PS101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Julian Rotter, Learned Helplessness, Albert Bandura
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Michael Matthews October 20, 2011
Psychology Lecture #11
Gordon Allport- argued that personality is characteristically a number of different traits. Defined people by
a combination of different traits as opposed to specific personalities.
He had a very rational approach (useful but is a weaker approach)
Isaac- was imperial approach.
Gordon found three types of traits- the cardinal trait (so rare that you probably will rarely see personalities
governed by a single trait- reflected by one specific trait), Central trait, secondary traits (descriptive and
short lived- “my roommate is grouchy in the morning”)
The mature personality has a sense of perspective. Empathic- deep sense of empathy. Rich sense of humor.
Susan Kolbasa- Her theme is a personality characteristic of “hardiness”, positively correlated with a strong
immune system. Consists of 3 different dimensions: commitment (believe in the truth and value of who
they are and what they are doing. They are fully engaged in what they are doing), control (powerlessness,
feel they can control the trajectory of their own destiny-they confront the world), and challenge (vs. threat-
they see life as a series of challenges-put demands on them for incentives of harder work). Opposite of
commitment is what she refers to as alienation.
(LCU)- Life change units. Stress may have an effect on our health- especially based on the amount of
change units in our life at one time.
Skinner would say- all I have is behaviour, which equals personality.
Personality is a series of traits that have been reinforced.
There is nothing that special about personality. Behaviours/ personalities are simply happening because of
what has been rewarded through one’s life.
Radical theorist assumptions: Behaviour is personality. Environment has much to do of who we are as
opposed to biological and genetic influences. The use of experiments to determine behaviours
Albert Bandura is a social cognitive radical theorist: observational learning is powerful He argues that your
goals are also very important. The way we think about our external events affects our behaviour.
What you learn from others, is not necessarily what you expect to learn from them.
Reciprocal determinism- you are as much a product of your environment as you are the architect of your
environment. Children’s viewing habits, influences their feelings and behaviours today. Architect of your
The essential ingredient is your perceived sense of control.
Internal locus of control- cope better with stress, deal with academic better
Julian Rotter has worked a lot with this inner control.
Learned helplessness- negative events keep occurring, you may do nothing eventually.
When people can’t change anything, they feel helpless and then eventually depressed.
People who are optimistic look at external events, use very specific analysis, and see negative events
People, who are pessimistic, see the problems coming from internal. You feel in general a loser to specific
Depression is the single most serious mental problem in the world today.
Self-Efficacy- a person’s conviction that we can perform the necessary actions to get the desired outcome.
Humanistic/ Existential Approach: Holistic, Dispositional (disposition to be whole and seek growth),
Phenomenological- reality is how you define it, and it is always subjective.
Existential: freedom (can be a burden), choose, responsive for your own choices