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Lecture 4

PSYC 333 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Avoidance Coping, Oxytocin Receptor, Fundamental Attribution Error

Course Code
PSYC 333
Jennifer Bartz

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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:
High self-esteem
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
Johoda, 1958
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
Biases (FAE)
Fundamental attribution error
Take a person’s behaviour as based on them but not take account of the en-
vironmental stimuli
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
Risk assessment
Unrealistic and overly optimistic
Are most people mentally unwell, or are such illusions adaptive?
Self Evaluations:
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
Personal Control:
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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