Cognitive Aspects of Personality.docx

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15 Apr 2014
Gestalt Psychology:
oGestalt means pattern
oIn psychology gestalt has been used in three ways: used as a type of therapy, used
in the study in perception or used in understanding personality (how we use it)
oHuman beings seek meaning in their environments
oWe organize the sensations we perceive as perceptions
oWe take in information and it goes through encoding and into neural messages
that the brain can make sense of (this is perception)
oStimuli are more of the sum of their parts
oIs the triangle shown in the image or constructed in the mind of the viewer?
oYou can construct an image of a triangle because of how the circles are arranged
oYou make something new with the pieces of information you are given
Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory:
oMost gestalt theorists focused on perception, but Lewin was interested in
personality and social psychology
oWe do not have a pipeline to reality, we construct things in our mind
oGestalt therapy is mis-named
oLife space:
All internal and external forces act on the individual and the relationships the
person has amongst those forces
Boundaries differ across individuals (some have strong boundaries, some are
more private, some boundaries depend on the situation)
Family, religion, work, etc. are all forces
Can be a problem if someone has a strong boundary with their spouse and a
weak boundary with their children (wife may feel left out and husband may
have a stronger relationship with their child)
oContemporaneous causation: there are many forces acting together all at once that
cause behaviour
Field Dependence:
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oPeople are categorized if they are field dependent or independent
oA person sits in a darkened room and have the image above in front of them and
are told to make the rod straight
oPeople that are field dependent make it straight in response to the frame
oPeople that are field independent, make it straight in regards to the floor, not the
oChildren’s play preference: field independent children are more independent, not
conformist, will play alone, tend to miss social cues
oSocialization patterns: field independent people emphasize
oCareer choice: field independent people
oInterpersonal distance: field independent people will sit further away from others
oEye contact: field independent people will make less and shorter eye contact
Cognitive Complexity:
oDegree to which a person aspects ambiguity or requires closure
oSome people need to reach a judgment/decision quickly
oExtent to which a person is willing to accept ambiguity and deal with not having
oA person low in it needs closure, a person in high can accept closure
oSeize and freeze: if you have a belief that vaccinations are bad, they may say no
evidence will change their mind (making up ones mind about something and
being closed off to evidence)
oPeople high on cognitive complexity
oSome people need to come up with quick judgment and are not open to changing
their decision once they make up their mind
oThey are not able to deal with complexity
oPeople high in complexity like to keep their options open and do not feel bound
by their amount of options
Schema Theory:
oThe concept of schema was initially described by jean piaget
oSchemas are cognitive structure that organizes knowledge and expectations about
one’s environment
oSchemas not only effect how you experience the world, but the effects of your
schemas influence how others treat you
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oExamples of schemas:
Schema that you are better than others (guides the persons perceptions of
behaviour, if you think you are better than others, it will effect how you act
like being arrogant and condescending)
If you have a schema that you think you are a loser, you will feel inferior, be
submissive, accept ill-treatment, look for reassurance
oSchemas for familiar events such as eating at a restaurant
oScript is kind of a schema that has instructions of what to and not to do
oWhen at school, you know you go to class on time, find a seat, etc.
oIf someone violates a script, it becomes obvious that there is a script (if someone
takes a phone call during class)
oIf someone does not understand scripts for behaviour, consequences can include
being excluded, rejected, etc.
oWe tend to organize events, objects and people into categories
oWhen someone comes to extra help, first thing you need to know is what class
they are in
oWe categorize people at birth (gender)
oPositive effects of categorization: helps understand information quickly, helps us
make inferences with new things
oNegative effects of categorization: can lead to misattributions, stereotyping,
oversimplification, overlooking characteristics of people that make them different
Rejection Sensitivity:
oInvolves the extent to which a person is overly sensitive to cues that he or she is
being rejected by another person
oInvolves perception
oPersonality variable
oA person who is high in rejection sensitivity is overly sensitive to indicators that
they are being rejected by others (comes from a history or being repeatedly
rejected by a significant figure in their life)
oMay have expectations of being rejected which can interfere with relationships
oReact in ways that lead to rejection because they are scanning the environment for
cues of being rejected which ends up eliciting cues of being rejected
oIf you ask for a lot of reassurance, you will be rejected
Control of Attention:
oWe notice salient environmental features
We look at what our current goals are and decide what to pay attention to
Inability to stop or regulate immediate reaction to events
oIndividual differences in attention:
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