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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Text Notes.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2550A/B
Professor
Kelly Olson
Chapter
14

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CHAPTER 14
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIAL COGNITIVE LEVEL
Historical roots
Social cog approach to personality = late 1960s
Three theoretical camps: Freudians, students searching for broad personality trait dimensions, and radical behaviourists concerned with conditioning and
stimulus-response
Linking cognition and social behaviour
Traditional behaviourism: stimuli control behaviour
But actually, the perceiver's mental representations and
cognitive transformations
of the stimuli can determine (or even reverse) their impact
Shown in research on the factors influencing how long preschool children will actually sit still alone in a chair waiting for a desired but delayed outcome --
answer: depends on how the children mentally represent the rewards
For ex: they can think of the pretzels as little logs and won't care to wait
Cognition is what influences behaviour, now the external stimulus (Kelly and Rogers were right)
IN FOCUS 14.1
George Kelly: A bridge to the social cognitive level
The core of Kelly's psychology was his belief that personal constructs are the basic units and that it is personal constructs, rather than stimuli, that are crucial
The greatest incompleteness of Kelly's thinking was that it provided a powerful theory of constructing, but gave few guides for linking peoples' constructions either
to their past or to their future performance
The cognitive revolution
Cognitive revolution -
started as a revolt against the then-dominant behaviourism but went on to literally transform psychology and all the behavioural sciences
Behaviourism insisted that scientific psychology is possible only by focusing on observable stimuli and responses
Cognitive revolution rejected this view and gave birth to cognitive psychology
Cog psych led to "social cognitive" theories in personality psych
ALBERT BANDURA: SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY
He showed that people learn cognitively by observing others, not merely by experiencing rewards for what they do themselves
Much social learning occurs through observation without any direct reinforcement administered to the learner
Learning through observation (modeling)
Observational learning
- aka modeling - learning that occurs without the learner's receiving direct external reinforcement
Occurs even without the person's ever performing the learned response at all (ex: learning how to kill by watching it on TV)
Occurs when people watch others or when they attend to their surroundings, to physical events, or to symbols such as words or pictures
Observ learning is often indirect (others can observe something and then tell us about it)
Ex. Mass media -- highly effective means of communication of experiences
Study: children who watched film of an aggressive model punching a Bobodoll, they spontaneously imitated the same aggressiveness when put in a similar
situation
Study: children who watched violent cartoons became more assaultive toward peers than those who watched nonviolent cartoons
Exposure to models who speak the language leads to relatively rapid acquisition, while shaping (direct reinforcement) would take longer -- observation is
important for learning languages
Observing other people's outcomes: What happens to them might happen to you
Your expectations about the outcomes of a particular course of action depend not only on what has happened to you in the past, but also on what you have
observed happening to others
We are more likely to do something if we have observed another person (model) obtain positive consequences for a similar response
Observation also influences the emotions we perceive -- it's possible to vicariously learn an intense emotional response to a stimulus

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You may become "vicariously conditioned" when you observe repeatedly the close connection between a stimulus (red light on) and an emotional response
(pain cues) exhibited by another person -- this happens without your receiving any direct aversive stimulation yourself
Study: after repeatedly watching the pairing of the buzzer and the responses made, the observers developed a measurable physiological fear response to the sound
of the buzzer alone
Importance of rules and symbolic processes
Studies that motivates the cognitive revolution showed that people seemed to be helped most by the rules they use to link discrete bits of info meaningfully to learn
and remember materials
Studies with children indicate that it helps to reward appropriate behaviour
and
to specify the relevant underlying rules and principles so that children can readily
learn the standards that they're supposed to adopt
Cognition plays a role in classical conditioning
Study: person condition to fear a light because it's been paired with an electric shock -- if the experimenter simply informs the person that the light
(conditioned stimulus) is no longer connected with the shock, their emotional reactions to it can quickly extinguish
Bandura gives much attention to importance of cognitive, vicarious, self-regulatory, and self-reflective processes in enabling human adaptive social behaviour and
change
The agentic, proactive person
Bandura emphasizes the human capacity to be
agentic
and exercise self-regulation and self-reflection as people generate behaviour that is proactive and future-
oriented
He notes that the rapid informational, social, and technological changes in modern world makes it more crucial than ever to enhance one's ability to flexibly self-
regulate and work for one's own self-renewal to adaptively cope as social and economic demands change throughout life
Bandura believes that the most important and central construct is self-efficacy
Self-efficacy
Refers to the individual's belief that he or she can successfully execute the behaviours required by a particular situation
Perception of one's own efficacy importantly guide and direct one's behaviour
Study: a consistently high association was found between the degree to which persons improved from treatment and their perceived self-efficacy
The greater their perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goals they choose and the stronger their commitment and perseverance in pursuing them
People who lack efficacy for coping with life tasks are vulnerable to anxiety, avoidance patterns, depression, immune system impairments
Role of self-efficacy in personality and behaviour change
Bandura - behaviour therapy and other forms of interventions work by increasing efficacy expectation and thus leading people to believe that they can cope with
the difficult situations that threatened them before
The best methods will be the ones that give the person the most direct, compelling success experiences in performing that particular behaviour, thereby increasing
efficacy expectancies most
Ex: actually doing something VS thinking about it and its consequences
In sum, different forms of behav therapy in Bandura's view have positive effects mainly by enhancing the person's sense of self-efficacy
SOCIAL COGNITIVE RECONCEPTUALIZATION OF PERSONALITY: WALTER MISCHEL
Mischel proposed the
social cognitive reconceptualization of personality
addressing the classic assumption of trait theory that people behave in highly consistent ways across
different situations
Contradicted by objective evidence
Many soc psychologists used Mischel's conclusion as license to treat individual differences as noise and to emphasize the power of context
Understanding consistency in personality: People as meaning makers
Mischel theorized that consistency could be found by analyzing behaviour in its situational context
Proposing a view of the mind as dynamic and constructivist, he argued that people make meaning out of the situations they encounter and use this to adapt their
behaviour to each situation
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