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Chapter 8


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Marc A Fournier

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B30: PERSONALITY Chapter 8: Self and Other Social Cognitive Aspects of Personality THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS 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. 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 ourselves GEORGE KELLY He wrote and published his two volume The Psychology of Personal Constructs in 1955 o This book took the field of psychology by storm o It presented a boldly original theory of the person that seemed to bear little if any resemblance to the classic personality theories of the day, such as those proposed by Freud, Jung, Rogers, Maslow, Murray o 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. Many personality theories have traditionally assigned a central role to human motivation Kelly asserted that the problem of human motivation is not a problem at all. o The search for underlying principles to explain why people do what they do is futile o We need not posit behaviour approach and inhibition systems, sexual aggressive instincts (Freud), principles of reinforcement (behaviourists), needs and motives (Murray, McClelland), or goals, strivings, or the urge toward self actualization (Rogers, Maslow) to explain what motivates people to act People are alive, they act by virtue of being alive, its that simple!- Kelly His belief implies a fundamental principle of motivation a person is motivated to predict or anticipate what will happen to himher (what moves people to act is their desire to know what the world has in store for them) According to Kelly, each of us classifies hisher world by developing personal constructs: Kellys concept of a characteristic way of constructing how some things are different from each other. o Every construct is bipolar, specifying how two things are similar to each other and different from a third thing o For example: I may routinely classify my friends in terms of the personal construct seriousfunny Grant and Jack are relatively serious; Dean differs from them both in that he is relatively funny. All three friends are in fact, similar and different from one another in many great ways. 1 www.notesolution.comEach person develops hisher own construct system that contains a number of constructs organized in a hierarchy (organization corollary), this means that within any construct system certain constructs are superordinal) encompassing many other constructs) and others are subordinal (being encompassed by larger constructs) To know another persons construct system is to see the world through hisher eyes (sociality corollary) Within a given persons construct system, particular constructs differ from one another with respect to their range of convenience (range corollary): Kellys concept of the extent to which a given personal construct is likely to guide a persons interpretation of events and the behaviour heshe is likely to show. o Thus, the construct friendlyunfriendly may have a wide range of convenience: it is likely to guide the persons anticipations of events in a large number of situations. By contrast, the construct liberalconservative is likely to have a narrower range of convenience for most people Constructs are more like hypotheses to be tested that like assumed facts i.e. seeing a middle aged man at a cocktail party, dressed in a 3 piece suit, hair impeccably groomed, wrist watch is expensive one may assume he may be a political conservative (hypothesis) Anticipations guide behaviour and experience, in the words of Kellys fundamental postulate, a persons process are psychologically channelized by the ways in which heshe anticipates events Constructs differ in other ways too; a permeable construct is open to modification and the introduction of new elements (a person that is open minded); by contrast, a person who is unable to modify hisher constructs in light of new information and expanding experiences is likely to be viewed by others as relatively rigid and inflexible In Kellys cognitive view, the unconscious is merely those constructs that are nonverbal, submerged, or suspended. o For certain constructs we are unable to assign a verbal name; thus, we may not be aware of them o Yet these unconscious constructs continue to channelize behaviour and experience o When we confront inexplicable events in the world for which our construct system does not seem to be prepared, we experience anxiety. o Anxiety is a fear of the unknown- the fear that the blooming, buzzing confusion cannot be understood. o guilt is a perception of ones apparent dislodgment from his core role structure~ core role structure is the construction a person has of one heshe is in relation to significant people, such as parents Kelly viewed the person to be like a scientist, continually categorizing experience and testing hypotheses as he or she anticipates and reacts to events of the world. EXPLORING PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS 2 www.notesolution.com
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