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Lecture 15

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PSYC 2600
Chris Motz

Lecture 15 Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - Ch.12—Cognitive-Experiential Domain - In FFT—characteristic adaptations - We’ve been talking about individual differences in perception o Which is pretty mindblowing o We’ve been focusing on reducing-augmenting tendencies (some of us get queasy at injections, some don’t even notice) - We’ll move on to interpretation o Learned helplessness—optimism-pessimism (we’ll later discuss this in coping and heath) o Attributions - Goals o Relatively recent field within personality psychology o Shift—we usually think about aspects of personality that we have—for goals, we’re looking at personality as individual differences in DOING o Based on what people do - We’ll finish with Brian Little’s project analysis - Reminder of reducing-augmenting o Reduce/augment incoming perceptual stimulation (ex. Music) o Augmenters will amplify—can watch romantic comedies o Reducers will mute out some stimulation—seek out stimulating experiences—contact sports, drum solo, etc. - Larsen and Zarate o Reducer/augmenter, connection to emotion (regulating stimulation levels) o We might differ in our tendency to use emotion to regulate our amount of stimulation - Hypothesis—assumptions o Emotions are a form of stimulation o May be able to regulate emotional level to match up required stimulation level - Hypothesis o Reducers should find boredom more aversive than augmenters - Method o Step 1: 1584 simple, boring math problems (two-digit addition and subtraction) o Step 2: choose task for second part  Choice 1: questionnaire about everyday behaviours (boring)—how long you brush your teeth, which item of clothing you put on first, etc.  Choice 2: still have to complete questionnaire, but first get to watch highly negatively emotional film (gory, bloody) o **Do augmenters and reducers make different choices? - Scales o Questions about the math problems—how boring were they?  Manipulation check o Form G2 Reducer Index  Not just a manipulation check (were they bored?)—want to see if there’s a difference in how reducers and augmenters perceive them o Marlow-Crowne Social Desirability Scale  More socially desirable won’t want to really say how he/she is doing—would say he/she is fine when in fact he/she is not  We want to make sure we check to see if it influenced how people responded  **Stage 2—want to make sure that participants weren’t choosing choice 1 or choice 2 because of socially desirable responding (you really want me to watch this horrible movie, I’ll help you out by watching it) - Results o Reducers were more likely to choose the emotion-inducing option (option 2 in step 2)  Augmenters more likely to choose choice 1 o Reducers, when asked about math in step one, found the task to be less interesting, less pleasant, were more unwilling to repeat experience  Augmenters still found it to be boring, but not as boring as the reducers did o *No differences in social desirability  Great—or else that would have been a confounding variable - Implications o Hypothesis is supported o Reducers found boring conditions to be more aversive, more motivated to seek arousal (choice 2) o Using emotion as a form of regulation (using emotions to stimulate them) —even though the arousal was very negative  Couples might get in fights because the significant other is a reducer, bored o Optimal levels of stimulation differ for people o Motivational aspects of people are different—looking at motivational side behind the individual differences - General conclusions o Some individuals seek emotional arousal to stimulate self o Even conflict—arguing o Can help to understand whether significant other is reducer - Personality revealed through interpretation o Construct (hypothetical idea) o We use to summarize/categorize information about the world o We construe the world in a variety of different ways, creating constructs to handle the incoming information o Construct of green (relatively recent cultural addition)—we can have cultural construct o But we can also have unique, personal ones - George Kelly—Personal construct theory o Humans are scientists—we’re constantly making sense out of the world around us, making use of our constructs o We use constructs when understanding objects, but also people o Repertory grid test: start off with some people in grid  To figure out what constructs we personally use to make sense out of our world  Could do it with objects, but far more interesting to do it for people  Pick 3  Figure out how two things are similar and the third one is different in one aspect Mom Dad Boss Best Mean Friend neighbour * * * Nice * * * Funny o By knowing the person’s constructs, you know the way that person organizes the world—you think know they way they anticipate and act towards the world o That’s HUGE—almost like predicting behaviour o Can understand what drives people o 1) Fundamental postulate  The way we think about the world is influenced by our expectations of the world  Our constructs represent those expectations o 2) Commonality corollary  If two people have similar construct systems, they will be psychologically similar  Similar in the way we organize, anticipate, act towards the world o 3) Sociality corollary  To understand a person, we have to understand how s/he construes the social world  Inherently far more interesting to see how you organize people in the social world  Tied to attribution theory—differences we make in making attributions for things that happen - Personality revealed through interpretation o Learned Helplessness  Martin Selickman discovered this in his research with dogs  Quickly switched over to human beings  Works the same  Dogs had capacity to learn that they were not in control of their environment (although they are capable of learning they are in control to some extent)  They will sit there and accept something even if it is unpleasant  We as people can also learn to be helpless—very sad to see someone who is suffering through really profound learned helplessness  Someone who is helpless vs. someone who has learned not to be helpless (made attributions about what was happening, they’re in control, etc.)  Reformulated learned helplessness—explanatory style (we have
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