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Chapter 2

PSY220H1 Chapter 2: Week 6 Reading Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

Two students are present. A coin toss occurs to see who will go first to write a questionnaire about their feelings and experience of university. The person who stays back is given a peek at the first person’s answers. If that person’s response is written negatively they will write their response as negative (same if it were positive). The students denied that having a peek influenced their response in any way. Take first year and fourth year students and get them to read an article about a star accounting student (awards, high grades, internship, etc.) and then have them self-evaluate (1-9 with 9 being a positive appraisal) or have them self-evaluate without viewing any article of a person to compare themselves to. Results: No difference in self-evaluation between first and fourth year students when they didn’t read any article. When they read the article about the star accounting student, first year students rated themselves high and fourth year students rated themselves low (for first years the star represented a sense of motivation, for fourth years it represented hopelessness because at this point I’ll never become like that). Telling high self-esteem people positive messages makes them feel better about themselves. Telling low self-esteem people positive messages makes them feel worse about themselves. In Western countries, people compliment others more often than in Eastern countries. Also in Eastern countries, people criticize themselves more. Conservatives tend to be economic individualists (don’t tax me) and moral collectivists. Liberals tend to be economic collectivists (universal health care) and moral individuals (let people choose for themselves). When shown a picture of a complex scene, Eastern countries tend to look at the background features and the relationships between the people in the picture. Western countries look at the focal object (the big fish) and less at the surroundings. When Easterners come to Western countries, their self-esteem increases (this makes sense since back home they are constantly scrutinized which lowers their self-esteem). Ask people to record their feelings and any possible causes for those feelings. Results show that there is little relationship between their perception of how well a factor predicted their mood and how well it actually did so (we are bad predictors of what actually makes us happy/sad/etc.). Other people are better at predicting how we will perform on a task then our own prediction (cause we are biased to ourselves). There is also this idea of planning fallacy – We usually take longer to complete a task then we think it’ll take. Usually we can predict how we will feel in certain situations. Sometimes we mispredict our responses. Ex. Women predict that if asked sexually harassing questions in an interview they think they will fear anger when in reality they would actually feel fear the most. But most importantly, people are worst at predicting the intensity and duration of their feelings. Examples: - When people are aroused they can usually accurately predict how they will act in certain situations. When people are not aroused, they will mispredict how they will act when aroused. - Hungry shoppers do more impulse buying than when shopping after eating a mega-sized blueberry muffin - Female university students predicted their enjoyment of a speed date better when another woman who had speed-dated him clued them in than when relying on facts such as a picture and profile. Yet at the end of the experiment, most women still said that relying on the profile would be a better predictor of their feelings than the opinion of someone else. - When natural disasters occur, people predict that their sadness will be greater if more people are killed. But in reality the sadness is similar when people are led to believe 50 people died compared to if 1000 people had died. However, seeing actual images changes that to what you would expect (more sad with 1000 people). - People overestimate how much their well-being would be affected when a bad event occurs. Overestimation also occurs when good events occur. o Assistant professors were asked to predict their happiness a few years after achieving tenure or not and most believed that achieving tenure was important for their future happiness. In reality, several years later, those who did not achieve tenure were just as happy as those that did. A study showed that the attitudes we consciously express towards things or people usually predicted our subsequent behaviour towards those things. However, when P’s are asked to analyze their feelings it did not predict how they would act later on (because people pick out things that aren’t actually as important as they make it out to be). All P’s had just failed their first psychology midterm. One group received an email from the prof with review questions and a message encouraging them to keep their self-esteem high. Another group also got review questions but were told to take personal control of their performance (a more realistic message). Last group just got review questions (control). The self-esteem group by far did the worst on the final exam (researchers suggested that those bad students with high self- esteem probably thought they didn’t need to study because of the high self-esteem). People prefer an activity that increases their self-esteem as opposed to sexual activities, alcohol, or receiving a paycheque. Self-esteem can be threatened when you compare yourself
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