MCAT Psychology and Sociology Practice Test 6: self-identity and group identity

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When people want to establish a new form of identity, they undergo an exiting process to transition from their ex-role to their new role. The exiting process from their ex-role will be satisfied once society gives acknowledgement to the individual's change in identity. This is a difficult transition because society has already set expectations for the individual based on their ex-role. Through a series of interviews of people who have undergone role exiting, ranging from ex-nuns to ex-convicts, researchers found several issues that individuals encounter in the process of creating new roles.

The first issue that individuals face is the presentation of self. Individuals use external and internal indicators to publicly show others that they would like to be treated differently from their past selves. For example, transsexuals, who identify with a gender that is opposite of their biological sex, alter their clothes and mannerisms based on what they believe society considers acceptable of the sex they want to convey in their new role. It is the responsibility of others in society to recognize the individual's new identity through the newly acquired props and mannerisms the individual employs.

Social reaction is another issue for those exiting an old role and assuming a new one. During the exiting process, individuals are affected by reactions they receive from society based on their ex-role. Role exits are either socially desirable (such as being a drug user turning into an ex-drug user) or socially undesirable (such as being a doctor and turning into an ex-doctor). People continue to hold positive or negative expectations about the old role that an individual is trying to break away from as they continue through the exiting process. However, the more society expects certain behaviors from an individual, the more likely the individual will act in a way they are expected to act. For instance, if parents and teachers continue to treat a student like a delinquent, it is likely that the student will continue to misbehave because he is fulfilling the role assigned. The presentation of self and social reaction to the ex-role together determine the difficulty of adapting to the new role for the individual.

Another challenge is the change of friendship networks for the individual. People who shift identities are inclined to distance themselves from their old peers in order to be surrounded with a network that would encourage and facilitate their new role. For example, individuals who are married surround themselves with other married couples. However, if they became "ex-spouses," they are likely to begin associating with single people and fellow divorcees because their interactions with other married couples are different and uncomfortable. Additionally, while in their old role, individuals formed bonds with other people. After role-exiting, individuals have to manage their relationships with people who continue to be a part of their ex-role as well as those who are part of their new role.

Finally, individuals face role residuals, which can also be known as "hangover identity." This concept describes the number of aspects that persist for an individual from their ex-role even after completing the exiting process to their newly formed identity. Overall, the more involved an individual was in his former role, the more likely he is to have a higher role residual compared to someone who was not as committed to his previous role.

Source: Adapted from H.R.F. Ebaugh, Becoming an Ex: The Process of Role Exit. ©1988 by The University of Chicago Press

1. Which of the following theories best describes the process of presentation of self in creating an ex-role?

  • A. Social facilitation
  • B. Dramaturgy
  • C. Social support
  • D. Peer pressure

2. Which of the following scenarios describes the self-serving bias?

  • A. An employee who receives a bonus believes this reward was well-deserved because of how hard she worked and all of the extra hours she put in to her job.
  • B. A man who is ignored by a salesperson at a high-end suit store believes the salesperson is just a rude jerk.
  • C. A survey finds that most people think that attractive celebrities are good people.
  • D. An employee receives a promotion and feels lucky to have been "in the right place at the right time."

3. Based on the passage, which of the following types of social identities do transsexuals try to express through their self-presentation?

I. Sexual orientation

II. Gender

III. Biological sex

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. III only
  • D. II and III

4. A felon fails to find a job because potential employers are aware of his role as a convict. Which of the following concepts best describes this social reaction?

  • A. Social stigma
  • B. Social support
  • C. False consensus
  • D. Socialization

5. All of the following are ways that an individual's behavior may be motivated by social influences, EXCEPT:

  • A. compliance.
  • B. identification.
  • C. aggregation.
  • D. internalization.

6. Which of the following individuals would most likely experience "hangover identity?"

  • A. A biological male who identifies as a female, but has not yet begun the transition to the female gender.
  • B. An alcoholic who was sober for six months and then relapsed.
  • C. Someone who was married for six weeks and then gets a divorce.
  • D. A recent retiree who worked at the same company for 45 years, had a tight group of friends at work, participated in the company Thursday night bowling league, and volunteered with her colleagues every holiday season in a neighborhood soup kitchen.