Summary Class notes - Differential Psychology

- Differential Psychology
- Colin Lever
- 2015 - 2016
- DU
- Psychology
395 Flashcards & Notes
1 Students
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What is the summary of Deary et al's (2008) study?
Main conclusion: there is a clear direct relationship between childhood intelligence and adult liberal attitudes not mediated by education and class
  • It’s tempting to infer the relationship is causal…
  • The temporal constraints on the correlations are helpful…
  • Certainly, adult Liberal attitudes can’t cause childhood general intelligence
  • General intelligence earlier on plausibly might shape later liberal attitudes
  • But ultimately this is a correlational relationship
How did Deary et al (2008) investigate whether intelligence promotes liberalism?
Longitudinal study (20 years)
---> Childhood intelligence (10 yrs) tested with 4 tests (matrices, digits, word definitions, word similarities) in schools predicts in subsequent adulthood (~30yrs): 
- Political attitudes

- Political party preference (to some extent)

  • Those who endorse liberal/non-traditional attitudes as adults did better as kids in intelligence tests

  • Those having voted or likely to vote for Greens and Liberal Democrats as adults did better as kids in intelligence tests 

(while BNP-voters were below average intelligence)
What do Costa & McCrae (and others) show about factor analysis?
That diverse assessments of people’s personality (adjective lists, long self-report questionnaires) end up conforming to a five-dimension structure. 

---> the 5 factor model of personality is somewhat fundamental 

- Neuroticism (stability) ~ BIS/SP; ~Harm avoidance
- Extraversion (introversion) ~ BAS/SR; ~Novelty seeking
- Openness to experience ~ Creativity
- Agreeableness (antagonism) ~ Eysenck’s psychoticism; Hexaco’s H/H
- Conscientiousness (undirectedness)

(see slide 6, p. 7 lecture notes)
What can be said about internal reliability (consistency)?
Internal consistency is key for any questionnaire measure to be taken seriously

Item-vs-rest of test correlation
way of testing how traits hang together within a supposed factor

(Now typically assessed using Cronbach’s alpha - range 0-1 ---> 0.7 and above is considered good)
What are some unresolved issues regarding Gilbertson et al's study (2002) on whether small hippocampul volume is a predisposing vulnerability factor to stress?
The study suggests it is

Unresolved issues

  • Is the predisposition largely genetic or environmental or both?
  • Note that hippocampal size is partly heritable
  • Hippocampal quality and quantity (size) is influenced by early-life factors

e.g. perhaps the children of parents who offered less parental support have smaller hippocampi, and are more likely to develop PTSD
How might individual differences in oxytocin-mediated stress reduction occur?
  1. Obtain more social contact, including physical, which induces release of oxytocin (e.g. massage)
  2. ‘Good’ genes for oxytocin receptor determine most efficient response to oxytocin

*Both environmental and genetic influences at work in oxytocin-mediated stress reduction*
What are 3 examples of social buffering?
  • Post-deployment social support significantly reduced development of PTSD in Vietnam war veterans of both genders
         (King et al, 1998)

  • Social support significantly reduced development of PTSD in survivors of childhood sexual abuse
         (Hyman et al, 2003, Journal of Family Violence)

  • Lower post-deployment social support was associated with increased PTSD in Iraqi war veterans
         (Pietrzak et al, 2010, Journal of Affective Disorders)
What gender tend to be more anxious?
What can be summarised regarding dopamine?
Dopamine release in the ventral striatum supports normal appetitive and consummatory behaviours

High levels of dopamine release may correspond to the subjective sensation of wanting rather than liking

(be careful, as this is generalised and non specific)

Maybe to specialise ask:
Where in the brain the dopamine is being released? 
Is the release is tonic or pulsatile?
What other neurotransmitters may mediate wanting?
What did Freud say about religion?
He described how both neurotic and religious practice serve as defensive, self-protective measures involved in the repression of instinctual impulses

(p. 574 differential textbook)