Role of the Self in Humanistic Thinking

Humanistic psychologists study the mechanisms of human thought. They focuson the structure and organization of what a person knows and how his thoughts,beliefs, expectations and interpretations affect behavior. Humanisticpsychologists believe the concept of the "self" held by an individualinfluences their behavior and is related to their emotional state, well-beingand judgment.

According to Houston, Hammer, Padilla and Bee, the self can be viewed as aschema or organized body of propositions and descriptions of the self thatguides the selection and interpretation of new information (Houston, Hammer,Padilla and Bee, 1989). The schema is a template against which information iscompared. The information can be interpreted to fit a person's schema. Forexample, a woman's schema may include the belief that she is unattractive andit's important for her to be married to feel good about herself. If herboyfriend decides to end a relationship with her, she may interpret it asverifying she is unattractive; no one will ever like her, and she will be aloneforever. Self-schemas act upon information and construct and transform it to bemeaningful to the self.