It is very clear that most people in a society suffer with disappointments that lead them to sustain
their integrity. Disappointments may come about when one engages in risky health behaviour,
rejection in romantic relationship, where there is conflict between people and even the groups,
negative feedback in working environment and schools, loss of beloved one etc. (steel, 1988).
This psychology research project gives an account of experimental research about the behavior
of human beings.it also includes all information concerning the processes of the experiment, its
relevance, how valid the information is and how reliable the research is in terms of
argumentation. A good number of people have psychological immune system that brings about
protective adaptations when there is perception of a threat. (Gilbert, Pinel, Wilson, Blumberg &
Wheatley, 1998).These adaptations include all cognitive strategies and distortions that arises
when people come to deal with an issue in a manner that makes it appear less threatening to self-
worthiness and well-being. When people make an effort to protect the image of self-integrity.
The integrity of their relationship is also threatened with others (Cohen et al, 2005).in order to
minimize these defensive adaptations, self-affirmation need to be practiced.
Steel (1988) proposed self-affirmation as a theory to protect the image of self-integrity. It is
moral and sufficient adaptive. Threatening this image makes the people respond in a manner that
suggests that one needs to restore his or her self-worth. These enables people to deal with the
most threatening situations and information without having defensive biases.
This report is a research on self-affirmatory theory as a framework to shed light on the
motivational processes that deal with maintenance of self- integrity and all the implications that
come with domains of psychology. It discusses on illustrations on the impacts of self-affirmation
on the cognitive responses of the people, their physiological adaptations and the behavior. It has
also all the implications that deals with psychological and physical health, social conflict,
education, resistance to change, prejudice etc. The report also talks about to use self-affirmation
to minimize threats to individuals for example when people confront information that sounds
threatening about other groups of people. Factors that qualify or give a limit to the effectiveness
of self-affirmations are reviewed inclusion with the situations that seem to backfire leading to
discrimination and defensiveness.
There is discussion on connection between these theories with other motivational theories of
self-defense is shown. In conclusion, there is discussion on the implications of self-affirmation
theory for interpersonal relationships and coping.
During my research, I used various methods to carry out my projects. One of the method I
preferably used to study psychology is observation. This method helped to document the
behavior of different groups of people in a natural setting and all the events that could not be
witnessed in a laboratory. Hypotheses could be drawn from this method.
A sample of individuals were taken without interfering with their normal activities. It was very
necessary in order to document their daily behaviour in the routines and in their natural contexts.
This method is very important because the researcher is able to come up with specific questions
and generate a hypothesis that come from the observation. This will guide the researcher in
turning the data into results. It also capture a behavior that sounds more natural than the
behaviour that seems to be artificial or that is experimentally done in the laboratory. This avoids
biasness of data collected and this type of data may help researchers to verify its validity.
One of the weakness with this method is that it does not produce quantitative data but instead it
produces qualitative data that does not require mathematical analysis.it does not also help
researchers to determine the cause and its effect and therefore one can only describe the
behaviour but not describe it.
It is time consuming, as it requires much observation, which lasts for several hours, and this may
increase the chances of biasness from the observer.
Case study is also another method that was used in the collection of psychology data on different
groups of people.it helped to understand the relationship that exists between the areas of the
brain and personality. From this method, groups of participants were asked questions through
interviews.it makes use of multiple measures or records and focuses on a single subject. It uses
qualitative data such as interview but sometimes it can make use of quantitative data. It makes
use of various techniques such as personal interviews, observation, psychometric tests and
archival records in order to gather information. This method cannot be generalized to overall
population because it does experimental research hence they do not provide predictive power.
One of the advantage of the method in psychology is that it has the potential to develop novel
hypothesis to be used in other testing. It explores ideas on a subject and determines underlying
principles. It enabled researchers to give detailed analysis of the behaviour and all the situations
that are related to all these events that cannot be recorded ordinarily.
The method has its own weakness when trying to search for data. It was impossible to draw
cause and effect from it. It does not test for hypothesis. They cannot support and give a
prediction on a research that is done. The observations made are based on limited samples and
therefore the findings cannot be extrapolated in order to apply to very large contexts.
In this research, it was found that theory called self-affirmation could only test if affirmation of
self-integrity, provoking threat is likely to attenuate or remove the normal response of the people
to the threat itself. If it does not do that, one gives an inference that there was motivation of the
response by desire in order to protect self-integrity and this theory is accompanied by four
tennets. One of the tenet talks about how people are motivated to protect the perceived integrity
and the worthiness of the self-affirmatory theory (Steele, 1988).
The purpose of this is to maintain a phenomenal experience of the self that is morally adequate,
competent, good, coherent, unitary stable, capable of free choice and even controlling all the
outcomes that comes.
Motivations in order to give protection to self-integrity results in defensive responses. This takes
place when self-integrity is threatened. People are motivated to repair it and this leads to
defensive responses, which may seem to be rational and defensible (Aronson, 1968, Kunda,
1990).They aim is to diminish all the threats and restore self-integrity that is perceived. The
responses can be automatic and even unconscious in nature.
There is flexibility in self-system whereby people often compensate for all the failures in one
aspects of their lives by giving an emphasis on other domains. The main goal of the self-system
focuses on maintaining the overall worthiness and integrity of self-people. People respond to
threats in one domain by giving an affirmation to self in different other domains. Affirmation
always satisfy the motivation in order to maintain self-integrity and therefore they minimize the
adaptations that results from psychology in which people engage in to ameliorate a specific
People can be affirmed by participating in activities that make them remember of who they are
and by doing so, it reduces the implications of self-integrity of threatening events. These
qualities are central to how people perceive themselves. They concern friends and even the
family, music, one’s religion. Motivations in order to give protection to self-integrity results in
defensive responses. This takes place when self-integrity is threatened. People are motivated to
repair it and this leads to defensive responses that may seem to be rational and defensible
(Aronson, 1968, Kunda, 1990).They aim is to diminish all the threats and restore self-integrity
that is perceived. The responses can be automatic and even unconscious in nature.
Under very difficult situations, the reminders of these qualities can give a provision to people
with a perspective on who they are and support the sense of self-integrity in the face of the
threat. They are typically ideographic in the sense that people give a report on important value or
a report on life domain and then give an opportunity either on writing an essay about it or to
complete a scale that allows them to assert its importance (McQueen & Klein, 2005).
Defensive processing is costly especially when it makes people to avoid important health
information. Individuals face information that suggests that they are participating in the
behaviour that puts one’s health at very high risk. This can threaten the self by suggesting that
people have acted very unwisely e.g. participating in smoking, drinking or practicing unsafe sex.
Several researchers have found that when a health message is relevant, people tend to scrutinize
the messages than when a message is not relevant(Ditto & Lopez,1992).Different criteria is
being used when evaluating how valid the information that sounds to support or contradict the
desires. People seem to be biased when performing their assessments of information that sounds
threatening health information, and making behavioral change in a positive direction that carries
self-evaluative burden that acknowledges the most important part of how they perceive
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