PSYCH 3F03 Lecture Notes - Walter Mischel, Julian Rotter, Social Learning Theory

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25 Jan 2013

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Personality (Part VII)
ŸBehaviourism and social learning theory is the second of three movements (forces) that predominated
the 19th century
ŸJulian Rotter who did much of his writings in the late 40s and 50’s, gives an extraordinary elegant
simple idea of human behaviour, based on behaviourism
ŸOne of the things is to understand the concept of psychological situation; we respond not to situations
per se, but rather to our perceptions regarding them (subjective interpretation of the situation)
ŸDistinction between objective and subjective, and subjective has primacy, any situation that is seen to
be real, it will be real, whatever you see or perceive is all that matters, its meaning to you
ŸRotter feels the very key concepts are expectancy and reinforcement value
ŸExpectancy for Rotter is the subjective belief in the probability that a given behaviour will lead to a
particular outcome, or reinforce one
ŸExpectancy usually phrased as ‘if I do this, then this will happen”, what your behaviour will result in
ŸReinforcement value is the desirability of an outcome to you (this is subjective, can be consistent with
reality or not, with others’ point of view, or not, etc.)
ŸExpectancies and values are personal, and they are not expected to generalize between one and another
ŸAll behaviour is a function of your expectancies and reinforcement value, what you will do is what you
will expect to happen, and knowing these two concepts allow us to understand normal and abnormal
Ÿe.g. from slide: what is the likelihood that Jane will act in a conscientious way with respect to her
working habits, she values success and working hard, so her behaviour potential is very high because
she expects good things to come for her hard work and she assigns values for those outcomes
ŸJohn has reoccurring acts of nervousness, and close only to those people that are required to know him,
interpersonal difficulties: what is the likelihood that John will start a conversation, he expects rejection,
he thinks no one will be interested, and they will find him weird, but he creates the value that people
liking him is important to him, so his expectancy to start a conversation is really low (this shows that
one aspect is not enough, you must have the expectancy and a reinforcement value for the behaviour to
ŸJulian Rotter and George Kelly both attended Ohio State
ŸGeorge Kelly had an unfortunate short career, he died in 1961, after publishing his book, he was a
opposed to motivational theories, he rejected psychoanalysis and behaviourism, and thought it was all
a waste;
ŸPeople act by virtue that they are alive, and try to remain so by anticipating and controlling whatever
happens to us, we must figure out what is happening in our lives and how to handle it
ŸThis view of people is that all people are some kind of naïve scientist to understand, predict and
control things in our lives, we are developing a naïve theory about the way the world works
ŸConsists of constructs/concepts, categories that help represent the world, individuals use personal
concepts to represent their lives
ŸPersonal processes are psychologically channelized/organized by the ways in which he or she
anticipates results (by categorizing the world around us and mentalized representations of it)
ŸA whole range of qualifications that come after that, qualification s of fundamental process, or
ŸThe first is the presumption of individuality, everyone personal develops a unique construct system,
your own basic view of the world, own categories for making sense of things, and will be different
from others (unique, ideographic)
ŸThe second qualification is Kelly expects constructs to be bi-polar, either in one category or another,
for e.g. when you meet a person you classify them as either friendly or unfriendly
ŸThe third elaboration on this idea is the notion of range, every construct has its range of convenience,
for understanding Kelly and all scientific theories of psychology (every theory was good for
something, and bad at something else=range of convenience, what the theory is convenient for)
ŸFor e.g. the consructs of friendly vs. friendly may have a far braoder range of behaviours than liberal
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