PSYC 333 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Avoidance Coping, Oxytocin Receptor, Fundamental Attribution Error
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PSYC333 Lecture 4 - Jan. 19
•The organization/structure of self-knowledge
•Personal attribute vs. Social roles
•Cultural influences on the self-concept
•Working self-concept or core?
The Mentally Healthy Person:
•Copes well with stress and adversity
•Follows social norms
•Realistic about ourselves
•Close contact with reality/accurate perceptions of reality…
Mental Health & Contact with Reality:
•“The perception of reality is called mentally healthy when what the individual per-
ceives corresponds to what is actually there”
•Psychological health depends on accurate perceptions of reality
•Not entirely surprising given dominant view of people as “naïve scientists”
•People gather information in unbiased manner
•Process information in logical way
•Draw fair accurate inferences
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•In fact, people actually make a number of systematic errors when gathering and
processing information and making judgments:
•Heuristics (e.g. Available heuristic)
•People think a plane crash is more likely than a car crash because of the
•Fundamental attribution error
•Take a person’s behaviour as based on them but not take account of the en-
•Errors not just about external reality
Illusions & Well-being (Taylor & Brown, 1988):
•Most people have illusions about the self:
•Positively biased self evaluations
•Illusions of control
•Unrealistic and overly optimistic
•Are most people mentally unwell, or are such illusions adaptive?
•Positive traits are overwhelmingly more descriptive of the self than negative traits
•Positive information about the self and successes are processed more efficiently
and recalled better than negative self information and failures
•Self serving bias when making causal attributions
•Talents are unique, weaknesses are common
•But are such favourable self evaluations illusions?
•Better than average effect
•Can’t look at the individual!
•Self ratings >>>> observer ratings
•The idea that we have control over our lives is central to most theories of self-es-
teem and well being
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