Psychology of Aging Weekly Notes
Psychology of Aging Weekly Notes 22392
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kenedy Ramos on Sunday March 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 22392 at Gonzaga University taught by Dr. Wolfe in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Aging in Psychlogy at Gonzaga University.
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Date Created: 03/20/16
Psychology of Aging Weekly Notes Chapter 8, Personality and Coping Trying to define personality: What is the essential structure of personality? On what basis does this structure initiate action or behavior? Does the structure change over time, and if so in what way? How do we account for the variety of human behavior among different individuals – as well as the similarities? Structural Constructs: what are the basic parts of building blocks? Is the human being like a machine? Is it a collection of unconscious identities? Is it programmed to grow to maximal potential? Motivational Constructs: What initiates behavior? Are there internal conflicts which prevent or interfere with behavior? Are motives purely mental or reducible to a bodily basis? Can unconscious motives direct conscious behavior? Time- Perspective Constructs: Does personality change with age? If so, how and why? Is there continuity to personality across different ages? Are there differences in personality at different ages? Individual Differences Constructs: Can there be varieties of people and cultures and yet commonalities in personality? How can we account for differences in personality? Can these differences be quantified and measured in some way? Psychopathology How does a personality get “sick”? Who decides what is sick and what isn’t? What does “illness” in a personality mean? Defective structure, failure to grow, maladaptive behavior? Is it possible to “fix” these personality problems? Research: Kansas City Studies of Adult Life: Mid 1950s, married middle class couples, aged 40s-90s, study measure was the TAT TAT: person is shown a picture and asked to tell a story about the scene, based on psychoanalytic theory and based on gender/age. Therapist/Researcher looks for themes that can identify unconscious motivations and conflicts, also at ego energy and mastery style Ego Energy: vigorous, passionate, energetic engagement in life versus withdrawal Stories that were rated by examiners as active, full of detail, broad range of feelings, active life involvement were believed to reflect the person’s approach to life Ego Mastery: to what extent was the main character active in problem solving instead of retreating, challenging and confronting difficulties, overcoming obstacles etc. Stories that reflected triumph over adversity were (again) believed to reflect the person’s approach to life Results: Disengagement Theory, ego energy and ego mastery decrease with age therefore the elderly distance emotionally from society and withdraw from the world and this is the normal and correct way to age (theory) Androgyny: with increased age there is a blurring and reversal of typical masculinity and femininity with age (ex/younger people described men as dominant as women as submissive, but older people reversed the roles for the same pictures) These results suggested negative personality with increased age Problems with Methodology: cross sectional study (not truly longitudinal), validity of the TAT, disengagement as normative vs. activity theory, Balte’s selective optimization with compensation theory (some disengagement is important for successful aging) The Berkeley Oakland Study: used Q-sort’s to measure how people saw themselves at certain times in their lives (were given a bunch of cards of specific individual personality traits and then asked to sort out which ones pertained to them the most at that certain point in time in order of what traits were “most like me” vs. “not like me at all”) The nature of the Q-sort is such that people are “compared” to themselves and not to each other – how I rate myself Most likely different constructs, some phases characterized by a lot of change whereas other phases are relatively stable Childhood/Adolescence relatively stable while young adulthood more change The Baltimore Longitudinal Study suggested that personality does not change much but is relatively stable. Hans Eyesenck developed a 2-factor model – neuroticism and introversion/extraversion and in the 1970s the original directors of the study (Robert McCrae and Paul Costa) add a third factor – openness to exthriencethAgreeableness and conscientiousness were later added as 4 and 5 factors. These factors separate normal from non-normals fairly well but doesn’t discriminate types of psychopathology as well. The Big “5”: Neuroticism, tendency toward mental health vs. psychopathology (anxiety, hostility, depression, etc.); Extraversion, outgoing attitudes (warmth, gregarious, assertiveness); Openness to Experience, willingness to take risks, seek out new experiences, try new things; Conscientiousness, how organized, efficient, dependable; Agreeableness, qualities related to love such as empathy, caring, cooperation, friendliness Results: Big 5 Traits, similar scores found at age 35 and age 85 suggesting personality is more stable than not, may “tap” the genetic heritability issue Heritability’s may interact with environment to produce consistencies in personal expectations of the world and quality of interactions Twin studies find consistency in personality factors even when they were raised apart, cumulative consistency – general consequences of having a certain trait tend to reinforce the attribute (e.g. agreeableness), interactional consistency – the social impact of certain traits (e.g. hostility). Among other cultures have similar results as well, this suggests that there are common overall personality structure across cultures and the traits that define the dimensions.
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