Chapter 7: Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality Flashcards Preview

🎭 PSY230H1F: Personality and Its Transformations (2016) with D. Dolderman > Chapter 7: Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 7: Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality Deck (52)
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What is:

Gestalt psychology

7.1.1 Roots in Gestalt Psychology

The central tenets of this theory are:

  1. Human brings seek meaning in their environments;
  2. We organize the sensations we receive from the world around us into meaningful perceptions;
  3. And complex stimuli are not reducible to the sum of their parts.

The German word gestalt means pattern or configuration. The view of this theory is that the configuration of a complex stimulus is its essence. Components of a stimulus or experience can't be added up to re-create the original.


What is:

field theory

7.1.2 Kurt Lewin's Field Theory

The notion of "field" can be seen as either a field in the mathematical sense of vectors or as a playing field (a field of life). It focuses on the life space and the structural relationships between the person and the environment.


What is:

life space

7.1.2 Kurt Lewin's Field Theory

All the internal and external forces that act on an individual.

  • An example of a life space is the family or a religion.
  • The boundaries of the life space are clear for some people, meaning the emotions and issues of one space are kept independent of another, while others have more open boundaries, allowing different regions of their life to exert influence on one another.


What is:

contemporaneous causation

7.1.2 Kurt Lewin's Field Theory

The momentary condition of the individual. Lewin argued that how we behave is caused at the moment of its occurrence by all the influences that are present in the individual at that moment.

  • Lewin's orientation can be considered a cognitive position, although attention to the situation also makes it an interactionist position.
  • The various approaches to personality can sometimes overlap more than one of the basic aspects.


What are:

cognitive styles

7.1.3 Cognitive Style Variables

Each individual's distinctive and enduring ways of dealing with their everyday tasks of perception, problem solving, and decision making.

  • There is a long list of dimensions, including whether a person is generally: attentive or inattentive, an analyzer or synthesizer, effortless in intuition or deliberate in reasoning, and so on.
  • All these differences explain why one person shows up to a garden party wearing a Hawaii sport shirt while another comes in all black cotton with a touch of white trim.


What is:

field dependence

7.1.3 Cognitive Style Variables

  • People who are high in this variable are very influenced in their problem solving by aspects of the context (field) in which the problem occurs that are salient but not directly relevant to the solution.
  • People low on this variable are called field independent and aren't as influenced by contextual factors. This style is more analytical and allows for more complex levels of restructuring in problem solving.
  • Over the broad range of situations people normally confront, neither extreme is universally preferable.


What is:

cognitive complexity

7.1.3 Cognitive Style Variables

The extent to which a person comprehends, utilizes, and is comfortable with a greater number of distinctions or separate elements among which an entity or event is analyzed, and the extent to which the person can integrate these elements by drawing connections or relationships among them.

  • People low in this variable see the world in simple terms, prefering unambiguous problems and straightforward solutions.
  • People tend to move toward higher levels of this variable as they get older and accumulate more life experiences.


What is:

learning style

7.1.3 Cognitive Style Variables

The characteristic way in which an individual approaches a task or skill to be learned.

  • People vary in their stable tendencies towards preferred approaches to a learning task.
  • e.g. A student might approach his or her first course in an unfamiliar field with a holistic style, trying to build his or her own understanding of the topic and trying to see relationships between the new topic and existing knowledge. Another student might have an analytic approach, preferring to take in the information presented by the course and building their understanding as a separate module isolated from other knowledge.


What are:


7.2.1. Schema Theory

According to Jean Piaget, children progress through a series of cognitive stages as they mature. New cognitive structures, called schemas, build on the schemas acquired earlier. The schema that's activated in a given situation determines a person's expectations, inferences, and actions in that situation. Sometimes a schema for a familiar event is called a cognitive script because it specifies the roles and actions of the participants in that setting.

  • e.g. On a first date at a restaurant, the participants have a schema for eating at a restaurant. They know what the waiter will probably say and how to respond. Additionally, they expect the other person to behave in a certain way. If one of them uses a "business associate script," they probably won't leave a great impression.


What is:


7.2.2 Categorization

The organization of our experiences by assigning the events, objects, and people we encounter into categories.

  • It's impossible for you to not categorize. What you see in front of you are doors, pens, computers, you don't see them simply as components of your visual field.
  • It is automatic and unconscious. It's best demonstrated by the detection of emotions. Even without having to consciously perceive a particular muscle twitch or facial movement, we can detect the emotional stimuli.


How does categorization contribute to stereotypes?

7.2.2 Categorization

  • Category formation can guide our interpretations and expectations. Once a category exists for us, when we encounter something or someone who mathces a few features of that category, we "fill in the blanks" with the rest of the information that applies to the category.
  • confirmation bias: People are more likely to notice information that supports their expectations than if it contradicts them.
  • Our useful expectations and interpretations can often lead us to premature judgments (prejudice).


What is:

social cognition

7.2.2 Categorization

The categorization and interpretation processes involved when a person interacts with another.

  • The fact that social-cognitive processes change with changes in the situation is referred to as situated social cognition.


How do we perceive persons, objects, and events in ways that are meaningful to us?

7.2.3 Control of Attention

The unconscious guiding of our attention to what we want to concentrate on.

  • Tons of stimuli are constantly present, but we aren't always paying attention to all of them. We'd go crazy if we did.
  • We are constantly doing some conscious monitoring, though. For example, if there were even a faint smell of smoke you'd probably notice.
  • The difference in people's attention to things is a stable source of individual difference.


Why is an individual's attentional process relevant to their personality?

7.2.4 Individual Differences in Attention: ADHD

How an individual's attentional processes operate is directly related to how they interact with social environments, and thus their personality. It's also relevant because it influences how they're perceived by others.


How are the hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms associated with ADHD related to the BIS?

7.2.4 Individual Differences in Attention: ADHD

The BIS is the neurological system involved in inhibiting learned responses to new stimuli. The inability to stop (or regulate) immediate reactions to events in the environment results in the disruptive behaviours (i.e. hyperactivity and impulsivity) and the poor academic performances frequently observed in these children.


What is:

rejection sensitivity

7.2.5 Cognitive Influences on Interpersonal Relationships

This personality variable captures the extent to which an individual is overly sensitive to cues that they're being rejected by another. If a child experiences repeated rejection by a significant person, they develop anxious expectations of rejection that are carried into other relationships. This anxiety tends to lead to a greater likelihood of actual rejection.


What is the main purpose of Kelley's personal construct theory?

7.3 Humans as Scientists: George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory

That each of us tries to understand the world and that we do so in different ways. It's named as such because its focus is on people's active endeavours to understand the world and construct their own versions of reality.


What is the key feature of Kelley's theory that differentiates it from other approaches to personality?

7.3.1 Individuals as Amateur Personality Theorists

That we each have our own system of constructs that we use to understand and predict behaviour (both our own and others'). Kelley argues that each person is like a personality theorist, with personal systems of explanations for behaviours.


What is the:

Role Construct Repertory Test

7.3.2 The Role Construct Repertory Test

An assessment instrument designed to evoke one's personal construct system. The goal is to allow the individual's own understanding of personality to emerge through the process of making comparisons.

  • The individual is asked to name 20-30 people who fit specific roles in their life. These people are then put into triads and the individual is asked to identify how one of them differs from the other two. For example, if two of the people are described as calm while one is described as nervous, the construct of nervous-calm is one the individual uses to think about people.
  • This is done until the individual comes up with about a dozen constructs which are important to how that individual understands and interprets behaviour. Our own unique sets of key dimensions is what makes us unique as individuals.


What is:

social intelligence

7.4 Social Intelligence

An individual's mastery of the particular cluster of knowledge and skills that are relevant to interpersonal situations.

  • People vary in their abilities to understand and influence other people.
  • This concept tries to capture the ways in which individuals differ from one another in their interpersonal skills.


What is:

emotional intelligence

7.4 Social Intelligence

An individual's emotional ability to deal with other people.

  • e.g. Some people are more empathic while others are clueless.


What are Goleman's five components of emotional intelligence?

7.4 Social Intelligence

  1. Being self-aware,
  2. Controlling anger and anxieties,
  3. Being persistent and optimistic in the face of setbacks,
  4. Being empathic,
  5. And interacting smoothly with others.


What is Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences?

7.4 Social Intelligence

Ths theory claims that all human beings have at least seven different intelligences, or ways of knowing about the world, and that people differ from one another in their relative strengths in each domain.

  • These seven intelligences are: knowing the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, understanding of the self, and understanding of others.
  • Gardner rejects traditional IQ measures of intelligence because it's too narrow and only reflects knowing in one or two spheres.
  • This approach focusses on the variety of ways in which an individual can be intelligent, whereas social intelligence is focussed on the social-interpersonal domain. But both social/emotional intelligence researchers argue that individual differences in people's abilities in the social-interpersonal domain can be viewed as a sort of intelligence.


What is the role of emotion knowledge in social-emotional intelligence?

7.4 Social Intelligence

Emotional knowledge is the ability to recognize and interpret emotions in the self and others. It's necessary for communicating emotion and for building and maintaining interpersonal relationships. 



explanatory style

7.5 Explanatory Style as a Personality Variable

A set of cognitive personality variables that capture a person's habitual means of interpreting events in their life.



defensive pessimism

7.5.1 Optimism and Pessimism

Situations in which a person reduces anxiety and actually improves performance in a risky situation by anticipating a poorer outcome.


What is Bandura's idea of self-efficacy?

7.5.1 Optimism and Pessimism

An individual's belief that they can successfully perform a particular action. These beliefs are domain-specific. For example, you may have low self-efficacy in mathemathics but high self-efficacy in writing. These beliefs are the most important motivators of an individual's achievement. People are much more likely to engage in activities that they believe they can successfully accomplish.


What are the four kinds of experiences that self-efficacy decisions are based on?

7.5.1 Optimism and Pessimism

  1. Previous successful experiences with the task demonstrate the ability to perform the task competently.
  2. Seeing others successfully perform certain tasks increases the perception that they're do-able.
  3. The verbal persuasion of others encourages us by telling us that we're capable of succeeding at a particular activity.
  4. Our levels of physiological arousal give 


What are Bernard Weiner's three properties of perceived causality for events in one's life?

7.5.1 Optimism and Pessimism

  1. Situations are perceived as either internally or externally caused;
  2. Events are seen as the result of either controllable or uncontrollable factors;
  3. The causes of occurrences are perceived as being either stable or changing.

Weiner hypothesizes that one's usual style of explaining causes of success and failure is responsible for the expectancy of success and therefore achievement-oriented behaviours. High achievers tend to perceive the causes of their success as internal, controllable, and stable.


What is Carol Dweck's approach to understanding the relation between cognitions about task performance and success?

7.5.1 Optimism and Pessimism

  • Dweck observed two behaviour patterns in achievement situations: a maladaptive "helpless" response or an adaptive "mastery-oriented" response. Helpless behaviour involves avoidance and poor performance in the face of challenges or obstacles.
  • Children who show mastery behaviours do well when activities are demanding and continue to strive and succeed when they encounter difficulties.
  • These differences were found even among children of similar abilities.
  • Helpless children tend to view even their achievement as deficient in some manner and their performance tends to sink into a slow decline.
  • Mastery-oriented children see challenges as interesting and to be surmounted. They increase their effort and concentration, and exhibit optimistic, positive emotions.