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PSYC*3690 Article 24.pdf

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PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

Article #: 24 Title: Optimism - optimists are people who expect good things to happen to them; pessimists are people who expect bad things to happen to them - they differ in how they approach problems and challenges, and they differ in the manner and success with which they cope with adversity Expectancy-Value Models of Motivation - expectancy-value theories begin with the assumption that behaviour is organized around the pursuit of goals - goals are states or actions that people view as either desirable or undesirable - people try to fit their behaviours to what they see as desirable - the more important a goal is to someone, the greater is its value within the personʼs motivation - without having a goal that matters, people have no reason to act - the second conceptual element is expectancy - a sense of confidence or doubt about the attainability of the goal value - if the person lacks confidence, there will be no action Goals Vary in Breadth and Abstractness - goals vary in specificity (general to particular, concrete to specific) - expectancies may have a comparable range of variation - expectancy-based theories generally suggest either explicitly or implicitly that behaviour is predicted best when the level of expectancy fits that of the behaviour that is being predicted - the same principles that apply to focused confidence also apply to generalized sense of confidence that we think of as optimism - when confronting a challenge, optimists should tend to take a posture of confidence and persistence - differences in how people approach adversity have important implications for the manner in which people cope with stress Variations in Conceptions and Assessment - there are at least 2 ways to think about expectancies and how to measure them - one approach measures expectancies directly, asking people to indicate the extent to which they believe that their future outcomes will be good or bad - another approach relies on the assumption that peopleʼs expectancies for the future derive from their view of the causes of events in the past - if explanations for past failures focus on causes that are stable, the personʼs expectancy for the future in the same domain will be bad - if attributions for past failures focus on causes that are unstable, then the outlook for the future may be brighter - if explanations for past failures are global, expectancy for the future across many domains will be bad - if explanations are specific, the outlook for other areas may be brighter - attributions also vary in breadth - optimism and pessimism are defined by flexible vs rigid patterns of explanations - they share the theme that expectations help determine peopleʼs actions and experiences Optimism and Subjective Well-Being - optimists are people who expect to have positive outcomes, even when things are hard, this confidence should yield a mix of feelings that is relatively positive - pessimists expect negative outcomes, this doubt should yield a greater tendency toward negative feelings (anxiety, anger, guilt) - optimists do experience less distress than pessimists when dealing with difficulties in their lives Optimism, Pessimism, and Coping - this sections considers strategies that optimists and pessimists tend to use - people who are confident about the future exert continuing effort, even when dealing with serious adversity - people who are doubtful are more likely to t
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