Psychology Approaches

Extra Credit — Due Tuesday, Dec. 8 PSY 321: Psychology of Personality, Fall 2015

This course covers seven approaches to the study of personality: Trait, Biological, Psychoanalytic, Neoanalytic, Phenomenological, Learning, and Cognitive. For your extra credit opportunity, you are to read the description of each example below and identify which of the seven approaches it best fits into. This will require you to understand the main themes and issues characterizing each approach we have studied. On a separate piece of paper, type your name and person number, then identify the best approach for each study by typing the number of the example and the name of the approach. Each approach will be used at least once. Each correctly identified example is worth .5 pt, for a possible 5 points total on this extra credit opportunity. Answers must be typed (i.e., no handwritten assignments). This extra credit is due by the beginning of class on Tuesday, Dec. 8. No email submissions will be accepted without special dispensation from the instructor. No late submissions will be accepted under any circumstances. Example 1: Article Title: A dual-process model of defense against conscious and unconscious death-related thoughts: An extension of terror management theory. Year of Publication: 1999 Authors: Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., & Solomon, S. Abstract: Distinct defensive processes are activated by conscious and nonconscious but accessible thoughts of death. Proximal defenses, which entail suppressing death-related thoughts or pushing the problem of death into the distant future by denying one’s vulnerability, are rational, threat-focused, and activated when thoughts of death are in current focal attention. Distal terror management defenses, which entail maintaining self-esteem and faith in one’s cultural worldview, function to control the potential for anxiety that results from knowing that death is inevitable. These defenses are experiential, are not related to the problem of death in any semantic or logical way, and are increasingly activated as the accessibility of death-related thoughts increases, up to the point at which such thoughts enter consciousness and proximal threat-focused defenses are initiated. Experimental evidence for this analysis is presented. Example 2: Article Title: Forgiveness, gratitude, and well-being Year of Publication: 2009 Authors: Toussaint, L., & Friedman, P. Abstract: Forgiveness and gratitude are positive psychological characteristics that are connected to well-being. This study examined these connections in an understudied population of psychotherapy outpatients and examined the extent to which affect and beliefs mediated these relationships. Participants were 72 outpatients who completed a battery of assessments as part of a standard intake protocol. Results showed that forgiveness and gratitude were both positively and strongly associated with well-being and largely, though not completely, mediated by affect


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and belief. Forgiveness and gratitude may have an important place in the positive psychologist’s repertoire of well-being enhancing techniques and exercises in general, and may be particularly powerful with a clinical psychotherapy population. Example 3: Chapter Title: Self-regulation failure: An overview Year of Publication: 2004 Authors: Baumeister, R.F., & Heatherton, T.F. Abstract (from the chapter): The major patterns of self-regulatory failure are reviewed. Underregulation occurs because of deficient standards, inadequate monitoring, or inadequate strength. Misregulation occurs because of false assumptions or misdirected efforts, especially an unwarranted emphasis on emotion. The evidence supports a strength (limited-resource) model of self-regulation and suggests that people often acquiesce in losing control. Loss of control of attention, failure of transcendence, and various lapse-activated causes all contribute to regulatory failure. Example 4: Article Title: Sexual strategies pursued and mate attraction tactics deployed Year of Publication: 2006 Authors: Bleske-Rechek, A., & Buss, D.M. Abstract: Two studies tested evolutionary hypotheses about the use and perceived effectiveness of specific mate attraction tactics as a function of sexual strategy pursued. Participants and a close same-sex friend of each participant reported on the participant’s sexual strategy and deployment of attraction tactics. In Study 1, participants’ mate attraction tactics differed predictably depending on whether they were pursuing a long-term (sexually restricted) versus short-term (sexually unrestricted) sexual strategy. In Study 2, participants’ sexual strategy predicted their judgments of tactic effectiveness. In both studies, friends’ perceptions of participants’ sexual strategy and mate attraction tactics corroborated participants’ own self- reports. Discussion highlights the unique adaptive problems of mating, such as detecting rivals and inhibiting rivalry, that arise in the context of managing same-sex friendships. Example 5: Chapter Title: Interpersonal circumplex measures Year of Publication: 2006 Author: Locke, K.D. Abstract: (from the chapter) The interpersonal circle or interpersonal circumplex (IPC) has in recent decades become the most popular model for conceptualizing, organizing, and assessing interpersonal dispositions (Kiesler, 1983; Wiggins, 2003). The IPC is defined by two orthogonal axes: a vertical axis (of status, dominance, power, or control) and a horizontal axis (of solidarity, friendliness, warmth, or love). In recent years, it has become conventional to identify the vertical and horizontal axes with the broad metaconcepts of agency and communion (Horowitz, 2004; Wiggins, 2003). Thus, each point in the IPC space can be specified as a weighted combination of agency and communion; or, in other words, the IPC offers a place for interpersonal dispositions reflecting all combinations of agency and communion. The IPC can be divided into broad segments (such as fourths) or narrow segments (such as sixteenths), but currently most IPC inventories partition the circle into eight octants. As one moves around the circle, each octant



reflects a progressive blend of the two axial dimensions. Also note that, by convention, each octant has a generic two-letter code. In this chapter I will review a variety of inventories designed to measure these eight IPC octants. Example 6: Article Title: Prediction, control, and learned helplessness. Year of Publication: 1980 Authors: Burger, J.M., & Arkin, R.M. Abstract: Examined the independent effects of perceived control over and perceived predictability of an aversive event on 100 undergraduates’ performance on a memory task and depressive affect. Ss who received noise blasts that were both uncontrollable and unpredictable displayed performance decrements and depressive affect relative to a no-noise group, whereas Ss who were able either to control or to predict the aversive event did not. The perception of control or predictability concerning the aversive event was thus sufficient to mitigate learned helplessness, suggesting the functional equivalence of perceived control and predictability. Example 7: Article Title: Personality development and growth in women across 30 years: Three perspectives. Year of Publication: 2002 Authors: Roberts, B.W., Helson, R., & Klohnen, E.C. Abstract: This article addresses 3 questions about personality development in a 30-year longitudinal study of 78 women:(1) To what extent did the women maintain the same position in relation to each other on personality characteristics over the 30 years, and what broad factors were related to the amount of change in their rank order? (2) Did the sample as a whole increase or decrease over time on indices of personality growth, and did they change in ways distinctive to women? (3) Were experiential factors associated with individual differences in the amount of change? Results showed that personality was quite consistent while also showing that time interval was positively related to rank-order change and age was negatively related to rank-order change. Over the period from age 21 to age 52, the women increased on measures of norm- orientation and complexity and showed changes on measures of Dominance and Femininity/Masculinity consistent with the hypothesis that changing sex roles would lead to increases in Dominance and increases, then decreases, in Femininity/Masculinity. A third set of results showed that changes in Dominance and Femininity/Masculinity were associated with life circumstances such as marital tension, divorce, and participation in the paid labor force. Example 8: Article Title: Resilience under military operational stress: Can leaders influence hardiness? Year of Publication: 2006 Author: Bartone, P.T. Abstract: Although many people suffer physical and mental health decrements following exposure to stress, many others show remarkable resilience, remaining healthy despite high stress levels. If the factors that account for resilience can be clearly identified and understood, perhaps resilience can be enhanced even for those most vulnerable to stress. One potential pathway to resilience is personality hardiness, a characteristic sense that life is meaningful, we choose our own futures, and change is interesting and valuable. This article applies this hardiness



concept to the context of military operational stress, and argues that highly effective leaders can increase hardy, resilient responses to stressful circumstances within their units. I discuss the nature of stress in modern military operations, and briefly review relevant hardiness theory and research. Three sets of considerations lead to the proposition that hardy leaders can indeed increase hardy cognitions and behaviors in groups. These considerations concern (a) the likely underlying mechanisms of hardiness, which have to do with how experiences get interpreted and made sense of; (b) relevant theoretical positions on leader social influence, including transformational leadership and path-goal leader theory; and (c) several empirical studies that have shown indirect support for a hardy leader influence process. A case vignette is provided to illustrate how leaders might increase hardy cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors within their organizations during highly stressful operations. This potential for leaders to boost hardiness as a pathway to resiliency in groups under stress merits further active investigation. Example 9: Article Title: The Two Faces of Adolescents’ Success With Peers: Adolescent Popularity, Social Adaptation, and Deviant Behavior Year of Publication: 2005 Authors: Allen, J. P., Porter, M. R., McFarland, F. C., Marsh, P., & McElhaney, K. B. Abstract: This study assessed the hypothesis that popularity in adolescence takes on a twofold role, marking high levels of concurrent adaptation but predicting increases over time in both positive and negative behaviors sanctioned by peer norms. Multimethod, longitudinal data, on a diverse community sample of 185 adolescents (13 to 14 years), addressed these hypotheses. As hypothesized, popular adolescents displayed higher concurrent levels of ego development, secure attachment, and more adaptive interactions with mothers and best friends. Longitudinal analyses supported a popularity-socialization hypothesis, however, in which popular adolescents were more likely to increase behaviors that receive approval in the peer group (e.g., minor levels of drug use and delinquency) and decrease behaviors unlikely to be well received by peers (e.g., hostile behavior with peers). Example 10: Article Title: Goal relevance and the affective experience of daily life: Ruling out situational explanations. Year of Publication: 1995 Authors: Fleeson,W., & Cantor, N. Abstract: Hypothesized that the content of the goal an individual pursues in a given event will remain associated with affect, even while controlling for the situational, interpersonal, or temporal contexts of the event. 54 sorority women participated in (1) an intake assessment of 7 life- task goals (e.g., being involved with someone, establishing future goals, doing well academically) on 15 dimensions (e.g., importance, enjoyment, time spent); (2) a 15-day experience sampling and diary phase; and (3) an outcome assessment. Results showed that goal relevance can vary while contexts are held constant, and that this variation remains associated with variation in affect while the context is held constant, thus ruling out context as an explanation of these associations. Additionally, the importance of a goal to an individual was related to this variation in goal pursuit within each context.