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Chapter 10

Chapter 10.docx

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Connie Boudens

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Personality Psychology – Foundations and Findings Chapter 10 – Cognitive Foundations of Personality - There are specific differences in the way people perceive and think about the world - Field-dependent people tend to see the big picture rather than details - Field-independent people rely on their own physical sensations and have selective attention to a particular object without being distracted by surrounding details Locus of Control - Locus of control – people’s beliefs about the control of reinforcements and outcomes in their lives o Internal locus of control – internals believe that they have some control over what happens to them o External locus of control – externals believe that have little control over what happens to them and instead believe that reinforcements or outcomes are due to chance, luck, fate, powerful others, or are unpredictable - Whether one is internal or external develops from their experiences in the world - Differing ways of information processing: internals pay more attention to information that may be useful to them later, retain more information than externals - Measures of Locus of Control o Often measured with the internal-external locus of control scale – 29 forced-choice statements where participants must decide which statement they agree with more (one being an internal statement and the other an external) o Studies suggest that having an internal locus of control leads to more positive outcomes in achievement, work, health and relationships - Locus of Control and Achievement o Internals take more control than externals, are better at planning and working on long- term goals and at establishing more realistic goals, assume more responsibility for themselves and hold others to high standards of responsibility as well - Locus of Control and Work Behaviour o Workers with internal locus of control show greater satisfaction with their pay, promotions, coworkers, and supervisors, then did workers with an external locus of control o Internals show greater job commitment, intrinsic motivation, productivity, career success, and job challenge, and work more hours than externals  Show greater work involvement, sensitive to pay incentives, more satisfied with jobs o Externals experience greater job overload, work problems, stress, burnout, absenteeism, and conflicts between family and work responsibilities  Tend to be more stressed and burnt out o Locus of control affects performance and performance also affects future locus of control beliefs - Locus of Control and Physical and Psychological Health o Internals – overall better physical and mental health comes in part from the belief that they can control what happens to them and their willingness to take action o Externals who believe that health is in the hands of their doctors, reported more emotional distress o Externals are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression, less able to cope with stressful life experiences o Internals use more problem-focused coping, looking for possible solutions and taking concrete steps to make things better, externals use more emotion-focused coping, relieving their feelings of anger, anxiety or sadness by talking with others - Locus of Control and Social Behaviour o Locus of control leads to differences in how individuals interact with others o Internals – more likely to show independence and resistance to social influence than externals, participate in more campus activities, more sensitive to task demands of a situation (prefer feedback from their performance) o Externals – more vulnerable to persuasion, social influence, and conformity, more sensitive to the social demands of a situation (prefer feedback from experimenter) - Cultural Differences in Locus of Control o Differences exist between cultures in the amount of control people believe they have o Individualistic cultures (western), tend to have a more internal locus of control  So internal that they are vulnerable to an illusion of control, where people believe they have control in situations where they do not o Collectivist cultures (eastern) tend to be more external; believe that supernatural forces determine outcomes; doesn’t mean they are adapting less well, but that they assert their control differently than western cultures o Primary control – people can attempt to make themselves feel better or less distracted by changing circumstances (must have internal locus of control) o Secondary control – people can attempt to fix into, accommodate, or accept a situation or an event in ways that make themselves feel better, or less distressed (requires internal LoC) o Externals – “victim mentality” where they feel helpless, act passively, and believe that there is nothing they can do to change their outcomes or reinforcements - Then and Now: Locus of Control o Two hypotheses: independent model – Americans have become more internal, alienation model – Americans have become more external o Perhaps, in collectivist cultures, Americans are turning to secondary control more as a way of maintaining control, reflected in a more external locus of control Learned Helplessness - Opposite of having an internal locus of control: feeling helpless in the present and hopeless in the future - Overmier and Seligman, 1967 – when individuals find themselves in situations where they are exposed to aversive stimuli they cannot reduce, eliminate, or control, they may experience learned helplessness and believe their future actions will be useless as well o Helplessness leads to loss of motivation, problems thinking and learning, and negative emotions o Experiment: dogs were assigned to 3 conditions – escapable shock, where they received a training phase, could make shock stop, inescapable shock, where they received training, but couldn’t do anything to stop the shocks, and control, where they didn’t receive a training o Yoking – when a treatment participants in one condition receives depends on how participants in another condition behave o In trial, all dogs from escapable condition figured out how to escape the shocks, most dogs in the inescapable condition did not figure it out (but learned if experimenter dragger them across the barrier) - Opposite of helplessness: personal control - Noise experiment – participants who thought that preventing or stopping the noise was due to their own skill were faster at the task than those who believed it was due to chance - Learned helplessness comes from people’s beliefs about control, the expectations about a specific task, and their past experiences with uncontrollable outcomes - Learned helplessness causes problems in motivation, cognition and emotion – situations that cause a state of helplessness make people give up responding - 3 parts to learned helplessness – noncontingency/disconnect between people’s actions and their outcomes (people truly have no control over their outcomes), expectation that future actions will also be ineffective, acting passively and giving up after concluding that their actions are fruitless - Hopelessness model of depression – belief that one lacks control combines with the belief that the helplessness will continue in the future - Hopelessness depression causes changes in motivation, cognition, emotions, and lowered self- esteem - People can be helpless without being hopeless if they anticipate that circumstances might be different in the future Explanatory style - Explanatory style – ways of explaining both good and bad things that happen in one’s life - Pessimistic explanatory style – those who view negative events as their own fault (internal), likely to happen again (stable), and undermining other aspects of life (global); at risk for depression o Believe positive events are external, unstable (not likely to happen again), and specific (only applicable to one aspect of life) - Optimistic explanatory style – those who view negative events as external, unstable, and specific (limited to one aspect of their life); faster at bouncing back from setbacks o Believe positive events are internal, stable and global - When any event occurs, people come up with explanations to understand what caused the event - Explanations vary in locus of control (internal vs. external), stability (how stable, permanent or recurrent a cause is vs. how unstable, temporary, or intermittent it is), and generality (if it affects many aspects of a person’s life or if it limited to a specific domain) - Optimistic explanatory style – associated with increased motivation, achievement, physical health, lower depression, overall well-being - Pessimistic explanatory style – associated with negative affect, depressive symptoms, lower academic achievement, poorer physical health, etc. - Measures of Explanatory Style o Questionnaires and content analysis o Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) – contains 12 hypothetical good and bad situations, subjects write what they think to be the cause of the situation o CAVE technique – content analysis of verbatim explanations – works like the ASQ, find a quote explaining why the event happened to them, judges score responses, higher scores indicate a more pessimistic explanatory style o With the CAVE technique – researchers can measure the explanatory style of anyone who has left behind a sample of his/her words - Explanatory Style and Achievement o Those with optimistic explanatory styles outperform expectations, in school and on the playing field o School  Students with optimistic ES, show greater motivation and persist longer in the face of adversity, strategies related to higher achievement  Study: low GPAs reflect lack of motivation rather than lack of ability  For prospective law students, those with pessimistic ESs, achieved a higher GPA and great success  Aspects of the pessimistic ES may be more conductive and adaptive to future achievement - perhaps viewing failures as internal may be a way of keeping oneself on track  Pessimistic explanations tend to be self-fulfilling  Successful students are not necessarily the smartest, but are those who are able to cope with inevitable setbacks and continue to strive o Athletics
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