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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Cognitive Topics in Personality.docx

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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

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Chapter 12: Cognitive Topics in Personality Personality Psychology February 28 , 2012 - Cognition: is a general term referring to awareness and thinking, as well as to specific, mental acts such as perceiving, attending to, interpreting, remembering, believing, judging, deciding and anticipating. o Personalizing Cognition: they relate more to personal experiences. View things through their own views. o Objectifying Cognition: tell it like it is. They do not think through personal thoughts. - Information Processing: the transformation of sensory input into mental representations and the manipulation of such representations. - There are 3 levels of cognition: 1. Perception: - The process of imposing order on the information our sense organs take in. - I.e. Two people can look at the same situation and actually see different things. 2. Interpretation: - The making sense of, or explaining, various events in the world. - Concerns giving meaning to events. - I.e. You hit a hit a curb and accidently scratch up your car. Someone asks you a few days later, what happened? You quickly give your interpretation of the event. 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. - Different goals relate to how much confidence we have… and so on. Personality Revealed Through Perception - Field Dependent: people who are influenced by environmental cues. - Field Independent: people who are influenced by self (inner) cues. - Rod and Frame Test: o Participant sits in a darkened room and is instructed to watch a glowing rod surrounded by a square frame, which is also glowing. o The experimenter can adjust the tilt of the rod, the frame and the participant’s chair. o The participant’s task is to adjust the tilt of the rod by turning a dial, so that the rod is perfectly upright. o To do this they must ignore the misguiding tilts of the frame and their chair. o Results:  If the participant adjusts the rod so that it is leaning in the direction of the tilted frame, then that person is dependent on the visual field.  If the person places the rod upright ignoring the visual field, and listen to their bodies, they are said to be independent of the field. o Field Dependent People:  Favour social sciences, education, attentive to social cues, oriented toward others.  More interested in what others have to say. o Field Independent People:  Favour natural sciences, math, and engineering.  More interpersonally detached.  Better able to screen out distracting information and focus on a task.  Application  police officers who are high in field independence tend to do better in shooting scenarios and car chases. - Pain Tolerance: people undergo the same physical stimulus but react quite differently from each other in terms of the pain they report experiencing. o Low Pain Tolerance: augmented pain  they have a more amplified nervous system; bright lights and loud noises o High Pain Tolerance: reduced pain; much more dimmed down nervous system. o Reducer/Augmenter Theory: this term 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. o Clinical Example:  Method: Compared patients with Borderline Personality Disorder to those with no diagnosis. Examined pain tolerance when participants were calm & then when stressed  Main Finding: Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) reported less physical pain when calm AND when in higher distress compared to those without BPD  Implication: May help to explain why some with BPD injure more often when in distress. Personality Revealed Through Interpretation - Kelly’s Contributions o Saw humans as scientists. People engage in efforts to understand, predict and control the events in their lives. o Scientists employ constructs to interpret observations.  Construct: is a word that summarizes a set of observations and conveys the meaning of those observations. (i.e. Gravity) o Personal Constructs: constructs that a person routinely uses to interpret and predict events.  No two people have the same personal construct system, and so have their own unique interpretation of the world.  I.e. when meeting a person for the first time what do you notice about them? Athletic or nonathletic / smart or not smart. o Postmodernism: is an intellectual position grounded in the notion that reality is constructed, that every person and
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