How does social networking influence us

· Instinct theory (now replaced by the evolutionary perspective) focuses on genetically predisposed behaviors.

· Drive-reduction theory focuses on how we respond to our inner pushes.

· Arousal theory focuses on finding the right level of stimulation.

· Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs focuses on the priority of some needs over others.

Illustration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs arranged in a pyramid shape.

· How does social networking influence us?

1. As social creatures, we live for connection. Asked what he had learned from studying 238 Harvard University men from the 1930s to the end of their lives, researcher George Vaillant (2009) replied, “The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” A South African Zulu saying captures the idea: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu—”a person is a person through other persons.”

· The Social Effects of Social Networking

By connecting like-minded people, the Internet serves as a social amplifier. It also functions as an online dating matchmaker. As electronic communication becomes part of the “new normal,” researchers are exploring how these changes affect our relationships.

· What physiological factors produce hunger?

2. Deprived of a normal food supply, Keys’ semistarved volunteers were clearly hungry. But what precisely triggers hunger? Are the pangs of an empty stomach the source of hunger? So it seemed to A. L. Washburn. Working with Walter Cannon (Cannon & Washburn, 1912), Washburn agreed to swallow a balloon attached to a recording device (Figure 4). When inflated to fill his stomach, the balloon transmitted his stomach contractions. Washburn supplied information about his feelings of hunger by pressing a key each time he felt a hunger pang. The discovery: Washburn was indeed having stomach contractions whenever he felt hungry.

Illustration of a left facing man eating an apple, with his brain and digestion system visible and the appetite hormones labelled.

· Do you eat more when eating with others? Most of us do (Herman et al., 2003; Hetherington et al., 2006). After a party, you may realize you’ve overeaten. This happens because the presence of others tends to amplify our natural behavior tendencies (a process called social facilitation).

· Unit bias occurs with similar mindlessness. Working with researchers at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, Andrew Geier and his colleagues (2006) explored a possible explanation of why French waistlines are smaller than American waistlines. From soda drinks to yogurt sizes, the French offer foods in smaller portion sizes. Does it matter? (One could as well order two small sandwiches as one large one.) To find out, the investigators offered people varieties of free snacks. For example, in the lobby of an apartment house, they laid out either full or half pretzels, big or little Tootsie Rolls, or a big bowl of MM’s with either a small or large serving scoop. Their consistent result: Offered a supersized standard portion, people put away more calories. In other studies (Wansink, 2006, 2007), even nutrition experts helped themselves to 31 percent more ice cream when given a big bowl rather than a small one, and 15 percent more when scooping with a big rather than a small scoop. Portion size matters.

· Food variety also stimulates eating. Offered a dessert buffet, we eat more than we do when asked to choose a portion from one favorite dessert. For our early ancestors, these behaviors were adaptive. When foods were abundant and varied, eating more provided a wide range of vitamins and minerals and produced fat that protected them during winter cold or famine. When a bounty of varied foods was unavailable, eating less extended the food supply until winter or famine ended (Polivy et al., 2008; Remick et al., 2009).

James-Lange Theory: Arousal Comes Before Emotion

Cannon-Bard Theory: Arousal and Emotion Occur Simultaneously

Schachter-Singer Two-Factor Theory: Arousal + Label = Emotion

Zajonc, LeDoux, and Lazarus: Does Cognition Always Precede Emotion?


Summary of Emotion Theories

Theory Explanation of Emotions Example
James-Lange Emotions arise from our awareness of our specific bodily responses to emotion-arousing stimuli. We observe our heart racing after a threat and then feel afraid.
Cannon-Bard Emotion-arousing stimuli trigger our bodily responses and simultaneous subjective experience. Our heart races at the same time that we feel afraid.
Schachter-Singer Our experience of emotion depends on two factors: general arousal and a conscious cognitive label. We may interpret our arousal as fear or excitement, depending on the context.
Zajonc; LeDoux Some embodied responses happen instantly, without conscious appraisal. We automatically feel startled by a sound in the forest before labeling it as a threat.
Lazarus Cognitive appraisal (“Is it dangerous or not?”)—sometimes without our awareness—defines emotion. The sound is “just the wind.”

Psychodynamic theories of personality view human behavior as a dynamic interaction between the conscious and unconscious mind, including associated motives and conflicts. These theories are descended from Freud’s psychoanalysis, Freud’s theory of personality and the associated techniques for treating psychological disorders. Freud’s work was the first to focus clinical attention on our unconscious mind.




Freud’s Psychosexual Stages

Stage Focus
Oral (0-18 months) Pleasure centers on the mouth—sucking, biting, chewing
Anal (18-36 months) Pleasure focuses on bowel and bladder elimination; coping with demands for control
Phallic (3-6 years) Pleasure zone is the genitals; coping with incestuous sexual feelings
Latency (6 to puberty) A phase of dormant sexual feelings
Genital (puberty on) Maturation of sexual interests

· Projective tests aim to provide this “psychological X-ray,” by asking test-takers to describe an ambiguous stimulus or tell a story about it. The clinician may presume that any hopes, desires, and fears that people see in the ambiguous image are projections of their own inner feelings or conflicts.

· The most widely used projective test left some blots on the name of Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach [ROAR-shock; 1884-1922]. He based his famous Rorschach inkblot test, in which people describe what they see in a series of inkblots (Figure 21), on a childhood game. He and his friends would drip ink on a paper, fold it, and then say what they saw in the resulting blot (Sdorow, 2005). Do you see predatory animals or weapons? Perhaps you have aggressive tendencies. But is this a reasonable assumption? The answer varies.

· Abraham Maslow’s Self-Actualizing Person

· Carl Rogers’ Person-Centered Perspective


















The “Big Five” Personality Factors

(Memory tip: Picturing a CANOE will help you recall these.)
Disorganized Conscientiousness→ Organized
Careless   Careful
Impulsive   Disciplined
Ruthless Agreeableness→ Soft-hearted
Suspicious   Trusting
Uncooperative   Helpful
Calm Neuroticism (emotional stability vs. instability)→ Anxious
Secure   Insecure
Self-satisfied   Self-pitying
Practical Openness→ Imaginative
Prefers routine   Prefers variety
Conforming   Independent
Retiring Extraversion→ Sociable
Sober   Fun-loving
Reserved   Affectionate













Comparing the Major Personality Theories

Personality Theory Key Proponents Assumptions View of Personality Personality Assessment Methods
Psychoanalytic Freud Emotional disorders spring from unconscious dynamics, such as unresolved sexual and other childhood conflicts, and fixation at various developmental stages. Defense mechanisms fend off anxiety. Personality consists of pleasure-seeking impulses (the id), a reality-oriented executive (the ego), and an internalized set of ideals (the superego). Free association, projective tests, dream analysis
Psychodynamic Jung, Adler, Horney The unconscious and conscious minds interact. Childhood experiences and defense mechanisms are important. The dynamic interplay of conscious and unconscious motives and conflicts shape our personality. Projective tests, therapy sessions
Humanistic Rogers, Maslow Rather than examine the struggles of sick people, it’s better to focus on the ways healthy people strive for self-realization. If our basic human needs are met, we will strive toward self-actualization. In a climate of unconditional positive regard, we can develop self-awareness and a more realistic and positive self-concept. Questionnaires, therapy sessions
Trait Allport, Eysenck, McCrae, Costa We have certain stable and enduring characteristics, influenced by genetic predispositions. Scientific study of traits has isolated important dimensions of personality, such as the Big Five traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, opennes, and extraversion). Personality inventories
Social-Cognitive Bandura Our traits and the social context interact to produce our behaviors. Conditioning and observational learning interact with cognition to create behavior patterns. Our behavior in one situation is best predicted by considering our past behavior in similar situations.

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