290ch7 - Chapter 7 Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects...

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Chapter 7: Cognitive and Social-Cognitive Aspects of Personality Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution expanded thinking about human nature cognitive psychology begins Gestalt Psychology An intellectual movement that began in Germany; the whole may be greater than its parts Central theories 1. Human beings seem meaning in their environments 2. We organize the sensations we receive from the world around us into meaningful perceptions 3. Complex stimuli are not reducible to the sum of their parts German word Gestalt = pattern or configuration View that configuration of a complex stimulus is its essence Triangle (pg. 221): claim that perception involves a search for meaning and that this meaning can be emergent property that is not found within a single element triangle that most people perceive: emerges” from juxtaposition of incomplete circles; exists in the mind of the perceiver, but not in the picture itself Kurt Lewin first made Gestalt psych. Influence personality psychology (unlike other Gestalt theorist, Kurt focused efforts in areas of personality and social/ not perception and problem solving Field Theory : Lewin’s approach to personality, suggesting that 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 Life Space : all the internal and external forces that act on an individual (ex. a person’s family may be one region of the life space and religion another) Contemporaneous causation: personality focused on the momentary condition of the individual; behavior caused at the moment of its occurrence by all the influenced that are present in the individual at that moment Cognitive Style Variables
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Cognitive Style : an individual’s distinctive, enduring way of dealing with everyday tasks of perception and problem solving Field Dependence: the extent to which an individual’s problem solving is influenced by salient but irrelevant aspects of the context in which the problem occurs tends to be consistent in an individual overtime Field Independent : not as influenced by contextual factors; extent to which an individual’s problem solving is not influenced by salient by irrelevant aspects of the context in which the problem occurs; more analytical/ allows for more complex restructuring in problem solving Characteristics associated with field indep. (pg 224) Cognitive complexity : the extent to which a person comprehends, utilizes, and is comfortable with greater number of distinctions or separate elements by drawing connections or relationships among them (comfort in dealing with uncertainty) Learning Style: the characteristic way in which an individual approaches a
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