Lesson 4
Short Answer
4.Define defense mechanism. Identify two common defense mechanisms and provide your own examples of each.
Defense mechanism is the mental strategies used by the ego to defend itself against conflicts experienced in the normal course of life. Fantasy and isolation are two common defense mechanisms. Daydreaming is one of the examples of fantasy when a person is very poor, for example, he/she may imagine what he/she will eat, what he/she will dress, where he/she will live etc. that is opposite to the current reality. In this way, the person gratifies the frustrated desires in imaginary achievements. And, about the isolation, it refers to cutting off emotional charge from hurtful situations or separating incompatible attitudes into logic-tight compartments. For example, once upon a time a person was teased after a poor show that he/she cannot forget the pain of shame, the person may isolate him/herself from any other performances so that he/she can avoid any other hurtful events.
5.Identify three criticisms of Freuds theory of personality.
Firstly, psychoanalytic concepts are vague and not operationally defined; much of the theory is difficult to evaluate scientifically. Because some of Freudian theorys central hypotheses cannot be disproved, the structure of personality is not scientific enough to be an effective theory.
Secondly, the Freudian theory of personality is only good for the history but not for the cases in the future. Freudian theory is retrospective that is only suitable for the past cases; Freud had solely studied the past events to induce his own theory that was not scientifically proved or experimented even in his own era. Thus, Freudian theory of personality lacks of scientific supports and cannot predict the further cases.
Thirdly, Freudian theory of personality is a developmental theory with no observations or studies of children. That is, Freuds theory is some concepts solely with thinking and reasoning; it is not scientific enough to be included in psychology. Meanwhile, Freudian theory of personality minimizes traumatic experiences by reinterpreting memories of them as fantasies; that is, Freud has influenced the subjects thinking and then the results are not bias-free. Moreover, Freudian theory of personality is androcentric that Freud has only given out the male models, while the female models are missing. Therefore, Freudian theory of personality is invalid for females.
6.Briefly describe two cognitive mechanisms that are thought to be associated with impulsivity.
Impulsivity is associated with focusing more attention on immediate compared with delayed rewards, even though the immediate rewards are smaller than the delayed one. People in high impulsivity level will consider the immediate reward rather than the delayed reward, in which the latter one is larger than the former. Thus, those with high impulsivity level will decide to do things according to the immediate reward so that they always ignore the delayed rewards in many decisions.
Meanwhile, between the immediate reward and immediate punishment, those with high impulsivity level will associate decision-making style with the immediate reward, although it is known that the probability of getting a punishment is greater than having a reward. Hence those with high impulsivity level are mainly risk-takers because they will neglect the punishments but concentrate on only the rewards.
7.What are the Big Five personality dimensions? (list each one) Describe the behaviors associated with high levels on any two of these dimensions.
The Big Five personality is a comprehensive descriptive personality system that maps out the relationships among common traits, theoretical concepts, and personality scales. It includes 5 dimensions extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
As for the high extraversion model, the person will be talkative, energetic, and assertive. That is, the person will be more sociable, outgoing, lively etc. that he/she will feel free in the public, have more friends, and communicative. About the high neuroticism model, the person will be stable, calm, and contented. He/she will be very reliable, controlled and careful that be less sociable and passive.
9.Define self-efficacy. Describe the three ways in which we come to make efficacy judgments.
Self-efficacy is the set of beliefs that one can perform adequately in a particular situation. The three ways we come to make efficacy judgments are vicarious experience, persuasion, and monitoring of ones emotional as one thinks about or approaches a task.
As for the vicarious experience, it is the observations of the performance of others. It is similar to observational learning, because the practical experience is not involved; instead, seeing others performance makes the person know how to perform the same action. For example, some innocent children jumped out of the window because they watched Superman and they think that they can fly like the Superman.
In terms of persuasion, others may convince one that one can do something, or one may convince oneself. That is, one performs such action is due to someones persuasion that the person is motivated. For instance, a part of the teenage drugs-abusers take drugs since their injurious friends convince them to do so.
About monitoring of ones emotional as one thinks about or approaches a task, it means that when the person wants to do something, he/she takes a look at his/her emotion so that he/she knows or predicts what will be his/her result. For example, anxiety may have low expectation of efficacy, and excitement suggests expectations of success.
10.The text discusses several different definitions of the term self-concept. Look these over and provide your own definition, avoiding psychological jargon as much as possible. Provide an example.
Self-concept is a persons metal model of his/her abilities and attributes. It includes many things, such as the memories about oneself, beliefs about ones traits, motives, values and abilities, the ideal self that one would most like to become, etc. in which the self-esteem is the most important thing it is a generalized evaluative attitude toward the self that influences both moods and behavior and that exerts a powerful effect on a range of personal and social behaviors. It leads to many possible selves, in which those ideal selves act as a motive to push the person to do something to achieve his/her ultimate target. For example, Bill Gates self-concept is to force all computer users to use at least one of his products.
Essay Questions
2.Summarize the major findings of the research on the personality trait of harm avoidance.
Harm avoidance is a personality trait associated with a tendency to avoid dangerous situations, to actively avoid engaging in any kind of behavior associated with risky outcomes, and to experience intense fear at any prospect outcome. Harm avoidance is a subtrait of the constraint super trait in Tellegens model of personality.
In Dr. Peter Finns research, individuals with high levels of harm avoidance pay more attention to potential sources of threat, learn to avoid aversive consequences faster, and have greater anxiety responses when faced with an unavoidable aversive event, when compared with individuals with low levels of harm avoidance. Having low perspiration responses was associated with a greater preference for thrilling, dauntless, and risky activities. Also, the harm avoidance is not associated with greater reactivity to the actual harm, but will make the person feel more anxious and fear just before the harm arrive. That is, a person with high harm avoidance will feel very aroused and fearful, even that the arousal and fear may be greater than the harm itself.
3.Explain why theorists like Mischel believe that traits are not useful ways of looking at behavior. Indicate the kinds of research evidence that support this point of view. Identify the factors that seem to explain the tendency for people to explain the tendency for people to overestimate the consistency of their own behavior and the behavior of others.
In Mischels point of view, people actively participate in the cognitive organization of their interaction with the environment. He gave an example of John and Jim, in which they initially react differently to an unknown person, but they change their behaviors opposite to the initial one. That is, there are other factors that influence the personal trait. Therefore, Mischel made his own cognitive-affective personality theory, listing out the variables that affect the personality: encoding, expectancies and beliefs, affects, goals and values, and competencies and self-regulatory plans.
Encoding is the way one categorizes information about oneself, other people, events, and situations. Expectancies and beliefs about the social world and likely outcomes for given actions in particular situations; beliefs are about ones ability to bring about. Affects are ones feelings and emotions, including physiological responses. Goals and values are the outcomes and affective states you do and do not value, and the life projects. Competencies and self-regulatory plans are the behaviors one can accomplish and plans for generating cognitive and behavioral outcomes.
According to the variables stated in Mischels cognitive-affective personality theory, individuals will react differently in different situations. Although it may be true that different people may have different traits, traits are not the only way to look at behaviors; one of the most important concerns is the persons cognitive situation.