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Lecture 10

PSYB30 - Lecture 10.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Elizabeth Page- Gould

The CognitiveApproach • Explaining an individual’s personality by emphasizing the way that individual thinks • Focuses on the way people think – basic differences in information processing • Differences in how we interpret things—in how we think about things (our cognitions)— are seen by the cognitive approach as forming the basis for our personalities. • Have you ever known of two people who have gone through similar experiences but responded to them in very different ways? • Have you ever known anyone who had a difficult experience but found a way to make the best out of it? • Have you ever known anyone who always sees the worst in everything & everyone? • Focus on differences in information processing • Cognition: o awareness and thinking o Specific mental acts: perceiving, interpreting, remembering, believing, anticipating, etc. o when we take a cognitive approach in personality we are interested in individual differences in the way that people interpret events in the event, perception, individual differences in memory processes,etc o a lot advances in in technology = able to look at cognitive processes; growing field • Three levels of cognition of interest to personality psychologists: o Perception: Process of imposing order on information received by our sense organs – differences in how individuals make sense of stimuli in their environment – what they notice, take in, what they construct from it  Perception is subjection, sensation is objective (size, shape, colour, smell) o Interpretation: Process of making sense of, or explaining, events in the world  One step above perception  Involves a lot of complex cognitive processes and processes that are conscious o Beliefs and desires: Standards and goals people develop for evaluating themselves and others  Different methods people use to pursue their goals Personality Revealed Through Perception • Field Dependence-Independence • Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing-Augmenting Field Dependence-Independence • Field independent (relative to field dependent) people can focus on details despite background information • Applies to many sensory domains – such as sound – focusing on certain sounds when there is a lot of ambient noise • Testing field-dependence • Embedded Figures Test (EFT)  Requires you find certain figures embedded in a larger figure  The faster you can do it, the more field independent you are • Rod and Frame Test (RFT)  Involves apparatus  Room is dark and person is placed facing apparatus  Rod in the middle of frame = rod and frame glow brightly – have to use a knob to adjust the position of the rod so that it is straight up and down  In order to do this must be able to ignore the frame and just focus on the rod  If you’re able to do it = field independent thinker • With field independence and dependence there is a cultural difference • Chinese tend to be field dependent = harder time with rod and frame test = extents to the idea thatAsian cultures focus on the social context – here perceptual context Field Dependence-Independence and Life Choices • Education  Witkin et. al. (1954) found that choice of major in college was related to field independence/dependence. • Field Independence – focused on details, being able to spot patters despite background noise  Natural sciences  Math  Engineering • Field Dependence  Social Sciences  Education • Interpersonal Relations  Witkin found that field dependent people rely on social cues, are oriented toward other people. – harder for them to isolate context and object  Field independent people function with more autonomy and are more detached socially • Perceptual Style Leads To Different Styles of Learning • Police Officers • Field independent officers perform better in high-stimulation settings  Notice details more accurately  Less distracted by noise and activity in background Multimedia-based Computer Instruction Field independent 8 graders learned more effectively than field dependent  Got points imbedded within the different sources of media faster  Able to switch between educational media or sensory fields faster  Looking specifics not holistic Field Independent Characteristics  Skilled at analyzing complex situation, exacting information from background distraction  Able to screen out distracting information and focus on a task – ex. Can study at a coffee shop  Learn more effectively in hypermedia-based instructional environment compared to field dependent individuals  Lower on social skills – don’t pick up on social cues  Prefer to keep distance from others Field Dependent Characteristics  Stronger social skills  More attentive to context than field independent people Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing-Augmenting (Petrie) • People with low pain tolerance have a nervous system that amplifies or augments the subjective impact sensory input – feels more painful to the individual = augmenters • Those who can tolerate pain well have a nervous system that reduces the subjective effects of sensory input = reducers Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing-Augmenting  Reducers show relatively small brain responses to flashes of light and bursts of noise  Reducers seek strong stimulation, drink more coffee, smoke more, get bored more easily  Reducers tend to start smoking at an earlier age, and to engage in minor delinquencies as adolescents  Esyneck introverts chronically cortical over aroused – therefore always motivated to reduce arousal which is why they are always in quiet environments while extroverts are opposite = kind of similar to reducers and augmenters  Esyneck = cortical arousal , reducers/augmenters = nervous system Personality Revealed Through Interpretation  Locus of Control  Learned Helplessness  Explanatory Style Locus of Control • Describes person’s interpretation of responsibility for events • External : Generalized expectancies that events are outside of one’s control • Internal: Generalized expectancies that reinforcing events are under one’s control, and that one is responsible for major life outcomes • Doesn’t refer to whether events are, in reality, controlled by internal or external factors. • Focuses on the tendencies to interpret events in
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