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Chapter 13

Psychology 2550A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Psychobiography, Nonverbal Communication, Intime

Course Code
Kelly Olson

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Phenomenologists like Rogers and Kelly wanted to go beyond introspection and anchor their theories to scientific methods
Rogers: therapist enters internal world of client by observation and interference
Kelly: concerned with objective measurement of subjective experience
Why self matters: Consequences of Self-discrepancies
People experience different types of discrepancies between different aspects of the self, and these discrepancies influence their subsequent emotions and
behaviours in predictable ways
Actual self -
yourself as you are (a good basketball player)
The belief about the attributes one actually has
Ideal self -
who you would like to be (a great basketball player)
The beliefs about the attributes one would like to have ideally
Ought self -
who you believe you should be (a doctor)
The beliefs about the attributes one is obligated to have, i.e., that are one's duty to possess
Higgins: such discrepancies may be experienced not only from one's own vantage point, but also from that of significant others (parents, older siblings)
Illustrative self-discrepancies:
Types of self-discrepancies
Induced feelings
Disappointment and dissatisfaction
In dejected because I'm not as attractive as I would like to be
Shame and embarrassment
I'm ashamed because I fail to be as kind a person as my parents wished me to be
Guilt and self-contempt
I hate myself because I should have more willpower
Fear or feeling threatened
I'm afraid my father will be angry with me because I didn't work as hard as he
believes I should
To deal with discrepancies between the perceived actual self and the own ideal self: one can re-evaluate the negative interpretation of past painful events
To remove discrepancies: people may change their actual behaviour to match an important standard
The work on self-discrepancies makes clear that the self matters -- because the internal experiences that people have when they perceive such discrepancies are
consequential for the emotions they experience and for the coping patterns they use to try to deal with them
The view through the person's eyes
Phenomenological study begins with the person's own viewpoint -- starts with the individual's self-presentation
The most direct way to inquire about another person's experience is to ask him to depict himself -- these self-reports are used as a basis for the clinician to
generate inferences and predictions about him or her
Because of the assumption that people engage in extensive unconscious distortion
We try to attend to him rather than to our stereotypes and theoretical constructs
In focus 13.1
Effects of self-discrepancy: Anorexia
Anorexic behaviour has been linked to actual/ought discrepancies
More characteristic of people whose actual self-concepts are discrepant from their representations of how significant others believe they ought to
Bulimic eating problems are more associated with discrepancies between people's actual self-concept and their own ideal self-concepts

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Experience dejection
Does not depends on the person's actual body mass
Uses of self-assessments
Useful information about people may be obtained most directly by simply asking them
Schizo patients: simple self-reports on attitude scales yielded better predictions than did psychometrically more sophisticated scales
Peace Corps: attitude statements were also the best predictors of success here -- self-reports >> interviews, pooled global ratings
Under some conditions, people may be able to report and predict their own behaviour at least as accurately as experts
People don't always predict their own behaviour accurately though: lack info or motivation to foretell their own behaviour, motivated not to reveal future
Many variables outside the person's control (accidents, other people)
The Q-sort technique
To compare people, they need to use the same standard language to compare themselves
Q-technique/Q-sort: cards with printed self-descriptions on them
Arrange them in most to least self-descriptive
To describe self, relationships, characteristics associated with successful performance in a given task
Compare Q-sorts at different ages to characterize developmental changes
Unlike other measures that compare individuals with each other along a given dimension to obtain between-person differences, the goal of Q-sort assessment is
the pattern of the various characteristics within each person
Everyone has the same score on average, but differ in the arrangement among the set of characteristics
Modern phenomenologists have recognized that self-reports may not reveal everything important about behaviour
So they focus on the person's frame of reference as an important vantage point for understanding him or her
Roger's view: the psychologists task is to provide conditions that are conducive to growth and that facilitate free exploration of feelings and self in a therapeutic
Client-centered Rogerian therapy
Rogerians use the interview to observe how the individual interprets himself and his experiences -- done in an atmosphere conducive to genuine self-disclosure in
which self-revelation and self-reports are actively encouraged
The semantic differential
Used to study what different stimuli, events, or other experiences mean to the individual (personal significance)
Rate self-concepts on scales for the meaning of each concept
Objective and flexible
Three main factors tend to emerge when results are analyzed:
Primary evaluative (good-bad) factor
- most important
Potency -
hard-soft, masculine-feminine, strong-weak
Activity -
active-passive, excitable-calm, hot-cold
Nonverbal communication
Semantic differential, Rep test = sample verbal behaviour
Nonverbal communication = facial expressions, movements, and gestures
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