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PSYC02H3 Lecture Notes - Behaviorism, Social Learning Theory, Personal Construct Theory

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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 40’s 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
vs. conservative (more narrower range)àdepends on where the person is coming from, may not be the
case for poly-sci students, changes from one person to the next
ŸWe use these constructs to classify and know the world around us, knowing someone is friendly, we
have all these expectancies and control of our behaviours towards them, and interact (predict)
ŸThe way you interact with others may help you understand what personal constructs you have yourself,
one set of comparisons reveals one side of a personal construct, another set of comparisons reveals the
other side of the construct (for e.g. by comparing your mom, current girlfriend and ex-girlfriend, and
looking at their similarities and differences, reveals two sides of a personal construct that you have)
ŸReview of Walter Mischel, he started the person-situation problem, published the book that shattered
personality scientists and the entire field that personality doesn’t exist and no such thing as traits, alter
years he helped reconceptualise the idea of traits, his thinking sets the stage of how we see personality
in the 21st century
ŸHe also studied at the Ohio state university along with Rotter and Kelly, and during their studies, they
never referenced each other in their findings, and Mischel incorporated things he liked from both
psychologistsà from Rotter, he liked his simplicity and his explicitness and elegance in how he used
two variables to predict a numerous amount of behaviours, but he also liked Kelly’s point of view on
personal constructs that recognizes the uniqueness and dissimilarities of everyone, and he wanted to
build both ideologies that recognizes both concepts
ŸA person is a meaning maker, ‘what does this mean’
ŸMischel’s theory includes 5 different aspects being processed when facing a situation
ŸThe idea of goals, what are the strands you are striving to attain, the things you are after, a view not
mentioned by Rotter or Kelly, was an important aspect of Mischel
ŸHe also had a tremendous respect of the subjective idea, it doesn’t matter what is actually there or what
other people see, but what you see
ŸThe idea of a competency (similar to Vandoura’s self-efficacy), what you feel capable of doing, your
subjective views of your skills and your abilities, what you feel you are good at doing (since people
most likely do what they feel good at doing)
ŸBehaviour for Mischel is basically what you want, what goals you have,
ŸFor e.g. you are having interaction with your boyfriend, and yo have a goal, a long term goal which is
to make this relationship work, which underlies most of your behaviours, now you have this situation
in which your boyfriend is not relying to you in a manner you would like, not in a positive way, and
you feel rejected and neglected by this behaviour, and this shows that this is how YOU feel in this
particular situation, and the way of dealing with it is anger, and you have an expectancy that if you lose
your anger, than he will get up and leave, and that is against your value, because you value this
relationship and don’t want to put it at stake
ŸThere are all these things that are being simultaneously activated and linked up to keep interaction
going, losing temper causes a negative outcome, but you still don’t appreciate his behaviour, but you
still want it to work because you value it