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General Psychology: Personality

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Personality
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Consists of characteristic thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors that are relatively stable in an individual over time and across circumstances.
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Personality Trait
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A characteristic, a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and across circumstances.
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Gordon Allport
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Leading personality researcher.
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Organization
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Personality is a coherent whole, dynamic and goal seeking.
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Persona
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“Mask.”
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Psychogenic
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Causes by psychological rather than physical factors.
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Psychodynamic Theory
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Unconscious forces, such as wishes, desires, and hidden memories determine behaviors.
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Preconscious Level
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Content that is not currently in awareness but that could be brought to awareness.
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Id
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The component of personality that is completely submerged in the unconscious and operates according to the pleasure principle.
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Superego
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The dictator, acts on the morality principle.
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Ego
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Acts as a mediator between the id and the superego, acts on the reality principle.
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Defense Mechanisms
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The ego copes with anxiety through unconscious mental strategies that the mind uses to protect itself from distress.
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Denial
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Refusing to acknowledge source of anxiety. ex. Ill person ignores medical advice
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Repression
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Excluding source of anxiety from awareness. ex. Person fails to remember an unpleasant event.
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Projection
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Attributing unacceptable qualities of the self to someone else. ex. Competitive person describes others as supercompetitive.
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Reaction Formation
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Warding off an uncomfortable though by overemphasizing the opposite. ex. Person with unacknowledged homosexual desires makes homophobic comments.
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Rationalization
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Concocting a seemingly logical reason or excuse for behavior that might otherwise be shameful. ex. Person cheats on taxes because “everyone does it”
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Displacement
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Shifting the attention of emotion from one object to another. ex. A person yells at children after a bad day at work.
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Sublimination
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Channeling socially unacceptable impulses into constructive, even admirable behavior. ex. Sadist becomes a surgeon or dentist.
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Psychosexual Stages
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Developmental stages that correspond to distinct libidinal urges, progression through these stages profoundly affects personality.
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Erogenous Zones
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Mouth, anus, and genitals.
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Oral Stage
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Birth-18months. Pleasure through the mouth.
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Anal Stage
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2-3yrs. Toilet training leads babies to focus on the anus.
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Phallic Stage
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Age 3-5, Children focus on genitals.
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Oedipus Complex
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Children desire an exclusive relationship with the opposite sex parent and consider the same sex parent a rival. They develop hostility.
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Oral Personalities
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People continue to seek pleasure through the mouth, such as by smoking.
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Fixated
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Children receive excessive parental restriction or indulgence at one stage of psychosexual development.
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Anal-retentive Personalities
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People are stubborn and high regulating (may result from overly strict toilet training)
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Neo-Freudians
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Carl Jung, Alred Adler, Karen Horney
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Inferiority Complex
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Fears of inadequacy.
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Object Relations Theory
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A person’s mind and sense of self develop in relation to others in the particular environment.
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Humanistic Approaches
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Approaches to studying personality that emphasize how people seek to fulfill their potential through greater self-understanding.
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Self Actualization
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We seek to fulfill our potential for personal growth through greater self understanding
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Person- Centered Approach
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Humanist Carl Rogers helped people understand personality and human relationships. The therapist would deal with the client’s problems and concerns as the client understood them.
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Unconditional Positive Regard
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Carl Rogers encouraged parents to support and prize their children no matter how the children behave.
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Personal Constructs
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Emphasized by George Kelly. We view the world as if we were scientists, constantly testing theories and observing.
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Internal Locus of Control
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Julian Rotter. People believe they bring about their own rewards.
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External Locus of Control
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Julian Rotter. People believe rewards and their personal fates result from forces beyond their control.
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Cognitive-social Theories
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Emphasize how personal beliefs, expectations, and interpretations of social situations shape behavior and personality.
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Cognitive-affective Personality System
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Our Personalities fail to predict our behavior across different circumstances. Instead, our responses are influenced by how we perceive a given situation, emotional reaction, anticipation of outcome, and relevant skills.
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Defensive Pessimism
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People expect to fail and therefore enter situations with dread.
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Self-regulatory Capacities
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Our relative ability to set personal goals, evaluate our progress, and adjust our behavior accordingly.
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Personality Types
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Discrete categories of people.
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Implicit Personality Theory
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The study of two tendencies related to personality types: We tend to assume that certain personality characteristics go together. We tend to make predictions based on minimal evidence.
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Trait Approach
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Focuses on how individuals differ in personality dispositions, such as sociability, cheerfulness, and aggressiveness.
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Factor Analysis
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Allport grouped items together according to their similarities.
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Specific Response Level
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The base of Eysenck’s model. Specific responses are observed behaviors. ex. A person buys an item because it is on sale
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Habitual Response Level
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Second level of Eysenck’s model. A person repeats a behavior occasionally.
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Trait Level
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Third level of Eysenck’s model. A person behaves the same way on many occasions.
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Superordinate Level
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Last level of Eysenck’s model. Contains three traits: introversion/extraversion, emotional stability, and psychoticism.
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Neurotic
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A person is low in emotional stability. They experience frequent and dramatic mood swings.
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Five-factor Theory
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The idea that personality can be described using five factors: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
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Conscientiousness
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Part of the five factor theory. How careful and organized a person is.
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Agreeableness
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Part of the five factor theory. Reflects the extent to which a person is trusting and helpful.
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Openness
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Part of the five factor theory. A person is imaginative and independent vs down to earth and conformist.
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Neuroticism
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Part of the five factor theory. Worried vs calm, Insecure vs secure.
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Idiographic Approaches
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Person centered approaches to studying personality, they focus on individual lives and how various characteristics are integrated into unique persons. (all individuals are unique)
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Nomothetic Approaches
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Approaches to studying personality that focus on how common characteristics vary from person to person.
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Central Traits
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Especially important traits for how individuals define themselves.
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Secondary Traits
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Less personally descriptive traits or not applicable.
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Projective Measures
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Personality tests that examine unconscious processes by having people interpret ambiguous stimuli.
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Projective Tests
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Rorschach Inkblot Test, Thematic Apperception Test.
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Thematic Apperception Test
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A person is shown an ambiguous picture and asked to tell a story about it.
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Objective Measures
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Relatively direct assessments of personality, usually based on information gathered through self report questionnaires or observer ratings.
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Objective Tests
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California Q sort, Electronically activated record.
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Situationism
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The theory that behavior is determined more by situations than by personality traits.
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Person/situation Debate
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Personality researchers argue that how much a trait predicts a behavior depends on three factors: The centrality of the trait, the aggregation of behaviors over time, and the type of trait being evaluated.
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Self Monitoring
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How able a person is to alter their self presentation to match situational demands.
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Interactionists
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Theorists who believe that behavior is determined jointly by situations and underlying dispositions.
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Monozygotic
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Identical Twins
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Dizygotic
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Fraternal Twins
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Temperaments
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Biologically based tendencies to feel or act in certain ways.
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Ascending Reticular Activating System
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Regulates cortical arousal, or alertness.
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Behavioral Approach System
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Jeffrey Gray’s model that consists of the brain structures that lead organisms to approach stimuli in pursuit of rewards.
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Behavior Inhibition System
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Jeffrey Gray’s model that inhibits behavior that might lead to danger or pain.
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Basic Tendencies
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Dispositional traits determined largely by biological processes.
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Characteristic Adaptions
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Adjustments to situational demands.
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Self-Concept
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Everything you know about yourself.
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Objectified Self
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The known self. Knowledge the subject holds about itself, best and worst qualities.
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Self Awareness
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The sense of self as the object of attention.
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Self Discrepancy Theory
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Tony Higgins’ theory. An individual’s awareness of differences between personal standards and goals leads to strong emotions.
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Self Schema
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According to Hazel Markus, this is the cognitive aspect of the self concept.
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Working Self Concept
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The immediate experience of the self. ex. Your traits are fun-loving and intelligent. At a party you think you’re mainly fun loving
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Reflected Appraisal
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People’s self-esteem is based on how they believe others perceive them.
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Sociometer
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An internal monitor of social acceptance or rejection.
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Terror Management Theory
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Self esteem gives meaning to people’s lives. (It protects them from the horror associated with knowing they will eventually die.)
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Better Than Average Effect
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Most people describe themselves as above average in nearly every way.
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Self-Evaluative Maintenance
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People can feel threatened when someone close to them outperforms them on a task that is personally relevant.
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Social Comparisons
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When people evaluate their own actions, abilities, and beliefs by contrasting them with other people’s.
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Self Serving Bias
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The tendency for people to take personal credit for success but blame failure on external factors.
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Interdependent Self Construals
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People’s self concepts are determined to a large extent by their social roles and personal relationships.
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Independent Self Construals
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People are encouraged to be self reliant and to pursue personal success, even at the expense of interpersonal relationships.