The self concept may be said to be both the product of and the producer of experience. Explain this statement by drawing on the writings of theorists you believe to be humanistic.
Self-concept has been defined by Lindgren and Harvey (1982) as a component of the total field that an individual perceives as part of his or her identity. Specifically, the authors state that self-concept refers to:
. . . aspects of the self that are perceived as being consistently expressive of it and its nature over time. (p. 537)
With respect to self-concept, it may be noted that a good deal of research supports the idea that one's concept of self is not inherent at birth but rather is developed on the basis of a child's experiences (e.g. Fischer, 1980; Harter, 1983; Lewis & Brooks-Gunn, 1979). Humanistic theory has attempted to delineate this development. For example, Gordon Allport (1961) has formulated a theory which states that several aspects of selfhood are developed by humans in correspondence with their experiences.
The first stage in the development of self-concept as delineated by Allport emerges from the experience of recurrent muscular sensation which lends itself to the development of a sense of bodily self. After this, experiences attendant to learning language provide the child with his first or rudimentary concept of self-esteem. By the age of six, Allport feels that the child's experiences have been sufficient for him or her to have developed an early concept of self that includes the bodily self, self-identity, self-esteem, self-image, and self-extension (viewing others as important components of one's own identity).
Although affiliated with psychoanalytic thought, the views of Harry Stack Sullivan on the development of self-concept are in accord with the humanistic perspective. According to Sullivan (1953), self-concept is produced from experience. While he particularly emphasizes the relational experiences between ch...