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Chapter 12

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PSYC 2600
Elizabeth Nisbet

Book notes chapter 12 Cognitive-Experiential Domain - Personalizing cognition: the scene prompted him to recall a similar event in his own life - Objectifying cognition: the scene prompted her to recall objective facts about the distribution of blood vessels in the human head - Cognition: refers to the awareness and thinking, as well as to specific, mental acts such as perceiving, attending to, interpreting, remembering, believing, judging, deciding and anticipating. - Information processing: the transformation of sensory input into mental representations and the manipulation of such representations - Three levels of cognition: 1. Perception: process of imposing orders on the information received by our sense organs • Ex: two people seeing the Necker Cube going in different directions • Ex: inkblot tests 2. Interpretation: the making sense of, or explaining, various events in the world 3. Conscious goals: standards and goals people develop for evaluating themselves and others - Fourth cognitive domain of interest: Intelligence - Cognition: awareness and thinking; specific mental acts such as perceiving, interpreting, remembering, believing, anticipating - Differences in how people process information Personality revealed though perception: Field Dependence-Independence - Field independent (relative to field dependent) people have the ability to focus on details despite the clutter of background information - Some people rely on cues from the environment surrounding the object, whereas others rely more on bodily cue that tell them that they are upright and therefore it must be the object that is tilted - Measures used to assess field-dependence • Rod and Frame Test (RFT):An apparatus to research the cues that people use in judging orientation in space. People sit in a darkened room and are instructed to watch a glowing rod surrounded by a glowing square frame. The experimenter can adjust the tilt of the rod, the frame, and the participant’s chair. The participant’s task is to adjust the rod by turning a dial so that the rod is perfectly upright. To do this accurately, the participant has to ignore cues in the visual field in which the rod appears.  This test measures the personality dimensions of field dependence-independence  Field dependent: If the person adjusts the rod so that it is leaning in the direction of the tilted frame, then that person is dependent on the visual field  Field independent: people disregard the external cues and instead use information from their bodies in adjusting the rod upright. Rely on their own sensations rather than the perception of the field  This whole process is very difficult and time consuming, so Witkin created the Embedded Figures Test • Embedded Figures Test (EFT)  Some people do have difficulty finding the figures embedded within the more complex surrounding figure.  These people are field dependent  Some people quickly spot the embedded figures and so are able to see the figures independently from the background  These people are field independent  Performance on EFT correlates strongly with performance on RFT - Focus on environmental cues = dependent - Can ignore outside information = independent Personality revealed though perception: Field Dependence-Independence - Differences relate to life choices (education, interpersonal relations) • Education relations:  In university, people who were field independent favored the natural sciences, math and engineering  In university, people who were field dependent favored the social sciences and education • Interpersonal relations:  Field independent people tend to function with more autonomy and display a more impersonal or detached orientation towards others  They are not very interested in other’s opinions, keep their distance from others, and show preference for non-social situations  Field dependent people tend to rely on social information and frequently ask other people for their opinions.  They are attentive to social cues, are oriented towards other people, show strong interest in others, prefer to be physically close to others, gravitate to social situations and get along well with others - Current research on field dependence-independence • New area of research concerning how people react to situations that are rick in sensory stimulation. Found that:  Field independent people are better able to screen out distracting information and focus on a task  Field independent officers perform better on shooting tasks under high- simulation conditions and were able to give a better description of the witnessed events. They were not distracted by the sounds and activity going on in the field around them  Field independent people are better at decoding facial expressions  Field-independent students learn more effectively than field dependent students in hypermedia-based instructional environment  Field dependent people tend to process things in chunks and are good at seeing connections between categories of information  Field independent people are good at selective retention in stimulus rich environments • Linda Bastone and Heather Wood experiment on facial expressions  Asked people to tell them what the emotions were in 72 different pictures. Some pictures only showed individual parts of the face, like the eyes or mouth  Field independent people were better at interpreting facial expressions than field dependent people, but only when the task was more difficult  This study reinforces the notion that field independent people are good at tasks that require finding and interpreting patterns and making generalizations • Field independent people are better at learning second languages • Pros and cons:  Field independent  Pro they are skillful at analyzing complex situations and extracting information from the clutter of background distractions. They tend to be more creative  Con they are low on social skills and prefer to keep their distance from others  Field dependent  Pro have strong social skills, gravitate towards others, and are more attentive to the social context - Dependent – social science (oriented towards others) - Independent – math (more detached) - Bomb disposal expert – independent – have to focus - Anti-terrorism investigator – dependent – have to pay attention to everything Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing-Augmenting - Pain tolerance: people undergo the same physical stimulus, but react quite differently from each other in terms of the pain they report experiencing - Aneseth Petrie’s reducer-augmenter theory of pain tolerance • People with low pain tolerance have a nervous system that is amplified or augmented subjective impact of sensory input • People with high pain tolerance have a nervous system that is dampened or reduced effects of sensory information • Reducer/augmenter theory: refers to the dimension along which people differ in their reaction to sensory stimulation; some appear to reduce sensory stimulation, whereas some appear to augment stimulation - Pain tolerance originates in the nervous system • Spilker and Callaway reducers show relatively small brain responses to flashes of lights in comparison with augmenters • Schwerdtfeger and Baltissen reducers show smaller brain responses to bursts of noise in comparison with augmenters Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing-Augmenting - Reducers seek strong stimulation, perhaps in order to compensate for lower sensory reactivity - Reducers may use substances (nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, other drugs) to artificially “lift” their arousal level • Reducers drink more coffee, smoke more, and have a lower threshold for boredom - Augmented – more loud noise, feel more pain, want to reduce this - Reducers – not as loud, not as painful, so want more stimulation / arousal Personality Revealed Through Interpretation: Kelly’s personal construct theory - Believed that all people are motivated to understand their circumstances and to be able to predict what will happen to them in the near future - Felt that primary motivation for all people was to find meaning in their life circumstances, and to use this meaning to predict their own future, to anticipate what is likely to happen next - Constructs do not exist in itself; it is a word that summarizes a set of observations and conveys the meaning of those observations - Personal constructs: what Kelly believes are the constructs a person routinely uses to interpret and predict events • Everyone has their own constructs. No 2 people are the same • All constructs are bi-polar. Ex: smart/not smart • These are used to create the social groupings - Fundamental postulates: a person’s processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events - Believed anxiety was due to not being able to understand and predict life events. Results from our personal constructs failing to make sense of our circumstances Locus of control - Locus of control: describes a person’s perception of responsibility for the events in his or her life. Refers to whether people tend to locate that responsibility internally, within themselves, or externally, in fate, luck, or chance - Julian Rotter • People learn because of reinforces • Said that learning is dependent on the degree to which that person valued the particular reinforce • Believed not all reinforcers were equal • People differ in terms of their expectations for reinforcement - Generalized expectancies: when people encounter new situations, they base their expectancies about what will happen on their generalized expectancies about whether they have the ability to influence events - External locus of control: generalized expectancy that events are outside of one’s control • People high on external locus of control believe that outcomes largely depend on forces outside of their personal control - Internal locus of control: generalized expectancy that reinforcing events are under one’s control and that one is responsible for the major outcomes in life • People high on internal locus of control believe that outcomes depend mainly on their own personal efforts • People with internal locus of control tend to be less obese. They tend to complete their degrees in a timelier manner. They also have a higher credit rating - Specific expectancies: researcher have developed specific locus of control scales for specific categories of events. The emphasis is on locus of control in discrete areas of life, such as health locus of control • People with internal locus of control tend to be more active in taking charge Personality Revealed Through Interpretation - Learned Helplessness: Accepting a painful fate without attempting to remove yourself from the unpleasant situation Learned Helplessness - Dog study in which dogs were shocked and at one point accepted that they could not escape. They were then put in a cage where they could escape but would have to jump over a small barrier. Those dogs did not try to escape because they had become somewhat defeated. Other dogs which hadn’t been shocked jumped over the barrier. The researchers showed the other dogs that they could get to the others side, which they then learned to do. - Study has been replicated with human subjects, but with noise rather than shocks, such as pressing a specific button sequence to stop the noise - This led psychologists to study what was going on in the minds of people who underwent learned helplessness conditioning - This happens to people in real life (learned helplessness) - Resulted in a new model- reformulated learned helplessness: explanatory style Recall two events… 1. Recall a positive event (something “good” that has happened to you) • Answer the question – “Why did this happen?” 2. Recall a negative event (something
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