Intro to Psychology, Study Guide 2
Intro to Psychology, Study Guide 2 PSY 0001
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This 18 page Study Guide was uploaded by Elise Gan on Wednesday March 23, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PSY 0001 at Tufts University taught by Lisa Shin, Samuel Sommers, Heather Urry in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 85 views. For similar materials see Intro to Psychology in Psychlogy at Tufts University.
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Date Created: 03/23/16
Elise Gan March 24, 2016 Seemingly important vocabulary Emphasized in readings and class Intro to Psychology Study Guide, Test #2 Chapter 7: Memory 7.1 What is Memory? • memory = nervous system’s capacity to retain and retrieve skills and knowledge • memory processes information o encoding = occurs at time of learning; processing of info so that it can be stored o storage = retention of the encoded representations over time o consolidation = neural connections that support memory become stronger; encoded information stored in memory; o retrieval = the act of remembering information when needed • memory is the result of brain activity o long-term potentiation (LTP) = strengthening of synaptic connection; makes post-synaptic neurons more easily activated by pre-synaptic neurons § shows how neural plasticity may underlie memory § requires NMDA receptor (glutamate receptor) • opens when nearby neuron fires o medial temporal lobes responsible for formation of new memories o storage of memories in particular brain regions engaged during perception, processing, and analysis o reconsolidation = neural processes involved when memories are recalled then stored again § memories can be changed over time § when reconsolidated memories may differ from original 7.2 How are Memories Maintained over Time? • sensory memory = memory system that briefly stores sensory information o lasts only for a fraction of a second o visual sensory memory – iconic memory o auditory sensory memory – echoic memory o enable us to see world as a continuous stream • short-term memory = memory storage system that briefly holds a limited amount of information in awareness • working memory = active processing system that keeps different types of information available for current use o information remains for 20-30 seconds; disappears unless prevented o update working memory with retrieval, transformation and substitution § ex: retrieve number, transform (change) it, keep new number in memory o memory span – capacity of working memory o chunking = organizing information into meaningful units to make easier to remember in working memory • long-term memory = relatively permanent storage of information o separate system from working memory o serial position effect = idea that ability to remember items from a list depends on the order of presentation; two parts § primacy effect – better memory for items at the start of a list § recency effect – better memory for items at the end of a list o memories strengthened with retrieval 7.3 How is Information Organized in Long-Term Memory? • long-term storage is based on meaning o perceptual experiences transformed into representations in brain o levels of processing model – more deeply an item is encoded, the more meaning it has and the better it’s remembered o maintenance rehearsal – repeating the item over and over o elaborative rehearsal – encodes information in more meaningful ways; thinking about item conceptually • schema = cognitive structures that help perceive, organize, process, and use information o help understand events in the world o can bias how information is encoded § many schemas influenced by culture • information is stored in association networks o networks of association – set of theories about memory organization o Allan Collins and Elizabeth Loftus (1975) § item’s features linked as to identify item § each unit of information is a node § each node connected to other nodes § activating one node increases likelihood that associated nodes will become active o spreading activation models – stimuli in working memory activate specific nodes • retrieval cues = anything that helps a person or animal remember information stored in long-term memory o encoding specificity principle = idea that any stimulus encoded along with an experience can later trigger a memory for the experience § context-dependent memory – when the recall situation is similar to the encoding situation § state-dependent memory – memory enhanced when a person’s internal states match during encoding and recall • mnemonics = learning aids, strategies, and devices that improve recall through the use of retrieval cues o method of loci (memory palace) – information associated with sequential locations (familiar rooms/locations) 7.4 What are the Different Long-Term Memory Systems? • implicit memory = system underlying conscious memories o classical conditioning o procedural memory = involves motor skills and other behavioral habits § riding a bike § gets harder when a person thinks about it • explicit memory = system underlying conscious memories o declarative memory = cognitive information retrieved from explicit memory; knowledge that can be declared o episodic memory = memory of a person’s past experiences o semantic memory = knowledge of facts independent of experience § may not remember where learned • prospective memory = remembering to do something at some future time 7.5 When Does Memory Fail? • forgetting is the inability to retrieve memory from long-term storage • methods of savings – relearning is easier than original learning because of savings • amnesia = deficit in long-term memory due to brain injury, disease, etc. o retrograde amnesia = lose past memories (don’t usually lose everything) o anterograde amnesia = lose ability to form new memories • seven sins of memory: transience, blocking, absentmindedness, persistence, misattribution, bias, and suggestibility o transience = memory decay; forgetting over time § proactive interference = old information interferes with the retrieval of new information § retroactive interference = new information interferes with the retrieval of old information o blocking = temporary inability to remember something § tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon – people experience frustration when they try to recall specific words and cannot o absentmindedness = inattentive or shallow encoding of events § major cause is not paying attention o persistence = continual recurrence of unwanted memories § ex: PTSD 7.6 How Are Long-Term Memories Distorted? • memory bias = changing of memories over time so they become consistent with current beliefs/attitudes • flashbulb memories = vivid episodic memories in which people first learn of a surprising and consequential or emotionally arousing event • emotional memory – emotionally arousing events/stimuli are remembered better than non-arousing events • source misattribution = memory distortion; people misremember time, place, etc. involved with a memory • source amnesia = when a person has a memory for an event, but can’t remember where s/he encountered the information • cryptomnesia = a person thinks s/he has come up with a new idea, but really just can’t remember its source • suggestibility = development of biased memories from misleading information o Elizabeth Loftus (1974) § participants asked to estimate speed of cars in an accident • different verbs used to describe crash o “smashed,” “hit,” etc. • one week later, people told that cars “smashed” reported broken glass when there wasn’t any • people have false memories o they can arise even when people are confident about accuracy o often grow out of normal cognitive tendencies and processes • repressed memories are controversial Chapter 9: Human Development 9.1 What Factors Shape Infancy? • each person grows/matures at about same periods in life span o prenatal period – begins with conception and ends with birth o infancy – birth to around 2 years o childhood – end of infancy to somewhere between 11 and 14 o adolescence – end of childhood to to somewhere between 18 and 21 o adulthood – end of adulthood to death • development starts in the womb o zygote – first cell of a new life o embryo – 2 weeks to 2 months; organs begin to form o fetus – after 2 months; heart beats; body continues to form o synaptic pruning = process where synaptic connections in brain that are used are preserved and those that are not used are lost o teratogens = agents that harm the embryo or fetus § fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) • biology and environment influence motor development o newborns born with various reflexes § grasping reflex § rooting reflex – baby turns head and sucks § sucking reflex o dynamic systems theory = view that development is a self-organizing process; new forms of behavior emerge through consistent interactions between a biological being and cultural and environmental contexts • infants are prepared to learn o interact socially through imitation o have good senses (except sight) § parents usually hold babies close to face § test sight using preferential-looking technique o infantile amnesia = inability to remember events from early childhood § people may piece together fake memories from stories they have heard about their childhoods • infants develop attachments o attachment = strong emotional connection that persists over time and circumstance § motivates both parents and infants to stay in close contact § 4 to 6 weeks, most infants smile socially § children cry to compel caregivers to feed/comfort them § parents slip easily into baby talk § occurs across species § animals need emotional bonds and comfort o other animals, like ducks, imprint § Harlow’s monkeys • monkeys sought out furry “monkey” when scared/wanted to be comforted o different attachment styles § Ainsworth’s Strange Situation • caregiver brings infant into room, stranger enters, then caregiver leaves § secure attachment = 60-65% of children • infant plays happily when caregiver is there • infant is distressed when caregiver leaves • infant react positively when caregiver returns • prefers caregiver to stranger § insecure attachment = 35-40% of children • avoidant – 20% o infant does not get upset when caregiver leaves o shows no preference for caregiver/stranger o doesn’t seek comfort upon reunion • ambivalent/anxious – 15% o anxious even when caregiver is present o inconsolable even with reunion o both seeks and resists contact with caregiver § securely attached infants often become: • more socially competent in elementary school • less disruptive/aggressive • more likely to be seen as leaders in adolescence 9.2 How Do Children Learn About the World? • Piaget emphasizes stages of cognitive development o assimilation = new information is placed into existing schema o accommodation = new experience causes us to revise schema o sensorimotor stage = birth to 2 years § month 1, all about reflexes § months 2-4, accidents happen and get repeated § only after 4 months, infants try to manipulate world around § year 2 devoted to trial and error § takes 15-18 months to differentiate self from others § master object permanence at end • realize objects exist out of sight o preoperational stage = 2-7 years § start to show more abstract, sophisticated thought • fantasy play § learn how to use language to describe objects that aren’t in front of them § base judgments on appearance, not logic § perspective still fairly egocentric o concrete operational stage = 7-12 years § development of logical reasoning § realize actions are reversible § still focused on concrete objects they can act on, instead of abstract/hypothetical reasoning o formal operational stage = 12 years and up § abstract thought § can logically deduce and test hypothesis § long-term planning is possible o criticisms: § assumes all children perform similarly when in same stage § assumes kids go through stages in same order § Piaget may have underestimated kids’ cognitive abilities • kids can grasp math and numbers o if more motivation, more accuracy • children learn from interacting with others o theory of mind = ability to understand that other people have mental states that influence their behavior • moral development begins in childhood o moral reasoning depends on cognitive processes o moral emotions enhance moral reasoning § empathy – understanding another person’s emotional state § sympathy – involves feeling for other people o Lawrence Kohlberg’s stage theory § preconventional level = earliest level of moral development; self-interest and event outcomes determine what is moral § conventional level = strict adherence to societal rules and the approval of others determine what is moral § postconventional level = decisions about morality depend on abstract principles and the value of all life o social intuitionist model = idea that moral judgments reflect people’s initial and automatic emotional responses 9.3 What Changes During Adolescence? • puberty = onset of sexual maturity that marks beginning of adolescence o adolescent growth spurt o development of primary sex characteristics o development of secondary sex characteristics o teenagers act on impulses more § limbic system matures faster than frontal cortex • a sense of identity forms o three major changes cause teens to question who they are § transformation of physical appearance § sophistication of cognitive abilities § heightened societal pressure to prepare for future o gender identity = personal beliefs about whether one is male or female o gender roles = characteristics associated with males and females because of cultural influence or learning § impact gender identity § impact gender schemas – how we perceive behaviors § same behaviors often viewed differently for males and females § children bombarded with information about gender roles from a very young age § children pick up on gender expectations as they grow up • peers and parents help shape the adolescent self o compare strengths and weaknesses to peers o adolescents use peer groups to help feel sense of belonging/acceptance o outside observers place teenagers into cliques o family and peers play complimentary roles in a person’s life 9.4 What Brings Meaning in Adulthood? • adults are affected by life transitions o pursue career goals, make long-term commitments, etc. o middle aged people cannot drink as much alcohol or eat as much unhealthy food o happily married people usually healthier • transition to old age can be satisfying o elderly contribute much to modern society § ex: federal judges, celebrities, etc. o older adults often suffer from dementia § causes thinking, memory, and behavior to deteriorate progressively § Alzheimer’s – minor memory impairments to more serious difficulties such as forgetting daily routines o socioemotional selectivity theory – as people age, they see time as limited and prioritize positive emotions • cognition changes with age o observed deficits among older people § lower working memory capacity § short-term memory decreases more than long-term § recall is harder than recognition § decrease in memory more pronounced for negative than for positive items o through adolescence and adulthood, cognitive abilities increase o even for older people, being in good health and keeping socially active increases cognitive skills o some cognitive tendencies increase with age § wisdom § crystallized intelligence • specific knowledge, reasoning strategies, vocabulary Chapter 10: Emotion and Motivation 10.1 What are Emotions? • emotion = immediate, specific negative or positive response to environmental events or internal thoughts o mood – longer lasting emotional states, can be positive or negative, often “objectless” § can’t usually identify source • emotions vary in valence and arousal o primary emotions = innate, evolutionarily adaptive, and universal § anger, fear, sadness, disgust, happiness, surprise, and contempt o secondary emotions = blends of the primary emotions o circumplex model of emotions – emotions plotted along two continuums: valence (x-axis) and arousal (y-axis) § valence – how negative or positive they are § arousal – generic term for physiological activation • emotions have a physiological component o limbic system involved § amygdala, insula, etc. • three theories of emotion o James-Lange theory of emotion = people perceive specific patterns of bodily responses and as a result feel emotion § facial feedback hypothesis – facial expressions trigger emotions o Cannon-Bard theory = information about emotional stimuli sent simultaneously to the cortex and the body and results in emotional experience and bodily reactions at the same time o Schachter-Singer two-factor theory = label applied to physiological arousal results in the experience of an emotion § people seek source or arousal § whatever person believes cause emotion will determine label 10.2 How are Emotions Adaptive? • emotions serve cognitive functions o people anticipate future emotional states to make decision o affect-as-information theory – people use current moods to make judgments and appraisals o somatic markers = bodily reactions that arise from the emotional evaluation of an action’s consequences § gut feeling • facial expressions communicate emotion o people across cultures make very similar facial expressions • display rules = rules learned through socialization that dictate which emotions are suitable in different situations o more appropriate for women to show emotion than men • emotions strengthen interpersonal relations o humans are social animals o guilt strengthens social bonds § shows that people care about their relationships § discourages people from doing things that could affect relationships § can be used to manipulate others § shows knowledge of mistakes 10.3 How are People Motivated? • motivation = process that energizes, guides, and maintains behavior towards a goal • drives motivate the satisfaction of needs o need = state of deficiency; biological or social o Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs § need hierarchy = arrangement of needs; basic survival needs must be met before people can satisfy higher needs • physiological, safety, belonging/love, esteem, self- actualization • self-actualization = pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy; when one’s personal dreams and aspirations have been attained o drive = psychological state that motivates an organism to satisfy a need by creating arousal o homeostasis = tendency for bodily functions to maintain equilibrium o Yerkes-Dodson law = psychological principle that performance on challenging tasks increases with arousal up to a moderate level § after that, arousal impairs performance § when graphed, looks like a semi-circle • people are motivated by incentives o incentives = external objects/goals that motivate behaviors o extrinsic motivation = motivation to perform an activity because of the external goals toward which that activity is directed o intrinsic motivation = motivation to perform an activity because of the value/pleasure associated with that activity § may satisfy curiosity o self-determination theory – people are motivated to satisfy needs for competence, related to others, and autonomy § sense of personal control § extrinsic rewards may reduce intrinsic value o self-perception theory – people seldom aware of their specific motives o Freud, pleasure principle – people seek pleasure and avoid pain § approach motivations – seek out stimuli associated with pleasure § avoidance motivation – avoid negative outcomes • people set goals to achieve o self regulation – people change behavior to reach personal goals o self-efficacy – expectation that your efforts will lead to success o achievement motive – desire to do well relative to standards o delayed gratification – postponing immediate gratification in pursuit of long term goals • people have a need to belong o need to belong theory = theory that need for interpersonal attachments is a fundamental motive; evolved for adaptive purposes o humans more successful in groups 10.4 What Motivates Eating? • many physiological factors influence eating o when ventromedial region of hypothalamus damaged: § hyperphagia – extreme weight gain; overeating o when outer/lateral region of hypothalamus damaged: § aphagia – extreme weight loss o glucostatic theory – bloodstream monitored for glucose levels; animals become hungry when glucose deficient o lipostatic theory – proposes set-point for body fat o hormone leptin involved in fat regulation • eating influenced by time and taste o people eat at certain times because they learned to o sight and smell of tasty foods make people feel hungry § similar to Pavlov o people more inclined to eat when presented with variety of flavors § sensory-specific satiety – decreased reward value of food if eaten over and over • culture plays a role o what people will eat depends on personal experience and cultural beliefs o cuisine – local norms for what to eat and how to prepare it o what parents eat affects what children eat 10.5 What Motivates Sexual Behavior? • biology influences sexual behavior o sex hormones released from gonads o neurotransmitters can affect various aspects of sexual response o hormones on circadian cycle for men § testosterone levels higher in morning o hormones on menstrual cycle for women § approximately ever 28 days o sexual response cycle = four-stage pattern of physiological and psychological responses during sexual activity § excitement – people contemplate/begin engaging in sexual behaviors § plateau – physiological aspects increase; frenzied phase § orgasm – involuntary muscle contractions § resolution – slow return to normal state of arousal; refractory period for men • cultural scripts and rules shape sexual interactions o sexual scripts – cognitive beliefs about how a sexual experience should be enacted § encouraged by media o double standard for number of sexual partners o sexual strategies theory = theory that women and men have evolved distinct mating strategies because they faced different adaptive problems § maximize probability of passing on genes § women tend to be more cautious because more responsibility • people differ in sexual orientations o homosexuality seen as deviant in Western cultures o exposure to hormones in prenatal environment may have effect o hypothalamus may be related to sexual orientation Chapter 11: Health and Well-Being 11.1 What Affects Health? • health psychology = field that integrates research on health and on psychology; psychological principles to promote health and well-being • well-being = positive state that includes striving for optimal health and life satisfaction • biopsychosocial model = health and illness result from a combination of factors: biological, behavioral, and social • different lifestyles contribute to health differences • obesity and maladaptive eating habits have many health consequences o body mass index (BMI) = ratio of body weight to height; used to measure obesitry § doesn’t take into account age, sex, bone structure, or body fat distribution § people with low BMIs but large amounts of abdominal fat are more at risk than people with high BMIs who have fat distributed more evenly o a variety of food can contribute to overeating § can lead to obesity § people also eat more if portions are larger o obesity runs in families o obese people seen as less intelligent, less productive, and less socially adept in Western cultures § obesity seen as luxury in some African cultures o many people try to diet § because of inconsistencies, people will easily regain weight back after restrictive eating o disordered eating § anorexia nervosa = eating disorder; excessive fear of becoming fat; restricting energy intake to stay light • often view selves as fat even when extremely skinny § bulimia nervosa = eating disorder; binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors, like purging § binge-eating disorder = binge eating that causes significant distress • usually engage in binge-eating at least once a week, but do not purge § eating disorders tend to run in families • smoking is leading cause of death o most smokers being in childhood or adolescence § see adults/idols smoking and see it as the adult thing to do § maybe think it will make them tough and cool o second-hand smoke from cigarettes affects people around smokers o electronic cigarettes § obtain nicotine but not as harmful as regular cigarettes § doesn’t cause second-hand smoke o quitting smoking § many people use nicotine replacement or medication • doesn’t usually work that well § many people quit cold turkey • exercise has numerous benefits o if exercise more, more health benefits o enhances growth of new neurons and the production of synaptic connections 11.2 What is Stress? • stress = unpleasant state of arousal when someone perceives that an event threatens our ability to cope effectively • stressor = something in environment that is perceived as threatening or demanding and produces stress o major life stressors - death or threat of death, major life events, o daily hassles – small day-to-day annoyances • coping response = any attempt to avoid, escape from, or minimize a stressor • stress has physiological components o hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis = body system involved in stress responses § hypothalamus à pituitary gland à adrenal glands • releases cortisol • sex differences in how people respond to stressors o fight-or-flight response = physiological preparedness of animals to deal with danger by either fighting or fleeing o end-and-befriend response = females’ tendency to protect and care for their offspring and form social alliances o oxytocin = hormone involved in mothers bonding to newborns • general adaptation syndrome = consistent pattern of responses to stress o three stages § alarm – emergency reaction that prepares body to fight or flee § resistance – body prepares for longer defense from stressor § exhaustion – physiological and immune systems fail 11.3 How Does Stress Affect Health? • over long term stress negatively affects health • stress disrupts immune system o immune system = body’s mechanism for dealing with invading microorganisms § made up of three types of specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes • B cells – produce antibodies • T cells – involved in attacking intruders directly • natural killer cells – kill viruses, attack tumors • stress increases risk of heart disease o increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased epinephrine and norepinephrine, increased ischemia can lead to risk of cardiac events o Type A behavior = pattern of behavior characterized by competitiveness, achievement orientation, aggressiveness, etc. § more likely to have heart disease § hostility most toxic factor, most likely to contract heart disease o Type B behavior = pattern of behavior characterized by noncompetitive, relaxed, accommodating behavior • coping reduces the negative health effects of stress o primary appraisals = part of coping process; involves making decisions about whether a stimulus is stressful, benign, or irrelevant o secondary appraisals = part of coping process; involves evaluating response options and choosing coping behaviors o anticipatory coping happens before the onset of a future stressor o emotion-focused coping = type of coping; people try to prevent having an emotional response to a stressor § ex: avoidance, distancing oneself from outcomes, drinking, etc. o problem-focused coping = type of coping; people take direct steps to conform or minimize a stressor o positive reappraisal – cognitive process; people focus on possible good things in his/her current situation o downward comparisons – comparing oneself to those worse off o creation of positive events – strategy of giving positive meaning to ordinary events o some people stress resistant – capable of adapting to life changes § called hardiness – commitment, challenge, and control o some people more resilient – better able to cope in adversity o broaden-and-build theory – positive emotions prompt people to consider novel solutions to their problems 11.4 Can a Positive Attitude Keep People Healthy? • positive psychology emphasizes well-being o happiness has 3 components: § positive emotion and pleasure § engagement in life § a meaningful life • being positive has health benefits • social support is associated with good health o people with social support experience less stress overall o buffering hypothesis = when others provide emotional support, recipient is better able to cope with stressful events o marriage can be good for health § troubled marriages may increase stress and decrease health o trusting others is associated with better health § hormone oxytocin increases trust § well-being increases with increase in social bonds • spirituality contributes to well-being § people can find meaning and purpose in their lives through faith Chapter 13: Personality 13.1 Where Does Personality Come from? • personality = characteristic thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors that are relatively stable in an individual over time and across circumstance • personality trait = a pattern of thought, emotion, and behavior that’s relatively consistent over time and across situations • biological factors play important role in personality o genes, brain structures, and neurochemistry • personality is rooted in genetics o identical twins are much more similar than fraternal twins o identical twins raised apart are still very similar o children raised together but who were not related were not any more alike than two random people • temperaments are evident in infancy o temperaments = biological tendencies to feel/act in certain ways § broader than personality traits o activity level – overall amount of energy/behavior a person exhibits o emotionality – describes the intensity of emotional reactions o sociability – general tendency to affiliate with others • there are long-term implications of temperaments o socially inhibited children were much more likely to be anxious, depressed, unemployed, etc. o shyness has a biological and social component § one quarter of behaviorally inhibited children are not shy later in childhood • usually when parents are supportive • personality is adaptive o groups whose members have diverse skills have selective advantage over groups whose members have limited skills § ex: may be advantageous to have group members that are adventure seeking and that are cautious 13.2 What Are the Theories of Personality? • psychodynamic theory = development through management of unconscious conflicts, Freudian o conscious level – thoughts people are aware of o preconscious level – content that isn’t currently in awareness, but that could be brought to awareness o unconscious level – material that mind cannot easily retrieve o Freud also proposed a structural model of personality § id = most basic level; submerged in unconscious; operates according to pleasure principle • libido – force that drives pleasure principle § superego = brake of id; largely unconscious; develops in childhood; internalization of parental and societal standards § ego = mediates between id and superego; tries to satisfy id while adhering to superego; operates according to reality principle • defense mechanisms = unconscious mental strategies that the mind uses to protect itself from anxiety o psychosexual stages = developmental stages that correspond to distinct libidinal urges; progression affects personality § oral stage – birth to 18 months; seek pleasure through mouth § anal stage – 2 to 3 years; learn to control bowels § phallic stage – 3 to 5 years; discover pleasure of rubbing genitals, not sexual § latency stage – suppress libidinal urges § genital stage – attain mature attitudes about sexuality and adulthood § people can get fixated at a stage, can have oral, anal-retentive, etc. personalities • personality reflects learning and cognition o behavior function of person’s expectancies and values o internal locus of control –believe people bring about own rewards o external locus of control – believe rewards come from outside forces o personal constructs – personal theories of how world works o cognitive-social theories – personal beliefs, expectancies, and interpretations of social situations shape behavior and personality o cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS) – people’s personalities often fail to predict behaviors across different circumstances o self-regulatory capacities – relative ability to set personal goals, evaluate progress, and adjust behavior • humanistic approaches = personality develops as people strive for personal growth and self-understanding o unconditional positive regard – parents should accept and prize children no matter how they behave • trait approach = focuses on how individuals differ in personality dispositions o perform factor analysis – grouping items according to similarities o traits vary from person to person along a continuum o five-factor theory = idea that personality can be described using five factors: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism § each factor is a higher-order trait and is made of lower-order traits § emerge across cultures and age o biological trait theory – personality traits had two major dimensions § introversion/extraversion • personality rooted in two motivational functions o behavioral approach system (BAS) = brain system involved in the pursuit of incentives or reward o behavioral inhibition system (BIS) = brain system sensitive to punishment; inhibits behavior that might lead to danger or pain 13.3 How Stable is Personality? • people are inconsistent o situationism = theory that behavior is determined more by situations than by personality traits o how much a trait predicts behavior depends on three factors § centrality of trait • central traits more consistent than secondary § aggregation of traits over time • if behaviors are averaged across situations § type of trait being evaluated • behavior is influenced by the interaction of personality and situations o strong situations tend to mask differences in personality § ex: elevators, religious services, etc. o weak situations tend to reveal differences in personality § ex: parks, bars, parties, etc. o interactionists = behavior determined jointly by situations and underlying dispositions • personality traits relatively stable over time o basic tendencies – traits determined largely by biology; very stable o characteristic adaptations – adjustments to situational demands • development and life events alter personality traits o people have more self-control and emotional stability when older o personality changes occur as result of expectations and experiences associated with age-related roles § ex: becoming a spouse, parent, etc. • culture influences personality o Western cultures emphasize independence while Eastern cultures emphasize relations with other people o self-reports often don’t match cultural stereotypes o women and men very similar personality-wise § differences support common stereotypes § sex difference larger in countries that advocate gender equality 13.4 How is Personality Assessed? • personality refers to both unique and common characteristics o idiographic approaches = person-centered approaches to assessing personality; focuses on individual lives; individual is unique § central traits – important for how individuals define selves § secondary traits – less descriptive or not applicable o nomothetic approaches = focus on how common characteristics vary from person to person • researchers use multiple methods to assess personality o unconscious processes, life history data, behavioral data, self-reports o projective measures = personality tests that examine unconscious processes by having people interpret ambiguous stimuli § idea is that people will reveal unconscious parts or personality § Rorschach inkblot test – people shown random inkblots and are asked to describe what they look like § Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – people shown pictures and are asked to tell a story o objective measures = personality tests that relatively directly assess personality through self-report or observer ratings § may target specific traits § can assess many traits § California Q-Sort – people given cards and are asked to sort them into categories; accurate/inaccurate statements about self • observers show accuracy in trait judgments
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