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University of Guelph
PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Personality Chapter 7: Physiological approaches Physiological system – ex. Nervous system, cardiac system, musculoskeletal system Theoretical bridge – specific statements – about which traits are connected to which psychological reactions under which conditions or in response to which stimuli - build bridge between dimension of interest and physiological variables to use physiological concepts to explain personality Physiological measures Electrodes – sensors placed on surface of participant’s skin, wires used, constrain movement Telemetry – process which electrical signals are sent from participant to polygraph through radio waves instead of wires Electrodermal activity – provides measures of sympathetic nervous system activity Skin conductance + self-injury Emotional reactivity – intensity + persistence of emotion in response to stimuli - thought to be elevated among those who self-injure - experiment (Nock, Mendes 2008) lower distress tolerance , higher skin conductance Cardiovascular activity Blood pressure – pressure exerted by blood in the artery walls - common measure of stress response Heart rate – beats per minute - cardiac reactivity: increase BP + heart rate in stress - chronic cardiac reactivity  Type A personality (impatient, hostile, and impulsive) Brain activity Electroencephalogram (EEG) – measures electricity by electrodes placed on the scalp to determine areas of brain activity Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) - shows which portions of the brain are active while a person is performing a particular task MRI: Relevant findings Neuroticism: correlated with increased frontal brain activation to negative images Extraversion – correlated with increased frontal brain activation to positive images Physiological personality theories + related research /clinical findings Eysenck’s original theory Ascending reticular activating system – ‘gateway’ for nervous stimulation of the cortex Introverts – higher level of activity in the ARAS (higher resting cortical arousal) Extraversion – lower levels of activity in ARAS Eysenck’s revised theory - Those high in introversion/extraversion do not have different resting states of arousal Arousal level - Difference lies in degree of arousal Sensitivity to reward and punishment Reinforcement sensitivity theory Behavioural Activation system – responsive to rewards and regulates approach behaviour (active BAS  impulsivity) Behavioural inhibition system – responsive to punishment, uncertainty and motivates inhibition or avoidance (Active BIS  Anxiety) Anxiety – high neuroticism, moderate introversion Impulsivity – high extraversion, moderate neuroticism  responds poorly to punishment and responds more to reward Sensation seeking – tendency to seek out thrills, seek experience and takes risks to avoid boredom Sensory deprivation – being deprived of sensory input Optimal level of arousal – people are motivated to reach on optimal level or arousal - people need stimulation + sensory input - seek out tension + stimulation - over-aroused – seek out release of tension Physiological basis of sensation seeking Neurotransmitters – chemicals in the nerve cells that are responsible for the transmission of a nerve impulse from one cell to another Monoamine oxidase MAO – regulates levels of neurotransmitters (by breaking it down) Too little MAO – to much neurotransmitters Too much MAO – to little neurotransmitters *high sensation seekers  low MAO Neurotransmitters Dopamine – associated with pleasure Serotonin – linked with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders Norepinephrine – involved in activating the sympathetic nervous system (flight or fight) Tridimensional personality model – (coninger) personality traits  neurotransmitter Novelty seeking – low levels of dopamine Harm avoidance – abnormalities of serotonin metabolism Reward dependence – low levels of norepinephrine Gambling Problem  high sensation seeking  high impulsivity Morningness-eveningness – stable differences between persons in preferences for different times of day - differences in underlying biological rhythms - many biological processes fluctuate on 24-25 hour cycle Circadian rhythms Shorter – hit peaks earlier sleep earlier at night Longer – hit peaks later, sleep later at night * Higher in eveningness correlated with higher depressive symptoms Free running – no time cues to influence behaviour or biology Brain asymmetry – hemispheres of the brain are specialized + involved in specific functions Alpha wave – given off when a person is calm + relaxed, sleepy and non-attentive to the environment Front brain asymmetry – activity in left + right part of frontal hemispheres of brain EEG measures linked relative left brain activity with pleasant emotions and right with negative emotions Personality Chapter 9: Psychoanalytic approaches to personality Psychic energy – source of energy in everyone that fuels motivation (Freud) - Amount an individual has remains constant Instincts – provides all the energy in the psychic system 2 categories of instincts: - Self-preservation instincts = life instinct + death instinct - Sexual instinct Libido – life instinct (self-preservation – sexual instincts) Thantos – death instinct (fundamental instinct towards destruction – manifested in aggression towards others Consciousness – thoughts, feelings, perceptions that you’re currently aware of Preconscious - memories, dreams, thoughts not presently thought of but could be easily retrieved + made conscious Unconscious – largest part of the human mind, inaccessible information (memories, thoughts, feelings, or urges that are troubling) Psychoanalytic structure of personality The “ID” – most primitive part of the human mind - born with source of all drives and urges Pleasure principle – desire for immediate gratification - dominates infancy Primary process principle – thinking without logical rules of conscious thought or an anchor in reality (dreams + fantasies) Wish fulfillment – whereby something unavailable is conjured up and the image of it is temporary satisfaction - Way to temporarily gratify ID Ego – constrains ID to reality - Develops around 2-3 years of age Reality principle – understanding that the urges of the ID are often in conflict with social and physical reality - Direct expression of ID impulses – avoided, redirected, postponed Secondary process thinking – development of strategies for solving problems and obtaining satisfaction Superego – internalizes the values, morals, and ideals of society - develops around age 5 “right/wrong” - Not bound in reality, people can set own standards for virtue, self-worth etc. Anxiety – acts as a signal that something is not right - Control of the ego is being threatened by reality and impulses from the id + controls by the superego Dynamics in personality Defense mechanisms – efforts to defend oneself from anxiety - function of the ego (minimize anxiety + cope with threats) Types of Anxiety Objective – fear - Real, external threat to a person Neurotic – direct conflict between id and ego - Danger that the ego may lose control over a desire of the id Moral – conflict between ego and superego - feeling shame for not living up to “proper” standards that might not be attainable Defense mechanisms Repression – preventing unacceptable thoughts, feelings, urges from reaching conscious awareness Denial – insisting that things are not as they seem by refusing to see facts - Fundamental attribution error – tendency to blame events outside of ones control for failure but to accept responsibility for success Displacement –a threatening/unacceptable impulse is channeled/redirected from its original source to a non-threatening target (displacing anger for someone onto someone else) Rationalization – generating acceptable reasons for outcomes that might otherwise appear socially unacceptable (low mark on midterms explained by insisting it was because they were all on the same day) Reaction formation – to attempt to stifle an unacceptable urge, a person may display behaviour that indicates the opposite impulse Projection – project our own acceptable qualities onto others - see in others the traits and desires we find most upsetting in ourselves False measure effect – similar to projection - Tendency for people to have assumed that others are similar to them Sublimation – channeling unacceptable instincts into a social acceptable desirable activity (if angry go out and chop wood) Psychosexual stages of development Fixation – if a child fails to fully resolve a conflict at a particular stage ORAL  ANAL  PHALLIC  LATENCY  GENITAL Oral stage (0-18 months) - Mouth, lips, tongue are main sources of pleasure - Main conflict: weaning from breast to bottle (pleasure vs. dependency) Anal Stage (18 months – 3 years) - Pleasure from expelling or retaining feces - Main conflict: self-control (neat and tidy) vs. giving into an urge (sloppy, dirty) Phallic stage (3 – 5 years) - Child discovers that he has (or she does not) a penis - Discovery of genitals and pleasure touching them - Sexual desire to opposite parent - Oedipal conflict – the unconscious wish to have his mother all to himself by eliminating the father Castration anxiety – little boys fear their father may take away his penis, drives little boys into giving up sexual desire for mother Identification – successful resolution of the phallic stage for boys – boys decides only choice is to become like their father Penis envy – little girl blame mother for her lack of a penis and envi
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