Lesson 4

Short Answer

4. Define defense mechanism. Identify two common defense mechanisms and provide your own examples of each.

Defense mechanism is the mental strategies used by the ego to defend itself against conflicts experienced in the normal course of life. Fantasy and isolation are two common defense mechanisms. Daydreaming is one of the examples of fantasy – when a person is very poor, for example, he/she may imagine what he/she will eat, what he/she will dress, where he/she will live etc. that is opposite to the current reality. In this way, the person gratifies the frustrated desires in imaginary achievements. And, about the isolation, it refers to cutting off emotional charge from hurtful situations or separating incompatible attitudes into logic-tight compartments. For example, once upon a time a person was teased after a poor show that he/she cannot forget the pain of shame, the person may isolate him/herself from any other performances so that he/she can avoid any other hurtful events.

5. Identify three criticisms of Freud’s theory of personality.

Firstly, psychoanalytic concepts are vague and not operationally defined; much of the theory is difficult to evaluate scientifically. Because some of Freudian theory’s central hypotheses cannot be disproved, the structure of personality is not scientific enough to be an effective theory.

Secondly, the Freudian theory of personality is only good for the history but not for the cases in the future. Freudian theory is retrospective that is only suitable for the past cases; Freud had solely studied the past events to induce his own theory that was not scientifically proved or experimented even in his own era. Thus, Freudian theory of personality lacks of scientific supports and cannot predict the further cases.

Thirdly, Freudian theory of personality is a developmental theory with no observations or studies of children. That is, Freud’s theory is some concepts solely with thinking and reasoning; it is not scientific enough to be included in psychology. Meanwhile, Freudian theory of personality minimizes traumatic experiences by reinterpreting memories of them as fantasies; that is, Freud has influenced the subject’s thinking and then the results are not bias-free. Moreover, Freudian theory of personality is androcentric that Freud has only given out the male models, while the female models are missing. Therefore, Freudian theory of personality is invalid for females.

6. Briefly describe two cognitive mechanisms that are thought to be associated with impulsivity.

Impulsivity is associated with focusing more attention on immediate compared with delayed rewards, even though the immediate rewards are smaller than the delayed one. People in high impulsivity level will consider the immediate reward rather than the delayed reward, in which the latter one is larger than the former. Thus, those with high impulsivity level will decide to do things according to the immediate reward so that they always ignore the delayed rewards in many decisions.

Meanwhile, between the immediate reward and immediate punishment, those with high impulsivity level will associate decision-making style with the immediate reward, although it is known that the probability of getting a punishment is greater than having a reward. Hence those with high impulsivity level are mainly risk-takers because they will neglect the punishments but concentrate on only the rewards.

7. What are the Big Five personality dimensions? (list each one) Describe the behaviors associated with high levels on any two of these dimensions.

The Big Five personality is a comprehensive descriptive personality system that maps out the relationships among common traits, theoretical concepts, and personality scales. It includes 5 dimensions – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

As for the high extraversion model, the person will be talkative, energetic, and assertive. That is, the person will be more sociable, outgoing, lively etc. that he/she will feel free in the public, have more friends, and communicative. About the high neuroticism model, the person will be stable, calm, and contented. He/she will be very reliable, controlled and careful that be less sociable and passive.

9. Define self-efficacy. Describe the three ways in which we come to make efficacy judgments.

Self-efficacy is the set of beliefs that one can perform adequately in a particular situation. The three ways we come to make efficacy judgments are vicarious experience, persuasion, and monitoring of one’s emotional as one thinks about or approaches a task.