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Chapter 10

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Chapter 10 The Meaning of Stories The Narrating Mind Jerome Burner:  Paradigmatic mode – refers to the human ability to understand reality through tightly reasoned analyses, positional logic, and cause-and-effect relationships in the physicochemical world  Narrative mode – referring to the human tendency to make sense of experience through stories, stories are centrally concerned w/ the vicissitudes of human intention organized in time Healing and Integration Bruno Bettelheim says that the psychological power of children’s fairytales help them work through internal conflicts and crises e.g. Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella  Promotes psychological growth and adaptation  Encourages the child to face the world w/ confidence and hope Writing or performing a story about oneself can prove to be an experience of healing and growth Translating personal trauma into words appears to have long-term health benefits Pennebaker argues that the process of actively inhibiting feelings and thoughts about negative events requires excessive physiological work, as in higher heat rate, skin conductance, and blood pressure The more a person tries to inhibit thoughts and emotions, the more likely they are to think about it, leading to heightened anxiety and arousal. Confiding and consciously confronting the perceptions and feelings associated w/ a traumatic event allow for the integration or cognitive reorganization of the event Feeling and Story: Tomkins’s Script Theory Affect – human emotion Affect Emotions most often identified as primary include  Interest/excitement o 3-4 months of life o Focus and maintain attention and motivate exploratory activity  Enjoyment  Surprise  Distress  Anger  Fear/anxiety  Sadness o Appear in 2 half of 1 year, fear as well  Shame  Guilt  Each feels qualitatively diff from all the others  Each emotion is innately linked to a specific facial response Display rules – societal norms for the expression of different emotions Tomkins’s identified two different ideological approaches to life  Normativism o Politically conservative in nature o Asserts that human beings are inherently flawed or evil, need to be held in chick by strong rules and clearly defined contingencies o More likely than humanists to emphasize the affects of joy and fear o Adults scoring high tend to recall negative memories associated w/ anger  Humanism o Liberal in orientation o Seen human beings as good or capable of goodness o Affirm self-expression and love as basic human values o Adults scoring high recall negative memories associated w/ fear and distress Scenes and Scripts Basic Concepts Scene – the memory of a specific happening or event in one’s life that contains at least one affect and one object of that affect  Each scene is an organized whole that includes persons, place, time, actions, feelings Scripts – a set of rules for interpreting, creating, enhancing, or defending against a family of related scenes Psychological magnification – the process of connecting related scenes into a meaningful pattern Analogs – a scene that is similar to another scene in a person’s life story or script  Feeling of “here we go again” Variants – a scene that is seen as different from other scenes in one’s life story or script, people organize positive-emotion scenes in their lives by accentuating differences, which creates variants, or variations around a common life theme Positive illusions – people overlook the negative aspects of live events and exchange them with potentially positive meanings  “I may be sick, but not as sick as my good friend’s wife” “God is testing my resolve, and I will rise to the challenge” Types of Scripts Commitment script  Person blind him or herself to a life program or a goral that promises the reward of intense positive affect  Involves a long-term investment in “improving things”  Person may have a vision of the ideal life or the ideal society and dedicate his life to realizing or accomplishing this vision  Beings w/ an intensely positive early scene or series of scenes from childhood  Organizes scenes around a clearly defined and undisputed goal  Not likely to entail significant conflict b/w competing goals or troubling ambivalence about any single goal Nuclear scripts  Marked by ambivalence and confusion about one’s life goals  Always involves complex approach-avoidance conflicts  Person is irresistibly drawn toward and repelled by particularly conflictual scenes in their life narrative  Beings with a nuclear scene – a positive childhood scene that eventually urns bad  Initially formed as an attempt to reverse the nuclear scene Narrative Identity Narrative identity – refers to the internalized and evolving story of the self that a person consciously and unconsciously constructs to bind together many different aspects of the self  Provides a person’s life w/ some degree of unity, purpose, and meaning Development of Life Story Habermas and Bluck: Life story schema – mental structure or pattern for putting a life into a story form, for making a narrative identity out of a human life People have to be able to exercise at least for diff mental skills in order to construct a coherent lif
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