode a meaning.
This psychological meaning and significance of an event, rather than the event itself, affects its impact on the individual. If a person is exposed to a certain set of train constructs, he will pursue these constructs, and apply them to relevant situation which might which might be different in it’s context. There are differences between the individuals in the types of constructs the tend to self-activate. Thus, people are different on the constructs that they have which are readily accessible for encoding new event which are relevant to themselves.
Self-conceptions may influence how a person behaves in a certain environment. If a person feels that he or she is not welcome in a particular place, they will act aggressively or ignorantly towards others.
This notion might not necessarily be true, but since the individual perceives it that way, his or her self-concepts are set. One might behave inappropriately in a certain place while having no idea he is doing so. Although concepts continue to change over time, their foundations form early in life.