Formation of Self the Central Unifying Theme Term Paper

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Formation of Self

The central unifying theme for the readings analyzed for this particular assignment is the effects of culture on the individual. Moreover, culture specifically affects a number of crucial cognitive, emotional, and motivational factors for people (Markus and Kitayam, 1991, p. 225), as they pertain to an individual's perception of (his or her) self. Some of the facets of culture include "a distinct language; a distinct customs…and distinct beliefs" (Galotti, 2007, p. 574). Personally, I can identify with many of the concepts introduced in the readings pertaining to what essentially is how an individual defines his or her self. I am fairly fiercely attached to my own individuality, and was pleased to read a number of works which essentially discussed varying factors that contribute to individuality. However, it is somewhat of a paradox to consider the fact that culture specifically contributes to individuality, since one of the precursors of culture is that it must be practiced by multitudes or groups of people. Still, there are several different varying cultures within the world, continents, countries and states -- which means that even though culture represents a consensus of group values, there is still plenty of room for individuality.


I have to admit that because of my fondness for my own individuality, I was particularly taken with the introductory remarks in the article by Singer "Daydreams, the stream of consciousness, and self-representations" (p. 141-142). A lot of the importance that he attaches to dreams, both waking and daydreaming and those of the conventional nighttime variety, I impute to in my daily life. I agree with the point that there is a definite correlation between one's waking dreams or thoughts and nighttime dreams (Singer, 1998, p. 141) and that these thoughts -- which are pure, and come from within an individual and are not directly related to external stimuli -- eventually are responsible for galvanizing an individual into action to make them a reality. The fact that consciousness is limited (Furuya, 2013, p.7 ) and that the unconscious mind can continue what began as conscious thoughts contributes to the relationship between waking dreams and nighttime dreams. There is a musician that I am fond of who noted that everything that exists was initially a thought. I believe that this concept directly relates to what Singer was stating about the importance of waking and nighttime dreams.

Nonetheless, it is critical to understand the role that culture and the community play in shaping the specific aspirations and thoughts that individuals have. There are many pronounced cultural differences that denote different concepts for the construct of the self. For instance, the culture found within Westernized Europe in the United States embraces aspects of individuality in such a way that is not found in other parts of the world including Asia, Africa, and certain areas of Latin America (Markus and Kitayama, 1991, p. 225). As such, the identity of the self is intrinsically related to others in distinct ways. In the former areas, cultural mores of uniqueness and virtues ascribed to it are celebrated, transmitted, and play a substantial role in the dreams and thoughts of people. In the latter areas, the self is valued as it directly relates to others and to the community in general. The significance of these facts is that as a result of these varying cultural memes, individual conceptions of the self pertain more to autonomy within America and more to community and harmonization with others in most other parts of the world save for Western Europe.

From a cognitive perspective, then, there are many different effects to which these cultural distinctions contribute. Additionally, it is increasingly arduous to separate certain cognitive processes from their emotional output and their result as motivational factors as well. This notion -- as applied to culture -- is elucidated within Schrauf and Hoffman's article (2007), and is evinced within separate applications of "revisionism in memory" (p.895) between immigrants and non-immigrants. Research indicates that the accuracy of memory is flawed anyway (Furuya, 2013, p. 6). The basis of the research performed within this article is the fact that people tend to cling to their happier memories and forget those that are viewed more negatively, which is aligned with the notion of "distorted cognition" that can influence other psychological conditions such as depression (Mineka and Sutton,…[continue]

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