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  1. PSY 3490 M Tutorial April 1/10

  2. Chapter 9Social Cognition

  3. Social Judgment Processes • Impression formation: The way people form and revise first impressions • Main findings from Hess et al: older adults are more willing to change their first impressions from positive to negative • They are also less willing to change a negative initial impression to a more positive view • Why? Negativity bias: older adults let their initial impression stand because negative info was more striking to them and thus affected them more strongly • Older adults rely more on life experiences, social rules and emotions vs situational consistency

  4. Stereotypes • Social belief about characteristics and behaviors of a particular social group • help us process information and they affect how we interpret new information • Stereotype threat: an evoked fear of being judged in accordance with a negative stereotype about a group to which you belong • Stereotype lift: when a privileged group is motivated to perform after exposure to an unflattering stereotype of a less advantaged group

  5. Causal Attributions • Are explanations people construct to explain their behaviour. • Dispositional attributions • Behavioural explanations that reside within the person • Situational attributions • Are behavioural explanations that reside outside of the person

  6. Personal Control • The degree to which one believes that performance in a situation depends on something one personally does • High sense of personal control = the belief that performance is up to you (i.e. people who take personal responsibility for their behaviour) • Low = your performance is under the influence of forces other than your own (i.e. people who believe that others/chance are responsible for their behaviour)

  7. Differences in control perceptions across the lifespan? • Multidimensionality of personal control • Age differences in the degree of personal control depend on the domain studied (i.e. intelligence, marriage, health etc), and on the personal importance of that domain • Control strategies: preservation and stabilization of a positive view of self and personal development

  8. Assimilative activities: prevent or alleviate loses in domains that are personally relevant for self-esteem/identity • Accommodations: readjusting one’s goals/aspirations as a way to lessen the effects of negative self-evaluation • Immunizing mechanisms: alter the effects of self-discrepant evidence

  9. Chapter 10Personality

  10. Dispositional traits • Aspects of personality that are consistent across different contexts • Personal concerns • Things that are important to people, their goals, and their major concerns in life • Life narrative • Aspects of personality that pull everything together, those integrative aspects that give a person an identity or sense of self

  11. Dispositional Traits • The Five-Factor Model • Costa and McCrae developed a model of personality with five independent dimensions • Neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness • Costa and McCrae believe that personality traits stop changing by age 30 • Research evidence shows a high stability in personality traits across long time periods (up to 30 years) and across a wide range of ages (20 to 90 years) Critiques?

  12. Personal Concerns • Reflect what people want during particular times of their lives and within specific domains • Take into account a person’s developmental context and distinguish between ‘having’ traits and ‘doing’ everyday behaviours • Personality constructs are viewed as conscious descriptions of what a person is trying to accomplish during a given period of development • Expect to find considerable change

  13. Research on Personal Concerns • Jung, Erikson, Loevinger • Erikson: first to develop a lifespan theory of personality development and the interaction between person and their environment • Theory and research both provide support for much change in personal concerns people report at various times in adulthood

  14. Life Narratives, Identity and the Self • McAdam’s Life-Story Model • People create a life story that’s based on where they’ve been, where they are going, and who they will become • It is created and revised throughout adulthood as people change and their environments place varying demands upon them • Most important: changing personal identity reflect in the emotions conveyed in the story

  15. Possible Selves • Are created by projecting yourself into the future and thinking about what you would like to become (e.g self as leaders, rich, in shape) • and what you’re afraid of becoming e.g. fear of being undervalued, overweight, lonely)

  16. Research • young adults report family issues (i.e. marrying the right person) to be most important • middle adults (25-39, main issues concerned personal things (i.e. being a more loving and caring person) • By age 40-59, family issues again become most common (i.e. being a parent who can let go of kids) • For all age groups, physical issues listed as most common fear regarding a possible self (e.g. being overweight, developing wrinkles) • Adolescent and young adults believe more strongly that they can actually become the hoped for self and successfully avoid the feared self (high personal control)

  17. Chapter 11Relationships

  18. Relationship Types and Issues • Friendships • Grounded in reciprocity and choice • Young adults tend to have more friends than any another age group • The quality and quantity of friendships in old age are related to life satisfaction. Why? Friends foster independence and reduce reliance on family, they are maintained by a sense of mutuality called global reciprocity • Information seeking is he primary goal for younger adults (i.e. meeting new people and having many friends) • Emotional regulation is the primary goal for older adults (i.e. choosing people who are familiar and having few friends)

  19. Sibling Relationships • Gold et al identified five types of sibling relationships • Sibling relationships are strongest in adolescents & later in life • Sibling ties among sisters tend to be the strongest and intimate, while brothers tend to have less contact

  20. Lifestyles & Love Relationships • Approx. 75% of men and 60% of women are single between ages 20 and 25 in industrial nations • Men tend to stay single longer, but are less likely to stay single throughout adulthood • Men more likely to marry someone younger and less well educated (mating gradient), while women with higher levels of education overrepresented among unmarried adults

  21. Divorce and Remarriage • Rates of divorce have slowly been decreasing from a high of 30% of all marriages in 1987 • Gender differences in adjustment: men have more short-term problems but women have more long-term, especially financial difficulties • Many older men who are divorced/widowed tend to remarry; many older women do not • The older the individuals at the time of the divorce, the more difficult the adjustment process will be

  22. Chapter 12Work, Leisure, and Retirement

  23. The Meaning of Work • Although most people work for money, other reasons are highly variable • Regardless of occupational priorities people have, the view their occupation as a key element in their sense of identity • Alienation: feeling that what one is doing is meaningless and efforts are devalued • Providing more opportunities or involvement and flexibility • Burnout: a depletion of a person’s energy and motivation, feeling that one is being exploited • Stress reduction techniques, more appropriate expectations of self, better communication with organizations

  24. Bias and Discrimination • Gender bias and the glass ceiling • Evidence found in government, nonprofit and private companies for glass ceiling effect (i.e. the level to which women may rise in a company but beyond which they may not go • One barrier is a workplace’s failure to accommodate to the needs of new mothers • E.g. women in academia who delay motherhood, presumably until skills and seniority are acquired, achieve higher rates of pay • Glass elevator: men in traditionally female occupations rise at a quicker rate than female counterparts

  25. Retirement • Retirement can be crisp (making a clean break from employment by stopping work entirely) or blurred (repeatedly leaving and returning to work, with some periods of unemployment) • Research: • Less than half of older men who retire fit the crisp pattern • Most individuals in their postretirement years are working in part-time jobs (primarily to supplement their incomes but also to maintain adequate levels of activity)

  26. Adjustment to Retirement • Adjustment evolves over time and is influenced by: • Physical health, financial status, voluntary retirement status, feelings of personal control • For both men and women, high personal competence is associated with higher retirement satisfaction • Social relationships help buffer the stress of retirement • Community ties and participation in community organizations also helps raise satisfaction