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Chapter 8

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PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

Chapter 8 – Self and Other: Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality (Characteristic Adaptation – Review: - Psychological individuality that are contextualized in time, place, and/or social role - See Pg. 9 - Details include: o Motives (e.g. implicit motives, self-discrepancies)  McClelland’s needs for achievement, power & intimacy o Social-cognition (e.g. goals, personal constructs, mental representations, schemas, possible selves, value and exhibition of virtues, etc.) o Developmental  Erik Erikson 8/9Social Intelligence Social Intelligence - The key to understanding personality coherence is social intelligence (Cantor & Kihlstrom) - Social intelligence is stored in memory as organized knowledge, and which forms the structural basis for personality - Each person brings a set of skills, abilities, and knowledge to every social situation - Characteristic of intelligence = “lawful intraindividual variability, especially across situation” - Intelligent action is flexible (rather than reflexive or rigid), discriminative (rather than indiscriminate), optional (rather than obligatory) - People differ in social intelligence o People use their social intelligence in different ways to interpret and solve current tasks and problems in life - Social interaction involves problem solving, problems call for socially intelligent behaviour Social intelligence consists of three different kinds of organized knowledge: 1. Concepts – Declarative-semantic knowledge 2. Episodes – Declarative-episodic knowledge 3. Rules – Procedural knowledge - Declarative knowledge: Concepts and Episodes are grouped together as declarative knowledge o They are “things” that contained in the information storehouse o Whereas rules are not things but rather procedures or processes that determine how things are used - Concepts are abstract and categorical things contained in the storehouse o E.g. concepts of who you are and what you typically expect to happen in social life o Concepts make up declarative-semantic memory o Most important concepts are concepts of self, others, and social interaction o Concepts of self is the most salient component of declarative-semantic knowledge  Self-schemas, self-complexity, possible selves, and self-guides - Episodes are concrete things in the storehouse o E.g. memories of particular scenes in your life o Episodes make up declarative-episodic memory - What is the fundamental distinction in cognitive psychology? o The distinction between the two forms of declarative knowledge (Concepts and Episodes) o The brain processes involved for these two kinds of declarative knowledge are very different - Rules are procedural knowledge o E.g. Implicit theories  Explanatory style Relational Schemas (Baldwin) - Relational schemas are concepts of other people contained in the declarative-semantic knowledge - Relational schemas = mental representations of especially important interpersonal relationships that a person has experienced - Relational schemas are like working models of your interpersonal relationships o Over the course of social life, we each come to expect certain kinds of interactions with certain people o E.g. your relational schema (or working model) of your relationship with your mom involves her reprimanding you when you are not conscientious - Our relational schemas guide and shape our expectations and reactions in social relationships, and as social relationships unfold they may come to influence our relational schema Expectations and Relational Guide/Shape Schemas behaviours in social relationships Social relationship outcome - Relational schemas serve as “cognitive maps in navigating the social world” Declarative-semantic knowledge also encodes implicit theories about the nature of human attributes - Entity versus Incremental - Entity theory: attributes are fixed entities that do not change over time o Tends to interpret their own and other people’s actions in terms of fixed traits o Can undermine a person’s efforts, especially in the face of failure o Leads to helplessness: they cannot change the fixed traits that are responsible for their failures - Incremental theory: attributes are malleable and can change incrementally over time o Focus less on broad traits and more on the situational and temporary forces that influence action o Respond provocatively to setbacks and more likely to work hard to master the challenges they face Lay Theories - Lay theories: lay theories are our implicit assumptions regarding the extent to which human attributes of many different kinds are either fixed (entity-based) or malleable (incremental-based) o Goes well beyond intelligence to encompass how people think about the nature of the self and the social world o A person can think of his own personality tendencies (e.g. shyness) as either fixed entities or malleable characteristics o Shy incrementalists: prefer to engage in relatively challenging social interactions that they believe might help them develop new social skills - Lay theories influence how people perceive others o E.g. Stereotyping  Entity theorists: who holds entity theories regarding certain racial, ethnic, or gender stereotypes tend to perceive and pay most attention to information in the environment that confirms their stereotype  Incremental theorists: pay attention to information that could disconfirm their initial biases o Counter-stereotypical information have more effect on incrementalists than entity theorist - A same person may hold many different lay theories about different domains in life o E.g. a person can be an incrementalist for social skills and religious beliefs while an entity theorists for intelligence and mechanical abilities at the same time - Lay theories and emotions o Whether a person is an entity theorist or incremental theorist about emotion has a strong impact on how he regulates his own emotions and deals with changing moods - Lay theories and relationships with others o Entity theorists: the relationship is either “destined to be “ or not  For their love relationships, they believe that any problem they experience are troubling signs of the relationship’s inherent problems  Try hard to avoid conflict in the relationship o Incremental theorists: relationship is what people make it to be and it can change substantially over time  See problems in their relationship as opportunities for growth  Show positive, improvement-oriented strategies for dealing with conflict in the relationship - Therefore, lay theories can influence: o Effort o Personality tendencies o Stereotype o Emotions o Relationships o Goal setting - Lay theories are very good examples of declarative-semantic knowledge – implicit concepts we have regarding what people are like and how the social world works - Lay theories have strong implications for how people make sense of everyday life and how they plan their lives for the future GOALS - The link between lay theories and future comes through goals - Goals that are made by incremental theorists: o Tend to set goals for themselves that are aimed at changing or developing the particular area of relevance for the theory - Goals made by entity theorists: o Avoid situations and information that challenge whatever their fixed notions are Procedural knowledge - Consists of various competencies, strategies, and rules that enable us to form impressions of others, make causal attributions, encode and retrieve social memories and predict social behaviours - Procedural knowledge refers to characteristic processes of self- and social-knowing - These rules of out of conscious awareness - Causal attributions – how people understand the causes of events o 4 basic attributions:  Ability (stable & internal)  Effort (unstable & internal)  Task difficulty (stable & external)  Luck (unstable & external) o People tend to make internal & stable attributions for success o People tend to make unstable attributions for failures  Helps to protect one’s self-esteem o Depressed people tend to make causal sense of their success and failures in ways that go against the norms (success = unstable & luck; failures = internal & stable) Self-Schemas - Schema is the central concept in social-cognitive approaches to personality - Schema = any abstract knowledge structure - Schema = a cognitive structure that represents one’s general knowledge about a given concept or concept domain - Can be viewed as “filters” or “templates” that we use to perceive, organize and understand information o Similar to Kelly’s idea of “personal construct” - Like a “format”: specify that information must be of a certain sort if it is to be interpreted coherently - Format allows the program to deal effectively with information while downplaying irrelevant information - A person’s schemas go beyond the information given by:  Simplifying information when there is too much for the person to handle efficiently and  Filling in gaps when information is missing - Social-cognitive approaches: human adaptation is through the schematic processing of social information - Schemas are applied to the self - Self-schemas structure the processing of self-relevant information and guide behaviour Self-schemas vs. Other schemas: Similarities - Simplified incoming information - Fill in gaps Differences - Self-schemas are: o Larger and more complex than other schemas o Richer in their network of associations and relationships among components o More frequently activated in daily information processing o Loaded with emotions - Self-schemas are probably our most popular, and most frequently used schema Does self-schema contain all information about a person? NO it does NOT, it only emphasizes personally significant information about the self What does a self-schema contain? Self-defining properties, e.g.: our name, representative aspects of physical appearance, significant personal relationships, perceived traits, motives, values, goals that we view as most representative of who we are - Concepts in memory that are not self-relevant, e.g. “ladders” and “gorillas” are not connected to the self - People process information that is especially relevant to their self-schemas in highly efficiently ways Hazel Markus (1977) “Independent-dependence” study - Classified Ss as having a: o Strong independence schema or o Strong dependence schema or o Aschematic - Ss presented with adjectives that were either schema-relevant (related to independence-dependence) or schema irrelevant (related to “creativity”) - Asked to pressed “ME” or “NOT ME” keys - Ss who had a dependence schema had faster reaction times in response to dependent adjectives than they did to schema-inconsistent (independent) adjectives and schema-irrelevant adjectives Why were those judgments made more quickly? Dependant schematics were accustomed to thinking of themselves as “conforming”, “obliging” and therefore make these judgments more quickly - Ss who had an independence schema had faster reaction times in response to independent adjectives - Aschematics = those who do not define themselves with respect to independence, thus have no such structure to guide their processing of information about the self People with schemas emphasizing particular areas (e.g. dependency) are readily able to: 1. Evaluate new information with respect to its relevance for the particular area 2. Make judgments and decisions in the domain with relative ease and certainty 3. Retrieve episodes and other behavioral evidence from their past that illustrates the particular area 4. Predict future behaviour in the area 5. Resist information that is counter to the prevailing schema (filter) When does self-schema emerge? It emerges as a person begins to experience feelings of personal responsibility in a particular domain of behaviour (e.g. “I would like to have control over my actions here”)  the person becomes more concerned with his own behaviour in the particular domain and seeks to exert control over the causes and consequences of that behaviour The Structure (Self-complexity) and Content of self-schema - Content of self-schemas are unique to individuals (no two people see themselves in identical ways) o Content = the self-relevant material contained within a schema - Personality difference in self-complexity: o High self-complexity: have many different self-aspects in the self-schema that are well differentiated and compartmentalized  Each aspect of the self-schema may be connected to a particular role they play in life, but the different roles are relatively unconnected  No spreading/ spill-over  failure with one area in their self-schema will not affect other areas o Low self-complexity: Less differentiated self-schema  Failure in one aspect in life tend to spill over into other aspects (or even the entire self-schema) as well Possible Selves: What I Might be; What I Might Have been Possible selves (Markus and Nurius): - Possible selves represent individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, what they are afraid of becoming, or what they might have been - Possible selves are the cognitive components of hopes, desires, goals, and threats - The self-schema generalizes to link the future self to the current, past and possible selves - Each possible self is a personalized construction that has been articulated in rich detail o E.g. my “unemployed self” is personally crafted to be unique to my personality - Possible selves is the crucial link between motivation and cognition in self-understanding - People are motivated by strong internal needs, desires and inclinations - Motivational dynamics are not activated in personality functioning until they are transformed into self-relevant form o E.g. my fear of being unemployed may be a personalized translation of a strong “power motive” - Possible selves function first as incentives for future behaviour – they are selves to approached or avoided - Self-evaluation: Possible selves are frameworks by which the person can evaluate how well or poorly his or her life is going o Allows us to determine the meaning of personal events Functions of possible selves: 1. Incentives (for future behaviour) 2. Self-evaluation (serves as frameworks) What I might have been (King) - Lost possible self = what I might have been - King’s study: asked Ss who have experienced profound changed in their lives to imagine what might have been had these changes not occurred o Asked:  Mothers of Down syndrome children  Divorced women  Gay and Lesbian couples o About “what might have been” in their own lives had things turned out differently than they indeed turned out - King’s major finding #1: discount the lost possible self; accentuate current possible self o Current happiness is associated with the extent to which people are able to let go of their lost possible selves and invest energy in their current goals for the future - King’s major finding #2: Psychological maturity o Psychological maturity is measured through ego development o Highly mature people: strongly developed sense of and ability to articulate highly detailed elaborations of lost possible selves o The tendency to articulate an elaborate and coherent story lead to increases in maturity  i.e. people who articulated detailed accounts of lost possible selves at Time 1 showed significant increases in ego development 2 years later Summary of King’s findings: - Good life = happiness and psychological maturity - People who are happy and psychologically mature: able to invest in current possible selves and able to articulate especially detailed and psychological understanding of the life they might lived Discrepancies Among Selves - Higgins: self-knowledge encompasses three major domains o Actual self  Your representation of the attributes that someone (yourself or another) believes you actually possess o Ideal self  Your representation of attributes that someone (yourself or another) would like you, ideally to possess  A representation of hopes, aspirations, or wishes o Ought self  Your representation of the attributes that someone (yourself or another) believes you should or ought to possess  A representation of duties, obligations, or responsibilities - Each may be seen from either the person’s own standpoint or the standpoint of a significant other in the person’s life o Actual/own = the characteristics that the person believes he or she actually possesses o Actual/other = the characteristics that the person believes that a significant other believes the person actually possesses - Also distinctions between “ideal/own”, “ideal/other”, “ought/own”, or “ought/other” Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins) - Various selves in various domains/ from different standpoints are inconsistent, or discrepant problem - Described the linkages between self discrepancies and negative emotional experiences o The link between discrepancy and negative emotions is strongest for self domains that the person judges to be the most relevant in his or her life What are the two more salient discrepancies? 1. Actual/own self with ideal (either own or other) - Leads to Dejection-related emotions: sadness/ depression, disappointment, and shame - Believes that he/ she has been unable to attain hopes, dreams, or aspirations that either the person him/herself or a sig. other has set for him or her 2. Actual/own self with ought (either own or other) - Lead to Agitation-related emotions: fear, anxiety and guilt - Person believes he/she has failed to live up to standard (established by self or other) for good, dutiful, or responsible behaviour - Agitation emotions stem from the thought of being punished (by self or others) for not doing what one ought to do Higgins’s study results: - Actual/ought discrepancies predicted anxiety (r=0.33*) but not depression (r=0.03) - Actual/ideal discrepancies predicted depression (r=0.4*) but not anxiety (r=0.10) - See Figure 8.4 on pg. 327 Self-guides: Ideal selves and Ought selves - Ideal selves and ought selves are called self-guides: they offer standards and goals - These 2 self-guides represent two very different motivational foci: Promotion vs. Prevention - Strong Ideal-self guide  Promotion focus 1. Sensitivity toward positive outcome 2. Approach strategies in social behaviour - Strong ought-self  Prevention focus  1. Sensitivity toward negative outcomes 2. Avoidance strategies in social behaviour - Higgins’ idea of Promotion vs. Prevention motivational foci parallels BAS (Behavioural approach system) and BIS (behavioural inhibition system) Daniel Ogilvie: How the actual self is similar to undesired selves - The opposite of what Higgins did - Higgins: how the actual self is different from desired selves - Ogilvie: how the actual self is similar to the undesired selves - Ogilvie: the prevention motivational focus lead to greater life satisfaction than the promotion focus - Avoid being your undesired selves > Approaching to be your desired self - Undesired self contains attributes that the person fears, dreads, hates, and actively seeks to exclude from experience - Ogilvie: we may be in closer touch with our undesired selves than with our ideal and ought selves (more concrete vs. More hypothetical) - Undesired selves are rooted in concrete past experiences - Ideal and ought selves are more hypothetical (abstractions to which we strive but which we rarely attain) Ogilvie’s study 1: - Measured the “distance” between Ss’s actual, ideal, and undesired selves in a hypothetical space - Questionnaire about life satisfaction - Findings: 1. Distance between a person’s ideal and actual selves was negatively associated with life satisfaction (replication Higgins’ finding) 2. Distance between a person’s undesired and actual self was positively associated with life satisfaction 3. *The second result was much stronger than the first - Implication: - If we want to be happy, we will do better to avoid being the way we dread being rather than striving to be the way we wish to be - Support for the prevention motivational focus Ogilvie’s study 2: Ponder your undesired selves  Thoughts about death - Have 4 groups of students, write paragraph describing: 1. The undesired-self condition – “What you are like at your worst” 2. The death condition – “Feelings regarding your own death” 3. “Write about your best possible self” 4. “Write about your experience on an academic exam” - All the students were then asked to complete a task that assessed the salience of concerns regarding death - Results: - Group 2: showed more concerns with death compared to group 3 - *Students in the undesired self condition also showed higher levels of death concerns later in the study - Implication: our undesired selves hold such negative valence in our minds that when we begin to think about them our mind move naturally in the direction of death Schemas, Attributions, and Explanatory Style: The Case of Depression Recall: Characteristic Adaptations – Social-cognitive theories, Motivational, Developmental Social-cognitive theories and concepts: Personal constructs, beliefs, values, expectancies, schemas Psychology of personal constructs: basic categories or construing George Kelly (1955) subjective experience Social intelligence: schemas and skills Cantor and Kihlstrom (1987) 3 kinds of organized knowledge: Concepts, Episodes, Skills Social-cognitive approaches to personality made an effort in understanding depression - Depressed people perceive, understand, and interpret their worlds and themselves in a peculiar and dysfunctional way - Cognitive theories of depression: the centre of the depressive experience are depressive cognition, i.e. depressive thoughts, beliefs, values, attributions, schemas - However, is depressive cognition the cause or result of depression? Aaron Beck: the first cognitive theory of depression - Beck: depressed people have negative interpretations 1. Hold a negative view of themselves 2. Pessimistic about the future 3. Have a tendency to interpret ongoing experience in a negative manner - Downward spiral: Negative interpretations  sadness and despair  more bad thought/ negative interpretations  sadness and despair  ...... Depressive schemas - Depressed people see the world through depressive schemas - Depressive schemas distort reality by casting information in a negative light: 1. Recall more negative and unpleasant adjectives (e.g. bleak, dismal, helpless) in memory tasks than do non-depressed people 2. Have a difficult time recalling positive themes from stories 3. Recall unpleasant memories more rapidly than pleasant ones 4. Remember failures and forget success - Depressed college students recall more different kinds of negative episodes from their pasts and fewer different kinds of positive episodes Ingram’s study (1984) - Depressives negatively distort reality Procedure: Bogus feedback to activate +/- self-schema  sensitized to self-schema  listen to adjectives  Questions about adjectives to manipulate different levels of processing (shallow/ deep)  Recall adjectives - Depressed and non-depressed students were provided with either positive (“success” condition) or negative (“failure” condition) bogus feedback concerning their performance on a test - Then Ss listened to a set of 48 adjectives, after each adjective, Ss answer either “yes” or “no” to one of four different questions about the adjective:
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