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Personality Psychology Threat and Defense Riders on the Storm Hallelujah Lyrics Memorial. Professor Ian McGregor. Existential Threat and Despair. Durkheim: “ Suicide ” horizons need limits James: “ skull will grin in at banquet ” (running boy)
Personality PsychologyThreat and DefenseRiders on the StormHallelujah LyricsMemorial Professor Ian McGregor
Existential Threat and Despair • Durkheim: “Suicide” horizons need limits • James: “skull will grin in at banquet” (running boy) • Gilgamesh; Tolstoy and “Death of Ivan Ilych” • Kierkegaard: Existential guilt • Sartre: “Existence precedes essence,” radical freedom, nausea “bad faith,”“hell is others,” existential masochism and sadism • Fromm, Adorno: Authoritarian “Escape from Freedom” • Becker: “Denial of Death,” Prophets of Unrepression;” Worldview Defense
But Also Relatedness-Goal ThreatsExample: Cyberball Exclusion(Kip Williams)
And Competence Goal Threats Uh-Oh! Oh No! Where n (eta) is an m by 1 vector of latent endogenous variables; ξ (xi) is an n by 1 vector of latent exogenous variables; B (beta) is an m by m matrix of coefficients of the effects of endogenous on endogenous variables; r (gamma) is an m by n matrix of coefficients of the effects of exogenous variables (ξ’s) on endogenous variables (n’s); ζ (zeta) is an m by 1 vector of residuals, or errors in equations. It is assumed that the means of all the variables are equal to zero – that is, that the variables are expressed in deviation scores. Also, it is assumed that ζ and ξ are uncorrelated, and that B is nonsingular. The measurement model specifies the relations between unobserved and observed, or latent and manifest, variables. Two equations describe this model: y = Λyn + є… x = Λrξ + δ
Control Condition To minimize uncertainty and maximize the availability of relevant information, scientists collect data (measurements from observations that are usually recorded using numbers). Whether in the context of formal research activity (“Is this advertising campaign working?”) or our personal lives (“Where should I go to college?”) the goal is to make as informed a decision as possible, backed up with as much relevant data as we can collect. In a formal research setting, data are carefully collected under controlled conditions so that they will hold the promise of containing needed information. As sound and potentially valuable as data may be, however, they will not yield their information without a struggle. Information is coy. It likes to disguise itself and stay hidden in a jumble of numbers. We have to flush it out into the open using special tools— the tools that comprise statistical analysis. By subjecting the data to formal computational procedures, we can distill the information that is in the data into forms that can be understood, communicated, and used for practical purposes. Without the organizing and summarizing of information that is accomplished by statistical analysis, we would tend to be overwhelmed and confused—aimlessly adrift in a sea of numbers. To understand the role of statistical analysis as an information-gathering tool, it helps to regard the numerical representation of data as a code. If numbers are the coded representations of our observations, we need to crack the code to make available all the information the numbers hold. The techniques of descriptive statistics are, in a sense, decoding devices that pull the information from the data and allow us to see properties and relationships that could otherwise go unnoticed.
Goal Threats and Vigilant Despair • Attachment: Am I loved? • Social exclusion • Rejection: nobody wanted to work with you • Relationship dissolution • Isolation: alone more and more in life • Self-Worth: Am I good enough? • LISREL statistics • False feedback on Intelligence Test • Uncertain Dilemmas and Identities • Mortality Salience (Terror Management Theory) • Own physical death, decay, and feelings associated • All of the above goals affected • Must be experiential threats to goals: not abstract or hypothetical threats, e.g., not dental pain
Thought Suppression: Ironic Processes and Rebound • Try to not think about a “white bear” • Distraction, time course • White bear Rebound • Same for threats • Threat rebound and BIS self-consciousness • Threats are contagious
Goal Threat and Despair value possible-self role goal attitude defining-memory role attitude group relationship value goal culture trait defining-memory trait possible-self culture group relationship
Narrative Integrity, Meaning, and Resilience traits groups goals values roles relationships defining possible memories selves Know thyself! …. But defenses easier in the short term… e.g.,…
Grandiose Ideals: Defensive Pride • Become boastful, independent, arrogant, unlikable • Which relieve personal distress for the moment • Positive illusions? Self-delusion? • Narcissism as an addiction to self-esteem • Becomes unconscious form of repression • No awareness because Operant Conditioning (recall video: Motivation & Reward Learning) • Dangerous when one is unaware of illusions
Other Forms of Compensatory Idealism • Opinion Convictions • Idealistic Opinions: capital punishment, Iraq, terrorism • Values and Worldview • E.g., moral outrage, • Attachment Relationships • Idealized love • Goup-Identification and Consensus • My group is better than your group and we all agree • Political Conservatism and Authoritarianism • Stability and power (simple structure…Need for Closure) • All of the above are psychologically conservative
Eager Displacement Goals Eager Displacement Ideals?
Ideals As Abstract Goals (Carver & Scheier; Powers; Higgins; Vallacher & Wegner) Ideals, Meanings, Values, Worldviews, Self-Guides Concrete Goals
Goal RegulationApproach Uh-Oh! Oh No!Approach/Avoid Anxious vigilance Scans for viable alternatives Resume eagerabsorption in approach
Motivational For Extremes Possible Threat Ideal Extremes Eager Approach Approach Avoid
Threat and Exaggerated Goal-Approach List 10 personal projects and rate them on: • Determination: Are you firmly determined to complete it, even if it requires sacrifices? • Outcome: Will you succeed at it? • Value-Congruence: Does it reflect your important life values? • Self-Identity: Does it reflect who you truly are? • Promote ideals: Does it promote your ideals? • Prevent fears (reversed): Does it prevent your fears?
Who is Defensive? • Highly Approach-Motivated People • High Self-Esteem, Narcissism, Dismissive Attach, Aggression, Promotion-Focus, BAS, Extraversion • Highly Avoidance-Motivated Vulnerable People • Low implicit self-esteem, uncertainty aversion, Need for Closure/Structure, Preference for Consistency, Depressed, Anxious, Low Self-Control, Anxious Attach, Prevention-Focused, BIS, Neuroticism • Low Self-Compassion • Self-Kindness, Common-Humanity, Mindfulness
Fascist Consensus (at low implicit)(McGregor, Nail, Marigold, & Kang, 2005, JPSP)
Fascist Consensus (at high implicit)(McGregor, Nail, Marigold, & Kang, 2005, JPSP)