Study Questions for the Textbook: Unit 5 Gingerich PSY325 Spring 2016
1. “Chronic accessibility” is a very important concept in this chapter and as you might recall, in a previous chapter (chapter 12). Explain what it is, and give an example that depicts what chronic accessibility has to do with personality.
a. The trait approach has addressed personality processes from the very beginning, recognizing that people are different from each other precisely because they think, feel, and desire differently (p. 542)
i. In other words, people with different traits see the world differently ???? these perceptions affect how they react to the events in their live (which affects
what they do)
ii. Ex: highly neurotic people tend to feel negative events strongly, which leads to intense experiences of anger or depression, which leads them to act in
ways that just make everything worse
2. Is there any hope for someone with chronic accessibility of aggressive or hostile constructs? If you want to learn more check out What is the harmonic series in math?
a. Yes, recognizing the process of traits leading to bad outcomes helps to avoid these outcomes
b. In the case of neuroticism, people who are mindful (being highly aware of and attentive to the present) can avoid overreacting to bad events in their lives 3. What is meant by perceptual defense? How might it be related to shyness? a. Perceptual defense is the flipside of chronic accessibility
b. The perceptual system appears to have the ability to screen out information that might make the individual anxious or uncomfortable (p. 550)
c. Evidence seems to suggest that the mind has mechanisms to not only selectively attend to certain stimuli, but also actively screen out other stimuli that could cause too much anxiety
If you want to learn more check out What values for race and sex tend to increase income?
4. Explain what the research on short-term memory has to do with personality. a. The more rich and complex each (of the limited 7) idea in STM is, the more rich and complex your thinking can be
b. The limit to STM implies that you can only think about 7 things at a time, but you can create a We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of temperature?
5. Describe the dual-process model of thinking.
a. Dual-process models contrast the roles of conscious and unconscious thought i. The key difference in these models is that conscious thought is slower
b. A recent personality model contrasts reflective and impulsive determinants of behavior
i. Reflective determinants are slow and largely rational
ii. Impulsive determinants are fast, almost automatic, and sometimes irrational 6. On page 559, it basically says that what people they say they want doesn’t give us very much information about what they really want. “Instead, watch what they do.” Do you agree?
a. Goals are the ends that one desires
i. Strategies are the means the individual uses to achieve their goals
b. David Shapiro says that people claim to have particular goals but make little or no moves toward fulfilling them If you want to learn more check out What are the three types of business?
Don't forget about the age old question of What are the organs of the endocrine system?
i. Self-contradictions mean that if we want to know what people want, we should watch what they do (whether or not they actually execute their
strategies to achieve their goals)
ii. I agree with this
7. Why is it useful to be able to shift between long-term and short-term goals? a. Keeping your eye on a general, long-term goal can help you to choose wisely and to organize more specific, short-term goals
i. When goals are well-organized, one can live life smoothly and with clear purpose
b. If you know general goals, everything you do on a daily basis can be organized to help reach them (short-term goals on a daily basis)
c. When people don’t have general (long term) goals, they spend their time on activities that do not serve personally relevant goals; therefore, their life is chaotic and disorganized—nothing important gets done
d. If the relationship between the two is too one-sided, you may become too inflexible to accomplish your important short-term goals (if focused on the long term) i. Ex. Focusing on world peace, but forgetting to be nice to your family
ii. We must be able to shift flexibly between the two
8. As you read this, think about your “current concerns” and “personal projects,” and how these relate to your personality
a. Current concern: an ongoing motivation that persists in the mid until the goal is either attained or abandoned Don't forget about the age old question of What is hydroxyl?
b. Personal projects: while a current concern in something people think about, personal projects are what people do
9. What are your “judgment goals” and your “development goals?” Do you understand how they might be different? Are you generally an “entity theorist” or an “incremental theorist?” How does this relate to how you explain failures?
a. Judgment goals: judgment refers to seeking to judge or validate an attribute in oneself; i.e., goal of convincing yourself you are smart, beautiful, or popular b. Development goals: the desire to actually improve oneself; i.e. to become smarter, more beautiful, or more popular
c. Entity theorists: believe that personal qualities such as intelligence and ability are unchangeable, leading them to respond helplessly to any indication that they do not have what it takes
d. Incremental theorists: believe that intelligence and ability can change with time and experience
i. Their goals, therefore, involve proving their competence AND increasing it 10. What is the McDonald’s script? Give an example of a script/strategy that is relevant to personality.
a. The McDonald’s script is based on the idea that if you’re hungry, you go to get a burger, and from there, you know what to do at McDonald’s, based on an abstraction
derived from the usual pattern (and so you follow this script without thinking about it) (p. 566)
i. This script can be thought of as a strategy—a sequence of activities that progress toward a goal; in this case, to acquire food
b. Example: the rejection sensitivity: a maladaptive strategy of automatically responding with fear and hostility to the slightest sign of disinterest from a significant other person
i. In certain triggering situations of this strategy, the authoritarian personality responds to the situations involving authority relationships with a style of behavior that is obsequious to those of higher rank and contemptuous to those of lower rank
11. Explain this statement from page 569: “…pessimism has its virtues too.” a. Cultural values in the U.S. tend to prefer an optimistic personality, but pessimism has its virtues too
b. An optimistic, self-enhancing style may help motivate individual achievement but interfere with motional intimacy and interpersonal sensitivity
c. Pessimism may prove more adaptive than optimism in culture that emphasize these more collectivist values
d. Too much optimism can be dangerous, leading to carelessness and needless risk taking
e. Optimists are generally happier, but this doesn’t mean that pessimists would be happier if they simply changed their strategy
i. Changing strategies is not necessarily a good idea—pessimists would perform worse if forced to think optimistically; it deprives them of their usual negative thinking used to manage anxiety
12. How is emotion a “personality process?”
a. Emotions (from cognitive psychology) can be viewed as procedural knowledge, similar to skills of riding a bike or singing—which cannot be learned or fully expressed through words, but only through action and experience
b. An emotion is a set of mental and physical procedures; it is something you do, not merely a set of concepts or a passive experience, and therefore qualifies as a personality process
i. Ex. You don’t recognize that everything you’re doing physiologically is part of the emotion, but all other activities of your body and mind amount to the emotion (instead of thinking to yourself, “wow, I am angry”)
13. What are the two dimensions of the “emotions circumplex?”
a. The emotions circumplex model assumes that all emotions vary along 2 dimensions, from aroused to unaroused, and from negative to positive
i. Thus, “defiant” is both aroused and somewhat negative, while “envious” is more negative but less aroused
14. Do the percentages of sources of happiness surprise you? (See Figure 15.6)
a. Happiness has 3 components: (1) overall satisfaction with life, (2) satisfaction with how things are going in particular life domains (e.g., relationships, career), and (3) generally high levels of positive emotion and low levels of negative emotion b. Sources of happiness:
i. Intentional activity: 40%
ii. Set point: 50%
iii. Circumstances: 10%
iv. I think we like to believe that circumstances will make us most happy, so we strive for the perfect circumstances to be in; but in reality, this becomes our intentional activity, which accounts for almost half of our happiness
15. Is there such a thing as too much happiness?
a. June Gruber and colleagues suggest 4 potential dark sides:
i. Happiness that is too intense can lead to a failure to recognize risky situations or to pouring excessive energy into unproductive pursuits
ii. Happiness that is felt at the wrong time (when things are going badly) can short-circuit efforts to make things better
iii. Directly “trying to be happy” can be counterproductive, if one then becomes disappointed that they haven’t become happy enough
iv. There are types of happiness that cause problems for the person or those around them, such as the hubristic or arrogant kind that might be felt by
1. May feel good now, but then leads to harming of other’s and the
individual’s eventual downfall in the end
1. Distinguish between the “I” and the “me.”
a. The “me” is a sort of object, which can be observed and described
b. The “I” is the rather mysterious entity that does the observing and describing 2. What’s the down side to too much self love?
a. It’s not good to let self-esteem get too high
b. If a person fails to recognize the ways that other people dislike or have lost respect for them, they may risk exploitation or social ostracism
c. People who self-enhance (think they are better than others) can run into problems in relations with others, mental health, and adjustment
d. Overly-high self-esteem can lead to behavior that is arrogant, abusive, and even criminal
3. Does your self-view depend on your memories of your previous behaviors? a. A good way to remember something is to think about some specific way that it relates to one’s self (enhancement of the LTM that comes from thinking of how information relates to oneself = the self-reference effect)
b. This effect explains why your most personally meaningful memories stick with you the longest
c. Study in China showed that the self-concept “might include the concepts of the father and mother in Chinese people, supporting the independent/dependent self concept modeled in Eastern culture”
4. Why is accurate knowledge of the self important related to mental health? How accurately do you think you are in your self-knowledge? Review the RAM model. a. Our opinions about our capabilities set the limits of what we will attempt b. Accurate self-knowledge is a hallmark of mental health for 2 reasons:
i. People who are healthy, secure, and wise enough to see the world as it is (without need to distort anything) will tend to see themselves more
ii. A person with accurate self-knowledge is in a better position to make good decisions on important issues ranging from what occupation to pursue, to whom to marry
1. To choose right things like this requires accurate knowledge of your
own interests and abilities
c. RAM model: Realistic Accuracy Model—a four stage process used to gain accurate knowledge of anyone’s personality:
i. Person must do something relevant to the trait being judged
ii. The information must be available to judge
iii. The judge must detect this information
iv. The judge must utilize the information correctly
5. Do you know yourself better than your close acquaintances know you? a. Research indicates that we have better insight into our personal emotional experience than anyone else does
b. But in a study that obtained personality judgments from both participants and their close friends, the friends’ judgments more accurately predicted the behavior than did the self-judgments in nearly every comparison
6. What’s the point of the stories about the heroes?
a. Only observers see these people as heroes; the heroes themselves think “they didn’t do anything that anyone else wouldn’t do”
i. It’s the people on the outside that see the heroic stuff—its all in the
ii. As more time passes, we are likely to realize the significance of our behavior 7. Using the RAM model, how can you learn more about yourself?
a. Can use introspection from RAM to learn more about ourselves
i. Introspection would be included during the 4th stage
ii. The utilization stage emphasizes the importance of accurate memory for and honest evaluation of your behavior
b. Seeking to be “mindful”—to think about yourself nonevaluatively and to pay close attention to current experience—can also be helpful
c. The second and third stages refer to the information you may be able to get from other people about yourself
8. What is the procedural self? How do we acquire this knowledge about ourselves, and how can we change it? (And by the way, do you find yourself falling into “the same old well rehearsed childhood routine” when you go home? Funder talks about this on page 604. What have you done, if anything, to “oppose old patterns?”)
a. The procedural self typically takes the form of procedural knowledge
i. Procedural knowledge: consists of ways of doing things—or procedures— which is why it is also called “knowing how”
ii. You are not conscious of the knowledge itself and generally cannot, if asked, explain it to anyone else very well
1. You learn these skills by doing them and sometimes by watching them
(98% of the time)
b. Classic example: bike riding
9. What is your opinion about the idea of multiple selves? (Recall how this relates to culture.) Do you have a sense of your “really real self?”
a. The particular subset of selves that is active in working memory has conscious and unconscious effects on behavior at any giving moment, depending on where you are and you you’re with
i. Your experience of yourself may shift from moment to moment
b. The “really real self” is the inner hidden, and unchanging observer, perhaps even the “soul” and the basis of free will
1. How long have people been talking about personality disorders? Diagnosing them? What’s the DSM-5 debate about, regarding personality disorders?
a. In the early 1800s, psychiatrist introduced term that meant “madness without distortion of reality” and since psychiatrists have been trying to treat people with unusual personalities that got them into trouble
b. The DSM 5 debate was that old clinicians had grown comfortable with a long0established standard list of disorders; the researchers insisting on a
classification system based on empirical data rather than clinical experience
2. Describe personality disorders in general, to someone who doesn’t know what they are. Do people who have them suffer? Do they always involve social problems? Are symptoms of PDs stable? Do people who have them know they have a problem?
a. Two defining features of PDs:
i. A person exhibits an unusually extreme degree of one or more attributes of personality
ii. The associated extreme behavioral pattern causes major problems for the person or for others
b. 3 other characteristics of PDs:
i. PDs are social; they manifest in interactions with other people
ii. They are (by the usual definition) stable—usually become visible in
adolescence or even childhood and persist throughout life
iii. Personality disorders can be ego-syntonic, which means the people who have them do not think anything is wrong
3. How do you think schizotypal PD and schizophrenia might be distinguished? a. Schizotypal: wears odd and unkempt clothing, espouse unique ideologies, experience discomfort in relating to other people, have particular difficulty in close relationships i. When these patterns become extreme, they may be characterized as having schizotypal personality disorder
ii. If it gets too extreme, it approaches schizophrenia—which is distinguished by its hallucinations
4. Which disorder did Henry Murray describe in Hitler?
a. He describes Hitler as a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder 5. How is antisocial PD different than psychopathy?
a. Antisocial personality disorder: when deceit and manipulation become core aspects of an individual’s way of dealing with the world
i. Vandalism, harassment, theft, and a wide variety of illegal activities
b. Psychopaths are emotionally cold, they disregard social norms, and they are manipulative and often cunning
i. Most psychopaths meet the criteria for Antisocial PD, but the reverse is not true
6. Describe borderline PD. Why is self-harm, including cutting, common in this disorder? What is splitting?
a. Some are less consistent than usual people, and have thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are in flux and unpredictable even to them
i. On the “borderline” of severe psychopathology
ii. It’s hallmark is emotional instability
b. The reasons for self-harm are unclear; possibilities include:
i. Feeling guilty and are punishing themselves
ii. They are so emotionally disconnected that they must hurt themselves to feel alive
iii. They have “emotional cascades” which are “vicious cycles of intense rumination and negative affect” that lead to extreme suffering (p. 626)
c. Splitting: the tendency to view other people as either all good or all bad 7. How is OCPD different than simple conscientiousness? How does it differ from obsessive compulsive disorder?
a. People with OCPD are bound by rituals and rules, may become “workaholics” who work for work’s sake, rather than to get anything done, and are often miserly and stubborn
b. OCD is a severe anxiety disorder characterized by compulsive behaviors i. OCPD is different because it generally does not include such specific
compulsions, but it can be more far=reaching because it may affect all areas of a person’s life
8. Explain “the Bad Five.”
a. Organizes personality disorders in terms of 5 major domains of traits that are more than reminiscent of the Big Five:
i. Negative affectivity: a tendency to feel negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, and suspicion
ii. Detachment: a tendency to withdraw from and to avoid emotional contacts with other people
iii. Antagonism: including deceitfulness, grandiosity, callousness, and
manipulativeness; includes some hallmarks of narcissism
iv. Disinhibition: characterized by carelessness and impulsive behavior (the opposite of this trait, compulsivity, involves a rigid overcontrol and
perfectionism that can be almost equally maladaptive)
v. Psychoticism: a tendency to have bizarre thoughts or experiences, and to exhibit eccentric behavior
9. Do you agree that labels are “absolutely necessary?” (page 635) Describe the debate. a. Labels can be useful if someone demonstrates one or more of the characteristics of a personality disorder
b. Funder says there is simply no escaping labels
i. When a psychiatrist records impressions of a patient, they must write something, so the more precise the labels, the better
10. Who would probably know better how long you will live, you or your friends? a. Your friends will know how long you will live, to some extent
b. The friends’ ratings predicted longevity better than self-ratings did
11. How might personality and physical health be related?
a. Personality traits have been related to cortisol levels, indicators of immune function, and vagal tone (parasympathetic nervous system)
b. The connections between these traits and actual health outcomes are less clear c. 2 pathways between personality and health:
i. Biological: a personality trait may predispose an individual to certain physical reactions that have short or long-term consequences
ii. Behavioral: a personality trait may predispose an individual to certain behaviors that have health consequences
1. Ex. Conscientious person may avoid smoking or driving dangerously???? may live longer because of these behaviors
12. Why did research on the Type A personality “drop off precipitously?” And why did the tobacco industry try to keep the Type A personality type alive?
a. There is little evidence that a behavioral style aimed at striving to achieve is associated with health risk; the reverse is seen to be true
b. Studies didn’t seem to be holding that Type A and heart disease were very strongly related by the 1990s
c. Tobacco Industry considered it a crown jewel of their efforts to convince people that smoking isn’t bad for you
13. Funder summarizes the research by saying, “Overall, the relationship between emotionality and health is complicated.” Explain.
a. Some aspects of negative emotion probably just exacerbate feelings that are bad already; other aspects can serve as a warning that motivates a person to change her behavior or avoid risks
b. Claims that a better attitude can improve health are false and sometimes dangerous, because they sometimes come close to blaming victims of disease for their fate; they would be happier if they simply cheered up
c. The extent that positive emotions have an effect on health is unknown, and the pathways between emotions and health remain open for exploration
14. What’s the relationship between conscientiousness and personality?
a. Conscientiousness is good for you
b. People low in that trait exhibited low persistence, poor self-control, and a lack of long-term planning to do things to protect their health
15. What do you think of the list of indicators of six indicators of health? Would you add anything?
a. The 6 indicators are:
i. Having the ability to do the things one wants to do
ii. Feeling good
iii. Having supportive social relationships and being able to support others iv. Being productive and getting things done
v. Having good memory capacity and being able to make good decisions
vi. Staying alive
1. A point Funder has been making throughout the text is that each approach answers a different question about personality. Which question has been most interesting to you? 2. Look at the topic headings in the Epilogue, and see if you can predict what the summary statements are. You’ve learned a lot this semester!