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Chapter 8

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Nipple, Explanatory Style, Social Cognitive Theory

Course Code
Marc A Fournier

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Chapter 8- Self and Other: Social-Cognitive
Aspects of Personality
Computer as a metaphor: human bodily functions are like a computer
oHumans being process information in order to act
Social-cognitive approaches to personality: psychology begin with the
assumption that human beings are complex information-processing systems that
operate in social environments
Among the most important inputs in human life are our perceptions and impressions
of others, which shape and are shaped by our perceptions and impressions of
Focus on how people make and use mental representations of themselves, of others,
and of their social worlds and how those representations are implicated in social
Cognition influences social behaviour, and social behaviour influences cognition
Social-cognitive adaptations in personality take us beyond broad dispositional traits
to spell out the contextualized and contingent nature of human lives
If traits provide a rough sketch of psychological individuality, then the characteristic
mental representations of self and social behaviour that people construct- their
characteristic self-conceptions, beliefs, values and so on- help to fill many of the
The Psychology of Personal Constructs
George A. Kelly (1905-1966) wrote and published his two-volume The psychology of
Personal Constructs in 1955
The unusual terms Kelly proposed became part of the standard lexicon of personality
psychology- terms such as personal construct, range of convenience, fixed-role
therapy, and Rep Test
An early death prevented his developing and refining the theory further

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George Kellys Theory
Many personality theories have traditionally assigned a central role to human
Kelly asserted that the problem” of human motivation is not a problem at all
oThe search for underlying principles to explain why people do what they do is
oPeople are alive. They act by virtue of being alive. Its really quite simple
oImplies a fundamental principle of motivation: A person is motivated to
predict or anticipate what will happen to him or her
oWhat moves people to act is their desire to know what the world has in store
for them
oMankind, whose progress in search of prediction and control of surrounding
events stands out so clearly in light of the centuries, comprises the men we
see around us every day. The aspirations of the scientist are essentially the
aspirations of all men. Kelly
Kellys model for human life is a common-sense brand of science
oScience begins when the observer seeks to make initial sense of the world by
imposing some kind of organization upon it
William James called the blooming, buzzing confusion of subjective human
experience must be ordered, classified, and divided into categories if the scientist is
to know anything at all
According to Kelly, each of us classifies his or her world by developing personal
constructs, which are characteristic ways of constructing how some things are alike
and some things are different from one another
Every construct is bipolar (dichotomy corollary), specifying how two things are
similar to each other (same pole) and different from a third thing (opposite pole)
Kellys Fundamental Postulate and Eleven Corollaries
Fundamental Postulate: A persons processes are psychologically channelized by the ways
in which he or she anticipates events
Construction Corollary: A person anticipates events by constructing their replications
Individuality Corollary: Persons differ from one another in their construction of events
Organization Corollary: Each person characteristically evolves, for his or her convenience

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in anticipating events, a construction system embracing ordinal relationships between
Dichotomy Corollary: A persons construction system is composed of a finite number of
dichotomous constructs
Choice Corollary: A person chooses for him- or herself that alternative in a dichotomized
construct through which he or she anticipates the greater possibility for extension and
definition of his or her system
Range Corollary: A construct is convenient for the anticipation of a finite range of events
Experience Corollary: A persons construction system varies as he or she successively
construes the replications of events
Modulation Corollary: the variation in a persons construction system is limited by the
permeability of the constructs within whose range of convenience the variance lie
Fragmentation Corollary: A person may successively employ a variety of construction
subsystems that are inferentially incompatible with each other
Communality Corollary: To the extent that one person employs a construction of
experience that is similar to that employed by another, his or her psychological processes
are similar to those of the other person
Sociality Corollary: To the extent that one person construes the construction process or
another, he or she plays a role in a social process involving the other person
People are best understood in terms of their own construct systems
Each person develops his or her own construct system that contains a number of
constructs organized in a hierarchy (organization corollary)
oThis means that within any construct system certain constructs are
superordinal (encompassing many other constructs) and others are
subordinal (being encompassed by larger constructs)
oEx. The construct of helpful/unhelpful may be part of the larger construct of
Within a given persons construct system, particular constructs differ from one
another with respect to their range of convenience (range corollary)
There are marked individual differences across persons with respect to range
Constructs are more like hypotheses to be tested than like assumed facts
Anticipations guide behaviour and experience
Constructs differ in other ways too. Some constructs are highly permeable whereas
others are not (modulation corollary). A permeable construct is open to modification
and the introduction of new elements
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