Lecture 2 – Focusing on what you THINK and its impact on health.
-Seeing someone die younger than you, it causes you think can you be next? The anxiety builds up which
motivates you to look behind the reasons: why it happened.
Attribution Theory – seeking out reasons behind a cause of what ever you are experiencing.
-When we find cause and effect relationship it makes the world more predictable which leads to doing
things (health behaviour) that can make us living longer.
-Also lets us have control and have order in the world.
-However, many times it causes us to make attributions – that are, health and self defeating as oppose
to health and self enhancing.
-We try to discern the motives and personality traits
-Psychologist look at how such judgments are made.
-Fundamental Attribution Error: basic idea that in general we tend to not pay attention or ignore or
discount the importance of situational factors in determining our behaviours. We tend to focus more on
internal factors of people, disposition of people – something that is inside the person.
We tend to ignore how much situational factors can influence our behaviours.
-Actor-Observer Bias: we tend to still engage in the fundamental attribution error but we do much more
for other people than ourselves.
Eg: You are pretty sensitive as to why you are cutting lanes while driving because you are late getting to
a lecture, whereas if someone else does the same behaviour (cutting lanes) you think the other person
-Defensive Attribution (“Blame the victim”): Start blaming the victim (someone who died because of
heart attack, you will blame that person and say they must have done something which caused the
-Self-serving Bias: When good things happen we tend to take the credit for it. (You go to a doctor for
checkup, the reason why I got a good checkup with the Doctor is because I look after myself, I exercise,
brush my teeth, etc.) However, if bad things happen we tend to blame the situational factors. (Eg: if you
get a bad checkup, we tell the Doctors it is probably because I am under stress, and other factors)
-Discounting: Attributing others behaviour to something of negative motivation; which leads to not
trusting of others, not believing their treatments. (Eg: If you go to a doctor for checkup, and the doctor
recommends you a bottle of medicine for hair treatment that can have a good impact on your hair
growth but you have to buy it, you then tend to think if the doctor really wants to help you or does he
want to make money out of it?) -Augmentation: believing that others behaviours are good. (Eg: Doctor office)
Am I Really Sick? (Skelton)
-Attend to bodily sensations. (Eg: Someone has a sore neck but you tend to ignore it on a daily rountine
but if you hear on news that one of the symptoms to a illness/disease is a sore neck you suddenly pay
attention to it.)
-Interpret sensations in the context of illness. (Eg: Persistently thirsty, but what if you know that being
persistently thirsty is one of a symptom of diabetes. “Omg, may be I have diabetes.”
-Negative Mood – “Am I Sick” it puts you in a negative mood.
INFORMATION AND SELF-REGULATORY THEORY (Skelton and Pennebaker): The information you have
gets you to change your behaviour in terms of how you look after your self. Eg: Repetitive headaches,
started with a lot of alcohol consumed on Thursday night leading to massive headache the following
day, but the headache continued 4 days in a row, leading one to believe there might be another factor in
We are actually talking about attribution process and how it affects our behaviour.
Influenced by: (We get information from…)
-Culture (any pain we have is a message from God to see a Doctor, other cultures have other beliefs and
teaches us to go see a Doctor) and schema
-Amount of Information: Eg: Medical student disease: medical students get extremely exhausted due to
load of work in their practice and at the same time they reading a lot on medical diseases and they tend
to diagnose themselves with those diseases because of the symptoms they are experiencing due to
exhaustion. Thus, we read on diseases and diagnose ourselves when we feel sick or tired.
-Social Comparison: we compare our pains with other people pain; Chest Pain
Attributions: “self-defeating” verses “self-enhancing”
-James-Lange Theory: for every emotion we experience is specific to physiological state that leads us to
experiencing a specific emotion. (Eg: State of fear is aroused upon coming in front of a bear)
-Cannon-Bard Theory: Can see some truth to the james and lange theory but there are so many different
emotions so how you separate cheerfulness from perkiness.
-Role of Hormones: Animals are in a state of fear when they sense danger, they produce high
level of epinephrine are associated with fear – explains Fight and Flight (Cannon).
Two-Factor Theory of Emotion: Schachter and Singer (1962) – gave us the most famous psychology
-Helps us to understand, how determine the answer to how are you feeling today? And really
emphasizes on how situational factors can influence us. -In the study, one group of subjects were given the drug (epinephrine) and the other group of subjects
were given the placebo (that has no effect; no active ingredient) All these people one at a time were
told that the drug takes 15 minutes to fully take effect, and tells that one person to wait in a room with
another person (not a participant) who was given the drug 10 minutes before you. In half of the cases,
the other person (accomplice; confederate) pretends to be happy; feels great. In the other half, the
confederate pretends to be uncomfortable, sad or anxious.
-There were four conditions:
Subjects were given an injection of epinephrine in a happy condition; when they were later
asked those subjects indicated they felt better than before.
Subjects were given an injection of epinephrine in a sad condition; those subjects started feeling
more negative because of the drug.
Subjects were given an injection of a placebo in the happy condition; subjects had no change.
Subjects were given an injection of a placebo in the sad condition; subjects had no change.
-Thus, this tells us that fundamental attribution error,
It seems as if when you get an injection and there is a physiological change but you don’t know what it
is, and you feel different, and you see someone say “wow it’s a good feeling” we interpret it as a good
feeling, we notice the good feeling. We interpret as a positive way.
-In other words, we interpret it’s a good feeling to an injected drug when we see someone else acts in
that positive behaviour. (Physiological Change)
-We feel different but can’t interpret the reason why. Thus we look at environmental factors/state
(observing others behaviour).
Slide 8 (Continued)
Two-Factor Theory of Emotion – Schachter and Singer (1962)
-Cognitive interpretation of that arousal (look for other information to interpret how you feeling)
Misattribution And The Exacerbation Model
Following the two factor theory:
-Ross, Rodin and Zimbardo (1969)
The effects of noise on puzzle solving
I.V. Level 1 - Told half of the people noise cause arousal and anxiousness
- Told other half the people noise cause sleepiness and drowsiness over time.
D.V. – How long it took to solve the puzzle.
The consequences of solving a puzzle:
-If you solve the puzzle you get the money. (There was no difference in both levels)
-If you do not solve the puzzle will get a severe shocks.(Those in the noise causes anxious, did
not take as long to solve a puzzle because they have two reasons to be anxious – to avoid electric shock
and to avoid noise overall). Whereas, those who were told noise causes you to be sleepy, took longer to
solve the puzzle because they have only one reason to be anxious which is due to electric shock. -Storms and Nisbett (1970)
Study on Sleep.
-One third (1/3) of the group were given a pill (arousal pill; placebo pill) telling them they want
to test the dream pattern and the s