These lectures on the self only expanded upon my concerns from what we learned about social cognition. We really are just sausage casings just waiting to be filled by our surroundings. I identified to most of the topics covered in these chapters and lectures, unsrurprsingly as I am a person who thinks about myself, but there are several which really stuck out to me that I would like to discuss.
One that really struck me were the cultural differences between thoughts of self and self concept. This struck me as I had lived abroad in Chile for six months. The culture there is much more of a collectivist culture than an individualist culture. This was clear in every facet of life from punctuality, to communication, to of course self perception. When I spoke with Chileans many would talk a lot about their communities and how they fit in with there versus the tendency for people from the United States to discuss how they stand out. This was made especially apparent when for one of my classes I had to interview some of my Chilean friends. When I would ask them about themselves, they would talk about their families. When I would ask them about their interests and activities, they would often describe how they fit into their teams and their roles, versus their individual accomplishments. While I have not done this exercise in the United States, I am sure I would find different results.
Another concept that struck me and my individual experiences was the Niskett & Wilson study from 1977 with the stockings. I was shocked by its simplicity, and the sheer stupidity of the participants, everyday people, essentially me. As I mentioned in my last post I am an economist, and we treat people as rational consumers. This study showed me how far from the truth that is. We have no idea what we want or why, and to avoid the dissonance that creates we simply invent reasons for ourselves. It blew my mind when I learned about this study, not only that so many people chose the one on the far right, but that they all gave real reasoning. They invented differences out of thin air, to ease their own mental dissonance. Again as I mentioned in my last blog, I work in business development, a fancier word for sales. Since learning about this study I try and end on good things that I want the prospect to want. For example, when discussing possible options for a client, I know make sure that the last option I say is the one I want them to choose.
Here is an example. I cannot divulge the company for confidentiality reasons, but I was speaking to an owner of a cheesecake manufacturing plant in North America. They were unsure if they wanted to sell, wanted more information on the process, and did not know if now is the right time to sell. This is a very common call. After talking about all the ways my company does such a great job marketing and selling companies, and what sets us apart from the competition, we got to the end of the conversation which is a common ending. What to do next? The three options are two wait on it and think more if he really wants to sell, to set up another call with his partner to talk to us and learn about our methods, or for me to send over a confidentiality agreement so that he can send us his financials. While I did not mention the first option at all as I certainly do not want that one, I pay attention to the order that I presented the other two. I made sure to offer the second phone call option first, and the sending of financials second, in a hope that simply by virtue of the order he would want to begin the process and send over financials instead of waiting on talking to his partner. It was a success! While I am not certain that that is the reason why he decided to do that, I am certain that it did not hurt. Thank you professor for helping me with my sales.