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Chapter 12

Chapter 12.docx

Course Code
PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

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Chapter 12
Cognitive Topics in Personality
Personality revealed through perception
- Witkin devised an apparatus called the Rod and Frame Test; the participant
sits in a darkened room and is instructed to watch a glowing rod surrounded
by a square frame, which is also glowing. The experimenter can adjust the tilt
of the rod, the frame and the participants chair. The participants task is to
adjust the rod by turning a dial so that the rod is perfectly upright, the
participant has to ignore cues in the visual field in which the rod appears
- If the participant adjusts the rod so that it is leaning in the direction of the
titled frame, then that person is said to be dependent on the visual field, or
field dependent
- Other people instead disregard the external cues and use information from
their bodies in adjusting the rod to upright and they are field independent
and rely on their own sensations not on the perception of the field to make
the judgment
- Field independent students tend to favour natural sciences, math and
engineering whereas field dependent students favour social sciences and
- Field-dependent people rely on social information and ask other people their
opinions and are attentive to social cues and are oriented towards other
people; field-independent people function with more autonomy and display a
more impersonal or detached orientation toward others
- One commonly noticed difference between people is pain tolerance, in which
people undergo the same physical stimulus but react quite differently from
each other in terms of the pain they report experiencing
- The 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
- Individual differences ini pain tolerance originated in the nervous system;
reducers show relatively small brain responses to flashers of lights as well as
smaller brain responses to bursts of noise in comparison with augmenters
- The brain evoked potential augmenting/reducing measure shows high test-
retest reliability, similar to other personality traits; individual differences
have also been studied in animals
- Reducers should be motivated to seek strong stimulation to compensate for
their lower sensory reactivity, related to optimal level of arousal (reducers
drink more coffee, smoke more, have a lower threshold for boredom and use
more psychoactive drugs and listen to music louder)
Personality Revealed through Intepretation
- scientists employ constructs to interpret observations; a construct does not
exist in itself but it is a word that summarizes a set of observations and
conveys the meaning of those observations
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