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Chapter 5

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PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

PSYC332 - Chapter 5 Notes E: Extraversion • Broad and bipolar continuum, running from high extraversion to low extraversion (high introversion) • Extraversion is really a family of related small traits (such as sociability, warmth, and excitement seeking) Social Behaviour and Cognitive Performance: • Human beings like to live in groups because we are social beings • Carl Jung wrote that extraverts direct their psychological energy outward to the social world, whereas introverts direct it inward toward private thought and fantasy • For Eysenck, the extravert is outgoing, sociable, and enthusiastic, but also somewhat impulsive and heedless. They are more socially dominant than introverts and exhibit considerable energy and enthusiasm in social situations • The introvert, by contrast, is more quiet and withdrawn, but also more contemplative, deliberate, and less likely to take bad risks and also have deeper friendships with a few people • Developed first self-reported scale; noticed that extroverts tend to talk first when they meet someone and engage in more eye contact or show a firmer handshake. They are more sexually active, like to study in places where social interactions are taking place and do more gambling • Extroverts show better performance on tasks that require divided attention, resistance to distraction, and resistance to interference Introverts tend to perform better on tasks requiring vigilance and careful attention to details; they also show better long-term • memory for words and superior performance under conditions of very low arousal, as when deprived of sleep for long periods of time • Extraverts tend to show a preference for speed over accuracy, whereas introverts focus more on accuracy over speed Feeling Good: • Extroversion is positively associated with reports of feeling good about one’s life. Extroversion is consistently found in both men and women the be positively associated with reports of good feelings but unrelated to reports of bad feelings • Why? Maybe because extroverts are less responsive to punishment than introverts (who dwell on the negative and punitive features of certain social situations) • Extraverts will not dwell on the negatives, but rather work harder to attempt to control the situation and attempt to seek more rewards even when punished. This may be a downfall in the sense of continuous errors and not taking the time to learn from it They also have better ability to regulate their moods (maintain a positive ratio of good to bad feelings in life) • • Lischetzke and Eid found that extraversion was positively associated with the self-reported ability to maintain a positive emotional balance but was unrelated to the self-reported ability to repair a negative mood • In another study, extraverts was associated both with reporting greater positive affect and remembering even greater positive affect later than what was reported at the time (ability to remember happy scenes from the past) • Brandstatter argues that extraverts are more assertive in social situations, which gives them more social competence and effectiveness • There is a significant direct effect between extraversion on social competence and significant and direct effect of social competence on happiness • In study by Lucas and Diener, they found that extraverts reported greater happiness in both pleasant social and non-social situations; maybe extraverts are more sensitive to rewarding experiences • By virtue of human nature, to be especially sensitive to rewards is to be especially sensitive to social rewards, because most human rewards occur in social contexts N: Neuroticism • Neuroticism casts a wide net in literature and in life. There are many ways to be miserable and almost always have the common negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness, shame, guilt, and despair • The problem of neuroticism is the problem of negative emotionality Feature 5.A: Extreme Sports and the Sensation-Seeking Trait • Zuckerman denoted a trait called sensation seeking which is the “need for varied, novel, and complex sensations and experiences and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experiences. • Sensation seeking incorporates four related factors: • Thrill and adventure seeking (interest in activities involving physical risk • Experience seeking (desire for new experiences through music, art, travel, meeting unusual people, mood-altering drugs • Disinhibition (pursuit of pleasure through parties, social drinking, sex with various partners, gambling) • Boredom susceptibility (restlessness in unchanging environments and dislike of dull people) • The enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) helps to regulate the level of neurotransmitters in the body by breaking down the neurotransmitter in the synapse between two cells after it has allowed a nerve impulse to pass from one sell to the next • MAO works as a block/break on the nervous system. Thus, those who has high sensation seeking traits tend to have low MAO in their bloodstreams The Many Ways To Feel Bad: • Measures of chronic anxiety, depression, excessive emotionality, nervousness, moodiness, hostility, vulnerability, self- consciousness, and hypochondriasis all converge in neuroticism which is described as a continuum from emotional instability to emotional stability • People who score high on this general trait have a tendency to be distressed and upset in many realms of their lives; they are chronically worried, nervous, and insecure, and they hold a low opinion of themselves People who score low on neuroticism are generally calm, relaxed, hardy, secure, self-satisfied, and rather unemotional • • Research shows that individual differences in neuroticism are linked to differences in the experience of negative emotional states • College students high in N report more stress symptoms and higher levels of homesickness Persons scoring high on N report more bad feelings than do persons scoring low on N, but they do not necessarily report • fewer good feelings (good and bad feelings are independent) • Extraverts report high levels of good feelings, introverts report low levels of good feelings; person with high neuroticism report high levels of bad feelings, and person with low neuroticism report low levels of bad feelings Neuroticism has been associated with complaints about poor health among men (greater number of illnesses and life- • threatening illness like heart attacks reported) • Tend to be involved in a mid-life crisis • High neurotic adults tend to report a greater number of daily stressors than did low neurotic adults; this is due to high neuroticism exposing individuals to a greater number of stressful daily events (especially having to do with interpersonal conflict) and the respondent’s reactivity to the stressful events • There is also a general negativity about life amongst those with high neuroticism • Jerry Suls and Rene Martin explain a neurotic cascade as fiver different processes reinforcing each other in neuroticism to cause a buildup and strong release of negative emotion in daily life. The cumulative effect is like a cascade, as one negative factor showers down to unhinge another, which falls and knocks down yet more, and on and on, with more fury and power • First factor is hyper-reactivity - more sensitive to signals of punishment and negative affect in their environment • Second factor is differential exposure - experience negative events more frequently if high in neuroticism Third factor is differential appraisal - people high in N see the world through a glass darkly and interpret events always • negatively, even when it’s not negative • Fourth factor is mood spillover - where negative feelings in one area of life spill over into the next and negative events carry over from day to day Fifth factor is sting of familiar problems - which is the failure to cope well with old problems when they recur • • Study shows that people high in neuroticism find it difficult to adjust their social behaviour to meet situational demands. They appear to be oblivious to social cues, perhaps too self-preoccupied to note what their environments are saying to them Stress & Coping: • Neuroticism is most strongly and consistently linked to stress symptoms of various kinds • Self report of higher levels of carelessness and everyday errors in thinking • Drivers high in N are more prone to stress in the form of anger, irritation, anxiety and lack of confidence Individuals high in neuroticism tend to drink more alcohol and to drink alone on days when they experience negative • interpersonal interactions • It is possible that being high on N to begin with a predisposes a person to stress experiences; but the reverse is also possible whereby high levels of stress may make us more neurotic Endogenous events are those that are strongly influenced by the person’s own behaviour, such as serious martial discord, • whereas exogenous events are those that are more likely to originate in outside sources, such as accidents and illnesses • High reports of stresses such as illness and marital problems were associated with high levels of overall distress at that time Neuroticism scores strongly predicted levels of psychological distress 6 and 7 years later and also predicted • endogenous life events • In simple terms, data suggest that neuroticism tends to cause stressful events, not the reverse • People high in neuroticism go into a stressful situation with a negative view of things to begin with. They tend to appraise what is already a negative situation in even more negative terms and see themselves as having relatively few resources and relatively weak support systems to help them cope with the problem • Rather than adopting an action plan for coping with the stressful situation, individuals high in neuroticism may adopt “emotion-focused” or avoidant coping strategies by focusing their efforts on soothing their fears and calming their nervousness, or may seek to escape the whole problem through alcohol or drug use, or even just stay in bed • In a study on MCAT, students high in neuroticism did the same as those low in neuroticism Eysenck and the Theory of Arousal: Eysenck argued that the roots of extraversion lie in underlying biological processes • • Pavlov noticed a threshold of transmarginal inhibition whereby the dog would begin to decrease response and shut down in response to stimulation levels that were perceived to be too high • Dogs that were affable and outgoing were able to reach higher levels of stimulation before the threshold (strong nervous system) • Eysenck analogized extraverts to dogs with strong nervous systems and introverts to dogs with weak nervous systems. Stimulation from the environment leads to arousal. As individuals experience greater levels of stimulation, they become more aroused in a general sense • Each individual prefers an optimal level of arousal and when it goes over the optimal level, the individual begins to withdraw from the stimulus situation • Eysenck then propose that the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) may be partly responsible for the individual differences in arousal and arousability, and therefore individual difference in extraversion • The RAS is a network of nerve fibers ascending from the spinal cord to the thalamus of the brain, uninvolved with thinking and other higher cortical functions. It is rather responsible for general arousal, regulating patterns of wakefulness and attention Eysenck reported that introverts have greater sensitivity to barely detectable stimuli as well as lower pain thresholds, • compared with extraverts using the lemon drop test • Four drops of lemon juice on a tongue for 20 seconds; looking for amount of salivation • Another study found that extroverts work better under conditions of loud music and bright lights In conclusion to Eysenck’s empirical findings, on a behavioural level, there would appear to be substantial evidence for the • idea that extraverts prefer higher levels of stimulation than do introverts. Extraverts seek out various kinds of stimulation especially stimulation that is social in nature • Second, there would appear to be modest support that under certain conditions and at low levels of stimulation, introverts are somewhat more sensitive to increase in stimulation than extraverts (different factors including time of day) • Third, conflicting and inconclusive results to the idea that extraversion is linked to stable, traitlike differences in gener
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