PSYC 2210 Lecture Notes - Deep Structure And Surface Structure, Personality Psychology

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Published on 26 Jun 2012
York University
PSYC 2210
of 2
Lecture #21
Personality (Part IX)
ŸDivisions amongst phenomena of psychological domains, personality psychology acknowledges all of
the phenomena coexist inside a person, personality researcher has a goal to provide coherent view of
the person of how these attributes are organized within a person, differing person from person
ŸDelay of gratification refers to the ability to forgo an immediate reward, in favour of a larger reward
later on
ŸCertain ways in which everyone shows delaying gratification, all of us show it, and all the rewards
differ, the longer we have to wait, the less we care about it, but the larger the reward is, the longer we
want to wait for it
ŸPeople differ in their ability to look away from something immediate and rewarding now, for
something better later on
ŸWe are constantly in this civilization where we are asked or required to delay gratification
(kindergarten teacher asking student to settle down)
ŸJack and jean are a pair of researchers who met at Berkeley and married in the 1950s and early 60s,
became professors and decided to study personality the long way; take three-year olds and study them
their entire careers (from the San Francisco area) assessments every year, then particular
developmental milestones
ŸThe goal was to show that there is a deep structure to personality, underlying continuity (temper
tantrums at age 5, doesn’t predict the same tantrums at age 30, but it may reflect impulse control or
mood regulation that expresses itself differently in later years)àslide 4
ŸPeople develop broad, individual generalized differences, vary widely
ŸThere is a belief that surface behaviours change from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, but there
is an underlying behaviour that can be studied and observed, self-reported dated from parents and
teachers and behavioural performance data
ŸJack and jean had the idea of two dimensional levels of personality, called ego-control and ego-
resiliency, the second qualifies the first
ŸThe first of these is called ego-control and is how you typically regulate your impulses, are you
impulsive or are you more controlled person, two extremes, the under controller who typically act on
their impulses and the other end of the continuum is the over controller, they are inhibited, the control
their urges
ŸEgo control is about typical behaviour (sort of like a trait)
ŸEgo resiliency is about what you are able to do, not what you do typically, but what you are ABLE to
do, your ability as a capacity of an individual to modify your typical level of ego-control because the
situation may demand it (a controlled person, can you relax at some point, let loose at a party?, if you
are an under controller, when you have an exam approaching can you exercise your impulses, get your
act together)
ŸEgo resiliency is when you shift your ego-control to specific situations, an ego-vulnerable person
cannot do this, they resist change, the perseverate, they fail to adapt from one situation to another
ŸYou can be an under controller who cant change, or an over controller that cant change
ŸIn one aspect of this research they were interested I how ego-control and ego resiliency was related to
delaying gratification, what are the personality factors that show the ability to delay gratification
ŸGift delay situation, the kid is brought in, and the experimenter says they found a gift and they put it
aside, and they say you can have the gift after the kid finishes the puzzle, then experimenter leaves,
and the question is how long can the kid wait before he grabs the reward, the time until the child
reaches forth and take the present, the length of time you wait displays the résistance
ŸResistance to temptation, a room full of toys, the toys don’t belong to you, you cant play, so the kid is
told not to touch them until the experimenter comes back with permission, they are bearing levels of
display over their approach behaviour of the toys
ŸAcross ages and genders, ego control is systematically related to delay of gratification
ŸEgo resiliency also contributes
ŸDelay of gratification is a function of what you typically do and to what you are able to do
ŸMischel brought kids around 4 or 5 years old and showed them tow different levles of rewards, one
marshmallow or two marshmallows, on a table and a bell, after being asked about which reward they
prefer, the inspector says he will leave the room, and if you can wait until he comes back, he can have
two, but if he rings the bell, experimenter will come back and then they could have one
ŸThe real question was how long did it take before they rung the bell
ŸYou can see from the video the kinds of strategies that kids use to help them with this problem,
whether the kid focused on the cookie had a harder time waiting, other kids tried to amuse themselves,
hide under the table, to make them focus on other features so they won’t ring the bell
ŸAs years passed, Mischel was able to track down many of the 4 year olds to see how they turned out, to
see the different between who could wait a couple more seconds than another, etc.
ŸParents reported academic competence, social competence, coping and how many social problems you
have, (drugs, alcohol, etc.), and they were correlated with their delay behaviour of the experiments
from 10 years before
ŸThis study of an experiment for a waiting just a few seconds predict deep structure of personality in a
number of different aspects (striking large correlations)
ŸThese two different approaches which shows two different points, one relates to where you stand with
respect of ego-control and resiliency which predicts a number of future behaviour (academic, social,
etc)à provides a window into the deep structure, about where the student is coming from and how
they will behave in the future