Final Project: Interview Profile Lara Dvorak February 4, 2010 Beh225, Stephanie Robinson Humans are complex and intricate beings. We all feel, think, behave and look different. However, psychologists and researchers have been developing patterns in how experiences and processes shape the way we are and how we handle certain tasks. There are many variables that shape the way we learn and remember, our attitudes and personality, and what motivates us. To better understand these experiences and processes, I will compare the same characteristics of my own to a young girl named Jenny.
We are both close in age, background, gender, race and circumstance. It is important to know how we learn. Once humans understand the process for which something is learned, we can build on this information to learn better and more efficiently. We can learn behavior through rewards and punishment reinforcing particular behavior, such as with operant conditioning. Humans can also learn behavior by reacting to a stimulus such as becoming stressed when a police officer pulls us over.
A third type of learning is cognitive learning; where we learn something but the process in which we learn cannot be directly observed because it is an internal mental process. An example of cognitive learning is a child who watches his or her parents driving a car, notice that they stop at red lights. The child learns that a red light means to stop, however; the child themselves do not stop the car and therefore the behavior and learned rule is not observable. When learning a behavior, Jenny and I both prefer to observe the behavior being performed rather than reading about it.
In my opinion, observing a behavior being performed allows for us to use more senses to remember information. We can pay better attention to the behavior that is being performed and we can imagine ourselves carrying out the particular behavior. When simply reading about a behavior, sometimes it is difficult to imagine it being performed and while reading only one or two senses are being used to take in information to the nervous system. The way we remember things is a complex process as well. Our minds take in more information than we realize however only a small portion of this information is stored in our memories.
A vast amount of information is almost constantly entering our brains from audio and visual senses. Some of this information is stored in our short-term memory where it is replaced quickly, within a few seconds by new sensory information. The attention that we give particular pieces of information is what determines if the information is stored in our long-term memory, which as little limitations for how much can be stored for how long. We can also remember information if the information is rehearsed or gone over several times.
Repetition has been proven to be a great way of getting information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory. Once memories are stored in our long-term memory, they are deemed either explicit or implicit memories. Explicit memories are those that can be explained and a person is aware of these memories. Examples of explicit memories are episodic memories, such as what you dressed up as for Halloween when you were eight or the memory of your first kiss; and semantic memories such as the year the Christopher Columbus discovered America or who invented the telephone.
Implicit memories are memories that are not easily explained and a person may not even know they have retained them. An example of implicit memories are procedural memories, like how to use a fork; and emotional memories, like the embarrassment you felt when you fell while performing a school play. When studying and trying to remember information for school, Jenny prefers to study at home where there are minimal distractions and some background noise.
In Jenny’s opinion, the distractions help to keep her mind focused by disallowing her thoughts to wander away from the task at hand. The comfortable setting allows her to relax and fully submerse herself into the information she is trying to retain. However, I prefer to study in a library where there are no distractions. Our short-term memory is able to take in more information when it is not taking in additional information from background noises.
Through repetition, I am able to take information from my short-term memory and lodge it in my long-term memory to remember later for a test or quiz. Human personality has been studied for years. Researchers have debated on what personality is, how to test for it, and what needs to be measured to accurately determine personality style. Psychologists have determined a definition for personality. It is defined as a person’s unique pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that persists over time and across situations (Axia Collge, 2002).
Depending on the theories being tested, several techniques are used to collect information and determine a personality type. When testing for psychodynamic theories, which focus on unconscious thoughts and feelings, projective tests and interviews, are most effective. When testing for humanistic theories, which focus on a person’s motives to better themselves, objective tests and interviews are the most successful. When testing for trait theories, which focus on set characteristics that make a person act a certain way, objective tests are the most effective.
When testing for social learning theories, which focus on how behaviors were learned in early life, objective tests, interviews, and observation is the most successful. The most common test used to analyze personality is objective tests. When using objective tests, subjects are asked to answer a series of questions that have “yes” or “no” options or multiple choice answers. The Meyers-brigs test is an example of an objective personality test. Subjects are required to answer how much a specific word describes them based on a scale of one to five.
The number of words used to describe a person varies; however the more descriptive words that is analyzed, the more accurate the test is. The Meyers-brigs test use the answers that the subject gives to measure several aspects of personality such whether or not the subject is extrovert, focusing on external issues and social goals; or introvert, focused on internal thoughts and feelings. The test also analyzes if a person regulates their actions by thinking or feeling and if they base their actions on perceptions through their senses or through internal processes (Axia Collge, 2002).
By analyzing all of these characteristics, the results of the test give insight to the personality type of the subject that may not have been known before. When Jenny took the Meyers-brigs test, her result identified that she was ESFP. That is that she was 80% extroverted, 20% introverted; 52% sensing, 47% intuitive; 52% feeling, 47% thinking; and 60% perceiving, 40% judging. The descriptive results of the test said that Jenny was an entertainer who is optimistic and friendly. The test showed that she radiates warmth, is witty and charming as well as generous and fun to be with.
According to Jenny, these results were very accurate. She testified that she rarely knows a stranger and is a fun loving person. When I took the Meyers-brigs test, the results showed that I am focused on my external environment, that I am responsible, and a pillar of strength. While this test may be accurate in studying a few measures of personality, the test has few drawbacks. For example, while I agree that the description of my personality is correct, there is still much more to my personality.
The test is also limited in that a person may be partial to the type of personality they would like to have rather than how they actually act. Yet another characteristic that shapes who we are, are our attitudes. Attitudes are beliefs, feelings, and behavior tendencies directed towards something or someone (Axia Collge, 2002). Our attitudes generally develop at an early age by those that influence us. Parents, teachers, celebrities, and the media are some examples of people that may influence our attitudes. Jenny feels that her attitudes have changed since the birth of her son.
During her childhood, she feels that her parents influence her attitudes the most in that if her father had a strong opinion about something, she usually felt the same way. As she got older, many of her friends helped her develop her own attitudes about specific controversial topics such as religion or abortion. Today, her son shapes many of her attitudes as she now weighs how she feels towards an object so as to give a good example to her child. When compared to myself, my mother shaped most of my attitudes and I keep most of them today.
She taught me to be kind, understanding, and not to judge, these are all attitudes that I do not plan on changing and I will keep throughout my life. However, Jenny and I are both self-monitoring in our attitudes. That is that even though we may think or feel a certain way towards and object or situation, we alter our actions to reflect a response that is socially acceptable. A final characteristic that shapes who we are is our motivation. Motivation is a specific need or desire that prompts goal-directed behavior (Axia Collge, 2002).
What motivates us to do something varies from person to person. Motivation can vary between instinctual drives such as the need for food or water, the need to reduce an unpleasant feeling, or other motives that we acquire as we learn. Motives can also be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motives are the rewards we receive by doing a task such as the enjoyment of playing a game of cards or watching a movie. Extrinsic motives are rewards that acquired by the completion of a task such as cleaning your house or doing laundry.
Jenny and I differ on what motivates us better. Jenny works better at a task when she is intrinsically motivated; she finds enjoyment in performing a task. However I find the most motivation at the thought of completing a task and having a sense of accomplishment. Despite many of mine and Jenny’s differences in learning, memory, personality, attitudes, and motivation; by comparing the difference between us I can better understand what shapes us and how we process certain tasks.
More important than understanding the processes and how these characteristics are shaped, is the understanding that all humans are different and complex. Being different is what makes us unique and what makes understanding human characteristics so difficult. None of us think, feel, or behave the same way, thus making the study of psychology interesting and complex. References Axia College. (2002). Psychology: An Introduction. Retrieved from Axia College, Beh225 website.