Self-awareness in psychology - what is it?

The definition of self-consciousness in psychology is one of the most difficult areas. Various researchers have devoted their work to this particular problem, have expressed their opinion about what self-consciousness is. And it is about this doctrine that will be discussed in this review.

self-awareness in psychology is

The essence of the problem

According to experts, self-consciousness is characteristic not only for the individual, but also for the society, the nation, or another social group. But this is possible only if there is an understanding, joint hobbies, common interests and activities.

What is self-awareness in psychology? This is a process in which a person tries to isolate himself from the external environment, to determine his position in the life of society. The phenomenon has a close connection with terms such as reflection. To determine how a person treats himself, just look at the people around him. In other words, the improvement of consciousness is observed in a society among its own kind.According to psychologists, the individual can be formed as a person in several areas. This activity, communication and understanding of themselves, their own motives.

Components of self-awareness

For the process of socialization is characterized by the expansion of relations, their deepening. Also an important role is played by the relationship of a person with other people, society as a whole. Self-awareness will develop over time, become more sustainable. However, this will happen gradually.

The process is complex, it is influenced by a variety of events and people. For this reason, V.S. Merlin identified several components of self-awareness in psychology:

  1. There is an understanding that a person has certain differences not only in his character, but also in his views. There is a separation of oneself from the outside world.
  2. The individual begins to become aware of himself from the position of an active subject, who by force can change reality.
  3. A person begins to see his own mental properties, emotions and processes, become aware of them.
  4. There is a formation of social and moral aspects, self-esteem appears, which is facilitated by the accumulation of life experience.

problem of self-awareness in psychology

Directions in science

For modern science is characterized by different views on the problem of self-consciousness in psychology. This concept can be viewed from the perspective of the original primary form of a genetic nature in the mind of the individual. The basis lies self-awareness. The development occurs at a very early age, when the child begins to get acquainted with his own body. Self-experience is a special and universal aspect of this concept.

There is another, opposite point of view. Its essence lies in the fact that self-consciousness in psychology is the primary level. This phenomenon is the result of improved consciousness.

The third concept implies that consciousness and self-consciousness in psychology are distinguished by simultaneous improvement. They are one and interrelated. Thus, knowledge of the world occurs through sensations. An individual begins to form a certain picture of the outside world. At the same time, a person experiences self-awareness, due to which ideas about themselves appear.

Problem development

The problem of self-consciousness in psychology implies the existence of certain stages. Below are two of them:

  1. A pattern of one’s own physical body is formed, a feeling of “I” appears.
  2. The intellect develops, conceptual thinking is formed. At the same time, the development of reflection occurs. A person can already intelligently look at their own lives.self-awareness is the definition in psychology

Problem structure

The development of self-consciousness in the psychology of personality can be divided into several main stages:

  1. The individual begins to separate himself from the outside world. He understands that he is a subject that is independent of both the natural and the social environment.
  2. The personality becomes aware of its own activity. The individual is already able to govern himself.
  3. A person can become aware of his or her own qualities by observing other people, noticing similar features.
  4. There is an analysis of oneself from a moral point of view. In this case, the reflection is understood, the accumulation of inner experience.

The structure of self-consciousness in psychology was described above. Scientists who formed it, believed that the personality is able to feel united. And memories of past events, feelings, belief in the best and dreams help in this. Since this phenomenon can be considered continuous, the individual begins to integrate himself into a holistic education.

The dynamic side of the structure is constantly being analyzed.In connection with this, such concepts as “current self” and “personal self” arose. In the first case, it is necessary to understand certain forms of how self-awareness occurs in a particular period. The second implies the persistence of the individual. This is the core of all the other "current selves." Thus, it turns out that for any act, self-consciousness is characterized not only by self-knowledge, but also by self-experiencing.components of self-awareness in psychology

Another point of view

The problem of self-consciousness in psychology interested many scientists. Therefore, several structures were formed. Another example should be given:

  1. A person is able to recognize motives - close and distant. He has certain goals and desires that can be hidden. This is "I am acting."
  2. A person is able to understand, be aware of his own characteristics and character traits. She can also be aware of the qualities she aspires to. This is "I am real" and "I am perfect."
  3. The individual begins to realize his own cognitive attitudes, he has ideas about himself.
  4. There is a formation of an emotional relationship with oneself. In other words, self-esteem arises.

Jung's point of view

Many scientists have devoted their time to the study of self-consciousness in psychology. The most popular is Jung's theory. According to him, self-consciousness is based on the opposition of conscious and unconscious activity. The psyche is characterized by the presence of two levels of self-reflection.

On the first is the self. It participates in both conscious and unconscious processes. At the second level are thoughts about yourself. The individual tries to understand his own feelings and emotions. All this, according to Jung, is a continuation of the self.

personality self-awareness in psychology briefly

Point of view of humanist psychologists

According to scientists humanistic direction, the self is the focus of human nature. It helps to realize the full potential, to use their capabilities to the maximum.

Is it possible to understand how a person treats himself? This will help other individuals, they are the main criterion. In this situation, the formation of ethnic identity. Social ties that contribute to the accumulation of experience, change ideas about themselves, making it more multifaceted.Thus, self-conscious behavior is based on stereotypes, the formation of which occurs in the course of communication with other people.

Personality tends to become itself, for it is important. A person is characterized by the desire to support himself in difficult moments, so that self-attitude does not change for the worse, and self-esteem does not fall.


Self-consciousness in psychology can be viewed as a combination of relationships, manifested towards oneself and towards other people. The expectation of how others relate to the individual also plays a role. Relationships can be divided into the following categories:

  • Egocentric. Personality puts itself in the center, it believes that it is a value in itself. If others do what she wants, then they are good for her.
  • Groupcentric. In this situation, the relations formed in the reference group are implied. In other words, there is "our" team, and "not ours." If the person is first, he is good.
  • Estocholic. These relationships are spiritual. noble features are brought to the fore. It is mercy, love, justice, etc.

Levels of the phenomenon

There are several levels that are characteristic of self-awareness.

Sensual. At this level there is information about the physiological processes, dreams and aspirations, about emotions. In other words, self-experience and self-perception are located here, providing the most simple identification of the individual.

Personal. A person begins to realize his activity.

Mind level. The personality tries to analyze its own intellectual forms, it reflexes and tries to realize the processes occurring within itself, it observes.

Purposeful activity. At this level, the previous ones are combined, due to which the person begins to function adequately in the world. Self-control manifests itself, self-assessment and self-criticism is formed, self-development takes place, etc.

self-awareness research in psychology

Types of self-awareness

Psychologists quite often divide the phenomenon of self-consciousness into different types. They should be considered in more detail:

Public. This kind of phenomenon appears when a person is aware of how it looks in the view of other people. Self-awareness is formed in situations where the individual is in the center of attention, speaking on stage or talking with friends. This variety is characterized by following social norms and rules.When a person begins to understand that he is being watched, he tries to behave in such a way that his behavior seems socially acceptable. Public self-awareness can cause a feeling of anxiety when a person begins to worry about how others perceive it.

Private. This type appears when a person is aware of certain aspects of himself. For example, I saw my reflection in the mirror and realized that it was him. Or he felt unpleasant sensations in his stomach, he understood that this way agitation and anxiety are manifested. All these are examples of private identity.

Increased self-awareness

Sometimes you may feel that everyone is looking at you. Actions are analyzed and evaluated, surrounding people are waiting for you to take further action. Such a state of heightened self-consciousness can be embarrassing; it makes one nervous. In many cases, it is distinguished by its temporary nature, manifesting itself only in those situations when a person is in the center of attention. However, in some individuals, such sensations arise constantly, regardless of the situation.

Shy people have the most pronounced level of private identity. And this is a good and bad sign at the same time. Such individuals better perceive their own feelings and beliefs. For them, their own values ​​will always occupy a leading position. However, they constantly suffer from stress and anxiety. In some cases, can fall into severe depression.

Public people have a social identity. They think that people condemn them, evaluate their appearance and actions, constantly criticize them. Because of this, the individual tries to adhere to the norms and rules adopted in society. They avoid situations in which they look bad and feel uncomfortable.

Pathological forms of the problem

Considering the concept of self-consciousness in psychology, it is impossible not to note the pathological forms, the fault of which can completely destroy self-consciousness, and then consciousness. In a similar way, some disorders can affect the formation of a personality:

  1. The process of depersonalization. It is characterized by the loss of its own "I". In this case, the person begins to look at the processes occurring within himself and at external events, as an outside observer. He does not perceive himself from the position of the active subject.
  2. Splitting the basics.In this case dissociation is implied. The core is divided into several beginnings with alien properties. They are able to conflict with each other. There is a case when 24 persons got along in a person at once. They were characterized by individual memories, different interests and motives. Each had its own values ​​and character. Even the voice was different. And each person considered herself to be true, others simply did not exist for her.
  3. There may be irregularities in determining your own body. In this situation, a person is able to perceive his limbs as strangers.
  4. Realization. In this situation, there is a loss of connection with reality. There are doubts about the events taking place, about the existence of oneself. Such a disorder is the most severe of all of the above.

structure of self-consciousness in psychology


With this phenomenon, we are able to become a separate being, both for the people around us and for ourselves. Do not forget that self-awareness is a constant study of our own actions, thoughts, feelings, which will accompany us throughout our life. Over the years, people change, respectively, and look at yourself does not remain the same.

In this article, we examined such a concept as the identity of the individual in psychology, briefly described the important processes that occur in the life of each person. We hope that this review has helped to understand the rather complex and multifaceted teaching.

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