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Compared with the other students in this room, I am a better driver than percent of them.

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Presentation on theme: "Compared with the other students in this room, I am a better driver than percent of them."— Presentation transcript:

1 Compared with the other students in this room, I am a better driver than percent of them.

2 People have “optimistic biases” about: Themselves Better drivers (and other positive traits) than others Their future More likely than others to experience positive events (liking one’s job, owning a home, having a gifted child), less likely to experience negative events (get divorced, have a drinking problem, get fired, attempt suicide). Their control Prefer to pick own lottery numbers

3 People have individual differences in the degree to which they have positive beliefs about: Themselves Self-concept, self-esteem Their future Dispositional optimism, self-efficacy Their control Mastery, locus of control, learned helplessness What causes these traits? Are they useful?

4 People have individual differences in the degree to which they have positive beliefs about: Themselves Self-concept, self-esteem Their future Dispositional optimism, self-efficacy Their control Mastery, locus of control, learned helplessness What causes these traits? Are they useful?

5 Self-concept: Self-discrepancy theory What attributes do you think you possess now? What attributes would you like ideally to possess? What attributes do you or a person important to you think you should possess? ActualIdealOught UnderachieverRichHonors student Fun-lovingCharismaticThorough Ordinary lookingLook like a modelTalented AthleticConcerned about othersCourageous ImpulsiveEnergeticLess impulsive MoodyCheerfulBetter daughter

6 Self-concept: Self-discrepancy theory ActualIdealOught UnderachieverRichHonors student Fun-lovingCharismaticThorough Ordinary lookingLook like a modelTalented AthleticConcerned about othersCourageous ImpulsiveEnergeticLess impulsive MoodyCheerfulBetter daughter failure to obtain own wishes and desires leads to disappointment actual-ideal discrepancy leads to dejection-related emotion

7 Self-concept: Self-discrepancy theory ActualIdealOught UnderachieverRichHonors student Fun-lovingCharismaticThorough Ordinary lookingLook like a modelTalented AthleticConcerned about othersCourageous ImpulsiveEnergeticLess impulsive MoodyCheerfulBetter daughter failure to live up to standards leads to anxiety, guilt actual-ought discrepancy leads to agitation-related emotion

8 Instead of Table 11.11: Prime ideal attributesPrime ought attributesDejection Agitation High discrepancy 3.2 -0.8 0.9 5.1 Low discrepancy -1.2 0.9 0.3 -2.6

9 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Specific positive outcome expectancy: “If I eat 1500 calories/day, I will lose weight” Situational positive outcome expectancy: “I expect to do well in school” Generalized positive outcome expectancy: “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best” www.optimismresearch.net

10 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Negative feedback loop (makes discrepancies smaller) Goal state Current state Not same Action Optimistic expectancies

11 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Negative feedback loop (makes discrepancies smaller) Goal state Current state Not same Action Optimistic expectancies pursuing goals investing time and energy coping with stress

12 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Effects of dispositional optimism Pursuing goals: More success at large (e.g., staying in college) and small (e.g., work out more) goals ~25% ~12%

13 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Effects of dispositional optimism Investing time and energy: Leads to more resources

14 Dispositional optimism: Generalized positive outcome expectancies Effects of dispositional optimism Coping with stress: More use of active coping strategies leads to less distress in distressing situations Approach coping: Active coping “I take action to get rid of the problem”, planning “I try to come up with a strategy about what to do”, positive reinterpretation “I look for something good in what is happening” Avoidance coping: Denial “I refuse to believe that it has happened”, disengagement “I give up the attempt to get what I want”

15 Emotional learning: University of Pennsylvania, 1964 Stage 1 US CS

16 Emotional learning: University of Pennsylvania, 1964 Stage 2: Why won’t the dog jump over the barrier?

17 Something bad and uncontrollable has happened to me. Why? Attributional reformulation of learned helplessness (1978) Internal dimension of attributions: Could this have happened to anyone, or is this something about me? “I’m a bad person” vs. “He’s a bad person” Stable dimension of attributions: Is this cause going to be present in the future, or was this a one-time thing? “I’m a clumsy person” vs. “I left a rake on the lawn” Global dimension of attributions: Is this cause going to affect more than one area of my life? “I’m a bad student” vs. “I’m bad at French” Internal + stable + global for negative events = attributional or explanatory pessimism

18 Something bad and uncontrollable has happened to me. Why? Attributional reformulation of learned helplessness (1978) Sample attributions from an interview with a breast cancer patient: I couldn’t do anything all weekend... because I felt so rotten. When the breast cancer came up, I had to ask and ask to get information... doctors just seem like they don’t want to talk to you about your condition. My husband hasn’t come in to the hospital very much... he drives a truck and this is his busiest time of year. I have difficulty with tasks around the house... soreness has caused me to be able to do very little at all.

19 Something bad and uncontrollable has happened to me. Why? Attributional reformulation of learned helplessness (1978) Effects of a pessimistic attributional style: Depression Success in politics and business Presidential candidates and the popular vote (r =.65) Insurance agents Health and longevity Harvard graduates (r =.03 at 35,.37 at 45,.22 at 55) Hall of Fame baseball players before 35 (r =.26)


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