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)