PSY 239 401 Chapter 13 SLIDES

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  • Discuss the main issues of humanistic psychology, including phenomenology, existentialism, optimistic humanism, personal constructs, flow, hardiness, and self-determination theory.
  • Overcome the paradox of studying humans, who have internal drives, by addressing the ways in which psychology is unique because it studies the minds of human who are aware and know they are being studied
    Implications of self-awareness: Address the phenomenon of awareness and the uniquely human phenomenon awareness results in, including free will, willpower, reflective thinking, imagination, introspection, self-criticism, aspirations, creativity, and happiness.
  • Definition: one’s conscious experience of the world; everything a person hears, feels, and thinks
    The central insight (of humanistic psychology): Phenomenology is psychologically more important than the world itself; according to some, awareness is all that matters; reality exists, but it has to be perceived to matter.
    Basis of free will: the realization that only one’s present experience matters; if the past is gone, the future is not here yet, we can choose what to think, feel, and do
    “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” –Talmud
    “It is not things in themselves that trouble us, but our opinions of those things.” – Epictetus
  • Construal: a person’s particular experience of the world
    Form the basis of how you live your life: goals you set, perceptions of obstacles and opportunities
    Leaving the choice of how to interpret your experience to others is how you lose your autonomy.
    Activity 13-1. The importance of phenomenology and construals
  • A broad philosophical movement that began in the mid-1800s
    A reaction against rationalism, science, and the Industrial Revolution: rationalism had gone too far in attempts to account for everything; all had lost touch with human experience
  • Biological experience (Umwelt): the sensations you feel by virtue of being a biological organism; pleasure, heat, cold, etc.
    Social experience (Mitwelt): what you think and feel as a social being; emotions and thoughts about other people and emotions and thoughts directed at you
    Psychological experience (Eigenwelt): the experience of experience itself and of introspection; how you feel and think when you try to understand yourself, your mind, and your existence
    Introspection: observing your inner experiences
  • Thrown-ness: the time, place, and circumstances into which you happened to be born
    Being thrown into modern society is particularly difficult: because the world seems to have no overarching meaning or purpose; religion plays a small role in creating meaning and purpose (compared to in the past); modern substitutes for religion (science, art, philosophy) have failed to provide an alternate worldview that can tell us why we’re are here and what we should do
    Angst: the unpleasant feeling caused by contemplating the meaning of life and how one should spend one’s time; also called existential anxiety
    Three sensations of angst: anguish, forlornness, and despair
    Anguish: everyone feels this because choices are never perfect, and lead to both good and bad outcomes
    Forlornness (desolate, lonely, sad, forsaken): because each person must make his own choices
    Despair: because of the awareness that many outcomes are beyond control
    Activity 13-2. Reactions to pondering existential questions
  • Our moral imperative: Face thrown-ness and angst directly and seek purpose for existence in spite of these.
    This can be avoided: Don’t worry about the meaning of life, don’t try to think for yourself, don’t examine your life; do what society, convention, peers, etc., tell you to do.
    Living in bad faith: ignoring the existential questions and ignoring our moral imperative
  • Living a cowardly lie: this is immoral; you might as well not be alive if you are not going to examine your life; it’s important not to waste the time you have to be alive and aware of this fact; does not allow us to realize how fortunate we are to be alive and aware (example of lucky mud)
    Unhappiness: focusing on material comforts does not make people happy
    It is impossible: deciding to ignore existential issues is still a choice
  • Definition: coming to terms with existence; being honest, insightful, and morally correct
    Life has no meaning beyond what you give it, and any apparent meaning it might seem to have is an illusion.
  • The existential challenge: Do all you can to better the human condition, even in the face of life’s uncertainties.
    Ask “What does life want from me?” (instead of “What do I want from life?”): People who reported doing this felt more hope and less depression and were more likely to have found a significant meaning for leading their lives.
  • The self is an illusion: There is no unchanging soul at the center of each person.
    This illusion is harmful: leads to feelings of isolation and too much concern with “me” and “mine”
    True nature of reality: Everything and everyone are connected now and across time; there is nothing special about an individual’s experience of the present moment.
    All people are interconnected: You are part of the universe, and it is part of you.
    Immortality: People are part of something larger that will last forever.
  • Anicca: idea that nothing lasts forever; it is best to accept this fact instead of fighting it; all moments (past, present, and future) have equal status
    Enlightenment: caring for others the same as for yourself
    Nirvana: a serene, selfless state; the result of enlightenment
  • People are basically good: They seek to relate closely with one another, and they have an innate need to improve themselves and the world; there is no proof for this assumption.
  • Rogers
    Actualization: need to maintain and enhance life
  • Maslow
    The ultimate need: only active when the more basic needs have been met
  • Figure 13.1 Activity 13-3. Hierarchy of needs
    Maslow article in the reader: A theory of human motivation
  • Career choice: what needs does the career need to meet (security vs. self-expression)
    Employee motivation: Employees must feel secure before they will show initiative and imagination; secure employees want to express themselves through their work.
    Understand happiness in different cultures: Financial/economic status is more important in poorer countries (r = .28) than in richer countries (r = .10); home life is more important is richer countries (correlations based on a meta-analysis).
  • From evolutionary psychology
    Reproducing/Parenting is the ultimate goal at the top of the pyramid
    Not consistent with the emphasis that humans are different from animals
  • Definition: someone who perceives the world accurately and without neurotic distortion and takes responsibility for her choices
    Importance of unconditional positive regard: Rogers thought this was necessary to be fully functioning; Maslow disagreed and thought anyone could become fully functioning.
    Conditions of worth: from thinking that people value you only if you are good enough
  • Help the client perceive her own thoughts and feelings without the therapist seeking to change them in any way
    Make the client feel appreciated: no matter what he thinks, says, or does
  • Real and ideal self-perceptions became more closely aligned after therapy but not as close as those who did not seek therapy.
    Closely aligned real and ideal selves is not always a good measure of psychological adjustment: Paranoid schizophrenics described themselves as close to ideal.
    Rogers article in the reader: Some observations on the organization of personality
  • Personal constructs: bipolar dimensions along which people or objects can be arranged
  • Used to assess personal constructs
    The dimensions used to explain similarities and differences are personal constructs for that person.
  • Chronically accessible constructs: those that are more easily brought to mind; an individual difference
    Source of constructs: your chosen interpretation of past experiences
    Sociality corollary: understanding another person means understanding his personal construct system
  • Constructive alternativism: the view that any pattern of experience can lead to numerous construals and people choose which construals they use; your personal reality is constructed in your mind, and you can choose to construct it differently
    Your personal reality is constructed in your mind; you can choose to reconstruct it differently.
    Scientific paradigms are frameworks for construing the meaning of data: Choosing one does not mean it is right and the others are wrong, but that the chosen one best addresses the topic of interest.
    Researchers choose which paradigm to use: and therefore what to focus on (and ignore)
  • Maximizers: people who believe one should always seek to get as much as one possibly can
    Satisficers: people who believe that some outcomes are good enough
    Satisficers are happier, more optimistic, and have higher life satisfaction; maximizers are prone to perfectionism, depression, and regret.
  • Optimal experience: how to make the most of your moment-to-moment experience; because moment-to-moment experience is what really matters in life
    Autotelic activities: ones that are enjoyable for their own sake; this is the best way to spend one’s time
    Flow: the subjective experience of an autotelic activity; the enjoyment itself
    Flow arises when the challenges of an activity match a person’s skills.
  • The secret for enhancing your quality of life: spend as much time in flow as possible; become good at something you find worthwhile and enjoyable; but flow is not beneficial for everyone and is solitary
    Activity 13-4. Experiencing flow
  • Existential psychological pathology: similar to Sartre’s idea of bad faith
    Vegetativeness: the most severe kind of existential pathology
    Nihilism: is slightly less severe than vegetativeness and more common
    Extreme thrills: can lead to promiscuous sex, drug use, etc.; purpose is to conceal the emptiness of life
  • Existential psychological pathology: similar to Sartre’s idea of bad faith
    Vegetativeness: The person feels that nothing has meaning and becomes listless and aimless; the most severe kind of existential pathology.
    Nihilism: Experience is dominated by anger, disgust, and cynicism; is slightly less severe than vegetativeness and more common
    Desire for extreme thrills: Only extreme thrills garner one’s full attention and distract from deep feelings of meaninglessness; can lead to promiscuous sex, drug use, etc.; purpose is to conceal the emptiness of life
  • Hardiness: a lifestyle that embraces rather than avoids potential sources of stress; a cure for bad faith and the negative outcomes of avoiding stress by conforming
    Purpose of life: not to avoid everything that might cause stress, but to accept challenges and learn from them
  • Hedonia: maximize pleasure and minimize pain
    Eudaimonia: seeking a deeper meaning in life by pursuing important goals, building relationships, and being aware of taking responsibility for one’s choices in life
    Extrinsic vs. intrinsic goals: With hedonia, the focus is on extrinsic goals (money is the most common); with eudaimonia, the focus is on intrinsic goals.
    Ryan et al. article in the reader: Living well: A Self-Determination Theory perspective on eudaimonia
  • Three central intrinsic goals; attaining them is necessary for being fully functioning:
    Autonomy: finding your own way in life and making your own decisions
    Competence: finding something you are good at, and becoming better
    Relatedness: establishing meaningful and satisfying ties to other people
    Research support for advantages of following intrinsic goals: positively related to overall well-being, vitality, positive emotionality, contributing to well-being of others and their community; negatively related to depression, negative emotions, anxiety, and physical illness
    Claim of universality: SDT claims intrinsic goals are universal, but this is not certain.
  • Positive phenomenon: positive subjective experience, individual traits and strengths, and institutions
    Activity 13-5. The think positive experiment
  • True happiness comes from overcoming important challenges: a notion similar to hardiness, optimistic toughness, and eudaimonic happiness
    Factors that contribute to happiness: After a base level of money, building relationships and overcoming challenges is more important for happiness (supports Maslow’s hierarchy of needs); avoiding unproductive rumination about negative events and appreciating the good things in life promotes happiness.
    Csikszentmihalyi article in the reader: If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy?
    Lyubomirsky et al. article in the reader: Pursuing happiness
  • Optimism advantages: less fearful, more willing to take risks, relatively happy
    Optimism disadvantages: take foolish risks or fail to anticipate problems
    Difficult to identify virtues for everyone because this involves making value judgments that go beyond science, so look for attributes that have been considered to be virtues in all cultures across time.
    May be evolutionarily based: They are seen in many different cultures, and they solve crucial survival problems.
    But not everyone has them all: Instead, these are ways people try to make themselves better.
    Dahlsgaard article in the reader: Shared virtue
  • Focuses on subjective well-being, which is a limited phenomenological analysis
  • Cognitive theories: What does it mean to be able to consciously experience the feeling?
  • Discourages judgmental attitudes: If you could see the world through the eyes of others, you would realize that their actions and attitudes are the natural consequences of their understanding of reality. Your view may not be right; do not assume others interpret the world the same way you do.
    Consequence: cultural and moral relativism (idea that there is no objective reality, or if there is, there is no way to know what it is); don’t judge others based on your own moral code
  • Correct answer: a
  • Correct answer: b
  • Correct answer: d (c is not correct because mood is only slightly elevated)
  • PSY 239 401 Chapter 13 SLIDES

    1. 1. Chapter 13:Experience, Existence, and the Meaning of Life: Humanistic and Positive Psychology The Personality Puzzle Sixth Edition by David C. Funder Slides created by Tera D. Letzring Idaho State University © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1
    2. 2. Objectives • Discuss the main issues of humanistic psychology • Discuss positive psychology • Discuss the implications of phenomenology © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2
    3. 3. Humanistic Psychology • Goal: overcome the paradox of studying humans • Implications of self-awareness • Do people have free will? If they do, what does this mean and how is it possible? © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 3
    4. 4. Phenomenology: Awareness is Everything • Definition of phenomenology • At the center of humanity • Central insight: Phenomenology is psychologically more important than the world itself. – Basis of free will © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 4
    5. 5. Phenomenology: Awareness is Everything • “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” –Talmud • “It is not things in themselves that trouble us, but our opinions of them.” –Epictetus • “I do not react to some absolute reality, but to my perception of this reality. It is this perception which for me is reality.” –Carl Rogers © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 5
    6. 6. Phenomenology: Awareness is Everything • Construal – Everyone’s is different. – Form the basis of how you live your life – Free will is achieved by choosing your construal. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 6
    7. 7. Existentialism • A reaction against rationalism, science, and the industrial revolution • Purpose: regain contact with the experience of being alive and aware • Key questions: – What is the nature of existence? – How does it feel? – And what does it mean? © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 7
    8. 8. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 8
    9. 9. Existentialism: Three Parts of Experience • Biological experience (Umwelt) • Social experience (Mitwelt) • Psychological experience (Eigenwelt) – Introspection © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 9
    10. 10. Existentialism: Thrown-ness and Angst • Thrown-ness – An important basis of your experience – Being thrown into modern society is particularly difficult • Angst – Anguish – Forlornness – Despair © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 10
    11. 11. Existentialism: Bad Faith • Our moral imperative – Requires existential courage or optimistic toughness – This can be avoided • Living in bad faith © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 11
    12. 12. Existentialism: Bad Faith • Creates three problems – Living a cowardly lie – Unhappiness – It is impossible “What is not possible is not to choose. . . . If I do not choose, I am still choosing.” –Sartre © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 12
    13. 13. Existentialism: Authentic Existence • Definition • The alternative to bad faith • Will not relieve loneliness and unhappiness – Because every person is alone and doomed – Life has no meaning beyond what you give it – The essence of the human experience: understanding that you must die © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 13
    14. 14. Existentialism: Authentic Existence • Allows us to be aware of our freedom and this gives us dignity • The existential challenge • Ask: What does life want from me? – Strive to better the human condition © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 14
    15. 15. Existentialism: The Eastern Alternative • Existentialism is based on the Western focus on the individual and the difficulty of finding meaning in life. • Existentialism is fundamentally wrong. – The self is an illusion. – This illusion is harmful. – True nature of reality – All people are interconnected. – Immortality © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 15
    16. 16. Existentialism: The Eastern Alternative • Anicca • Enlightenment – Achieved by understanding that nothing will last forever and that the well-being of others matters as much as your own – Leads to universal compassion • Nirvana: a serene, selfless state © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 16
    17. 17. Optimistic Humanism: Rogers and Maslow • Began with existential assumptions – Phenomenology is central. – People have free will. • Added another crucial idea – People are basically good. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 17
    18. 18. Optimistic Humanism: Self-Actualization • People have one basic tendency and striving: to actualize, maintain, and enhance their own experience • Actualization – Goal of existence is to satisfy this need © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 18
    19. 19. Optimistic Humanism: The Hierarchy of Needs • Basic assumption: The ultimate need or motive is to self-actualize. • Hierarchy of needs: how human motivation is characterized © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 19
    20. 20. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 20
    21. 21. Optimistic Humanism: The Hierarchy of Needs • Practical applications – Career choice – Employee motivation – Understand happiness in different cultures © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 21
    22. 22. Optimistic Humanism: The Hierarchy of Needs • Update to Maslow’s hierarchy © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 22
    23. 23. Optimistic Humanism: The Fully Functioning Person • Definition • Be clearly aware of reality and yourself • Face the world without fear, self-doubt, or neurotic defenses • Importance of unconditional positive regard • Conditions of worth – Limit your freedom to act and think © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 23
    24. 24. Optimistic Humanism: Psychotherapy • Goal: help the client become a fully functioning person • The therapist develops a genuine and caring relationship with the client and provides unconditional positive regard. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 24
    25. 25. Optimistic Humanism: Psychotherapy • Jobs of the therapist – Help the client perceive her own thoughts and feelings – Make the client feel appreciated • Goals – Allow insight – Remove conditions of worth © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 25
    26. 26. Optimistic Humanism: Psychotherapy • Efficacy research – Real and ideal self-perceptions became more closely aligned after therapy. • Criticism of research – Both real and ideal selves change with therapy. – Having closely aligned real and ideal selves is not always a good measure of psychological adjustment. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 26
    27. 27. Think About It • If a psychotherapist is treating a murderer, do you think the therapist should give the client unconditional positive regard? Why or why not? © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 27
    28. 28. Personal Constructs: Kelly • Personal constructs – Based on how one’s cognitive system assembles various construals of the world – Help to determine how new experiences are construed – Each person has a unique set © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 28
    29. 29. Personal Constructs: Kelly • Role Construct Repertory Test (Rep) – Identify three important people and how two of them are similar and different from the third – Repeat with ideas, traits, etc. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 29
    30. 30. Personal Constructs: Kelly • Chronically accessible constructs • Sources of constructs • Sociality corollary © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 30
    31. 31. Personal Constructs: Kelly • Constructs and reality – Constructive alternativism – Implications for science • Scientific paradigms are frameworks for construing the meaning of data • Researchers choose which paradigm to use • Important to be aware that other paradigms exist and are equally plausible © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 31
    32. 32. Personal Constructs: Kelly • Maximizers vs. satisficers “How you choose to see the world will affect everything in your life.” (p. 459) © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 32
    33. 33. Flow: Csikszentmihalyi • Optimal experience • Autotelic activities • Flow – Tremendous concentration, total lack of distractibility, and thoughts concerning only the activity at hand – Mood that is slightly elevated – Time seems to pass very quickly. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 33
    34. 34. Flow: Csikszentmihalyi • The secret for enhancing your quality of life • Would you spend the majority of your life in a state of flow if you could? © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 34
    35. 35. Hardiness: Maddi • Stress is not always bad. – Without stress, life would be boring and meaningless. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 35
    36. 36. Hardiness: Maddi • Many people seek to avoid stress by developing a conformist lifestyle. – Likely to lead to existential psychological pathology and a false sense of self – Vegetativeness – Nihilism – Desire for extreme thrills © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 36
    37. 37. Hardiness: Maddi • Hardiness • Stressful and challenging experiences can bring learning, growth, and wisdom. – Important for giving meaning to life – Related to happiness and adjustment – Purpose of life © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 37
    38. 38. Self-Determination Theory: Deci and Ryan • Based on distinction between two ways of seeking happiness – Hedonia – Eudaimonia • Hedonia is dangerous • Extrinsic vs. intrinsic goals © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 38
    39. 39. Self-Determination Theory: Deci and Ryan • Three central intrinsic goals – Autonomy – Competence – Relatedness • Research support for advantages of following intrinsic goals • Claim of universality © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 39
    40. 40. Positive Psychology • Health means more than the absence of disease. • Traditional psychology overemphasizes psychopathology and malfunction and ignores the question of the meaning of life. • The focus is on positive phenomenon. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 40
    41. 41. Positive Psychology • Goal: improve quality of life and prevent pathologies • True happiness comes from overcoming important challenges – Investigates the traits, processes, and social institutions that promote a happy and meaningful life – Factors that contribute to happiness and subjective well-being © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 41
    42. 42. Positive Psychology • Optimism has advantages and disadvantages. • Virtues: courage, justice, humanity (compassion), temperance, wisdom, transcendence – Difficult to identify virtues for everyone – May be evolutionarily based – But not everyone has them all © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 42
    43. 43. Positive Psychology © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 43
    44. 44. Positive Psychology • Not the complete rebirth of humanism – It does not say much about existential anxiety or the difficult dilemmas that arise from free will. – Focuses on subjective well-being © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 44
    45. 45. The Implications of Phenomenology: The Mystery of Experience • Conscious experience cannot be explained by science and is difficult to describe in words. • Problems – Assuming conscious awareness is not important and proceeding as if it did not exist – Treating conscious experience as a form of information processing done by a computer © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 45
    46. 46. The Implications of Phenomenology: The Mystery of Experience • Cognitive theories: consciousness is a higherorder cognitive process that organizes thoughts and allows flexible decision making – Consciousness is a feeling. • What does it feel like to be alive and aware? How could you tell whether a computer had this feeling? © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 46
    47. 47. The Implications of Phenomenology: Understanding Others • To understand another person, you must understand his construals. • Discourages judgmental attitudes • Consequence: cultural and moral relativism • Do not judge the values and practices of other cultures from the perspective of your own. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 47
    48. 48. Clicker Question #1 The alternative to bad faith is a)living an authentic existence. b)being connected with others and happiness. c)achieving nirvana. d)experiencing thrown-ness. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 48
    49. 49. Clicker Question #2 According to optimistic humanism, the goal of life is to a) understand other people. b) self-actualize, or maintain and enhance life. c) enhance one’s social experience, or Mitwelt. d) achieve enlightenment. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 49
    50. 50. Clicker Question #3 Which of the following is true about flow, or autotelic experience? a)People who spend more time in flow tend to be depressed. b)During flow, time seems to pass very slowly. c)People experience a very positive state during flow. d)In order to experience flow, a person’s skills must meet the challenge of the activity. © 2013 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 50

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