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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Chapter 12 - Cognitive Topics in Personality Differences in how people think are the focus of cognitive approaches to personality Personalising cognition – processing information by relating it to a similar event in your own life, occurs when people interpret a new event in personally relevant manner Objectifying cognition – processing information by relating it to objective facts Cognition – general term referring to awareness and thinking as well as to specific mental acts such as perceiving, interpreting, remembering, believing and anticipating Information processing – transformation of sensory input into mental representations and manipulations of such events  Humans spend great deal of time processing information but are not always accurate or unbiased  Differ greatly from each other in how perceive, think about, construe themselves, the world and other people Three Levels of Cognition 1. Perception - process of imposing order on the information our sense organs take in  Two people can look at same situation and see very different things  Differences in what people see may be related to their personality  Ex. inkblot tests 2. Interpretation – making sense of or explaining various events in the world  Two possible interpretations based on personality – blame someone/something else, blame yourself ex. get in a car accident and say the curve is to sharp vs. you aren’t a very good driver 3. Conscious Goals – the standards that people develop for evaluating themselves and others  People develop specific beliefs about what is important in life and which tasks are appropriate to pursue – may be age, culture specific Personality Revealed Through Perception Field Dependence  Personality can be revealed through differences in how people perceive their environment  Rod and Frame Test (RFT) – Witkin – an apparatus to research the cues that people use in judging orientation in space. Participant sits in a darkened room and is instructed to watch a glowing rod surrounded by s glowing square frame. Experimenter can adjust the tilt of the rod, the frame and the experimenters chair, participants task is to adjust the rod by turning the dial so that the rod is perfectly upright, to do accurately participant has to ignore cues in the visual field in which the rod appears – test measure the personality dimension of field dependence- independence  Field dependent – adjusts the rod so that it’s leaning in direction of tilted frame  Field independent – people disregard the external cues and use information in their bodies to adjust the rod upright  Embedded Figures Test (EFT) – have to locate simple figures embedded within more complex surroundings – used to measure field dependence - If can see figures clearly, independent of background are field independent - Can only see big picture – field dependent  Choice of major in college was found to be related to field dependence/independence - Field dependent – favor social sciences and education - Field independent – favor natural sciences, math and engineering  Field independent people predicted to be better at ignoring distracting information and focusing on important details of event , learn more effectively in hypermedia based instructional environment,  Field dependent people process information in chunks and are good at seeing connections between categories of information Pain Tolerance and Sensation Reducing/Augmenting  Commonly known difference in people – pain tolerance – people react quite differently to pain induced by same stimulus  Petrie’s Research - Theory that people with low pain tolerance had a nervous system that amplified, or augmented the subjective impact of sensory cues - People with high pain tolerance thought to have a nervous system that dampened or reduced the effects of sensory stimulation - Reducer/augmenter theory – dimension along which people differ in their reaction to sensory stimulation, whereas some appear augment to stimulation - Believe differences in pain tolerance came from nervous system Personality revealed through Interpretation  Interpretations often concern responsibility or blame, or inquire about expectations for the future Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory  People in general engage in efforts to understand, predict and control the events in their lives – people seek explanations for events in their lives  Construct – concept or provable hypothesis that summarizes a set of observations and conveys the meaning of those observations  Personal constructs – constructs a person routinely uses to interpret and predict events (no two people have same ones)  Personal constructs = own unique interpretation of the world  All constructs are bipolar (have an opposite) ex. smart –not smart, tall – short etc.  Postmodernism – intellectual position grounded in notion that reality is constructed, that every person and certainly every culture has a version of reality that is unique and that no single version of reality is any more privileged than another  Fundamental postulate – a person’s processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events  Anxiety result of not being able to understand and predict life events – anxiety is result of our personal constructs failing to make sense of our circumstances Locus of Control  Persons 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 – Rotter  Learning also depends on degree to which person valued the particular reinforcer – its reinforcement value  Not all reinforcers are equal  Generalized expectancies – persons expectations for reinforcement that hold across a variety of situations, when people encounter a new situation, they base their expectancies about what will happen on their generalized expectancies about whether they have abilities to influence events  Ext
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