PSY230H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Phineas Gage, Age 13, Conscientiousness

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Published on 15 Nov 2016
School
Department
Course
Conscious and Unconscious Motives
Impulses vs. willpower
Repressive coping
Key Concept: Willpower, Volition, Impulse-Control
Everyday trait words related to willpower:
o Strong-minded
o Headstrong
o Deliberate
o Controlled, etc.
Definition
o Maintain focus on a conscious goal (intention)
o Shield it from distraction by impulses
o Overcome obstacles in the pursuit of the goal
What is the difference between unconscious and conscious influences of
behaviour?
Unconscious motives are influenced by salient stimuli in the immediate
environment (short-term perspective)
Conscious influences require active retrieval of long-term goals form
memory (long-term perspective)
"willpower is just another name for the idea of choosing according to
long-term outcomes rather than short-term ones" (Damasio)
Delay of Gratification Paradigm
4 year old children learn to play a game
Shown marshmallows
If they wait for 20 minutes, they will get 2 marshmallows but if they
cannot wait, they can ring a bell and get 1 marshmallow
Does delay of gratification at age 4 predict life outcomes?
10 years after the original "delay of gratification" studies, parents were
asked to rate the personality of their adolescent children
Children who delayed gratification longer were:
o More academically competent
o More socially competent
o More verbally fluent, rational and attentive
o More planful
o Better able to deal with frustration and stress
Correlations between Delay Times and SAT scores 10 years later
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o
Conclusions
o Will-power shows temporal stability
o Will-power is related to adjustment and academic performance in
school
Study
Participants: 69 high school students (age 16)
o 34 problem students (guidance counselors' evaluations)
o 35 students were non-problem students
Procedure: choice between $7 now and $10 in one week (half took $7
now)
Measures:
o Grades (scale 0-100)
o Self-reported problem behaviours (smoking, drinking, pot)
o Self-report Rosenberg's self-esteem scale
Problem student (%)
o
Grades (0-100)
o
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