Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 418
Information processing/cognitive psychology/personality traits/Matthews: The cognitive patternings of traits (i.e., biases in multiple, independent, processing components) support theories that link traits to individual differences in information-processing.the more productive research areas show a progression in three steps.
1) The first step is simply to show that a broadly-defined effect exists, such as an impairment in working memory, or a selective attention bias.
2) The second step is to outline a broad theory that makes some general predictions. For example, the theory that bias in anxiety operates pre-attentively leads to the prediction that it should be evident even when stimuli are subliminally presented.
3) The third step is to develop a detailed computational model, such as building a connectionist network that simulates the phenomenon in detail (Matthews and Harley 1996(1); Mathews and Mackintosh 1998(2)).
Problems: information-processing accounts are incomplete. Sometimes, personality effects are strategic in nature; that is, there may be no personality effect on the parameters of information-processing, but different individuals use the functionality provided by the cognitive architecture to pursue different task goals, e.g., in terms of valuing speed over accuracy. To understand how personality impacts voluntary choice of strategy, we must look at high-level self-regulation and the self-knowledge that supports it.
Corr I 420
Personality traits: The information-processing attributes of a given trait represent a platform on which the individual builds the skills that support their adaptive specialization.



1. Matthews, G., & Harley, T. A. 1996. Connectionist models of emotional distress and attentional bias, Cognition and Emotion 10: 561–600
2. Mathews, A. and Mackintosh, B. 1998. A cognitive model of selective processing in anxiety, Cognitive Therapy and Research 22: 539–60


Gerald Matthews, „ Personality and performance: cognitive processes and models“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Matthews, Gerald
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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