By adulthood, a human has already spent decades defining and characterizing attributes, beliefs and preferences of the individual they call “ME”. Where do I get the ideas I have about “who I am”? Am I more nature or nurture? Is the self malleable or fixed? The concept of self can be beneficial as an ally, or a confounding negative force—but how can we know which it is to be?
In this program, we will examine the psychological research over the last 60 years that helps describe, explain, predict and modify aspects of the self. We will examine topics such as theory of mind, self-concept, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-efficacy, identity, social comparison and impression management, self-deception, self-serving biases, escaping the self, self-control, and the contemporary dilemma of “self as a value base”. We will also discover implications for essential functions of the self in the domains of work, love, play, and service to others, as well as Eastern and Western perspectives on the self. Finally, we will read the works and then Zoom with several of the great psychology theorists and researchers who have examined “the self” over the last 30 to 60 years.
The content from this program is useful for personal growth, academic breadth, and careers across disciplines, as the knowledge and skill set taught in this program is essential for greater authorship of your own "self and story", as well as navigating relationships across life domains (love, work, service to others). This program will be completely on-line. Beyond intensive sessions with faculty, we will schedule small seminar groups, taking students’ preferences and personal schedules into consideration.
Students are required to have a computer and Internet to access Canvas and Zoom to complete this course. If students find themselves unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.
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This program is relevant for careers in psychology (practice, teaching, research, etc.), sociology, education (primary, secondary and higher learning settings), medicine, media/journalism, government, criminal justice, law.