Cognition
is the accumulation of information that we have collected through learning and
experience. It is the ability to process information through perception,
knowledge gained through experience, and our subjective characteristics that
allow us to integrate all of this information to evaluate and understand the
world (CogniFit, n.d). Cognitive processes
are the procedures we use to incorporate new knowledge around us, and base
decisions based on that knowledge. Some of these processes include learning,
memory, attention, language, reasoning, and decision making (CogniFit,
n.d).
Cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, and reasoning also
work together to combine new knowledge and create an understanding of the world (CogniFit,
n.d).
Cognitive perception allows us to organize and understand the world through
stimuli that we get from our other senses like sight, hearing, taste, smell,
and touch (CogniFit, n.d). Memory allows us to
code, store and recover information from the past, and is a basic process for
learning and creating a sense of identity (CogniFit, n.d). Thought is
imperative for all cognitive processes, and allows us to combine the
information we have received and create relationships between events and
knowledge (CogniFit, n.d). Language is the
ability to express our thoughts and feelings through speaking words. It used to
communicate, organize and transmit information in regards to ourselves and the
world. Lastly, learning is used to apply new information to our prior knowledge (CogniFit,
n.d).

   Cognitive
approaches to personality view perception and cognition as the main principle
of what it means to be a person. The way people understand their environments
is seen as the core of their humanness, and the way a person differs from
another (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012).  Cognitive style
is an individual’s distinctive way of deal with everyday tasks of perception
and problem solving (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012). A
cognitive style variable, called field dependence, is the extent which an
individual’s problem solving is influenced by salient but irrelevant aspect of
the context in which the problem occurs (Friedman, &
Schustack, 2012). Field dependence is also an important approach to individual
differences in personality (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012).
Another cognitive style variable to personality is cognitive complexity, which
is the extent in which a person understands, utilizes and is comfortable with
an increased number of distinctions or separate elements among which an entity
or event is analyzed (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012). People
who are low in cognitive complexity see the world in more absolute and simpler
terms, and prefer unambiguous problems as well as straightforward solutions (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). People who are high in cognitive complexity are usually
more comfortable in dealing with uncertainty, and people who are lower in
complexity are more geared toward certainty (Friedman, &
Schustack, 2012). Differences in cognitive style can also show up in learning
style, which is the way an individual approaches a task or skill to be learned (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). Learning style can also be seen as an aspect of
personality in itself, and has been shown to relate with traditional measures
of personality and temperamen (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012)t.
Personality can also be viewed to be a series of cognitive scripts, which are a
schema that guides behavior in social situation (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012)s.  We can also
gain a deeper insight into the relationship between cognition and personality
by examining the mechanisms of expecting, attending, and information processing (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012).

Biological factors play a large role in cognition.
In modern industrialized populations, 50% to 70% of cognition is heritable,
meaning the genetic differences between people account for 50% to 70% of the
differences in performances on tests of cognitive abilities (Elliot M.
Tucker-Drob, n.d).
Some of these abilities include reasoning, memory, processing speed, mental
rotation, and knowledge. It is also said that genetic influences on cognition
are the result of accumulating environmental experiences. For example, genetic behavioral
studies have shown that many broad “environmental” experiences, such has
negative life events, relationships with parents, and experiences with peers,
are heritable themselves (Elliot M. Tucker-Drob, n.d). For example,
genetically similar people, experience more similar environments, and
vise-versa. Early genetically influenced behaviors lead a person to choose
certain types of environments, and these environments have casual effects on
cognition and serve to reinforce the original behaviors of those experiences (Elliot M.
Tucker-Drob, n.d).

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For this assignment I have chosen to watch the movie
“Girl Interrupted”, and the character Lisa Rowe. In the movie, Lisa was
diagnosed as a sociopath, or anti-social personality disorder. Antisocial
personality disorder is a mental condition where a person shows no regards for
right or wrong and ignores the rights and feelings for others (Mayo Clinic
Staff, 2017).
People with this disorder also have a tendency of antagonizing, manipulating,
or treating others harshly. They also show no guilt or remorse for their
behavior (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). People with
antisocial personality disorder, such as Lisa, develop important aspects of
cognitive process such as perception, interpretation, and beliefs, in a
different way. For example, in a study regarding perception and early
development, it is shown that children develop moral reasoning through six main
stages (Smith, 2016). People with ASD
develop these six stages in a self-serving, individual focused, manner (Smith, 2016). They also tend to
be on an extreme side of the spectrum of field dependence. Individuals on this spectrum
display autonomy, distance and detachment for others (Smith, 2016). I would say that
his is the case for Lisa, who in the film repeatedly disregards the needs and
emotions of others.                                

Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution,
and argued that people evolved directly from primitive species such as chimp
and apes (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). Darwin also pointed out that each person is different
from every other person, and that some of these differentiating characteristics
help the individual survive (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012). Evolutionary
personality theory takes the elements of evolution and applies it to human
personality. For example, a child will develop certain personality
characteristics based on the environments in which their parents raise them,
and these characteristics emerge over generations to come (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012).               

When it comes to the biological/genetic theory, a
human has 23 pairs of chromosomes, which come from both parents (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). The chromosomes contain genes, which control the body’s
manufacture of proteins (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012). Genes
also affect development in numerous ways, and can also affect personality
traits. One example is a genetic disorder called William’s Syndrome, which
causes physical and developmental problems, which includes limited spatial
skills, and intellectual ability, as well as an excessive social personality (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). People with Williams’s syndrome are missing two dozen
genes on chromosome 7, but are the friendliest people you will meet. Extreme
cases like these syndromes show that genetic factors can influence personality (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012).

According to B.F. Skinner, personality is a repertoire
of behavior that is learned from an organized set of environmental occurrences.
In other words, personality is the group of frequently performed responses that
a person has learned (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012).
Behavior is determined by the environment, so therefore it is very specific to
different situations (Friedman, & Schustack, 2012). A
main component of behaviorism is conditioning, which explains many behavioral
actions (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). For example, neutral stimuli associated with positive
and enjoyable occurrences become things that we like, but events we associate
with negative responses, become dislikes (Friedman, &
Schustack, 2012). An example of how a parent or caretaker can affect emotional
aspects of personality is if a parent acts negatively in a specific situation
in front of the child. There is a good chance that the child will later
associate that particular event or events like it, with negative feelings or
opinions.

When using Lisa from Girl Interrupted as an example
for each of these theories, she very well could have developed antisocial
personality disorder based on genetics. Genes can make you vulnerable to
developing antisocial personality disorder, and also certain life situations
can trigger its development (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). Possibly the
disorder and/or other mental illness ran in Lisa’s family, mixed with an
environment that caused it to develop. Some of these factors may include being
raised in a violent or chaotic family home, or being subjected to abuse or
neglect (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017).

Self-efficacy is an expectancy or belief in regards
to how competently one will be able to enact a behavior in a specific situation (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). Positive self-efficacy is the belief that one will be
able to perform a behavior successfully. Without a feeling of self-efficacy, a
person is much less likely to perform a behavior (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). According to Bandura, self-efficacy determines whether
we try to act at all, how long we keep going in the face of difficulty or
failure, and how success or failure at a task influences our future behavior (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012).

A factor in regards to “nature” that may contribute
to self-efficacy is the fact that it may be largely genetic. A study involving
3700 pairs of twins, both identical and fraternal, showed a child’s
self-confidence is greatly influenced by hereditary (Friedman,
& Schustack, 2012). I would say that if a parent has positive
self-efficacy, than the child is more likely to have positive self-efficacy. A
factor that coincides with “nature” would be the level of self-esteem and
encouragement a parent or caretakers instills in their child. For example, I
think that if a parent encourages and supports children in regards to their
self-efficacy and preforming tasks, they will have a better chance of being
successful in the given tasks.

In the movie, Lisa seems to have high self-efficacy
in many of the scenes. She often leads the rest of the women in the mental
hospital, as well as seems overly confident and manipulative. Although the film
does not go into Lisa’s family background too much, she very well could have
gotten these traits through her family history. As far as nurture in regards to
Lisa’s self-efficacy, she may have gotten used to people constantly following her
orders, therefor has a higher than normal self-efficacy at times. 

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