Elective course - Psychology of Self

Course content

The self-concept (or simply „the self“) subsumes peoples thoughts and feelings towards their own person. One classic test to measure the self simply asks people to provide 20 answers to the question “Who am I?”. Typical answers include “I am nice,” “I am competent,” “I am proud of myself,” and sometimes “I am the greatest!” To conduct research on the self it is necessary to divide the global self into more manageable parts (i.e., to sort the answer to the Who-am-I? test into categories and research each of those categories). A popular division distinguishes three parts: (1) the content of the self (e.g., “I am nice,” “I am competent”), (2) the valence of the self (e.g., “I am proud of myself,” “I dislike myself”), and (3) biases of the self (e.g., “I have a very high IQ” even though the person actually has an average IQ). This summer course will provide a detailed introduction into quantitative social and personality psychology on the self and, in particular, its three parts. Even though the research discussed in the course comes from a quantitative tradition on studying the self, the focus will be much more on theory than on their quantitative, empirical tests. We will spend much of our time in the course to compare and discuss different rival theories of self-content, self-valance, and self-bias. The summer course will take place in the second and third week of August (weeks 33-34). Depending on the pandemic state, we will either meet in person or online via absalon or some mix of those two options. In any case, we will meet three times per week (Mo., Wed., Fr.) each time from 10:00 to 16:00. Meetings 1-2 will concern the content of the self (i.e., self-concept semantics), meetings 3-4 will concern the valence of the self (i.e., self-esteem), and meetings 5-6 will concern the biases of the self (i.e., self-enhancement). Each course attendee will prepare a presentation before our meetings and we will listen to those presentations, hear additional presentations from myself, and—most of all—discuss each presentation in detail. The language of the course is English.

Learning outcome

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • describe and account for relevant concepts and themes covered by the elective course
  • describe and account for relevant methodological approaches in relation to the subject matter for the elective course
  • explain contexts, analyse and conduct procedures relevant to the elective course under supervision
  • discuss themes/problems relevant to the elective course or interpret cases/data related to the elective course.



Mandatory: 715 pages
Own choice: 85 pages


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Set assignment with options - prepared at beginning of the course submitted in Digital Eksamen according to the exam schedule.
The exam paper can be written in groups of maximum 3 students.
1 student max 12 pages, 2 students max 15 pages and 3 students max 18 pages.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 36
  • English
  • 36


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

2 weeks
Monday, Wednesday and Friday in week 33 and 34.
10am to 4pm all days.
About 30 students per class
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Jochen Eberhard Gebauer   (9-6f336c6a67667a6a774575787e33707a336970)
Saved on the 14-03-2022

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