Summary Class notes - Differential Psychology

Course
- Differential Psychology
- Colin Lever
- 2015 - 2016
- DU
- Psychology
395 Flashcards & Notes
1 Students
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Summary - Class notes - Differential Psychology

  • 1445814000 Personality and Basic Motivational systems: GRAY and BIS/BAS

  • Gray proposed that personality is based on interaction between two basic systems in the brain: the behavioural approach system (BAS) and the behavioural inhibition system (BIS) (p. 195 differential textbook)
  • What is Gray's Personality Theory (1982)?
    There are 3 motivational/ emotional systems

    1. Behavioural Approach/ Activation system (BAS)- comprises motivation to approach 
    - causes the individual to be sensitive to potential rewards and to seek those rewards
    - mediates reactions to appetitive stimuli (generates positive emotions) i.e. wanting, liking, rewarding, thrills 

    2. Behavioural Inhibition system (BIS)- comprises motivation to avoid 
    - motivations that make the individual sensitive to punishment/ potential danger
    - mediates reactions to punishing stimuli (generates negative emotions) i.e. anxiety, worry, rumination, caution, conflict, neophobia 

    3. Fight/Flight system (FF)
    - generates negative emotions i.e. fear, panic, rage 

    (Gray mainly focused on BAS and BIS system) - good diagram of BAS and BIS on p. 196 differential textbook

    These 3 sets of emotions motivate us.
    - we approach good things e.g. food, water, sex, mastery
    - we avoid bad things e.g. social humiliation (more specific to social species i.e. humans), predators
    ---> there is variation between species lions need more BAS, mice need more BIS/FF

    *An individual's personality is determined by their BAS and BIS activity* 
  • Gray linked BAS and BIS theory to 2 personality variables: impulsivity and anxiety.
    ---> those with high levels of BAS are described as impulsive - highly motivated to seek rewards
    ---> those with low levels of BAS are described as not impulsive
    ---> those with high levels of BIS are described as anxious - particularly responsive to potential punishment/ danger
    ---> those with low levels of BIS are described as not anxious

    (p. 196 differential textbook)
  • Regarding the Behavioural Approach/Activation system, what is the key neurotransmitter and the key brain regions involved?
    Neurotransmitter: dopamine
    Key regions: ventral striatum. nucleus accumbens, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex 
  • Regarding the Behavioural Inhibition system, what are the key brain regions involved?
    Septohippocampal system (Gray later includes the amygdala)
  • What happens when you are more sensitive to reward cues?
    Approach: the more sensitive to reward cues you are, the more you want sex, food, money etc 
    i.e. you see food cues, you anticipate food, and experience the anticipation and the consumption as rewarding 
  • What happens when you are more sensitive to punishment?
    The more sensitive to punishment you are, the more you avoid potential fights, avoid losing money, avoid disappointing your friends, and avoid potential social humiliation 

    You repeatedly imagine different scenarios where e.g. your friend reacts badly to you letting them down, you experience this as worry = keen to avoid feeling like this
    (personal differences: if you are an anxious person, you will imagine these scenarios more than others)
  • How can the BAS and BIS system be measured? Who measured them?
    Carver & White, 1994

    - produced a 24-item questionnaire of BAS and BIS system (p. 196 differential textbook)
  • Note, Gray made the theories, not the questionnaires 
  • Who looked at the effects of reward & punishment on +ve and -ve feelings alongside measures of the BAS and BIS?
    Ravaja et al (2003)

    Measured the BAS and BIS using Carver and White's BIS/BAS scales. 

    Task: participants had to complete a number of tasks, during which they had to indicate their levels of positive and negative emotions they were feeling.
    Some tasks were designed to induce a negative experience (e.g. punishment tasks) and other tasks were designed to induce a positive experience 

    Results: a greater degree of BAS related to more positive feelings during the positive inducing tasks. They also found a greater degree of BIS related to more negative feelings during the aversive tasks.

    (info p. 196 differential textbook)
  • What shows that success is not only about talent/ability, but also about personality? 
    - some people might achieve more because they are more reward-driven 
    e.g. John is more musically gifted than Bob, but Bob practices more because Bob is more driven by ambitions of fame 
    - some people might achieve more because they are less cautious 
    e.g. Simon is more musically gifted Bob, but Simon is more shy than Bob, and more embarrassed by making mistakes in public 
  • The Gray and McNaughton idea: the hippocampus encourages the subject to further consider the potential negative outcome associated with a behaviour 
  • According to Gray & McNaughton, 2000 what 3 things does the hippocampus encourage? 
    1. To consider the potential negative outcome associated with a behaviour 
    2. Behavioural inhibition: interruption of ongoing behaviour e.g. walking more softly/slowly, stopping movement, stopping eating. 
    3. Risk assessment and exploration to help resolve conflict i.e. explore the situation around you (included in behavioural inhibition)
  • What are the revisions in the Gray & McNaughton, 2000 theory compared to the Gray 1982 theory?
    a) they incorporated the amygdala into anxiety systems
    b) in original theory, BIS mediates avoidance. Later, they re-conceptualise the BIS in terms of conflict 

    (don't get too caught up in this revised theory, focus on the 1982 theory)
  • BAS = impulsivity/ reward
    BIS = anxiety 
  • Anticipation is important with BIS - you know how it feels when something goes wrong so you try and avoid it in the future
  • What experiment shows the heritability and stability of BIS and BAS? 
    Takahashi et al. 2007 

    Identical vs. fraternal twins
    Heritability Results: for both BIS and BAS, correlations across identical twins are higher than across fraternal twins

    Stability Results: BIS and BAS are relatively stable over 2/3 year period 
  • What does BAS overlap with?
    Extraversion i.e. sociable, talkative, active, spontaneous etc  

    Novelty seeking, reward dependence (Cloninger, 1987; Tridimensional Pers Questionnaire)
  • What was the first study to report a link between a personality variable and BMI?
    Franken & Muris, 2005
    - they explicitly tested the link between Gray's BAS concept and body mass index (BMI)
    - tested 99 female undergraduates 
    Results = sensitivity to reward score correlated with BMI score & sensitivity to reward score related with food craving score 
  • What experiment shows that individual differences in reward drive predict neural responses to images of food?
    Beaver, Lawerence et al., 2006 - they found that response to appetising foods is strongly correlated with BAS drive scores in classic reward areas 
  • What experiment shows that the hippocampus and the amygdala are involved in anticipation?
    Hahn et al.

    Task: monetary incentive delay task in which participants must respond to a stimulus within a certain time. A cue before each trial signals whether failure will engender: no loss, a small loss, or a large loss. This is followed by a delay prior to the presentation of the stimulus 

    Results: both the small and large loss conditions elicited hippocampal and amygdalar activation during the delay period, compared to the loss condition

    THIS CORRESPONDS WITH GRAY'S THEORY 
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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)

Examples
  • 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?
Women
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)