PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Attachment In Adults, Procedural Knowledge, Field Dependence

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18 Apr 2012
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CHAPTER 8
- social cognitive approaches to personality: theories and conceptions of personality that emphasize
the extent to which human beings are information-processing systems who use schemas, beliefs, values,
expectancies, and other cognitive constructs to guide their behaviour in the social world
-> how people make and use mental representations of themselves, of others, and of their social worlds
and how those representations are implicated in social behaviour
The Psychology of Personal Constructs
- George Kelly’s theory of personal constructs was the first social-cognitive theory of personality
George Kelly’s Theory
- a person is motivated to predict or anticipate what will happen to them
- each of us classifies their world by developing personal constructs: Kelly’s concept of a characteristic
way of construing how some things are alike and some things are different from each other
- Kelly’s fundamental postulate and eleven corollaries:
- fundamental postulate: A person’s processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which
they anticipate events
1) Dichotomy Corollary: A person’s construction system is composed of a finite number of dichotomous
constructs ->every construct is bipolar, specifying how two things are similar to each other and different
from a third thing
2) Experience Corollary: A person’s construction system varies as they successively construe the
replication of events
3) Organization Corollary: Each person characteristically evolves, for their convenience in anticipating
events, a construction system embracing ordinal relationships between constructs-> certain constructs
are superordinal (encompassing many other constructs) and others are subordinal (being encompassed
by larger constructs)
4) Individuality Corollary: Persons differ from one another in their construction of events
5) Sociality Corollary: to the extent that one person construes the construction process of another, he
or she plays a role in a social process involving the other person
6) Range Corollary: a construct is convenient for the anticipation of a finite range of events-> range of
convenience: extent to which a given personal construct is likely to guide a person’s interpretation of
events and the behaviour they show
7) Modulation Corollary: The variation in a person’s construction system is limited by the permeability
of the constructs within whose range of convenience the variants lie
8) Fragmentation Corollary: a person may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems that
are inferentially incompatible with each other-> the person is likely to have a difficult time making sense
of the world
9) Construction Corollary: A person anticipates events by construing their replications
10) Choice Corollary: A person chooses for themselves that alternative in a dichotomized construct
through which they anticipate the greater possibility for extension of their system
11) Communality Corollary: to the extent that one person employs a construction of experience that is
similar to that employed by another, their psychological processes are similar to those of the other
- “central role structure” is the construction a person has of who they are in relation to significant
people
Exploring Personal Constructs: The Rep Test
- Role Construct Repertory Test (Rep Test): Kelly’s test designed to explore personal constructs in
people’s lives
Cognitive Styles and Personality
- cognitive styles: characteristics and typically preferred modes of processing information
-> a person’s characteristic way of processing information
- 2 dimensions of cognitive style:
1) field independence-dependence
2) integrative complexity
Field Independence-Dependence
- Solomon Asch and Herman A. Witkin-> asked people sitting in tilted chairs placed in tilted rooms to
adjust their chairs until they felt they were in an upright position
- Field-dependent: highly contextual and global processing-> people who use the room as reference for
their adjustment -> judgment of perpendicularity depend on the environment
- Field-Independent: highly analytical and differentiated processing of information-> people who bypass
the field and make their perception based on inner cues
- most people fall in the middle of the field independence-dependence continuum
- Embedded Figures Test: a test of field independence/dependence in which a person attempts to find
forms hidden in an embedding field
- field independence predicts the ability to block out irrelevant info and focus attention on central tasks
- field dependent people prefer being physically closer to others
Integrative Complexity
- Integrative Complexity: the extent to which a person sees and interprets events in differentiated and
integrated ways
- individual differences in integrative complexity are assessed through content analysis of written
material
-> researcher rates particular passages in the text with respect to the degree of differentiation and
integration shown
- integrative complexity scores decreased during times of war but increased during periods of civil
unrest
- integrative complexity decreased during times of illness and decreased shortly before death
- just before people die they experience a marked decrease in cognitive functioning called a terminal
drop
Social-Cognitive Theory and the Person
Social Intelligence
- key to understanding personality coherence is social intelligence: each person’s set of skills, abilities,
and knowledge about social situations
-> people differ in social intelligence
- social intelligence consists of 3 different kinds of organized knowledge:
1) concepts: aspects of declarative-semantic knowledge: abstract and categorical information that the
person gleans over time concerning various phenomena
2) episodes: aspects of declarative-episodic knowledge: knowledge of experiences, thoughts and
actions of other people and one’s personal autobiographical record
3) rules: aspects of procedural knowledge: various competencies, strategies, and rules that enable the
person to form impressions of others, make attributions, encode and retrieve memories, and predict
social behaviours
- concepts of self are the most salient components of declarative-semantic knowledge
- relational schemas: cognitive structure representing regularities in patterns of interpersonal
relationships-> encodes important info about what to expect when interacting with certain people
-> different concepts of other people contained in declarative-semantic knowledge are called relational
schemas
- entity theory: a person’s implicit belief that human attributes are fixed entities
- incremental theory: a person’s implicit belief that human attributes are changeable characteristics that
may be improved with effort
- people who hold entity based theories tend to interpret their own and other people’s actions in terms
of fixed traits
- incremental theories focus less on broad traits and more on the situational and temporary forces that
influence action
- entity and incremental theories are examples of a broader class of lay theories: people’s implicit
assumptions regarding the nature of human abilities and characteristics
- the same person may hold many different lay theories about different domains in life
- the link between lay theories and the future typically comes through goals
- incremental theorists set goals for themselves that are aimed at changing or developing the particular
area of relevance for the theory
- entity theorists are motivated to avoid situations and information that challenge whatever their fixed
notions are
- causal attributions: the perceived causes of events
-> apply to outcomes of success and failure
-> to explain why a person succeeded or failed in a given task, we resort to 1 of 4 basic attributions:
ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck
-> ability and effort are internal attributions
-> task difficulty and luck are external attributions -> causes of failure are in the environment
Self-Schemas