Self Other And Social Contexts Assignment Sheet

"We have an unfortunate tendency to assume we're morally superior" - Morally superior?  You people are stupid!

"Can signatures decrease cheating?" - This series of studies found that having someone sign his/her name BEFORE completing a task reduced cheating more so than if the person signed afterwards or not at all

Perceived increase in incivility just more self-serving bias? - This study provides a very clear example of the self-serving bias to use in class.

"Practising self-control with a squeezy handgrip boosted these students' grades" - This is an interesting and useful study, but I primarily included it because I like the phrase "squeezy handgrip."  It's just fun to say!  I know, I need better self-control.

The unconscious voice of creativity - An interesting little rumination on where our ideas come from from David Myers.  But I really just included this link because I love the photo included.  It looks as if David is annoyed at us for intruding on his private writing time.  And, yet, he is the one who included the photo!  Aha, it was it his unconscious mind that did it!

"Distinctiveness defines identity" - David Myer explains why Scots identify themselves as Scottish more than English.  We define ourselves in terms of how we are different.  Which is usually awesome, of course.

"Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge" - Looking something up can create the "illusion of knowledge."  We've tried to tell our students that, haven't we?

The development of self-control - This article reviews some research presented at the APS convention.

"Self-proclaimed experts more vulnerable to the illusion of knowledge" - Like I'm telling you something you didn't already know.  "New research reveals that the more people think they know about a topic in general, the more likely they are to allege knowledge of completely made-up information and false facts, a phenomenon known as 'overclaiming.'"

Bragging often backfires - Of course I knew that.

Self-justification for lying/cheating - Here is a brief summary of the research described in one of the above Current Directions articles.

"Most good people have the same basic life story"


Solomon's paradox - Research finds that we are better at making wise decisions about other people's lives than about our own.  You should fix that.

The "front stage" self and the "back stage" self - At the Oscars!

Thinking about doing can lessen performance


Bragging vs. humility: And the Oscar goes to ....

Income inequality promotes status seeking - Although this remarkable finding is coming from respected columnist Wray Herbert, I still want to see the research article before I can believe it.  Researchers tested the hypothesis that greater income inequality leads to more status seeking which leads to more desiring/purchasing of high status goods.  They found that Google searches in states in the U.S. with greater income inequality targeted luxury and high-status goods 70% of the time.  What % of searches for such high-status goods were conducted in more income equal states?  ZERO PERCENT!  WHAT?!? I know, it seems impossible for it to be ZERO.  I look forward to the article in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science.  I couldn't find a draft of the article online anywhere yet. If you find one please send me the link.  ZERO??

When to use an intention implementation plan - "The results were pretty clear. Creating an implementation intention for a single goal was beneficial, but for multiple goals disastrous. It seems that implementable planning for multiple objectives increases the salience of two things: the difficulty of juggling numerous goals compared to a single one, and the potential conflicts and constraints that exist between multiple goals." [added 9/24/15]


Relative superiority - I just coined a new term!  (Okay, probably not, but give me my 15 minutes, okay?  Thanks.)  You know about relative deprivation, when someone feels at a disadvantage compared to someone in a similar situation, such as a car-less college student comparing herself to college students with cars.  That often leads to feelings of frustration and disappointment.  But what if one perceives himself in an advantageous position relative to similar others?  He experiences relative superiority.  And what does that lead to?  Voting Republican!  And supporting government policies that restrict welfare programs even if one is poor.  Read on....  [added 9/24/15]

Dogs like control too! - [added 9/24/15]

Inmates also exhibit better-than-average effect - And not just compared to other inmates.  They believe they are more self-controlled, more compassionate, more generous, more dependable, more trustworthy, and more honest than non-inmates as well.  However, the inmates only thought they were equally law-abiding compared to non-inmates. [added 9/17/15]

When outcomes are more unclear we are more fatalistic - If I can't do anything about it or figure out how it will come out, I will leave it to the mysterious hand of fate. [added 2/19/14]

Roy Baumeister on willpower - a brief Q&A in Time magazine [added 8/29/13]

"Illusion of control: Are there benefits to being self-deluded?" - Duh. Social psychology: The study of the obvious...for those of us who aren't deluded. [added 8/29/13]

Prefer mimics who use same body part as us - [added 1/13/13]

The name uniqueness effect - That is, "you think your first name is rarer than other people do."[added 1/13/13]

"Just how independent are independent voters?" - Sam Sommers reviews research finding that independents are like the rest of us -- they are influenced by prior attitudes (party affiliations). I know, social psychology is the study of the obvious. [added 1/13/13]

Why you keep playing the lottery - Yes, you. [added 1/13/13]

Which side of your face do you prefer to show in pictures? - "A team of scientists say that it reflects how much you see yourself as emotional and arty or rational and scientific. Owen Churches and his colleagues analysed the personal webpages belonging to 5,829 English-language university academics around the world. They found that engineers, mathematicians and chemists more often posed with their right cheek; English lit. dons and psychologists with their left. '... [M]ost academic psychologists, who may have entered the profession during its arts oriented past, perceive themselves as being more akin to arts academics than scientists,' said Churches and co."[added 1/13/13]

The worse-than-average effect - You can't all be me (average, that is). But even I think I am worse at some things than I actually am.[added 7/7/12]

Revising your story - "University of Virginia psychologist Timothy D. Wilson, PhD, is fascinated by the stories people tell themselves to make sense of the world. Those personal narratives, he says, can make the difference between living a healthy, productive life—or not. But the question is: How can we alter those narratives to enact positive, lasting change?"[added 7/7/12]

Even introspection is context-dependent? - Sam Sommers looks at how efforts of self-improvement are shaped by the situations we are in. Coincidentally, Sam has a new book out entitled Situations Matter. [added 7/7/12]

Speaking in a deep voice makes you feel more powerful - [added 7/7/12]

"Symbolic interactionism on the road" - Good blog entry discussing symbolic interactionism and self-concept as it relates to the act of driving[added 1/29/12]

The mystery of mirrors - Not really social psych, but mirrors are fascinating. People are poor at judging what they would see in a mirror when looking at it from an angle.[added 1/29/12]

The Penn State saga - In this blog entry, Sam Sommers connects the sordid issues of Joe Paterno and Penn State to a number of social psych phenomena.[added 1/29/12]

End-of-the-world forecaster has revised the date - If you are reading this, the world has not ended -- yet. According to Harold Camping, it was supposed to end on May 21. He meant to say October 21. [added 8/21/11]

"Monkeys doubt themselves just like humans" - Although, researchers aren't sure. Interesting way of testing for this.[added 6/12/11]

"The benefits of thinking about our ancestors" - "An initial study involved 80 undergrads spending five minutes thinking about either their fifteenth century ancestors, their great-grandparents or a recent shopping trip. Afterwards, those students in the two ancestor conditions were more confident about their likely performance in future exams, an effect that seemed to be mediated by their feeling more in control of their lives. Three further studies showed that thinking or writing about their recent or distant ancestors led students to actually perform better on a range of intelligence tests, including verbal and spatial tasks (in one test, students who thought about their distant ancestors scored an average of 14 out of 16, compared with an average of 10 out of 16 among controls). The ancestor benefit was mediated partly by students attempting more answers - what the researchers called having a 'promotion orientation.'"[added 6/12/11]

Your friends and family see you differently (on some things) - Interesting study finds that we often perceive ourselves differently than others see us on certain traits (e.g., others see us as less neurotic than we see ourselves). Most interestingly, these same discrepancies appeared across cultures. [added 12/24/10]

Engaging in impression management actually changes your perception of others[added 12/24/10]

Social comparison bias - This blog entry describes research finding that we tend to prefer to associate with those whose strengths don't compete with ours. [added 12/23/10]

Cross-cultural differences in the mirror test - "The performance of young children on the 'mirror self-recognition test' varies hugely across cultures, a new study has shown."[added 12/23/10]

Suppressing thoughts of smoking leads to more smoking - [added 10/30/10]

Social influence on the illusion of control - "The illusion of control is the tendency to believe that we have influence over uncontrollable events. It has been well demonstrated in gamblers who may often put down wins and losses to their skills and abilities, even on games like roulette where the outcomes are entirely random. This new study found that roulette players who learnt that someone else had recently 'won big' had an increased illusion of control, expected to win more and made more risky gambles while playing. However, this effect virtually disappeared simply by adding that the 'big winner' had put down his bonanza to sheer luck." [added 7/20/10]

Self-delusion and lying - Read another interesting blog entry from Sam Sommers concerning examples in the news of forged transcripts and inflated resumes. [added 7/20/10]

Problems with self-construal - "Those who had more psychological distance from themselves had a much more realistic sense of how others saw them. They were able to see the 'big picture' rather than focusing on trivial flaws and defects that only a microscope can detect. In short, they were better mind readers." [added 7/20/10]

Do the mobile form group identities? - Some in society move quite frequently. Does that prevent or lessen the likelihood they establish identities around groups they belong to? [added 7/20/10]

Indirect bragging can be harmful - You may be better off saying "I could be the next prime minister" than saying "My son could be the next prime minister."[added 7/20/10]

Willfulness vs. willingness - Blog entry describes interesting research which asks if it is better to tell ourselves "I will do this" or to ask ourselves "Will I do this?" before starting a task. Studies find that the less goal-directed wondering was more successful, and actually led to more goal-directed intentions.[added 7/20/10]

"Census figures challenge views of race and ethnicity" - [added 2/13/10]

Evaluating your own competence is hard - very interesting article reviewing research about the difficult of judging one's own competence [added 1/19/10]

"Thinking that you're blushing makes you blush even more" - a number of interesting findings in this study [added 7/16/09]

Loss aversion and dieting - Interesting story of a new Web site that requires you to pledge some money connected to certain weight loss goals. If you don't meet them, the money is donated to a charity or a person you designate. Connected to loss aversion. And what if the wife's (or husband's) demerits cost her money? (See above.)[added 7/16/09]

The illusion of control by proxy - Summary of an interesting study which finds "we are prepared to hand over control to others if we believe they are likely to be luckier than we are. Wohl and Enzle call this 'illusion of control by proxy.'"[added 5/2/09]

Sense of power increases illusion of control? - Those primed for power rather than powerlessness exhibited a greater illusion of control. [added 5/2/09]

Stick to your resolutions/goals? - Interesting new website Michael Britt passed along in which you select a goal, set a deadline, and identify a punishment if you don't make it. Can you feel public embarrassment online?[added 5/2/09]

Self-handicapping - New York Times article on some research - [added 5/2/09]

"Individual differences in susceptibility to mindlessness" - If someone tried to jump in line at the copier within an inane excuse would you still give in? What if you were high in need for cognition? High in self-monitoring?[added 5/2/09]

Name-dropping ... maybe not such a good idea - "Indeed, according to Carmen Lebherz and colleagues, name-dropping will probably make you appear less likeable and less competent - unless, that is, you make your association with the famous name sound suitably distant and casual. Even then, it's only likely to do you any good as a kind of sympathy vote, after your audience have witnessed you fail."[added 5/2/09]

How mirrors affect self-perception - Interesting article from the New York Times -- did you know the image of your face in the mirror is exactly half the size of your real face, no matter how far you are away from the mirror? [added 12/21/08]

"How do you make a reputation for yourself?" - a good blog entry reviewing some research on the topic[added 8/09/08]

The imposter phenomenon - Is expressing self-doubt a personality trait or self-presentation? [added 5/24/08]

Culture influences perspective - "Once again, we see the same pattern: in social situations, Asian Americans are more likely than Euro-Americans to take the perspective of a friend (by using "come" instead of "go" when someone is approaching them), while in non-social situations the pattern is almost reversed."[added 4/27/08]

"Personality plagiarism rife on internet dating sites" - interesting discussion of how people are "constructing the self" on the internet by stealing attractive or creative profiles [added 4/14/08]

In denial - New York Times article reviewing some interesting research on what motivates denial, how it is viewed by others (sometimes more favorably than being honest), and what forms it takes [added 12/21/07]

How are optimists, pessimists, and realists perceived? - a story about some research -- optimists and realists more favorably perceived than pessimists, but people will still stop and help pessimists [added 11/21/07]

"Conversational partners coordinate eye movements" - interesting study looking at how even separated conversants coordinate eye gaze [added 10/25/07]

"I'll agree to do the right week" - "When making decisions a person often thinks that she should make certain choices (e.g., increasing savings, reduce gas consumption) but does not want to make them. This intrasubjective tension between 'multiple selves' has been referred to as a 'want/should' conflict. In four experiments we show that people are more likely to choose what they believe they should choose when the choice will be implemented in the future rather than implemented immediately, a tendency we refer to as 'future lock-in.'" [added 7/06/07]

The forgotten origins of the self-serving bias - Probably like most of you, I assumed that the self-serving bias had been part of human nature for as long as, well, we've been humans. But, with a little digging, I discovered it's a relatively new phenomenon! [added 12/1/04]

Manipulations and measures of self-awareness - Paul Silvia provides some descriptions and examples of manipulations and measures of self-awareness that he and others have used in their research. Also included are links to some articles in which these items were used. [added 6/15/04]

The Spotlight Effect - a popular press article on research regarding the spotlight effect [added 11/11/03]


"Tutorials" on several topics - David Kenny provides some clearly written explanations of a variety of methodological and interpersonal perception topics. [added 7/16/03]

Self-determination theory - a site from Edward Deci et al. on their motivational theory -- it includes an overview, bibliography, discussion of the reward controversy (overjustification effect), related scales that can be downloaded and more [added 6/6/02]

"The Self in Scientific Psychology" - classic article from Mary Whiton Calkins (1915)

"The Social Self" - classic article by George Herbert Mead (1913)


Post Module Assignment


Eskom Project Management Program (2008)


Compiled by

Kavitha Prag

11 March 2008


1 Introduction 1


2.1 Kolb Learning Styles 2

3 Context of Learning in The Cost Engineering Department 7

4 Learning Styles within the Cost Engineering Department 8

5 The Development Plan 10

5.1 The Expert 10

5.2 The Novice 10

6 conclusion 11

7 References 11


Eskom last built power stations more than twenty years ago and much of the estimating experience and data was lost in the decades where the company had an operational focus. This coupled with the shortage in the construction industry of suitably experienced cost engineers and estimators has made it difficult for the author to build up the organisational capacity within this functional area. In addition expert resources that have chosen to remain in the field and in the organisation are an ageing workforce approaching retirement.

The general skills shortage both locally and abroad, has led to a strategic choice to bring in newly graduated novice cost engineers and develop the capacity for future projects. The caveat here though being the shortage of skilled mentors whose time is already being fully utilised to run the current projects. Thus, there exists two extremes, highly experienced but ageing experts and novices with no experience. The lack of the middle ground threatens the sustainability of the function. How then do the novices graduates get developed to an appropriate level in order to fast track succession planning.

This essay endeavours to explore the various aspects of learning styles, experiential learning and its implications for learning and development on the estimating aspects of the build program within Eskom. The key outcome will be a development plan for both experts and trainees coming into the organisation so as to ensure sustainability of the function as the aging experts leave the company for retirement.


Informal workplace learning has attracted considerable attention in the literature (Skule, 2004). The trend toward employees' assuming a more significant role in their own learning process, the importance being placed on learning as a core competency and lifelong process, and the recognition of learning as a source of sustainable competitive advantage for individuals and organizations alike have also stimulated tremendous interest in informal learning (London and Smither, 1999; Westbrook and Veale, 2001).

It is clear that formal methods of education represent only a small part of the workplace learning process. Strong theoretical and empirically based research has demonstrated that most effective learning occurs in the workplace in tacit, culturally embedded ways through normal work practices within organizations or other communities of practice (Steven & Mahmud, 2004).

Workplace learning can take many forms, from formal, institutionally sponsored learning including training and human resource development initiatives to informal and incidental learning.

Despite the huge investments made by organizations to equip their employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to be efficient and successful, outcomes are often viewed as more of an act of faith because actual results are not easy to measure.

Criticisms have been levelled against the nature of formal learning environments prevalent in most institutional settings and it has been suggested that most of what employees actually learn is derived from their own experience 'on the job'.

2.1 Kolb Learning Styles

Kolb defines experiential learning as a "process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (1984, p.38).

Fry and Kolb (1979) provide the potential to view the (job) environment in terms similar to how the person is viewed. They hypothesized that a learning environment can be characterized in terms of four orientations or distinct types that pose demands on the person/learner in that environment. They are labeled affective, perceptual, symbolic, and behavioral.

Affective Orientation. This involves the person in a wide range of interpersonal situations that press for the application of interpersonal skills in carrying out organizational objectives. Effective job performance requires working with and through others in ways that deal effectively with the teachings and values of others. The manager's job typically is perceived as getting things done through other people.

Perceptual Orientation. This requires a job holder to observe and reflect on phenomena in order to understand cause and effect relationships, creative possibilities, or potential consequences from possible courses of action. Typical examples include research scientists, psychoanalysts, strategic planners, and mathematicians.

Symbolic Orientation. This requires the job holder to maintain or increase mastery over a range of theoretical or technical skills. Effective job performance is a function of being called on to use a number of different abstract tools in daily problem solving. Typical examples of jobs with a high symbolic component are engineers, physicians, economists, and computer system designers.

Behavioural Orientation. This requires the involvement in and control over a wide range of interdependent activities by the job holder. The scope of discrete tasks may be small or large. However, at some level they are interdependent with the system's goals. Typical examples are managers



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