ADOLESCENCE

Adolescence, the transitional stage of development between childhood and adulthood, represents the period of time during which a person experiences a variety of biological changes and encounters a number of emotional issues. The ages which are considered to be part of adolescence vary by culture. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescence covers the period of life between 10 and 20 years of age.

• Adolescence is often divided by psychologists into three distinct phases: early, mid, and late adolescence. Adolescence can be a specifically turbulent as well as a dynamic period of one’s life.
• It has been identified as a period in which young people develop abstract thinking abilities, become more aware of their sexuality, develop a clearer sense of psychological identity, and increase their independence from parents.
• G. Stanley Hall denoted this period as one of “Storm and Stress” and, according to him, conflict at this developmental stage is normal and not unusual.
• Margaret Mead, on the other hand, attributed the behavior of adolescents to their culture and upbringing.
• Several developmental stage models have placed adolescence in a period of human development.
• Sigmund Freud saw it as the “genital phase” of psychosexual development, where the child recaptures the sexual awareness of infancy.
• Jean Piaget focused on cognitive development, seeing adolescence as the “formal operative stage” where the young person develops the ability to think abstractly and draw conclusions from the information available.
• Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development identified the identity crisis as central to the notion of adolescence.
• Adolescent psychology addresses the issues associated with adolescence, such as whether or not the aforementioned “storm and stress” is a normal part of this period.
• Adolescents are widely considered by the psychological establishment to be prone to recklessness and risk-taking behaviors, which can lead to substance abuse, car accidents, unsafe sex, and youth crime.
• There is some evidence that this risk-taking is biologically driven, caused by the social and emotional part of the brain developing faster than the cognitive-control part of the brain(frontal cortex)
• Although most adolescents are psychologically healthy, they can (like adults) exhibit signs of mental illness.
• Late adolescence and early adulthood are peak years for the onset of schizophrenia.
• Mood disorders such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders can initially show in adolescence. For example, girls aged between 15 and 19 make up 40% of anorexia nervosa cases.

Adolescence: Indian Context

• In contemporary India while adolescence is a comparatively new term, the word
• youth is better known and has been used at the levels of policy formulation and
• programming (Singh 1997).
• However, even the ancient text of Dharamashastra recognized the crucial nature
• of adolescence and prescribed specific codes of conduct for the phase.

• These codes are deeply rooted in the Indian psyche and continue to influence cultural practices
• towards adolescents in a powerful manner.

• The family universally is acknowledged as an institution of socialisation, however, it plays a major role in the life of an Indian.

• Despite the fast pace of social change, it continues to have a direct bearing on adolescents’ development, since most young people stay in family until adulthood or even later in the case of joint family set-up.

• Most Indian families observe sacred ritualistic ceremonies at various stages of life cycle. The onset of puberty is acknowledged by the family and new code of conduct is prescribed both for boys and girls.
• The interplay of biological changes and social attitude determines the psychological meaning of puberty.

• The onset of puberty marks the beginning of adolescence. There are individual as well as cultural differences in the length of adolescence and in the age of onset and completion.

• The physical changes of pubescence signal the beginning of this phase. The stage of adolescence is likely to end earlier in primitive cultures and later in technological ones.

• Several studies have indicated that Indian parents rarely provide the desired support to growing adolescents regarding biological and physiological changes as also the meaning attached to these.

• Youth sexuality stands out as an important aspect which is inadequately understood; taboos to access information and lack of counseling services make youngsters turn to peers and other sources of information.

• We need to be aware that distorted information has consequences related to exploitation, abuse, mental health problems and risk of HIV/AIDS.

• Providing awareness services and strengthening capabilities of institutions like family, community and school to act as sources of correct information are thus important and need to be given attention.

• Adolescents –include both boys and girls but in Indian context these two have very different experiences during growing years including adolescence, the cultural differences are vast with regard to their conduct and are based on traditional adult roles stereotypes.

• Growing as a female in India carries with it the connotation of inferior status, and lesser privileges-as compared to a male child.

• It cuts across all social classes of the society and through entire lifespan. For a girl, the onset of puberty implies more restrictions on her movement, fewer interactions with boys and men, and more active participation in household chores.

• Boys begin to exercise greater freedom to move about, expected to seek educational and vocational pursuits as a priority and to take adult roles.

• Besides age old gender distinctions, there are many variations in the current images of adolescent’s in India.

• The variations arise from factors such as urban, rural and tribal residence, ethnicity and socio economic levels of the family.

• Lifestyle of urban adolescents from upper class is quite different from that of middleclass and lower-class adolescents.

• Former have access to private, good quality education and are influenced by western ways of life style through travel and exposure; their preferences for music, clothes and interaction with opposite sex are very close to the western counter parts.

• On the surface there does not appear to be any gender discrimination in the families of these adolescents but covertly they do exist.
• Pursuing educational endeavours is encouraged both in upper and middle urban class.
• Urban Adolescents from lower class have to struggle for survival and grow in impoverished, disadvantaged environment making them vulnerable to several risks.

• The picture of rural adolescents is different; the disparity between boys and girls is even greater among them. Less emphasis on formal education makes boys and girls participate in adult activities at home and outside at an early age.

• The rapidly changing social, political and economical scenario in the world has not left Indian family untouched.

• It is going through structural and functional modifications that have a bearing on adolescent’s socialization and parent child relations.

• Weakening of social support from kinship, movement of women empowerment, exposure to media, increasing competitive demands of the market economy and higher standards of achievement are a few aspects that have changed the family dynamics in the recent past.

• The need for differential values, competencies and coping styles between parents and adolescents are a source of anxiety and stress both for adolescents and parents.

• The ambiguity of values that adolescents observe in the adult world, the absence of powerful role models, increasing gaps between aspirations and possible achievements, not surprisingly, lead to alienation and identity diffusion.

• Parents themselves appear ill prepared to cope with social change, having grown up in hierarchically structured and interlinked social and caste groups that provided stability.

• The conflict between parents’ desire to help their adolescent children cope with the changing demands of their own rootedness in tradition expresses itself in the cold feet syndrome when things go wrong.

• Parents who apparently seem modern, but if their child breaches established social codes, intergenerational conflicts related to marriage, career choice, or separate living arrangements result in the tendency to fall back on tradition.

• Amidst all this turmoil, while the outward form of family is changing, Indian family has the advantage of its heritage with well defined value system related to social relations and prescriptions of the ideal way of life.

• Adolescents across all sections of the society thus have a family as an ‘anchor’ that supports them to cope with challenges of transition to adulthood.

• Family as an institution in India therefore, has a potent role in influencing adolescents.

• Capacity building of its members to provide timely support and monitoring signs of dangers to save adolescents from slipping into risks, can be an important strategy/approach.
• Involvement of parents has increasingly now been used in planned interventions of governmental and voluntary sectors.

GENETIC EPISTEMOLOGY

WHAT IS GENETIC EPISTEMOLOGY?

• Genetic epistemology is a study of the origins (genesis) of knowledge (epistemology).
• The discipline was established by Jean Piaget.
• The goal of genetic epistemology is to link the validity of knowledge to the model of its construction.
• In other words, it shows that the method in which the knowledge was obtained/created affects the validity of that knowledge.
• For example, our direct experience with gravity makes our knowledge of it more valid than our indirect experience with black holes.
• Genetic epistemology also explains the process of how a human being develops cognitively from birth throughout his or her life through four primary stages of development: sensorimotor (birth to age 2), preoperational (2-7), concrete operational (7-11), and formal operational (11 years onward).
• The main focus is on the younger years of development. Progress from one stage to another comes by way of a process of development.
• Assimilation, occurs when the perception of a new event or object occurs to the learner in an existing schema and is usually used in the context of self motivation.
• Accommodation, one accommodates the experiences according to the outcome of the tasks.
• The highest form of development is equilibration. Equilibration encompasses both assimilation and accommodation as the learner changes their way of thinking in order to arrive at a correct or different answer. This is the upper level of development.
• Jean Piaget did not consider himself a psychologist – instead he called his study Genetic Epistemology.
• In contemporary English, genetics refers to the functions of heredity, rather than the more broad reference to biological concerns.
• Contemporary reference to his studies would more likely give you the terminology ‘developmental theory of knowledge’.
• Piaget believed that knowledge is a biological function that results from the actions of an individual and is borne out of change and transformation.
• He also stated that knowledge consists of structures, and comes about by the adaptation of these structures with the environment.
• From the standpoint of logic, Piaget’s genetic epistemology is a half-way house between formal logic and dialectical logic; from the standpoint of epistemology, Piaget’s genetic epistemology is a half-way house between objective idealism and materialism.

SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY

WHAT IS SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY?
• Social cognitive theory is a learning theory based on the idea that people learn by watching what others do and will not do, these processes are central to understanding personality.
• While social cognitivists agree that there is a fair amount of influence on development generated by learned behavior displayed in the environment in which one grows up, they believe that the individual person (and therefore cognition) is just as important in determining moral development.
• People learn by observing others, with the environment, behavior, and cognition all as the chief factors in influencing development.
• These three factors are not static or independent; rather, they are all reciprocal. For example, each behavior witnessed can change a person’s way of thinking (cognition). Similarly, the environment one is raised in may influence later behaviors, just as a father’s mindset (also cognition) will determine the environment in which his children are raised.

History:

• Social cognitive theory stemmed out of work in the area of social learning theory proposed by N.E. Miller and J. Dollard in 1941.
• Their proposition posits that if one were motivated to learn a particular behavior, then that particular behavior would be learned through clear observations.
• By imitating these observed actions the individual observer would solidify that learned action and would be rewarded with positive reinforcement.
• The proposition of social learning was expanded upon and theorized by Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura from 1962 onwards.The theorists most commonly associated with social cognitive theory are Albert Bandura and Walter Mischel.

Morality:

Social cognitive theory emphasizes a large difference between an individual’s ability to be morally competent and morally performing. Moral competence involves having the ability to perform a moral behavior, whereas moral performance indicates actually following one’s idea of moral behavior in a specific situation. Moral competencies include:
• what an individual is capable of
• what an individual knows
• what an individual’s skills are
• an individual’s awareness of moral rules and regulations
• an individual’s cognitive ability to construct behaviors

As far as an individual’s development is concerned, moral competence is the growth of cognitive-sensory processes; simply put, being aware of what is considered right and wrong. By comparison, moral performance is influenced by the possible rewards and incentives to act a certain way. For example, a person’s moral competence might tell them that stealing is wrong and frowned upon by society; however, if the reward for stealing is a substantial sum, their moral performance might indicate a different line of thought. Therein lies the core of social cognitive theory.

Observation of models:
• Social cognitive theory revolves around the process of knowledge acquisition or learning directly correlated to the observation of models.
• The models can be those of an interpersonal imitation or media sources.
• Effective modeling teaches general rules and strategies for dealing with different situations.

Bobo Doll Behavior: A Study of Aggression
• To illustrate that people learn from watching others, Albert Bandura constructed an experiment entitled “Bobo Doll Behavior: A Study of Aggression.”
• In this experiment Bandura exposed a group of children to a video featuring violent and aggressive action.
• After making them watch the video he then placed the children in a room with a Bobo doll to see how they behaved with it.
• Through this experiment, Bandura discovered that children who had watched the violent video subjected the dolls to more aggressive and violent behavior, while children not exposed to the video did not.
• This experiment displays the social cognitive theory because it depicts how people reenact behaviors they see in the media.
• In this case, the children in this experiment reenacted the model of violence they directly learned from the video.
• As a result of the observations the reinforcement explains that the observer does not expect actual rewards or punishments but anticipates similar outcomes to his/her imitated behaviors and allows for these effects to work.
• All these variations allowed Bandura to establish that there were certain steps involved in the modeling process:
 Attention. If you are going to learn anything, you have to be paying attention. Likewise, anything that puts a damper on attention is going to decrease learning, including observational learning.
 Some of the things that influence attention involve characteristics of the model. If the model is colorful and dramatic, for example, we pay more attention. If the model is attractive, or prestigious, or appears to be particularly competent, you will pay more attention. And if the model seems more like yourself, you pay more attention. These kinds of variables directed Bandura towards an examination of television and its effects on kids!
 Retention. Second, you must be able to retain — remember — what you have paid attention to. This is where imagery and language come in: we store what we have seen the model doing in the form of mental images or verbal descriptions. When so stored, you can later “bring up” the image or description, so that you can reproduce it with your own behavior.
 Reproduction. At this point, you’re just sitting there daydreaming. You have to translate the images or descriptions into actual behavior. So you have to have the ability to reproduce the behavior in the first place. I can watch Olympic ice skaters all day long, yet not be able to reproduce their jumps, because I can’t ice skate at all! On the other hand, if I could skate, my performance would in fact improve if I watch skaters who are better than I am.
 Another important tidbit about reproduction is that our ability to imitate improves with practice at the behaviors involved. And one more tidbit: Our abilities improve even when we just imagine ourselves performing! Many athletes, for example, imagine their performance in their mind’s eye prior to actually performing.
 Motivation. And yet, with all this, you’re still not going to do anything unless you are motivated to imitate, i.e. until you have some reason for doing it. Bandura mentions a number of motives:
 a. past reinforcement, ala traditional behaviorism.
b. promised reinforcements (incentives) that we can imagine.
c. vicarious reinforcement — seeing and recalling the model being reinforced.
 Notice that these are, traditionally, considered to be the things that “cause” learning. Bandura is saying that they don’t so much cause learning as cause us to demonstrate what we have learned. That is, he sees them as motives.
 Of course, the negative motivations are there as well, giving you reasons not to imitate someone:
 d. past punishment.
e. promised punishment (threats).
d. vicarious punishment.
 Like most traditional behaviorists, Bandura says that punishment in whatever form does not work as well as reinforcement and, in fact, has a tendency to “backfire” on us.
 Self-regulation — controlling our own behavior — is the other “workhorse” of human personality. Here Bandura suggests three steps:
 1. Self-observation. We look at ourselves, our behavior, and keep tabs on it.
 2. Judgment. We compare what we see with a standard. For example, we can compare our performance with traditional standards, such as “rules of etiquette.” Or we can create arbitrary ones, like “I’ll read a book a week.” Or we can compete with others, or with ourselves.
 3. Self-response. If you did well in comparison with your standard, you give yourself rewarding self-responses. If you did poorly, you give yourself punishing self-responses. These self-responses can range from the obvious (treating yourself to a sundae or working late) to the more covert (feelings of pride or shame).
 A very important concept in psychology that can be understood well with self-regulation is self-concept (better known as self-esteem). If, over the years, you find yourself meeting your standards and life loaded with self-praise and self-reward, you will have a pleasant self-concept (high self-esteem). If, on the other hand, you find yourself forever failing to meet your standards and punishing yourself, you will have a poor self-concept (low self-esteem).
 Recall that behaviorists generally view reinforcement as effective, and punishment as fraught with problems. The same goes for self-punishment. Bandura sees three likely results of excessive self-punishment:
 a. compensation — a superiority complex, for example, and delusions of grandeur.
b. inactivity — apathy, boredom, depression.
c. escape — drugs and alcohol, television fantasies or even the ultimate escape, suicide.
 These have some resemblance to the unhealthy personalities Adler and Horney talk about: an aggressive type, a compliant type, and an avoidant type respectively.
 Bandura’s recommendations to those who suffer from poor self-concepts come straight from the three steps of self-regulation:
 1. Regarding self-observation — know thyself! Make sure you have an accurate picture of your behavior.
 2. Regarding standards — make sure your standards aren’t set too high. Don’t set yourself up for failure! Standards that are too low, on the other hand, are meaningless.
 3. Regarding self-response — use self-rewards, not self-punishments. Celebrate your victories, don’t dwell on your failures.

EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

• In education, teachers play the role as model in a child’s learning acquisition.
• Teachers model both material objectives and underlying curriculum of virtuous living.
• Teachers should also be dedicated to the building of high self-efficacy levels in their students by recognizing their accomplishments.
• Identification, self-efficacy, and vicarious learning: Albert Bandura also stressed that the easiest way to display moral development would be via the consideration of multiple factors, be they social, cognitive, or environmental.
• The relationship between the aforementioned three factors provides even more insight into the complex concept that is morality.
• Further development in social cognitive theory posits that learning will most likely occur if there is a close identification between the observer and the model and if the observer also has a good deal of self-efficacy.
• Identification allows the observer to feel a one-to-one connection with the individual being imitated and will be more likely to achieve those imitations if the observer feels that they have the ability to follow through with the imitated action.
• Self-efficacy has also been used to predict behavior in various health related situations such as weight loss, quitting smoking, and recovery from heart attack.
• In relation to exercise science, self-efficacy has produced some of the most consistent results revealing an increase in participation in exercise as self-efficacy increases.
• Vicarious learning, or the process of learning from other people’s behavior, is a central idea of social cognitive theory and self-efficacy.
• This idea asserts that individuals can witness observed behaviors of others and then reproduce the same actions. As a result of this, individuals refrain from making mistakes and can perform behaviors better if they see individuals complete them successfully.
• Vicarious learning is a part of social modeling which is one of the four means to increase self-efficacy.
• Social modeling refers not just observing behavior but also receiving instruction and guidance of how to complete a behavior. The other three methods include, mastery experience, improving physical and emotional states and verbal persuasion.
• Mastery experience is a process in which the therapist or interventionist facilitates the success of an individual by achieving simple incremental goals. With the achievement of simple tasks, more complex objectives are introduced. The person essentially masters a behavior step by step.
• Improving physical and emotional states refers to ensuring a person is rested and relaxed prior to attempting a new behavior.
• The less relaxed, the less patient, the more likely the goal behavior will not be attained.
• Finally, verbal persuasion is providing encouragement for a person to complete a task or achieve a certain behavior.
________________________________________

INTELLIGENCE TESTS

Types of Tests
Intelligence tests can be given individually or to groups of people. The best-known individual intelligence tests are the Binet-Simon scale, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

The Binet-Simon Scale
• Alfred Binet and his colleague Theodore Simon devised this general test of mental ability in 1905, and it was revised in 1908 and 1911. The test yielded scores in terms of mental age. Mental age is the chronological age that typically corresponds to a particular level of performance.
• Example: A ten-year-old child whose score indicates a mental age of twelve performed like a typical twelve-year-old.

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale

• In 1916, Lewis Terman and his colleagues at Stanford University created the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale by expanding and revising the Binet-Simon scale. The Stanford-Binet yielded scores in terms of intelligence quotients. The intelligence quotient (IQ) is the mental age divided by the chronological age and multiplied by 100. IQ scores allowed children of different ages to be compared.
• Example: A ten-year-old whose performance resembles that of a typical twelve-year-old has an IQ of 120 (12 divided by 10 times 100).
There are two problems with the intelligence quotient approach:
1. The score necessary to be in the top range of a particular age group varies, depending on age.
2. The scoring system had no meaning for adults. For example, a fifty-year-old man who scores like a thirty-year-old can’t accurately be said to have low intelligence.
The Stanford-Binet was revised in 1937, 1960, 1973, and 1986.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
• David Wechsler published the first test for assessing intelligence in adults in 1939.
• The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale contains many items that assess nonverbal reasoning ability and therefore depends less on verbal ability that does the Stanford-Binet.
• It also provides separate scores of verbal intelligence and nonverbal or performance intelligence, as well as a score that indicates overall intelligence.
• The term intelligence quotient, or IQ, is also used to describe the score on the Wechsler test. However, the Wechsler test presented scores based on a normal distribution of data rather than the intelligence quotient.
• The normal distribution is a symmetrical bell-shaped curve that represents how characteristics like IQ are distributed in a large population. In this scoring system, the mean IQ score is set at 100, and the standard deviation is set at 15. The test is constructed so that about two-thirds of people tested (68 percent) will score within one standard deviation of the mean, or between 85 and 115.
• On the Wechsler test, the IQ score reflects where a person falls in the normal distribution of IQ scores. Therefore, this score, like the original Stanford-Binet IQ score, is a relative score, indicating how the test taker’s score compares to the scores of other people.
• Most current intelligence tests, including the revised versions of the Stanford-Binet, now have scoring systems based on the normal distribution.
• About 95 percent of the population will score between 70 and 130 (within two standard deviations from the mean), and about 99.7 percent of the population will score between 55 and 145 (within three standard deviations from the mean).

Group Intelligence Tests
• Individual intelligence tests can be given only by specially trained psychologists.
• Such tests are expensive and time-consuming to administer, and so educational institutions often use tests that can be given to a group of people at the same time.
• Commonly used group intelligence tests include the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and the Lorge-Thorndike Intelligence Test.

Biological Tests of Intelligence
Some researchers have suggested that biological indices such as reaction time and perceptual speed relate to intelligence as measured by IQ tests:
• Reaction time: the amount of time a subject takes to respond to a stimulus, such as by pushing a button when a light is presented.
• Perceptual speed: the amount of time a person takes to accurately perceive and discriminate between stimuli. For example, a test of perceptual speed might require a person to determine which of two lines is shorter when pairs of lines flash very briefly on a screen.

The Influence of Culture

Many psychologists believe that cultural bias can affect intelligence tests, for the following reasons:
• Tests that are constructed primarily by white, middle-class researchers may not be equally relevant to people of all ethnic groups and economic classes.
• Cultural values and experiences can affect factors such as attitude toward exams, degree of comfort in the test setting, motivation, competitiveness, rapport with the test administrator, and comfort with problem solving independently rather than as part of a team effort.
• Cultural stereotypes can affect the motivation to perform well on tests.

Characteristics of IQ Tests

Some characteristics of IQ tests are standardization, norms, percentile scores, standardization samples, reliability, and validity.

Standardization
• Intelligence tests are standardized, which means that uniform procedures are used when administering and scoring the tests.
• Standardization helps to ensure that people taking a particular test all do so under the same conditions.
• Standardization also allows test takers to be compared, since it increases the likelihood that any difference in scores between test-takers is due to ability rather than the testing environment.
• The SAT and ACT are two examples of standardized tests.
Norms and Percentile Scores
• Researchers use norms when scoring the tests.
• Norms provide information about how a person’s test score compares with the scores of other test takers.
• Norms allow raw test scores to be converted into percentile scores.
• A percentile score indicates the percentage of people who achieved the same as or less than a particular score. For example, if someone answered twenty items correctly on a thirty-item vocabulary test, he receives a raw score of 20. He consults the test norms and finds that a raw score of 20 corresponds with a percentile score of 90. This means that he scored the same as or higher than 90 percent of people who took the same test.

Standardization Samples
Psychologists come up with norms by giving a test to a standardization sample. A standardization sample is a large group of people that is representative of the entire population of potential test takers.

Reliability
Most intelligence tests have good reliability. Reliability is a test’s ability to yield the same results when the test is administered at different times to the same group of people.

Validity
Validity is a test’s ability to measure what it is supposed to measure. Although intelligence tests cannot be considered good measures of general intelligence or general mental ability, they are reasonably valid indicators of the type of intelligence that enables good academic performance.

Critical Views on Intelligence Testing

Critics of widespread intelligence testing point out that politicians and the public in general misuse and misunderstand intelligence tests. They argue that these tests provide no information about how people go about solving problems. Also, say the critics, these tests do not explain why people with low intelligence scores can function intelligently in real-life situations. Advocates of intelligence testing point out that such tests can identify children who need special help, as well as gifted children who can benefit from opportunities for success.

REFERENCE:
http://www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/intelligence

INTELLIGENCE

WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?
(Reference: http://www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/intelligence)

Introduction

Few people agree on exactly what “intelligence” is or how to measure it. The nature and origin of intelligence are elusive, and the value and accuracy of intelligence tests are often uncertain. Researchers who study intelligence often argue about what IQ tests really measure and whether or not Einstein’s theories and Yo Yo Ma’s cello playing show different types of intelligence.
People who believe that intelligence is mainly inherited don’t see the usefulness in special educational opportunities for the underprivileged, while people who believe that environment plays a large role in intelligence tend to support such programs. The importance and effects of intelligence are clear, but intelligence does not lend itself to easy definition or explanation.

THEORIES OF INTELLIGENCE

A typical dictionary definition of intelligence is “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.” Intelligence includes the ability to benefit from past experience, act purposefully, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. Intelligence can also be defined as “the ability that intelligence tests measure.” There is a long history of disagreement about what actually constitutes intelligence.

Savant Syndrome

Savant syndrome, observed in some individuals diagnosed with autism or mental retardation, is characterized by exceptional talent in one area of functioning, such as music or math, and poor mental functioning in all other areas.

The G Factor- Charles Spearman

Charles Spearman proposed a general intelligence factor, g, which underlies all intelligent behavior. Many scientists still believe in a general intelligence factor that underlies the specific abilities that intelligence tests measure. Other scientists are skeptical, because people can score high on one specific ability but show weakness in others.

Eight Types of Intelligence- Howard Gardner

In the 1980s and 1990s, psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the idea of not one kind of intelligence but eight, which are relatively independent of one another. These eight types of intelligence are:
1. Linguistic: spoken and written language skills
2. Logical–mathematical: number skills
3. Musical: performance or composition skills
4. Spatial: ability to evaluate and analyze the visual world
5. Bodily-kinesthetic: dance or athletic abilities
6. Interpersonal: skill in understanding and relating to others
7. Intrapersonal: skill in understanding the self
8. Nature: skill in understanding the natural world
Gardner believes that each of these domains of intelligence has inherent value but that culture and context may cause some domains to be emphasized over others. Critics of the idea of multiple intelligences maintain that these abilities are talents rather than kinds of intelligence.

Triarchic Theory of Intelligence- Robert Sternberg
Also in the 1980s and 1990s, Robert Sternberg proposed a triarchic theory of intelligence that distinguishes among three aspects of intelligence:
• Componential intelligence: the ability assessed by intelligence tests
• Experiential intelligence: the ability to adapt to new situations and produce new ideas
• Contextual intelligence: the ability to function effectively in daily situations

Emotional Intelligence

Some researchers distinguish emotional intelligence as an ability that helps people to perceive, express, understand, and regulate emotions. Other researchers maintain that this ability is a collection of personality traits such as empathy and extroversion, rather than a kind of intelligence.
The psychometric approach to intelligence emphasizes people’s performance on standardized aptitude tests. Aptitude tests predict people’s future ability to acquire skills or knowledge. Achievement tests, on the other hand, measure skills and knowledge that people have already learned.

FACTORS AFFECTING INTELLIGENCE

The Influence of Heredity and Environment

Today, researchers generally agree that heredity and environment have an interactive influence on intelligence. Many researchers believe that there is a reaction range to IQ, which refers to the limits placed on IQ by heredity. Heredity places an upper and lower limit on the IQ that can be attained by a given person. The environment determines where within these limits the person’s IQ will lie.
Despite the prevailing view that both heredity and environment influence intelligence, researchers still have different opinions about how much each contributes and how they interact.

Hereditary Influences

Evidence for hereditary influences on intelligence comes from the following observations:
• Family studies show that intelligence tends to run in families.
• Twin studies show a higher correlation between identical twins in IQ than between fraternal twins. This holds true even when identical twins reared apart are compared to fraternal twins reared together.
• Adoption studies show that adopted children somewhat resemble their biological parents in intelligence.
Family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies, however, are not without problems.

Heritability of Intelligence

Heritability is a mathematical estimate that indicates how much of a trait’s variation in a population can be attributed to genes. Estimates of the heritability of intelligence vary, depending on the methods used. Most researchers believe that heritability of intelligence is between 60 percent and 80 percent.
Heritability estimates apply only to groups on which the estimates are based. So far, heritability estimates have been based mostly on studies using white, middle-class subjects. Even if heritability of IQ is high, heredity does not necessarily account for differences between groups. Three important factors limit heritability estimates:
1. Heritability estimates don’t reveal anything about the extent to which genes influence a single person’s traits.
2. Heritability depends on how similar the environment is for a group of people.
3. Even with high heritability, a trait can still be influenced by environment.

Environmental Influences

Evidence for environmental influences on intelligence comes from the following observations:
• Adoption studies demonstrate that adopted children show some similarity in IQ to their adoptive parents.
• Adoption studies also show that siblings reared together are more similar in IQ than siblings reared apart. This is true even when identical twins reared together are compared to identical twins reared apart.
• Biologically unrelated children raised together in the same home have some similarity in IQ.
• IQ declines over time in children raised in deprived environments, such as understaffed orphanages or circumstances of poverty and isolation. Conversely, IQ improves in children who leave deprived environments and enter enriched environments.
• People’s performance on IQ tests has improved over time in industrialized countries. This strange phenomenon, which is known as the Flynn effect, is attributed to environmental influences. It cannot be due to heredity, because the world’s gene pool could not have changed in the seventy years or so since IQ testing began.

Possible Causes of the Flynn Effect

The precise cause for the Flynn effect is unclear. Researchers speculate that it may be due to environmental factors such as decreased prevalence of severe malnutrition among children, enhancing of skills through television and video games, improved schools, smaller family sizes, higher level of parental education, or improvements in parenting.
Cultural and Ethnic Differences
Studies have shown a discrepancy in average IQ scores between whites and minority groups in the United States. Black, Native American, and Hispanic people score lower, on average, than white people on standardized IQ tests. Controversy exists about whether this difference is due to heredity or environment.

Hereditary Explanations

A few well-known proponents support hereditary explanations for cultural and ethnic differences in IQ:
• In the late 1960s, researcher Arthur Jensen created a storm of controversy by proposing that ethnic differences in intelligence are due to heredity. He based his argument on his own estimate of about 80 percent heritability for intelligence.
• In the 1990s, researchers Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray created a similar controversy with their book, The Bell Curve. They also suggested that intelligence is largely inherited and that heredity at least partly contributes to ethnic and cultural differences.

Environmental Explanations

Many researchers believe that environmental factors primarily cause cultural and ethnic differences. They argue that because of a history of discrimination, minority groups comprise a disproportionately large part of the lower social classes, and therefore cultural and ethnic differences in intelligence are really differences among social classes. People in lower social classes have a relatively deprived environment. Children may have:
• Fewer learning resources
• Less privacy for study
• Less parental assistance
• Poorer role models
• Lower-quality schools
• Less motivation to excel intellectually
Some researchers argue that IQ tests are biased against minority groups and thus cause the apparent cultural and ethnic differences.
However, not all minority groups score lower than whites on IQ tests. Asian Americans achieve a slightly higher IQ score, on average, than whites, and they also show better school performance. Researchers suggest that this difference is due to Asian American cultural values that encourage educational achievement.

PERSONALITY TESTS

There are two major types of personality tests, projective and objective.
• Projective tests assume personality is primarily unconscious and assess individuals by how they respond to an ambiguous stimulus, such as an ink blot.
 Projective tests have been in use for about 60 years and continue to be used today. Examples of such tests include the Rorschach test and the Thematic Apperception Test.
 The Rorschach Test involves showing an individual a series of note cards with ambiguous ink blots on them.
 The individual being tested is asked to provide interpretations of the blots on the cards by stating everything that the ink blot may resemble based on their personal interpretation.
 The therapist then analyzes their responses.
 Rules for scoring the test have been covered in manuals that cover a wide variety of characteristics such as content, originality of response, location of “perceived images” and several other factors.
 Using these specific scoring methods, the therapist will then attempt to relate test responses to attributes of the individual’s personality and their unique characteristics.
 The idea is that unconscious needs will come out in the person’s response, e.g. an aggressive person may see images of destruction.

The Thematic Apperception Test (also known as the TAT) involves presenting individuals with vague pictures/scenes and asking them to tell a story based on what they see.
 Common examples of these “scenes” include images that may suggest family relationships or specific situations, such as a father and son or a man and a woman in a bedroom.
 Responses are analyzed for common themes.
 Responses unique to an individual are theoretically meant to indicate underlying thoughts, processes, and potentially conflicts present within the individual.
 Responses are believed to be directly linked to unconscious motives. There is very little empirical evidence available to support these methods.
Objective tests assume personality is consciously accessible and that it can be measured by self-report questionnaires. Research on psychological assessment has generally found objective tests to be more valid and reliable than projective tests.
Critics have pointed to the Forer effect to suggest some of these appear to be more accurate and discriminating than they really are. Issues with these tests include false reporting because there is no way to tell if an individual is answering a question honestly or accurately.

REFERENCE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_psychology

PERSONALITY THEORIES

STUDY OF PERSONALITY
 The study of personality is based on the essential insight that all people are similar in some ways, yet different in others.
 There have been many different definitions of personality proposed. However, many contemporary psychologists agree on the following definition:
 Personality is that pattern of characteristic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguishes one person from another and that persists over time and situations.

TRAIT THEORIES
 According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, personality traits are “enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts.”
 Theorists generally assume that
a) traits are relatively stable over time,
b) traits differ among individuals,
c) traits influence behavior.
 They consistently are used in order to help define people as a whole.
 Traits are relatively constant; they do not usually change. Traits are also bipolar; they vary along a continuum between one extreme and the other (e.g. friendly vs. unfriendly).
 The most common models of traits incorporate three to five broad dimensions or factors. All trait theories incorporate at least two dimensions, extraversion and neuroticism, which historically featured in Hippocrates’ humoral theory.
• Gordon Allport delineated different kinds of traits, which he also called dispositions.
 Central traits are basic to an individual’s personality, while secondary traits are more peripheral.
 Common traits are those recognized within a culture and thus may vary from culture to culture.
 Cardinal traits are those by which an individual may be strongly recognized.
 In his book, Personality: A Psychological Interpretation, Gordon Allport (1937) both established personality psychology as a legitimate intellectual discipline and introduced the first of the modern trait theories.
• Raymond Cattell’s research propagated a two-tiered personality structure with sixteen “primary factors” (16 Personality Factors) and five “secondary factors.”
 In Cattell’s lengthy career, he had written 50 books, 500 journals, and 30 different types of standardized tests.
 For Cattell, personality itself was defined in terms of behavioral prediction.
 He defined personality as that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation.
• John Gittinger’s theory and its applications (the Personality Assessment System (PAS)) uses the Wechsler intelligence tests, which are well standardized and objective instruments rather than self-report tests.
 PAS factors out personality traits (primitivity) and two additional levels, Basid and Surface, which are adaptations by environmentally induced presses and learning.
 Gittinger’s multivariate personality descriptions exceed 500 data-based outcome descriptions.
• Hans Eysenck believed just three traits—extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism—were sufficient to describe human personality.
 Differences between Cattell and Eysenck emerged due to preferences for different forms of factor analysis, with Cattell using oblique, Eysenck orthogonal rotation to analyze the factors that emerged when personality questionnaires were subjected to statistical analysis.
 Today, the Big Five factors have the weight of a considerable amount of empirical research behind them, building on the work of Cattell and others.
 Eysenck, along with another contemporary in trait psychology named J. P. Guilford (1959), believed that the resultant trait factors obtained from factor analysis should be statistically independent of one another —that is, the factors should be arranged (rotated) so that they are uncorrelated or orthogonal (at right angles) to one another.
• Lewis Goldberg proposed a five-dimension personality model, nicknamed the “Big Five”:
1. Openness to Experience: the tendency to be imaginative, independent, and interested in variety vs. practical, conforming, and interested in routine.
2. Conscientiousness: the tendency to be organized, careful, and disciplined vs. disorganized, careless, and impulsive.
3. Extraversion: the tendency to be sociable, fun-loving, and affectionate vs. retiring, somber, and reserved.
4. Agreeableness: the tendency to be softhearted, trusting, and helpful vs. ruthless, suspicious, and uncooperative.
5. Neuroticism: the tendency to be calm, secure and self-satisfied vs. anxious, insecure, and self-pitying
The Big Five contain important dimensions of personality. However, some personality researchers argue that this list of major traits is not exhaustive. Some support has been found for two additional factors: excellent/ordinary and evil/decent. However, no definitive conclusions have been established.
• Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee, in 2008, proposed a six-dimensional HEXACO model of personality structure.
 The HEXACO personality traits/factors are: Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O).
 The three dimensions – Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience are considered to be basically the same as their counterpart dimensions in the Big Five Model.
 However, in the HEXACO model, Honesty-Humility, Emotionality and Agreeableness differ from the Neuroticism and Agreeableness factors of the Big Five Model.
 Ashton and Lee especially emphasize the Honesty-Humility (H) factor as differentiating the HEXACO model from other personality frameworks.
 Specifically, the H factor is described as sincere, honest, faithful/loyal, modest/unassuming, fair-minded, VERSUS sly, deceitful, greedy, pretentious, hypocritical, boastful and pompous.
 The H factor has been linked to criminal, materialistic, power-seeking and unethical tendencies.

Criticism Trait models
 Trait models have been criticized as being purely descriptive and offering little explanation of the underlying causes of personality.
 Eysenck’s theory, however, proposes biological mechanisms as driving traits, and modern behavior genetics researchers have shown a clear genetic substrate to them.
 Another potential weakness of trait theories is that they may lead some people to accept oversimplified classifications—or worse, offer advice—based on a superficial analysis of personality.
 Finally, trait models often underestimate the effect of specific situations on people’s behavior.
 Traits are considered to be statistical generalizations that do not always correspond to an individual’s behavior.
 The importance that genetic influences have on personality characteristics can change across a five-year period.

TYPE THEORIES
• Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of people.
• Personality types are distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels or degrees. For example, according to type theories, there are two types of people, introverts and extroverts.
• According to trait theories, introversion and extroversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle.
• The idea of psychological types originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung, specifically in his 1921 book Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types) and William Marston.
• Building on the writings and observations of Jung during World War II, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine C. Briggs, delineated personality types by constructing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
• This model was later used by David Keirsey with a different understanding from Jung, Briggs and Myers.
• Briggs and Myers also added another personality dimension to their type indicator to measure whether a person prefers to use a judging or perceiving function when interacting with the external world.
• Therefore they included questions designed to indicate whether someone wishes to come to conclusions (judgment) or to keep options open (perception).
• This personality typology has some aspects of a trait theory: it explains people’s behaviour in terms of opposite fixed characteristics.
• In these more traditional models, the sensing/intuition preference is considered the most basic, dividing people into “N” (intuitive) or “S” (sensing) personality types.
• An “N” is further assumed to be guided either by thinking or feeling, and divided into the “NT” (scientist, engineer) or “NF” (author, humanitarian) temperament.
• An “S”, by contrast, is assumed to be guided more by the judgment/perception axis, and thus divided into the “SJ” (guardian, traditionalist) or “SP” (performer, artisan) temperament.
• These four are considered basic, with the other two factors in each case (including always extraversion/introversion) less important.
• Critics of this traditional view have observed that the types can be quite strongly stereotyped by professions and thus may arise more from the need to categorize people for purposes of guiding their career choice.
• This among other objections led to the emergence of the five-factor view, which is less concerned with behavior under work conditions and more concerned with behavior in personal and emotional circumstances.
• Some critics have argued for more or fewer dimensions while others have proposed entirely different theories (often assuming different definitions of “personality”).

PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORIES
• Psychoanalytic theories explain human behavior in terms of the interaction of various components of personality.
• Sigmund Freud was the founder of this school of thought. Freud drew on the physics of his day (thermodynamics) to coin the term psychodynamics.
• Based on the idea of converting heat into mechanical energy, he proposed psychic energy could be converted into behavior.
• Freud’s theory places central importance on dynamic, unconscious psychological conflicts.
• Freud divides human personality into three significant components: the id, ego, and super-ego.
• The id acts according to the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification of its needs regardless of external environment;
• The ego then must emerge in order to realistically meet the wishes and demands of the id in accordance with the outside world, adhering to the reality principle.
• The superego (conscience) inculcates moral judgment and societal rules upon the ego, thus forcing the demands of the id to be met not only realistically but morally.
• The superego is the last function of the personality to develop, and is the embodiment of parental/social ideals established during childhood. According to Freud, personality is based on the dynamic interactions of these three components.
• The channeling and release of sexual (libidal) and aggressive energies, which ensues from the “Eros” (sex; instinctual self-preservation) and “Thanatos” (death; instinctual self-annihilation) drives respectively, are major components of his theory.
• It is important to note that Freud’s broad understanding of sexuality included all kinds of pleasurable feelings experienced by the human body.
• Freud proposed five psychosexual stages of personality development.
• He believed adult personality is dependent upon early childhood experiences and largely determined by age five.
• Fixations that develop during the infantile stage contribute to adult personality and behavior.
• One of Sigmund Freud’s earlier associates, Alfred Adler, did agree with Freud that early childhood experiences are important to development and believed birth order may influence personality development.
• Adler believed that the oldest child was the individual who would set high achievement goals in order to gain attention lost when the younger siblings were born.
• He believed the middle children were competitive and ambitious. He reasoned that this behavior was motivated by the idea of surpassing the firstborn’s achievements.
• He added, however, that the middle children were often not as concerned about the glory attributed with their behavior.
• He also believed the youngest would be more dependent and sociable.
• Adler finished by surmising that an only child loves being the center of attention and matures quickly but in the end fails to become independent.
• Heinz Kohut thought similarly to Freud’s idea of transference.
• He used narcissism as a model of how people develop their sense of self.
• Narcissism is the exaggerated sense of one’s self in which one is believed to exist in order to protect one’s low self-esteem and sense of worthlessness.
• Kohut had a significant impact on the field by extending Freud’s theory of narcissism and introducing what he called the ‘self-object transferences’ of mirroring and idealization.
• In other words, children need to idealize and emotionally “sink into” and identify with the idealized competence of admired figures such as parents or older siblings.
• They also need to have their self-worth mirrored by these people.
• These experiences allow them to thereby learn the self-soothing and other skills that are necessary for the development of a healthy sense of self.
• Another important figure in the world of personality theory is Karen Horney. She is credited with the development of the “real self” and the “ideal self”.
• She believes all people have these two views of their own self.
• The “real self” is how humans act with regard to personality, values, and morals;
• The “ideal self” is a construct individuals implement in order to conform to social and personal norms.

BEHAVIORIST THEORIES
• Behaviorists explain personality in terms of the effects external stimuli have on behavior.
• The approaches used to analyze the behavioral aspect of personality are known as behavioral theories or learning-conditioning theories.
• One of the major tenets of this concentration of personality psychology is a strong emphasis on scientific thinking and experimentation.
• This school of thought was developed by B. F. Skinner who put forth a model which emphasized the mutual interaction of the person or “the organism” with its environment.
• Skinner believed children do bad things because the behavior obtains attention that serves as a reinforcer. For example: a child cries because the child’s crying in the past has led to attention. These are the response, and consequences. The response is the child crying, and the attention that child gets is the reinforcing consequence.
• According to this theory, people’s behavior is formed by processes such as operant conditioning. Skinner put forward a “three term contingency model” which helped promote analysis of behavior based on the “Stimulus – Response – Consequence Model” in which the critical question is: “Under which circumstances or antecedent ‘stimuli’ does the organism engage in a particular behavior or ‘response’, which in turn produces a particular ‘consequence’?”
• Richard Herrnstein extended this theory by accounting for attitudes and traits.
• An attitude develops as the response strength (the tendency to respond) in the presence of a group of stimuli become stable.
• Rather than describing conditionable traits in non-behavioral language, response strength in a given situation accounts for the environmental portion.
• Herrstein also saw traits as having a large genetic or biological component as do most modern behaviorists.
• Ivan Pavlov is another notable influence. He is well known for his classical conditioning experiments involving dogs. These physiological studies led him to discover the foundation of behaviorism as well as classical conditioning.

SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORIES
• In cognitive theory, behavior is explained as guided by cognitions (e.g. expectations) about the world, especially those about other people.
• Cognitive theories are theories of personality that emphasize cognitive processes, such as thinking and judging.
• Albert Bandura, a social learning theorist suggested the forces of memory and emotions worked in conjunction with environmental influences.
• Bandura was known mostly for his “Bobo Doll experiment”. During these experiments, Bandura video taped a college student kicking and verbally abusing a bobo doll.
• He then showed this video to a class of kindergarten children who were getting ready to go out to play. When they entered the play room, they saw bobo dolls, and some hammers.
• The people observing these children at play saw a group of children beating the doll. He called this study and his findings observational learning, or modeling.

HUMANISTIC THEORIES
• Humanistic psychology emphasizes that people have free will and that this plays an active role in determining how they behave.
• Accordingly, humanistic psychology focuses on subjective experiences of persons as opposed to forced, definitive factors that determine behavior.
• Rogers and Maslow were among a group of psychologists that worked together for a decade to produce the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
• This journal was primarily focused on viewing individuals as a whole, rather than focusing solely on separate traits and processes within the individual.
• Robert W. White wrote the book ‘The Abnormal Personality’ that became a standard text on abnormal psychology.
• He also investigated the human need to strive for positive goals like competence and influence, to counterbalance the emphasis of Freud on the pathological elements of personality development.
• Maslow spent much of his time studying what he called “self-actualizing persons”, those who are “fulfilling themselves and doing the best they are capable of doing”.
• Maslow believes all who are interested in growth move towards self-actualizing (growth, happiness, satisfaction) views. Many of these people demonstrate a trend in dimensions of their personalities. Characteristics of self-actualizers according to Maslow include the four key dimensions:
1. Awareness – maintaining constant enjoyment and awe of life. These individuals often experienced a “peak experience”. He defined a peak experience as an “intensification of any experience to the degree there is a loss or transcendence of self”. A peak experience is one in which an individual perceives an expansion of his or herself, and detects a unity and meaningfulness in life. Intense concentration on an activity one is involved in, such as running a marathon, may invoke a peak experience.
2. Reality and problem centered – having a tendency to be concerned with “problems” in surroundings.
3. Acceptance/Spontaneity – accepting surroundings and what cannot be changed.
4. Unhostile sense of humor/democratic – do not take kindly to joking about others, which can be viewed as offensive. They have friends of all backgrounds and religions and hold very close friendships.
• Maslow and Rogers emphasized a view of the person as an active, creative, experiencing human being who lives in the present and subjectively responds to current perceptions, relationships, and encounters.
• They disagree with the dark, pessimistic outlook of those in the Freudian psychoanalysis ranks, but rather view humanistic theories as positive and optimistic proposals which stress the tendency of the human personality toward growth and self-actualization.
• This progressing self will remain the center of its constantly changing world; a world that will help mold the self but not necessarily confine it. Rather, the self has opportunity for maturation based on its encounters with this world.
• This understanding attempts to reduce the acceptance of hopeless redundancy.
• Humanistic therapy typically relies on the client for information of the past and its effect on the present, therefore the client dictates the type of guidance the therapist may initiate. This allows for an individualized approach to therapy.
• Rogers found patients differ in how they respond to other people. Rogers tried to model a particular approach to therapy- he stressed the reflective or empathetic response.
• This response type takes the client’s viewpoint and reflects back his or her feeling and the context for it. An example of a reflective response would be, “It seems you are feeling anxious about your upcoming marriage”. This response type seeks to clarify the therapist’s understanding while also encouraging the client to think more deeply and seek to fully understand the feelings they have expressed.

EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
• Charles Darwin is the founder of the theory of the evolution of the species. The evolutionary approach to personality psychology is based on this theory.
• This theory examines how individual personality differences are based on natural selection. Through natural selection organisms change over time through adaptation and selection.
• Traits are developed and certain genes come into expression based on an organism’s environment and how these traits aid in an organism’s survival and reproduction.
• The theory of evolution has wide ranging implications on personality psychology.
• Personality viewed through the lens of evolutionary psychology places a great deal of emphasis on specific traits that are most likely to aid in survival and reproduction, such as conscientiousness, sociability, emotional stability, and dominance.
• The social aspects of personality can be seen through an evolutionary perspective.
• Specific character traits develop and are selected because they play an important and complex role in the social hierarchy of organisms.
• Such characteristics of this social hierarchy include the sharing of important resources, family and mating interactions, and the harm or help organisms can bestow upon one another.

REFERENCE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_psychology