Study Questions for the Textbook: Unit 3 Gingerich PSY325 Spring 2016
Hilighted= key terms Hilighted= pay attention to Hilighted= important people
1. What happened when Penfield stimulated the substantia nigra of a 65-year-old woman? • Surgeons unexpectedly discovered that stimulating this area of the brain could produce symptoms of depression
• Shortly after stimulation, the woman leaned over, began crying, reported not having purpose to live any longer.
o Less than 90 seconds after the electrodes were removed, her depression went away, and within 5 minutes she was happy and cheerful again
2. Distinguish between EEG, MEG, PET, and fMRI. How would brain researchers use them to learn about personality? What are some of the difficulties in interpreting emotional responses indicated by these techniques? Also, what does TMS do?
a. EEG: electroencephalography: electrodes are placed on the scalp to pick up electrical signals that are generated when the brain is active underneath electrodes
b. MEG: magnetoencephalography: uses delicate sensors to detect magnetic (as opposed to electrical with EEG) indications of brain activity
i. Both EEG and MEG are useful for determining when the brain is active, but not specific to just where in the brain the activity is concentrated
c. PET: positron emission tomography (PET): creates a map of brain activity by following the location of a radioactive tracer injected into the blood stream We also discuss several other topics like bimodal stem and leaf plot
i. Harder the brain works = more blood pumping through, so researchers can learn where the brain is most active during certain activities
d. fMRI: functional magnetic resonance imaging: monitors magnetic pulses generated by oxygen in the blood to map where the brain is most active at a given moment e. No one of these methods is the best, and each serves a unique purpose
f. TMS= transcranial magnetic stimulation; uses rapidly changing magnetic fields to temporarily turn off areas of brain activity
i. This allows researchers to create a virtual lesion to see what areas of the brain are necessary for a psychological task If you want to learn more check out a formal, written plan for children from birth through age two is an:
3. Does the amygdala only play a part in negative emotion?
a. No, the function of the amygdala is also related to positive emotions, such as social attraction and sexual responsiveness We also discuss several other topics like cdstep marketing
i. It also effects reactions to pleasurable stimuli such as photographs of happy scenes and pleasant tastes
ii. After the brain assesses a situation, the amygdala may respond by making heart beat faster, raising blood pressure, and releasing cortisol and
4. Personality psychologists are quite interested in the activity of the amygdala as well as the insula and anterior cingulate. Explain.
a. The function of the amygdala helps to explain the wide variety of personality traits that appear relevant to these 3 structures
i. These relevant traits include chronic anxiety, fearfulness, sociability, and sexuality—which all relate to whether or not people are seen as attractive or threatening
b. The importance of the amygdala was illustrated in the case of Charles Whitman, who shot his wife, his mother, and then many others from the top of a building i. He had a tumor in the basal ganglia next to the amygdala
5. How do the stories of Charles Whitman, Phinneas Gage, and Elliott (and later in the chapter, Rosemary Kennedy) show the connection between brain anatomy and personality?
a. An important lesson from all of these cases is that emotion and cognition are intimately intertwined, and when they become detached, consequences can be severe
6. Describe Capgras syndrome.
a. Capgras syndrome: person suffers a severe injury to the right frontal lobe, which affects emotional response greatly
i. When these patients recognize a loved one, they fail to feel any emotional response to this recognition (usually believe their loved ones have been If you want to learn more check out ∙ Where does the cell project to?
replaced by imposters)
7. What is meant by “the neural context effect?”
a. The activities of the brain in individual areas may not bean very much in the absence of knowledge about what other areas of the brain are doing at the same time i. The effect of context is important to keep in mind; without it, brain science is in danger of devolving into a simplistic attempt to mat traits and behaviors onto specific locations in the brain (p. 279).
8. How might the experiences one has early in life relate to dopamine and extroversion? a. Dopamine works in combination with the nucleus accumbens to form the Behavioral activation system (BAS), which produces and reinforces the motivation to seek rewards
b. People who have had an abundance of rewarding experiences in early life may develop much more cells, causing the dopaminergic part of nervous system to be well developed and active
i. As a result, they will seek out more rewards and are capable of enjoying them strongly
ii. They also become more assertive, dominant, and outgoing (extraverts) 9. In Big Five terms, what personality changes might occur when someone takes an SSRI like Prozac?
a. SSRI= selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
b. People become more extraverted and obtained lower scores on a neuroticism test i. Report feeling happier and less hostile We also discuss several other topics like carries visual information from the retina to the brain
c. These can be classified as “antineurotics” rather than antidepressants 10. How did Shelley Taylor think men and women might respond differently to threat? a. During prehistoric era: men had a choice to stand and fight, or run away, whereas a woman was maternal, and the option to either fight or run away might put her and her children at an unacceptable risk.
i. It made more sense for a woman to calm everyone down and band people together to fend off the threat—also called the tend-and-befriend
b. Oxytocin: released in stress response and in females, promotes nurturant and sociable behavior along with relaxation and reduction of fear (the opposite of fight or flight)
11. Which hormone plays a role in sexuality, aggressiveness, and dominance? Which one is called the “love hormone” and associated with mother-child bonding and lowering of anxiety? Which one, in high excess, might lead to chronic anxiety and even brain damage? a. Testosterone= aggression, sex, dominance
b. Oxytocin= the love hormone, mother-child bonding, romantic attachment, and sexual response
c. Excess cortisol production in infants can lead to developing social phobias i. In adults, response to stress releases cortisol, and this excess produced by too much fear and anxiety increases risk of heart disease and may (over time)
even make one’s brain smaller
12. Are some of the neurotransmitters and hormones in this chapter associated with Big Five traits? See Table 8.1. We also discuss several other topics like family eex
a. Yes, hormones and neurotransmitters are associated with BFI traits.
b. High Cortisol= low in narcissism
c. High oxytocin= more extraverted (less fearful of strangers)
1. What is a heritability coefficient? What are the approximate heritability coefficients of the Big Five traits? Check out Table 9.2 for heritabilities of more psychological traits. Which psychiatric illnesses have the highest and lowest heritability coefficients?
a. Heritability coefficient: the degree to which variation in behavior is due to genetic (think of it as a percentage)
b. Schizophrenia has the highest coefficient of .80
c. Phobias have the lowes from .20-.40
i. But the lowest not a range is generalized anxiety disorder of .30
2. Do shared family environments have an influence on personality?
a. A major meta-analysis done showd that the shared family environment was important in the development of many psychopathology between childhood and adolescence, including:
i. Conduct disorder, rebelliousness, anxiety, depression (p. 308)
3. Explain the statement on page 310 that divorce is heritable, in relation to personality. a. If one or more of your close relatives have been divorced, you are more likely to get divorced than if none of your relatives have been divorced—even if you’ve never met them
b. These results imply that one or more genetically influenced traits are relevant to divorce
i. We don’t know which traits these are or how they interact to influence
4. Do single genes lead to personality traits?
a. Example: the 5-HTT gene is associated with serotonin transporter protein i. Has 2 alleles: short and long
ii. People with short allele score higher on measures of neuroticism, is relevant to anxiety and overreaction to stress
1. Their amygdala also shows stronger responses
iii. The gene also appears to regulate the degree to which the amygdala and prefrontal cortex work together, which may offer a clue to the brain structure of depression
5. Explain how a better intellectual environment for everyone would lead to higher heritability coefficients for IQ. Are heritabilities for IQ different in higher and lower SES groups?
a. In an environment where intellectual stimulation vary a lot between children, IQ will vary too and is more in control of the environment
b. Children who are stimulated and educated will grow up to have an IQ near the maximum of their genetic potential
c. Children who aren’t stimulated will grow up to have a lower IQ, and heritability of an IQ will be low (heritability close to 0).
d. Children in low SES families: variance in IQ was accounted for by their environments e. Children in high SES: variance in IQ was due to genes
6. In Caspi’s studies, certain genes interacted with stress and abuse. Give a general explanation, and discuss the issue of replication.
a. Results: maltreated boys who had the allele of a gene that influenced functioning of stress neurotransmitters and low MAOA (the gene) activity showed that 85% demonstrated some form of antisocial behavior
i. These findings were replicated found that 15% of boys with adverse
backgrounds and the high MAOA gene developed antisocial behaviors,
whereas 35% of boys with adverse backgrounds and the low-activity form of the gene had this outcome
ii. In conclusion: the low-MAOA gene more than doubled the risk of developing antisocial behaviors, but only if the child had suffered maltreatment (p. 316). 7. How would you answer the author’s question: “Where does neuroticism come from?” a. Neuroticism is a result of many complex transactions
i. A person may have a biological vulnerability to stress that is generally influenced, probably by different genes
ii. May also have psychological vulnerability caused by environmental factors b. These 2 influences can combine to produce a general inability to handle stress well, which is the definition of neuroticism (essentially)
8. Congrats on being “the latest in a long, unbroken chain of winners!” Speaking of evolutionary psychology, why would self-esteem be important to survival? Depression? a. According to the sociometer theory, feelings of self-esteem evolved to monitor the degree to which a person is accepted by others
i. Humans are highly social, and the worst potential thing is to be shunned by the community
ii. If we aren’t accepted, self esteem decreases, and we are motivated to do better
iii. People who didn’t better themselves failed to survive and reproduce b. Depression promotes social reactions (crying, heartbreak, etc.) or failure reactions (fatigue, shame, guilt), all of which promote survival
i. The pain of failure or when something has gone wrong, signals that chances for reproducing or even surviving may be at risk
9. The author states that some men are characterized by “the Dark Triad” of traits. Explain how those traits might relate to evolutionary theory.
a. The Dark Triad: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism
b. A male may succeed in having the greatest reproductive success by having as many children by as many women as possible (just pass on their genes in numbers is the goal)
c. Men are prone to certain kinds of wishful thinking in which they are quick to conclude that women are sexually interested in them
10. What do we know about men who score higher and lower in sociosexuality? a. Both men and women who score high on this trait are especially interested in the physical attractiveness and social visibility of potential personality
b. Men higher in sociosexuality also are more likely to engage “conspicuous consumption”—buying and displaying expensive objects to try and attract women for short-term encounters
c. Men lower in sociosexuality were chosen less as a partner by women than the men who are higher in this trait
11. What do you think of the “sexy son” hypothesis? (See the top of page 334, too.) a. A few women take their chances by mating with an unstable but attractive male (as opposed to a stable but unattractive one).
b. The theory: if they produce a boy, and the father leaves, the son will be just like his dad
i. When the son grows up, he will spread numerous “sexy” children (including the mother’s genes) in the same irresponsible, albeit effective manner as his father
c. However, this theory conveniently leaves out the fact that women consistently seek stable mates, and the empirical fact that some women do the opposite (p. 334) i. So, the sexy son hypothesis is a bit too convenient (p. 334)
12. What’s the relationship between evolutionary psychology and individual differences? a. The basic mechanism of evolution requires individual differences
b. Species change only through the selective propagation of the genes of the most successful individuals in earlier generations, which can’t happen if everyone is the same
13. How might the traits of people with slow life-histories differ from those with fast life histories?
a. Slow-life history= reproducing slowly with no fear of dying quickly (most humans)
b. Fast-life history= reproducing multiple times at young age but does not devote many resources to protecting the offspring; typically die young so that’s why they do this (ex. Rabbits)
c. Safe, predictable environments promote slow-LH individuals who marry late, have few children, and put lots of resources into protecting them
i. Behaviors: considerate, kind, hard-working, and reliable
ii. Also socially awkward, insecure, and overcontrolling
d. Dangerous environments lead to fast-LH lifestyles, who have children young but often abandon them without raising them
i. Behaviors: hostile, manipulative, and impulsive
ii. But also talkative, socially skilled, dominant, and charming
e. Neither LH strategy is “better”—there are trade offs to both
14. What do you think about the “stress tests” of the evolutionary perspective (5)? a. Methodology: speculating backwards; i.e., what circumstances in the past might have produced a behavioral pattern we see today
i. Evolutionary psychologists are ready to put these theories to empirical test if possible
b. Reproductive Instinct: evolutionary psychology assumes that everyone wants as many children as possible
i. Why, then, do we use contraception?
ii. For the theory to be correct, it is not necessary for people to consciously do what the theory says their behaviors are designed to do
1. All that is required is for people in the past to have followed a certain behavioral pattern to have produced more people of the present
generation than did those who did not follow that pattern
c. Conservative Bias: evolutionary theory implies that the current behavioral order was not only inevitable but also probably unchangeable and appropriate
i. People have an issue with this (example: child abuse and rape= reprehensible) ii. Evolutionary response: these concerns are not scientifically relevant;
scientists don’t assume that what is natural is good
d. Human flexibility: Evolutionary ideas describe specific behavior that is genetically programmed, whereas psychology teaches us that humans are flexible with a minimum of instinctive behavior patterns compared to other species
e. Biological Determinism or Social Structure? People evolve to be flexible closely relates to evolutionary approach
i. Many behavioral phenomena may be the result of not evolutionary history, but of humans responding to changing circumstances, especially social
structure (p. 337)
15. Describe personality using the analogy of Baby Rockefeller’s wealth. a. Inheritance of genes is one thing; what one’s inhabitation in the world and its influence on them does for their personality can change everything in terms of personality development
i. Just like inheriting money
16. How does Funder answer the question he poses at the end of the chapter: “Will biology replace psychology?”
a. Nope! It probably won’t, even in the distant future. Biological approaches to personality tell us more about biology than about psychology (p. 341).
1. What are the main ideas that make up psychoanalysis?
a. Psychic Determinism and the unconscious
i. Psychic determinism: nothing you do is random; everything that you do is determined by your subconscious
b. Internal Structures of the mind (id, ego, superego)
c. Mental energy toward life (libido) and death (thanatos)
d. Psychosexual stages of life (where the energy is directed toward) and fixations e. Parapraxes (Freudian Slips)
f. Anxiety, and defenses
i. Review defense mechanisms on page 378
2. On page 359, Funder says we should keep our analyses of others to ourselves. Do you agree?
a. Funder argues that we should do this because if we are wrong, it will make them mad. If we are right, if will make them even madder.
b. This is a good point; however, he may be speaking from experience with the first date he didn’t know very well. I believe when we know someone well enough (ex: a best friend or partner), we can offer these to them, and if they take it the wrong way it most likely won’t ruin the relationship you have built. And, if you’re right, they may be happy to have learned something you observed.
3. Explain the doctrine of opposites as it relates to Freudian theory.
a. The doctrine of opposites states that everything implies, even requires, its opposite (p. 360)
i. Life requires death, happiness requires sadness, and so forth
1. One cannot exist without the other
ii. Freudian theory is like this in the juxtaposition of the life drive (libido) with the death drive (thanatos)
4. What are the three aspects of each of Freud’s psychosexual stages of development? a. Oral: birth to 18 mos
i. Psychological theme: Dependence, passivity
ii. Adult character: dependent or overly independent
b. Anal: 18 mos- 3 1/2 years
i. Psychological theme: obedience and self-control
ii. Adult character: obedient, obsessed with order, or anti-authority and chaotic c. Phallic: 3.5 years- 7 yrs
i. Psychological theme: gender identity and sexuality
ii. Adult: over- or under-sexualized
d. Latency: 7 yrs to puberty
i. Psychological theme: learning and cognitive development
ii. Adult: N/A
e. Kids should be learning how to operate in the world during this stage
i. Psychic energy directed toward learning
ii. Genital: puberty through adulthood
iii. Psychological theme: creation and enhancement of life
iv. Adult character: a mature adult (seldom achieved)
5. Describe the “oral character” and how the person got to be that way. In what ways was Freud “on to something,” even supported by modern research, with regard to his oral stage? How do we know if someone has had an appropriate resolution to the oral stage? a. The psychological theme of the oral stage is dependency
b. If the baby’s needs aren’t fulfilled during this stage: baby isn’t fed when hungry, covered when cold, or comforted when upset, the baby may develop a basic mistrust of other people and never be able to adequately deal with dependency relationships
c. A second potential issue is that the baby’s needs were met too quickly and automatically that the idea of the world responding differently never occurs to that person—thus, the increasing demands of life come as a shock
i. This person may want to be back at the oral stage, where all that was
necessary was to want something and it immediately appeared
6. Describe the “anal character” and how the person got to be that way. Once again: Is there modern research to support Freud’s basic point? What pattern of behavior would you expect from someone who was not fixated at this stage?
a. Two things may go wrong in this stage to create the “anal” person:
i. Unreasonable expectations can be traumatic—demands from the parents that kids can’t meet can cause long-lasting psychological trauma
ii. Never demanding that the child control their urges (bowel movements) can be equally problematic
b. A child will never work the stage through sufficiently if the environment is too harsh or too lenient
c. These mishaps produce the anal character as an adult, whose personality is organized around control issues
7. Describe the Oedipal crisis, and the “phallic character.”
a. Oedipal crisis: young boys fall physically and emotionally in love with their mothers, and because of this they fear their father’s jealousy
i. Their specific fear is that their fathers will castrate them in retaliation
b. A phallic character has developed a completely rigid moral code, one that brooks no shades of gray and no exceptions
i. Also possible to lack a moral code altogether (i.e., the opposite of the
8. Describe the last two developmental stages, and Freud’s idea of maturity. a. Latency stage: psychological theme is learning and development
b. Genital stage: very different from all other stages; not something individuals pass through, but something they must attain
i. After physical puberty, a person develops a mature attitude about sexuality (however, some simply don’t mature in this way)
ii. Genital refers not only to the physical organ, but also the process of
reproduction and giving life
9. What type of thinking occurs (according to Freud) when someone is mumbling in a state of delirium?
10. When someone asks you to talk about a movie you saw last night, your ability to remember and answer involves which of the three levels of Freud’s consciousness? a. You are using the preconscious level to recall this, which consists of ideas that you are not currently thinking about, but that you can bring into consciousness easily 11. In Freudian theory, why do people “forget?” What causes slips? What is happening when someone denies that their forgetting or slips mean something?
a. Slips occur as unintended actions causes by the leakage of suppressed thoughts or impulses
b. The more loud and more vehement their denial is, the more a Freudian will suspect a powerful and important impulse behind the slip
12. Can you distinguish between the defense mechanisms?
a. Check pg. 378
13. Which of the criticisms do you think is the most significant?
a. The untestability of Freud’s theories is a very important criticism, because it’s true that it’s unethical and cannot be distinguished as scientific when looking to test things empirically
1. What was the gist of Adler’s theory? How do people compensate for feelings of inferiority? And what modern terms were Adler’s contributions?
a. Inferiority and Compensation by Adler
i. Adler was the first major neo-Freudian to end up at odds with Freud
b. Adler believed that people attain equality with or superiority over others to compensate for whatever they felt in childhood was their weakest aspect (known as organ inferiority)
c. Today’s ideas from Adler: needs for power, love, and achievement all have roots in early experience
i. Two familiar terms with roots in his ideas are: inferiority complex and lifestyle 2. What ideas did Jung and Horney contribute?
a. Carl Jung is best known for his idea of the collective unconscious
b. He also believed that all people shared inborn human memories and ideas, most of which reside in the unconscious, which are called archetypes
i. Archetypes go to the core of how people think about the world, consciously and unconsciously
c. Another Jung idea is the persona: the social mask one wears in public
i. To some extent, everyone’s persona is fake, because everyone keeps some aspects of their real selves private (or at least fails to advertise all aspects of the self equally)
d. Horney never feuded with the master (Freud)
i. She wrote about self-analysis, and how it can help people through
psychological difficulties when professional psychoanalysis was impractical or unavailable
e. Horney disagreed with Freud on the idea of women being obsessed by “penis envy” and the desire to be male
i. She argues that women envy men because of their status and ability to be freer than women, to pursue their own interests and ambitions (think of Horney’s generation—women couldn’t yet vote)
3. Tell someone about Erikson’s stages.
a. Understand Erickson’s psychosocial stages (p. 400) vs. Freud’s psychosexual stages (general differences, don’t need to know every stage of Erickson’s)
4. What does object relations theory posit as the primary cause of interpersonal problems? What are its main themes?
a. Object Relations Theory by Klein and Winnicott
b. The primary idea of the theory is that we can only relate to other people via the images of them we hold in our minds, and these images do not always match reality i. Mismatch between the two causes problems
c. Relationships always come with a mix of love and resentment (example: you love your family, but there are always things that make you resent them at times) 5. In object relations theory, what is meant by “splitting?” And why do people idealize parents or loved ones?
a. Splitting refers to dividing your important love objects into two parts, one good and one bad
i. The good part pleases the person
ii. The bad part frustrates them
iii. Children want to destroy the bad part because they fear being destroyed by it 6. What is the niffle? What is its purpose?
a. Term derived by pediatrician Winnicott after a patient who was hospitalized and couldn’t sleep without his “niffle”—a piece of cloth to which he developed an emotional attachment (p. 404)
i. When his niffle was lost, he was hostile, stubborn, and annoying to the point where his parents brought him to Winnicott for therapy
b. Winnicott thus named the transitional object, which the child uses to bridge the gap between private fantasy and reality
7. Which of Winnecott’s concepts reminds you of Jung’s “persona?”
a. The notion of the “false self”—which children (and later adults) learn to put on to please other people
8. Does modern research support psychoanalytic hypotheses? Give some examples. a. Yes, a few brave psychologists are pursuing research relevant to psychoanalysis, and more doing so without realization of the connection to neo-Freudian ideas b. Examples: unconscious mental processes; self-defensive thought and self-deception; sexual or aggressive wishes as they influence thought, feeling, and behavior 9. Describe attachment theory, including Bowby’s idea about how we evolved to attach to caregivers, and the lessons we learn from our early attachments. Next, describe
Ainsworth’s categories of attachment, and how these relate to personalities. Finally, how have modern researchers modified her classification system?
a. Attachment Theory: focuses on patterns of relationships with others that are consistently repeated with different patterns throughout life (p. 409).
b. Bowlby: the basis of love is attachment
i. He hypothesized that, during evolution, humans evolved a strong fear of being alone, especially in unusual, dark, or dangerous places
c. Mary Ainsworth: invented the experimental procedure called the strange situation, in which the child is briefly separated from (and then reunited with) his mother i. The child’s reactions to being reunited with mom will demonstrate their attachment styles (secure vs. anxious/ambivalent)
ii. These will lead to later adult personalities as the developing attachment style affects outcomes through life
d. Modern researchers modified attachment research: they have moved on to a two dimensional model on which people vary according to their degree of anxiety about relationships, and their avoidance of relationships
i. Only a person low in both categories would be considered securely attached 10. Read Westen’s “five neo-Freudian propositions that have been firmly established” on page 415. Do you agree?
a. Check out page 415 (consider your opinion)