Social Cognitive Theory Case Study

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 8:28:06 AM

Social Cognitive Theory Case Study



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Albert Bandura Social Cognitive Theory and Vicarious Learning

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The results suggest that this ability to wait for gratification is not only an essential skill for success but also something that forms early on and lasts throughout life. If you saw someone in trouble, do you think you would try to help? Psychologists have found that the answer to this question is highly dependent on the number of other people present. We are much more likely to help when we are the only witness but much less likely to lend a hand when we are part of a crowd. The phenomenon came to the public's attention after the gruesome murder of a young woman named Kitty Genovese.

According to the classic tale, while multiple people may have witnessed her attack, no one called for help until it was much too late. This behavior was identified as an example of the bystander effect , or the failure of people to take action when there are other people present. In reality, several witnesses did immediately call , so the real Genovese case was not a perfect example of the bystander effect.

In one classic experiment, researchers had participants sit in a room to fill out questionnaires. Suddenly, the room began to fill with smoke. In some cases the participant was alone, in some there were three unsuspecting participants in the room, and in the final condition, there was one participant and two confederates. In the situation involving the two confederates who were in on the experiment, these actors ignored the smoke and went on filling out their questionnaires.

When the participants were alone, about three-quarters of the participants left the room calmly to report the smoke to the researchers. When something is happening, but no one seems to be responding, people tend to take their cues from the group and assume that a response is not required. Have you ever felt like people have judged you unfairly based on your appearance? Or have you ever gotten the wrong first impression of someone based on how they looked? Unfortunately, people are all too quick to base their decisions on snap judgments made when they first meet people. These impressions based on what's on the outside sometimes cause people to overlook the characteristics and qualities that lie on the inside.

In one rather amusing social experiment, which actually started out as an advertisement , unsuspecting couples walked into a crowded movie theater. All but two of the seats were already full. The twist is that the already-filled seats were taken by a bunch of rather rugged and scary-looking male bikers. What would you do in this situation? Would you take one of the available seats and enjoy the movie, or would you feel intimidated and leave?

In the informal experiment, not all of the couples ended up taking a seat, but those who eventually did were rewarded with cheers from the crowd and a round of free Carlsberg beers. The exercise served as a great example of why people shouldn't always judge a book by its cover. In an experiment described in a paper published in , psychologist Edward Thorndike asked commanding officers in the military to give ratings of various characteristics of their subordinates.

Thorndike was interested in learning how impressions of one quality, such as intelligence, bled over onto perceptions of other personal characteristics, such as leadership, loyalty, and professional skill. For example, thinking someone is attractive can create a halo effect that leads people also to believe that a person is kind, smart, and funny. Negative feelings about one characteristic lead to negative impressions of an individual's other features. When people have a good impression of one characteristic, those good feelings tend to affect perceptions of other qualities. During the late s, researcher Lee Ross and his colleagues performed some eye-opening experiments.

They found that no matter which option the respondents chose, they tended to believe that the vast majority of other people would also choose the same option. In another study, the experimenters asked students on campus to walk around carrying a large advertisement that read "Eat at Joe's. The researchers then asked the students to estimate how many other people would agree to wear the advertisement. They found that those who agreed to carry the sign believed that the majority of people would also agree to carry the sign. Those who refused felt that the majority of people would refuse as well. The results of these experiments demonstrate what is known in psychology as the false consensus effect.

No matter what our beliefs, options, or behaviors, we tend to believe that the majority of other people also agree with us and act the same way we do. Social psychology is a rich and varied field that offers fascinating insights into how people behave in groups and how behavior is influenced by social pressures. Exploring some of these classic social psychology experiments can provide a glimpse at some of the fascinating research that has emerged from this field of study.

Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign up to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter. Sherif M. Superordinate goals in the reduction of intergroup conflict. American Journal of Sociology. Social Stairs: Taking the Piano Staircase towards long-term behavioral change. In: Berkovsky S, Freyne J, eds. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg; Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Predicting adolescent cognitive and self-regulatory competencies from preschool delay of gratification: Identifying diagnostic conditions. Developmental Psychology. Benderly, BL. Psychology's tall tales. Social cognitive personality theory is one of the two predominant frameworks in contemporary personality science, the other being trait theory of course. Rather than traits, social cognitive theory uses different units of analysis. There is an emphasis on beliefs, particularly beliefs involving the self. This makes researchers interested in how those beliefs develop, and how they are activated in different social contexts.

It also examines the different social contexts that influence how we characteristically think, feel, and behave. Although social cognitive theory has had tremendous influence, it has not impacted how clinicians assess personality — which is a shame in my opinion. But I think there are reasons why social cognitive personality assessment approaches have not been adequately developed for clinical assessment and therefore are not represented in personality assessment books that get assigned to clinical graduate students.

You could easily give someone a measure of the Big 5, but from a social cognitive perspective, personality is more complicated. More recently, Dan Cervone developed the Knowledge and Appraisal Architecture Model to integrate these earlier social cognitive theories. He also specified principles for personality assessment. In our EJP paper, we describe how PICA can generate descriptions of how social cognitive personality structures, including temperament, beliefs, goals, and evaluative standards, are activated in certain types of situations. These situations appeared to activate multiple personality structures, including a self-with-father schema, an important evaluative standard of being self-disciplined, as well as a highly behaviorally inhibited temperament.

As a result, when reflecting on these past situations, the client would engage in characteristic personality processes that included self-blaming appraisals, feelings of regret, sadness, fear, and behavioral tendencies to ruminate and withdraw. In the EJP paper, we found that our case study client could be described by five such if-then signatures, each produced by multiple personality structures in interaction with the environment. In summary, there is a schism between the practice of clinical personality assessment and the science of personality, which I've been aware of for quite a while. The foundations of many of our clinical personality assessment measures were established over 50 years ago. My main motivation is to develop a method of assessing personality that applies some of this knowledge and which clinicians can use to get a better portrayal of the person in context.

As clinicians, we are interested in the individual and in the personality structures that exist within that individual. The value of doing a personality assessment is that it may point to personality structures in the individual which influence how they're thinking, feeling, and behaving in problematic or distressing circumstances. My criticism of the trait approach is one that Dan Cervone and others have made. Namely, the Big 5 traits that have been identified at the population level are between-person constructs.

When you look within the individual, the Big 5 don't seem to replicate. A good example for contrasting the trait approach with the social cognitive approach is temperament. Those individuals tend to be more reactive in unfamiliar or challenging circumstances and show some consistency over the life course. For example, at age 7, they tend to be shyer in unfamiliar situations. However, when they are in familiar situations, people who are high on behavioral inhibition will look just like the rest of us. It's in situations that are unfamiliar that behaviorally inhibitive behavior is activated.

Thus, a temperament type is a person-in-context variable that exists within the individual. It involves certain brain structure systems that lead them to be a little more reactive than other people. Certainly, measures of temperament and traits correlate. But I think it is important to assess personality using measures that represent variables in the person in a content valid manner. An advantage of taking a social cognitive approach is that it links participants to their actual life context. We completed an online study on PICA last spring semester with undergraduates.

There were four sessions. In the first session, we had participants complete measures of mood and anxiety symptoms and psychological well-being. In the second session, they completed our PICA measure. In the third session, they received written and oral feedback via Zoom. In the fourth session, they completed the same measures as in the first session. We found that these participants reported significant reductions in mood and anxiety symptoms, and significant increases in psychological well-being. The participants also reported that they had experienced increased self-understanding as a result of participating in this method and receiving feedback. We also have a second study that we're planning in the clinic where we're going to apply the same method with clients who are showing no improvement in depressive or anxiety symptoms over 5 to 10 therapy sessions.

It's a replicated single-case design to see if we can see any effects there as well. For the next couple of years, we will be further developing this PICA method and testing it more rigorously, such as doing some controlled random assignment experiments and further developing the measures. For instance, we published a couple of papers on a new measure of self-schemata and adapted a different measure of goal systems to try to capture people's goal representations and how they think about those goals. This latter pursuit may require further development of measures of specific constructs, which will keep me busy. When I saw that question, I started thinking about the mistakes I've made as a researcher. First of all, I would recommend some pretty trite advice — do what excites you, what interests you, what engages you.

Doing research is hard - getting a really exciting idea, then developing and refining it, and then developing a method to investigate it, etc.. We study things that are difficult to observe, and you need to look carefully at your procedures, including how you measure what you are evaluating and to see if they are capturing the construct that you're interested in. The details can present real obstacles. That is, do this if you've got a good question and you've developed a good method, with good measures, of course. I've had a couple of studies in my career where I was excited about an idea and went into it with a strong expectation of what I'd find.

And then the results were different than what I expected. My first impulse was to distrust the data.

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