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Cognition and Personality

By Yokie1963 Dec 03, 2013 1204 Words


My goal in this paper will be to answers the question required based on the viewing of the movie “Rain Man”. Looking at the movie from a therapist view and not as a lay person, I will begin by giving a brief synopsis of the movie and move on to focus directly on my response to each question using the main character as my reference point. Synopsis

“Self-centered, avaricious Californian Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is informed that his long-estranged father has died. Expecting at least a portion of the elder Babbitt's $3 million estate, Charlie learns that all he's inherited is his dad's prize roses and a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. Discovering that the $3 million is being held in trust for an unidentified party, Charlie heads to his home town of Cincinnati to ascertain who that party is. It turns out that the beneficiary is Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), the autistic-savant older brother that Charlie never knew he had. Able to memorize reams of trivia and add, subtract, multiply, and divide without a second's hesitation, Raymond is otherwise incapable of functioning as a normal human being. Aghast that Raymond is to receive his father's entire legacy, Charlie tries to cut a deal with Raymond's guardian. When this fails, Charlie "borrows" Raymond from the institution where he lives, hoping to use his brother as leverage to claim half the fortune. During their subsequent cross-country odyssey, Charlie is forced to accommodate Raymond's various autistic idiosyncracies, not the least of which is his insistence on adhering to a rigid daily schedule: he must, for example, watch People's Court and Jeopardy every day at the same time, no matter what. On hitting Las Vegas, Charlie hopes to harness Raymond's finely-honed mathematical skills to win big at the gaming tables; but this exploitation of his brother's affliction compels Charlie to reassess his own values, or lack of”. (the Movie data provided by AMGreof”)

Define cognition and provide a description of the cognitive processes. In the movie the Rain Man Raymond is a great example of cognition and through out the movie you were able see this development processes unfold. Raymond is able to memorize reams of trivia, and add and subtract multiple and divide with out any effort. This would be stored information in Raymond’s Brain. Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember, and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics. The core focus of cognitive psychology is on how people acquire, process and store information. There are numerous practical applications for cognitive research, such as improving memory, increasing decision-making accuracy, and structuring educational curricula to enhance learning. The cognitive processes, commonly referred to as cognition, are the many processes working together in the formation of thought. Cognition helps us to acquire information and make conscious and subconscious conclusions about the world around us. Our five conventional senses are utilized in this complex process as a means of gathering information.

What is the relationship between cognition and personality development? Cognitive development is the realization of a person, over time, of their psychological state and its change. A person is limited in their personality development by how much (in most cases, little) they are able to observe. For instance, if you are in your mid-twenties, think back to when you were eighteen. How much of your thinking has changed (that you are aware of)? Now, when you are forty, think back to when you are eighteen and repeat that question. If you are unable to see the difference between your mind when you were eighteen and your mind when you are twenty-five or forty years old, your cognitive development has been heavily stunted. However, your personality development has likely changed in some manner - you're just not aware of it. In the Rain Man Raymond development has not moved in the area of development. How do parents influence a child's personality according to each theory: evolutionary, biological/genetic, and behavioral? A seemingly obvious fact about human nature is that our personality is influenced by our parents. Intuitively, it seems as if the way our parents raise us exerts an enduring influence on the nature of our personality. By teaching certain types of behavior and by punishing actions of which they disapprove, parents may significantly influence the behavioral and emotional styles of their children. This intuition, however, contrasts with a second one. Common knowledge tells us that siblings often differ greatly from one another. One brother may be outgoing, the other shy. One sister may be conservative, the other liberal. Since siblings have the same parents, and parents tend to treat their children similarly, such examples seem to suggest that parents’ style of child rearing might make little difference to the personality of their children. In the trait theories, the basic variables of the theory are people’s traits, that is, their “broad predispositions . . . to respond in particular ways” (Pervin & John, 2001, p. 226). Most trait theories try to identify a common set of traits that can be used to describe the personality of any individual. These trait theories rely on the statistical procedure of factor analysis to identify dimensions that can be used summarize individual differences in personality traits. Researchers using this technique commonly identify a set of five trait dimensions. These Big Five personality traits include extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience (Pervin & John, 2001).

Once one identifies a set of basic traits in this manner, a primary question is to identify where the traits come from. Why do some people have more or less of a given trait than others? Almost all trait theorists have sought biological explanations for variations in traits. People are seen to inherit a given level of a trait in the same way that they might inherit hair color or height. In the Rain Man it can be assumed that Raymond may have developed the trait of the skills he possess from his mother and father even though he is autistic, thus given into the theory that DNA plays a large part in our personality development. How does self-efficacy relate to personality?

Self-efficacy has been described as the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals. Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations. One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. The concept of self-efficacy lies at the center of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. Self-efficacy is directly related to health behavior, but it also affects health behaviors indirectly through its impact on goals. Self-efficacy influences the challenges that people take on as well as how high they set their goals Self-efficacy also affects how people respond to failure. ((psychology.com) Raymond is using the process of observational behavior as he is introduce to new things in his environment he absorb the behaviors and takes them on as his own,

What “nature” and “nurture” factors contribute to one's self-efficacy?

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