Psychology 155 – Intro to Personality Study Guide for Test 2 I have

Psychology 155 – Intro to Personality
Study Guide for Test 2
I have put all the information on this study guide on flash cards that you can access from this site:
Chapter 5
Biological Aspects of Personality
What is Natural Selection? The process by which certain adaptive characteristics emerge over
What is Evolutionary Personality Theory? An area of study applying biological evolutionary theory
to human personality & a modern application of Darwin’s ideas to individual differences
What is the function of a characteristic in relation to survival?
What is Behavioral Genomics? The study of how genes affect behavior
Define Temperament: Stable individual differences in emotional reactivity (example: some babies are
quiet & cuddly and others are active & easily respond to stimuli)
What are the 4 Basic Aspects of Temperament?
1. Activity Dimension (Vigorous motion vs. passivity).
2. Emotionality Dimension (Easily aroused vs. calm and stable).
3. Sociability Dimension (Approaches and enjoy others vs. aloof).
4. Aggressive/Impulsive Dimension (Aggressive and cold vs. conscientious and friendly).
What is Eysenck's Model (of Nervous System Temperament?) Links introversion & extroversion to
the nervous system
1. Extroverts: have a lower level of brain/internal arousal so they seek out external stimulation
2. Introverts: have a higher level of brain/internal arousal and shy away from external stimulation
How does Zuckerman’s Theory relate to Eysenck’s Model? Theory states that people who are
high on “sensation seeking” have a low level of internal arousal, so they’re drawn to exciting
experiences. (Extroverts)
What is ‘Sensation Seeking’? The tendency to seek out highly stimulating activities & novelty
Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory
1. Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS): If sensitive, person is prone to anxiety, alertness &
worrying (Overactive → anxiety)
2. Behavioral Activation/Approach System (BAS): Regulates our response to rewards. If overly
active, then person is impulsive & constantly seeking rewards. Also prone to drug addiction and
overeating (Overactive → impulsivity)
Brain Structure:
 Neurotransmitters - The chemicals used by nerves to communicate
 Hemispheric Activity – The level of activity within one cerebral hemisphere (left or right)
What is Eugenics? The movement that encouraged preserving or purifying the gene pool of the elite in
order to improve human blood lines (begun by Francis Galton)
What is Kin Selection? The idea that increasing the likelihood for the family members of an
individual to survive increases the likelihood that the individual’s genes will be carried on to the next
generation even if the individual did not reproduce him- or herself.
What is Nonshared Environmental Variance? How children raised in the same home experience
features of that environment differently
Genetics Effect on Personality:
 Schizophrenia: A condition whose symptoms include distorted reality, odd emotional reactions &
sometimes paranoia and/or delusions
 Bipolar Disorder/Manic-Depression: Disorder which an individual swings regularly between
bouts of wildly enthusiastic energy and bouts of hopeless depression
 Angelman Syndrome: Causes children to be especially attractive and friendly but also suffer
mental retardation, sleep very little and walk with a jerky movement. Caused by a defect on a
 Williams Syndrome: Having an excessively social personality, as well as limited spatial skills and
intellectual ability
Effects of Biology
What are some environmental toxins/poisons and their effects on personality?
 People may start acting strangely & changes in personality occur
 Poisons a child’s developing nervous system, impairing cognitive function and
producing deviant/anti-social behavior
 Sometimes become compulsive fighters & later develop Parkinson’s disease
What are some Physical Illnesses and their effects on personality?
 An ailment of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Starts with quirks in behavior and some
memory loss and ends in a total loss of original personality
 Hemorrhage that damages a part of the brain & can cause a kind person to become
aggressive and uncooperative & vice versa.
 Inner ear disorder that produces dizziness, nausea & auditory disturbances (Van
Gogh may have suffered from this disease)
What is Biological Determinism? The belief that an individual’s personality is completely determined
by biological (and especially by genetic) factors
What is Psychopharmacology? The study of the role of drugs and other toxic substances in causing
and treating psychiatric disturbance
 Prescribed drugs have short and long term effects on personality
 Illegal drugs also effect personality (cocaine produces symptoms of paranoia)
What is Tropism? The tendency to seek out specific types of environments. Some individuals grow
towards more fulfilling and health-promoting spaces while others remain subject to darker, healththreatening environments
Looks & Personality
What is Somatypology: Theory relating body type to personality characteristics (W.H. Sheldon)
What are Sheldon’s 3 Body Types?
1. Mesomorph – Large-boned, muscular, athletic type
2. Ectomorph – Slender, bookworm type
3. Endomorph – Roly-poly, supposedly good natured type
What is Survival of the Fittest? The concept that species evolve because those individuals who
cannot compete well in the environments in which they live tend to be less successful in growing up
and producing offspring
What is Social Darwinism? The idea that societies and cultures naturally compete for survival of the
What is Sociobiology? The scientific study of the influence of evolutionary biology on an organism’s
responses regarding social matters
What is Biological determinism? The belief that an individual's personality is completely determined
by biological factors (and especially by genetic factors)
Chapter 6
Behaviorist & Learning Aspects of Personality
What is Classical Conditioning? Give an example. After a repeated pairing of an unconditioned
stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response and a neutral stimulus, the previously neutral stimulus
can come to elicit the same response as the unconditioned stimulus. (e.g. Pavlov’s Dog)
Can be used to explain emotional aspects of personality
 Neurotic behavior
 Phobias
 Superstitious behavior
What is Partial Reinforcement? A reward that occurs after some, but not all, occurrences of a
behavior (**way to remember: PARTIAL reinforcement- PART of the time)
What is Generalization? The tendency for similar stimuli to evoke the same response
What is Discrimination? The concept that a conditioned response will not occur for all possible
stimuli, indicating that an animal can learn to tell the difference between stimuli
What is Extinction? When the pairing of the conditioned and unconditioned stimulus stops
What is the difference between a conditioned response and an unconditioned response?
Conditioned means a ‘learned’ response and Unconditioned means the natural or ‘un-learned’ response
What is the difference between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus? The
conditioned stimulus is a previously neutral stimulus that, after becoming associated with the
unconditioned stimulus, eventually comes to trigger a conditioned response. The unconditioned
stimulus is one that unconditionally, naturally, and automatically triggers a response.
What is a Neutral Stimulus? A stimulus that initially or normally does not elicit an overt behavioral
response (apart from focusing attention)
Unconditioned STIMULUS
Unconditioned RESPONSE
Unconditioned STIMULUS
Unconditioned RESPONSE
Conditioned STIMULUS
Conditioned RESPONSE
What is Behaviorism? The study of observable behavior (WATSON)
What is Systematic Desensitization? Gradually extinguishing a phobia by causing the feared stimulus
to become dissociated from the fear response
What is Radical Determinism? The belief that all human behavior is caused and that humans have no
free will
What is Operant Conditioning? The changing of a behavior by manipulating its consequences
What is Reinforcement? An event that strengthens a behavior & increases the likelihood of repeating
the behavior in the future (SKINNER)
 REINFORCEMENT = If the preceding response INCREASES after the consequence occurs
 PUNISHMENT = If the preceding response DECREASES after the consequence occurs
 Reinforcement or punishment can occur through adding OR removing a stimulus
What happens AFTER the response occurs?
Stimulus is Added
Stimulus is Removed
Response Increases
happens to
the response? Response Decreases
Positive Punishment Negative Punishment
What is Thorndike’s Law of Effect? Concept that the consequence of a behavior will either
strengthen or weaken behavior, i.e. when a response follows a stimulus and results in satisfaction, this
strengthens the connection between stimulus and response; however, if the response results in
discomfort or pain, the connection is weakened
What is Shaping? The process in which undifferentiated operant behaviors are gradually changed or
shaped into a desired behavior pattern by the reinforcement of successive approximations, so that the
behavior more and more resembles the target behavior
What is Negative Reinforcement? An aversive event that ends if a behavior is performed, making it
more likely for that behavior to be performed in the future
What are Habits? Associations between a stimulus and a response (HULL)
What are Primary Drives? A fundamental innate motivator of behavior, specifically hunger, thirst,
sex or pain
What is Social Learning Theory? A theory that proposes that habits are built up in terms of a
hierarchy of secondary drives
What are Secondary Drives? Drives that are learned by association with the satisfaction of
primary drives
What is Habit Hierarchy? A learned hierarchy of likelihoods that a person will produce particular
responses in particular situations
Drive Conflicts:
 Approach-Avoidance Conflict: Conflict between primary and secondary drives that occurs when
a punishment results in the conditioning of a fear response to a drive.
 Approach-Approach Conflict: Conflict in which a person is drawn to two equally attractive
 Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict: Conflict in which a person is faced with two equally
undesirable choices.
 Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: Aggression is the result of blocking, or frustrating, a
person's efforts to attain a goal.
What is the Act-Frequency Approach? Assessing personality by examining the frequency with which
a person performs certain observable actions
Chapter 7
Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality
What is Gestalt Psychology? An approach to psychology that emphasizes the integrative and active
nature of perception and thought suggesting that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts
What is Lewin’s Field Theory? Behavior is determined by complex interactions among a person’s
internal psychological structure, the forces of the external environment, and the structural relationships
between the person and the environment
What is Life Space? All the internal and external forces that act on an individual
What is Contemporaneous Causation? Behavior is caused at the moment of its occurrence by all
the influences that are present in the individual at that moment
What is Cognitive Style? An individual’s distinctive, enduring way of dealing with everyday tasks of
perception and problem solving
What is Field Dependence? A cognitive style variable that is the extent to which an individual’s
problem solving is influenced by salient but irrelevant aspects of the context in which the problem
 Relies on perception- a cognitive process- as the basis for the explanation
 More females tend to be Field Dependent
What is Field Independence? A cognitive style variable that is the extent to which an individual’s
problem solving is NOT influenced by salient but irrelevant aspects of the context in which the
problem occurs
 Field Independent children’s Play Preference: favor solitary play
 Field Independent people’s Socialization Patterns: emphasize autonomy over conformity
 Field Independent people’s Career Choice: prefer technological occupations
What is Cognitive Complexity? The extent to which a person comprehends, utilizes, and is
comfortable with a greater number of distinctions or separate elements into which an entity or event is
analyzed, and the extent to which the person can integrate those elements by drawing connections or
relationships among them
What is Learning Style? The characteristic way in which an individual approached a task or skill to be
What are Schemas? A cognitive structure that organizes knowledge and expectations about one’s
environment- determines how we think and act
What are Scripts? A schema that guides behavior in social situations (e.g. eating at a restaurant)
What are Stereotypes? A schema or belief about the personality traits that tend to be characteristic of
members of some group
What is Categorization? The perceptual process by which highly complex ensembles of information
are filtered into a small number of identifiable and familiar objects and entities
 Positive effects of categorization:
 Quickly understand complex information
 Make likely inferences about new things
 Negative effects of categorization:
 Stereotypes
 Overlook individuating characteristics
What is Control of Attention? Noticing salient environmental features and combine these with our
current goals to decide where to direct our attention
What is Situated Social Cognition? Social cognitive processes with changes in the situation
What is Rejection Sensitivity? A personality variable capturing the extent to which an individual is
overly sensitive to cues that he or she is being rejected by another
What is Personal Construct Theory? Emphasizes the idea that people actively endeavor to construe
or understand the world and construct their own theories about human behavior (KELLY)
What is the Role Construct Repertory Test? An assessment designed by George Kelly to evoke a
person’s own personal construct system by making comparisons among triads of important people in
the life of the person being assessed
What is Social Intelligence? The idea that individuals differ in their level of mastery of the particular
cluster of knowledge and skills that are relevant to interpersonal situations
What is Emotional Intelligence? The set of emotional abilities specific to dealing with other people
What is Emotional Knowledge? The ability to recognize and interpret emotions in the self and others
What are Multiple Intelligences? Theory that claims that all human beings have at least seven
different ways of knowing about the world and that people differ from one another in the relative
strengths of each of these seven ways:
1. Language,
2. Logical-Mathematical Analysis
3. Spatial Representation
4. Musical Thinking
5. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
6. Understanding the Self
7. Understanding Others
What is Explanatory Style? A set of cognitive personality variables that captures a person’s habitual
means of interpreting events in his/her life
Optimism & Pessimism – Optimistic style is generally associated with positive aspects & better
outcomes of a situation. Pessimism is associated with negative aspects & worse outcomes of a
What is Defensive Pessimism? The approach of anticipating a poorer outcome, thus reducing
anxiety and actually improving performance in a risky situation
What is Learned Helplessness? Repeated exposure to unavoidable punishments leads an organism to
accept later punishment even when it is avoidable, e.g. dogs getting shocked no matter which room
they were in (SELIGMAN)
What is Learned Optimism? An optimistic style that people can be trained to achieve
What is Cognitive Intervention? Teaching people to change their thought process
What is Outcome Expectancy? The extent to which an individual expects his or her performance
to have a positive result
What is Reinforcement Value? The extent to which an individual values the expected
reinforcement of an action
ACCORDING TO ROTTER… Our final choice of behavior depends on both the outcome
expectancy & the reinforcement value
What is Behavior Potential? The likelihood that a particular behavior will occur in a specific
What is Specific Expectancy? The expectancy that a reward will follow a behavior in a particular
What is Generalized Expectancy? The expectancy that is related to a group of situations
What did Rotter think of the Role of Reinforcements? The greater the subjective value of the
reinforcement, the more likely a person is to perform a behavior associated with that valued
What is a Secondary Reinforcement? A conditioned reinforcement- a previously neutral
stimulus that becomes a reinforcer following its pairing with a primary reinforcer.
What is the Locus of Control? The variable that measures the extent to which an individual
habitually attributes outcomes to factors internal to the self, versus external to the self
What is the Internal Locus of Control? The generalized expectancy that an individual’s
own actions lead to desired outcomes
What is the External Locus of Control? The belief that things outside of the individual
determine whether desired outcomes occur
What are Rotter’s 6 Psychological Needs?
1. Recognition-status
2. Dominance
3. Independence
4. Protection-dependency
5. Love & Affection
6. Physical Comfort
What is the Self-System? The set of cognitive processes by which a person perceives, evaluates,
and regulates his/her own behavior so that it is appropriate to the environment and effective in
achieving goals
What is Observational or Vicarious Learning? Learning by an individual that occurs by
watching others perform the behavior, with the individual neither performing the behavior nor
being directly rewarded or punished for the behavior (AKA Modeling)
What are some processes underlying Observational Learning?
 Attention
 Retention
 Motor Reproduction
 Motivation
What is Self-Regulation? Monitoring one’s own behavior as a result of one’s internal processes
of goals, planning and self-reinforcement
What is Self-Efficacy? An expectancy or belief about how competently one will be able to enact a
behavior in a particular situation
Based on:
 past successes/failures at similar tasks
 Vicarious experiences (seeing others)
 Verbal Persuasion (by others)
 Specific to the situation/behavior (unlike self-esteem, which is global)
What is the Turing Test? A standard test by which to judge whether a computer can adequately
simulate a human; in this test, first proposed by Alan Turing, a human judge interacts with two hidden
others and tries to decide which is the human and which is the computer
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