Walden University Integrative Theory of Personality Paper

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Based on your readings for this Week, access the Personality Theory Matrix and complete the requested information in Column G section for Biological and Evolutionary Theory and Column H section for Integrative Theory. You can use this information to support your Discussion post and response this week.

Note: Continue to populate the Personality Theory Matrix spreadsheet you began in Week 2 to guide your learning about personality theories for your Module Assessment and submit it in Week 8 as part of your Module Assessment.

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources, focusing on theorists, cultural considerations, assessments/interventions, limitations, and unique aspects of both psychoanalytic theory and trait theory.

By Day 4

Post one key idea from the biological or evolutionary theoretical orientation and one from the integrative theoretical orientation. What is a main difference between these theoretical orientations? What is similar between these theories? Which one do you more closely align with?
Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2019). Personality: Theory and research (14th ed.). Wiley.

Rijn, B. van, & Wild, C. (2013). Humanistic and Integrative Therapies for Anxiety and Depression: Practice-Based Evaluation of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, and Integrative Psychotherapies and Person-Centered Counseling. Transactional Analysis Journal, 43(2), 150–163.

Sanchez, R. S., Gray, J. C., MacKillop, J., Chen, C. ‐H., & Palmer, A. A. (2018). The genetics of human personality. Genes, Brain & Behavior, 17(3), 1.

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Cognitive-experiential self-theory Reference: Epstein, S. (2012). Cognitive-experiential self-theory: An integrative theory of personality. (In H. Tennen & J. Suls, Eds.). Handbook of Psychology, 2nd ed., Vol.5. Personality Section. Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory: An Integrative Theory of Personality Seymour Epstein, Professor Emeritus Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Key words: CEST, cognitive-experiential self-theory, integrative personality theory, adaptive unconscious, dual-process theory Author’s Note This chapter includes material from several of my articles published elsewhere including in the first edition of the Handbook of Psychology. The research reported here was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Grant MH 01293 and NIMH Research Scientist Award 5 KO5 MH 00363. 1 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Abstract Cognitive-experiential self-theory (CEST) is a global theory of personality that substitutes an adaptive unconscious for the Freudian maladaptive unconscious. The unconscious of CEST is an associative, automatic learning system, mediated by affect, that humans share with other higher order animals that have adapted successfully with it over millions of years of evolution. The system is referred to as an “experiential system” because it adapts by empirically learning from experience. Humans also uniquely process information with a “rational system,” which is verbal reasoning system. The 2 systems operate by different rules and attributes. They operate in parallel and are bi-directionally interactive, both simultaneously and sequentially. Although the systems usually operate in harmony and often synergistically, they also may conflict with each other and otherwise interfere with each other’s performance. The influence of the experiential on the rational system can account for the irrationality of humans particularly when attempting to solve interrelationship problems, both interpersonal and inter-societal. According to CEST, despite their remarkable intelligence people often do poorly in solving relationship problems, which fall primarily in the domain of the experiential system, as their experiential processing biases their rational processing. This chapter demonstrates that CEST has theoretical and research implications for elucidating a wide range of psychological issues, including the nature of intuition, the existence of a global factor of experiential intelligence, psychological sources of physical and emotional wellbeing, psycho-biography, and the meaning of dreams. Word count: 235 2 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Cognitive-experiential self-theory (CEST) is a global theory of personality that integrates significant aspects of self/phenomenological theory, learning theory, cognitive theory psychoanalytic theory, and emotions theory. It includes important aspects of self/phenomenological theory by assuming that everyone automatically constructs an implicit theory of reality in the course of living because such an implicit theory is rewarding as it is necessary for effective adaptation. An implicit theory of reality includes sub-theories about the self, others, the inanimate world, and beliefs regarding their interactions. People’s implicit theories of reality automatically and effortlessly direct people’s everyday behavior and also influence their interpretation of events, feelings, and conscious thinking. Thus, people’s implicit theories of reality determine in large measure their performance and the quality of their lives. Learning theory plays a critical role in CEST because of the assumption that the implicit beliefs in people’s theories of reality are acquired by automatically learning from experience according to the principles and attributes of associative learning. The experiential system in humans is assumed to be the same system with which non-human animals have successfully adapted to their environments over millions of years of evolution. The automatic learning of this system because of its adaptive significance can be assumed to be intrinsically highly compelling, as life itself has depended on it. It follows that people’s deliberative conscious reasoning cannot easily over-ride the influence of experiential processing. Learning theory is extended in CEST by regarding the attributes of associative learning as important as its operating principles in determining its manner of its operation. The attributes refer to the following kinds of characteristics of associative learning: it operates in a manner that is automatic, effortless, rapid, 3 Cognitive-experiential self-theory primarily non-verbal, holistic, concrete, minimally demanding of cognitive resources, and it normally operates outside of awareness. The operating rules of associative learning include association, contiguity, reinforcement, extinction, and spontaneous recovery.. Although the operating rules and attributes of associative learning evolved because of their adaptive significance once having evolved, the same principles and attributes can be used for other purposes than learning from experience by a process referred to in evolutionary theory as preadaptation. This assumption greatly expands the explanatory power of experiential processing, as it makes it possible for its rules and attributes to account for responses to entirely new information as in implicit learning, unconscious pattern identification, and intuitive responses to situations never before experienced. Important aspects of cognitive theory are assimilated in CEST by the assumption that people learn cognitions in the form of internal representations of events, schemas, or implicit beliefs that are the building blocks of people’s implicit theories of reality. The learning of such schemas is considered much more important for personal theories of reality than the learning of behavioral/motor responses. In agreement with cognitive theory and in contrast to Freudian theory, most information processing is assumed to occur outside of awareness, not because of repression as Freud believed, but because it is a more efficient, less effortful way of processing information in everyday life than by conscious reasoning. CEST is also similar to cognitive science in its views on how schemas, or implicit beliefs, are encoded, stored and retrieved. CEST differs from cognitive theory by its much greater emphasis on the importance of emotions, psychodynamics, self/phenomenological concepts, and learning theory. Important aspects of psychoanalytic theory are incorporated into CEST by the importance attributed to unconscious processing, psychodynamics, and transference reactions, which are 4 Cognitive-experiential self-theory viewed more generally in CEST in terms of generalization. CEST differs from psychoanalytic theory by its view of unconscious processing, by its de-emphasis on psychosexual stages, and by its assumption that unconscious rather than conscious processing is primarily (not exclusively) the default condition in everyday life. A particularly important difference between the two theories is that CEST replaces the Freudian maladaptive unconscious, which is indefensible from an evolutionary perspective, with an adaptive unconscious that is consistent with evolutionary principles. Affect and emotion occupy are is considered to be significant aspect of almost all, if not all, associative networks in the experiential system. According to CEST they are particularly important because of their critical role in reinforcement and motivation and therefore of the acquisition of the implicit beliefs and networks in the experiential system. They are also important as they provide a royal road to the identification of the schemas in people’s implicit theories of reality In the remainder of this chapter, I review the basic assumptions of CEST and summarize the research my associates and I have conducted to test and extend its assumptions. I further consider the implications of CEST for elucidating a few topics of particular interest, such as the nature of intuition, an evaluation of the accuracy and value of the concept of, emotional intelligence and the relation of the operation of the experiential system to physical disease, psycho-biography, and the meaning of dreams. The Existence of Two Information Processing Systems According to CEST, people process information with two information-processing systems, rational and experiential. The two systems are assumed to operate in parallel and to interact bi-directionally simultaneously and sequentially. CEST has nothing new to say about the 5 Cognitive-experiential self-theory rational system, other than to emphasize the degree to which it is influenced outside of awareness by experiential processing. CEST does have a great deal to say about the experiential system. In effect, CEST introduces a new system of unconscious processing in its proposal of an experiential adaptive system that is scientifically defensible in ways in which the Freudian unconscious system is not. Before proceeding further, a caveat is in order about the term “rational” as referred to in the rational system of CEST. Unfortunately the word “rational” has two meanings. One meaning is “reasonable,” whereas the other refers to a logical process of reasoning. According to CEST a logical manner of reasoning can only occur in the rational system as it is dependent on the use of grammatical language. Experiential processing can never be rational as the term is used in CEST, but it can be reasonable and therefore rational according to the alternative meaning of rational. As previously noted, according to CEST everyone automatically constructs an implicit personal theory of reality that includes sub-theories concerning the self, others, and the inanimate world, as well as beliefs about their interactions. Personal theories of reality consist of a hierarchical organization of schemas, or implicit beliefs, that are organized into cognitiveaffective networks. Toward the apex of the organization are highly general implicit beliefs, such as that the self is worthy, people are generally trustworthy, and the world is mainly orderly and benevolent. Because of their high level of generality these beliefs and networks of beliefs have widespread connections with other schemas and cognitive-affective networks. As a result, they are normally highly stable and not easily invalidated. However, should they be invalidated, it would tend to destabilize the overall conceptual system. Evidence that such destabilization actually occurs is provided by the profound disorganization following unassimilable experiences in acute schizophrenic reactions (e.g., Bleuler, 1978; Bowers, 1974; Epstein, 1979a; Kaplan, 6 Cognitive-experiential self-theory 1964; Perry, 1974). At the opposite end of the hierarchy are narrow, situation-specific schemas. The narrower schemas are readily susceptible to change, and their changes have little effect on the overall stability of the organization of the conceptual system. Thus, the hierarchic structure of implicit personal theories of reality allows the theory to be stable in the vicinity of its apex and flexible at the more specific levels. It is important to recognize, in this respect, that the experiential system is an organized, adaptive system, rather than a collection of unrelated implicit cognitions and networks, like tools in a cognitive tool box as some have proposed (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). As it is assumed in CEST that the experiential system in humans is essentially the same system with which nonhuman animals adapt to their environments, it follows that nonhuman animals also have an organized model of the world that is subject to disorganization. Support for this assumption is provided by the widespread dysfunctional behavior exhibited in animals exposed to emotionally significant unassimilable stimuli (e.g., Pavlov, 1941). Unlike nonhuman animals, humans in addition to having an implicit experiential system also have an explicit rational system. The degree to which people’s implicit and explicit theories of reality are discrepant is considered in CEST to be an important source of stress and psychopathology. The Operating Principles of the Two Systems The experiential system adapts to reality by empirically learning from experience in a manner that is automatic, preconscious, rapid, effortless, holistic, concrete, associative, primarily nonverbal, and minimally demanding of cognitive resources. It encodes information in two ways: as memories of specific events, particularly those that were emotionally arousing, and in an abstract, more general way. The abstract representations are in the form of generalizations, 7 Cognitive-experiential self-theory prototypes, and as complex other representations that often include a significant, subordinate rational component as in metaphors, narratives, and scripts. The implicit beliefs in a personal theory of reality are assumed always to be associated with affect, which may vary from negligible to intense. As previously noted, affect is extremely important in CEST as it plays critical important roles in reinforcement in learning, in affectdriven motivation, and in providing a royal road to identifying the beliefs in people’s implicit theories of reality. It follows that CEST is as much an emotional as a cognitive theory, as without affect there would be no associative learning and therefore no experiential system. The primary motive of the experiential system is to operate according to the hedonic principle. It is noteworthy that although emotions and affect are often sources of irrational behavior in humans because of the biasing influence of experiential on rational processing, affect also serves a critically important function in the development of an implicit model of reality. Thus, by pursuing positive affect and avoiding negative affect organisms, including humans, automatically empirically construct an adaptive working theory of reality. In contrast to the experiential system, the rational system is an inferential reasoning system that operates according to an individual’s understanding of the rules of reasoning including the importance and evaluation of evidence. The rational system operates in a manner that is conscious, primarily verbal, analytic, effortful, relatively slow, affect-free, and demanding of cognitive resources. Unlike the experiential system, the rational system has a very brief evolutionary history. The primary motive of the rational system is to operate according to the reality principle, the desire to be realistic and logical. A comparison of the operation of the two systems is provided in Table 1. Which system is superior? At first thought, it might seem that it must be the rational 8 Cognitive-experiential self-theory system. After all, with its ability to solve problems with the use of grammatical language the rational system is a recent very high level of evolutionary development that is unique to the human species. It is capable of much higher levels of abstract thinking and complexity than the experiential system, and it makes possible planning, long-term delay of gratification, crosssituational, conceptually determined generalizations, high levels of stimulus and response discrimination, comprehension of cause-and-effect relations, and communication over great distances and across generations. These attributes of the rational system have made it possible for the remarkable accomplishments of humans in science, technology, mathematics, medicine, and the arts. The experiential system has important virtues, some never before recognized, which will be discussed shortly. For now, it will suffice to note that it’s most important ability is one that no animal, including humans, could live without, namely the ability to effortlessly, rapidly, and efficiently direct everyday behavior. The widespread belief in the superiority of the rational-analytical is supported by research that examines people’s ability to solve normative problems. However, increasing evidence is emerging that the experiential system is superior to the rational system in several other ways (e.g., Norris & Epstein, in press; Wilson, 2002) and even in some kinds of complex informationprocessing (e.g., Dijksterhuis, 2004; Reber, 1993). Research my associates and I have conducted has identified several important previously unrecognized ways in which the experiential system is superior to the rational system. For example, in a study by Norris and Epstein (in press) it was found that the experiential system is more strongly associated than the rational system with creativity, empathy, favorable interpersonal relationships, intuition, sense of humor, and aesthetic judgment. A more detailed comparison of the virtues and limitations of the two systems 9 Cognitive-experiential self-theory will be presented in the section on research. Returning to the question of which system is superior, the only reasonable conclusion is that neither system is generally superior as each has equally important advantages and limitations. It is therefore encouraging to realize that since the two systems are independent, improvement in one does not have to be obtained at the expense of improvement in the other. It is therefore to people’s advantage to cultivate the desirable attributes of both systems. Moreover, even if people wished to suppress the operation of the experiential system in order to become more rational, it would no more be possible to accomplish this than to stop breathing because the air is polluted. Rather than attempting in vain to suppress its influence, the only way to effectively to control the experiential system it is to identify, understand, and influence its operation, particularly with regard to its biasing influence on rational processing (Epstein, 1998a). How the Experiential System Operates As previously noted, the operation of the experiential system is intimately associated with affect in the form of “vibes” as well as emotions. Vibes refer to vague feelings that are experienced only dimly, if at all, in a person’s consciousness. Stating that vibes often operate outside of awareness is not meant to imply that people cannot become aware of them, but only that people usually make no attempt to do so. Examples of negative vibes are unarticulated feelings of agitation, irritation, tension, disquietude, and apprehension. Examples of positive vibes are unarticulated feelings of wellbeing, affection, gratification, positive anticipation, calmness, and light-heartedness. When a person responds to an emotionally arousing event, the sequence of reactions is assumed normally to occur as follows: The experiential system automatically and 10 Cognitive-experiential self-theory instantaneously searches its memory banks for related events. If the memories are pleasant, the person has thoughts, images, and impulses that promote behaving in ways anticipated to reproduce the feelings. If the memories are unpleasant, the person has thoughts, images, and impulses to behave in ways anticipated to avoid experiencing the feelings. As this sequence of events occurs automatically, people are usually unaware of its operation. Seeking consciously to understand their behavior, people under the influence of the hedonic principle of the experiential system construct the most favorable explanation they can think of within acceptable reality limits in their rational system. In other words they rationalize, meaning according to CEST that they attribute primarily experientially determined behavior to a rational cause. According to CEST, such rationalization is a routine process that occurs far more often than is recognized and helps to maintain the undetected influence of experiential on rational processing. It should be noted that the experiential system in the above explanation biases the operation of the rational system outside of awareness at two points in time, once at the beginning of the response sequence and again at the end of the sequence. Such influence of experiential on rational processing is considered particularly important in CEST because it helps to explain why despite their remarkable intelligence people often think irrationally in ways that are destructive to others and even to themselves. Basic Needs Most major theories of personality propose a single basic need. CEST achieves an integration of their positions by regarding four proposed basic needs as equally basic according to criteria shortly to be noted. Identification of Basic Needs. In classical Freudian theory, the one most basic need before the introduction of a death instinct was the pleasure principle, which refers to the pursuit 11 Cognitive-experiential self-theory of pleasure and the avoidance of and pain (Freud, 1924/1960). Some learning theorists such as Thorndike (1927) make a similar assumption in their view of the importance of affective reinforcement. For object-relations theorists, most notably Bowlby (1988), the most fundamental need is the need for relatedness. For Rogers (1951) and other phenomenological psychologists, it is the need to maintain the stability and coherence of a person’s conceptual system. For Allport (1961) and Kohut (1971), it is the need to enhance self-esteem. (For a more thorough discussion of these proposals see Epstein, 1993a, 1998b.) From the perspective of CEST, the four proposed basic needs all meet the following criteria for a basic need: the need is universal; the need can dominate the other basic needs; and a failure to fulfill the need can destabilize the overall conceptual system. Recently the view in CEST regarding basic needs was modified as follows. Two superordinate basic needs were added, the need to behave according to the hedonic principle, i.e., the pursuit of positive affect and the avoidance of negative affect and the need to maintain cortical excitationwithin homeostatic limits (Epstein, in pressa). The previous basic needs were accordingly reclassified as subordinate basic needs. The reason why the two super-ordinate basic needs were added is that both are important aspects of all the sub-ordinate basic needs. Thus, all the sub-ordinate basic needs are assumed to vary along two dimensions, a bipolar dimension of positive versus negative affect and a unipolar dimension of degree of cortical excitation. It follows from this assumption that each sub-ordinate basic need is associated with some kind of positive and negative affect. For example, the pleasure and pain associated with the sensory pleasure principle are qualitatively different from the pride and displeasure experienced in increases and decreases in self-esteem. That is, although all basic needs involve experiencing positive and negative affect, the kind of positive and negative affect is different for different 12 Cognitive-experiential self-theory needs. Interactions among basic needs. Given two super-ordinate basic needs and four subordinate basic needs that operate simultaneously, it follows that behavior is determined by the degree of activation of all of the needs in a particular situation. An important adaptive consequence of the result of such behavior is that the needs normally serve as checks and balances against each other. Thus, if a basic need is fulfilled at the expense of fulfilling other basic needs, the fulfillment of the other basic needs becomes increasingly insistent. However, under certain circumstances the motivation to fulfill a particular need may be so great that frustration of the other needs is disregarded. Such a condition is assumed to be a source of different kinds of pathology, shortly to be discussed. The finding that normal people characteristically have unrealistic self-enhancing and optimistic biases (Taylor & Brown, 1988) has evoked considerable interest because it appears to contradict the widely held assumption that reality awareness is an important criterion of mental health. From the perspective of CEST, rather than indicating that reality awareness is a false criterion of mental health, all it indicates is that it is not the only relevant criterion. According to CEST, a compromise commonly occurs between the fulfillment of different needs. Unrealistic self-enhancement can be understood as a compromise between the need for self-enhancement (in the experiential system) and the need to be realistic (in the rational system). The result is a modest self-enhancing bias that is not seriously unrealistic. It suggests that normal individuals tend to give themselves the benefit of the doubt in situations in which the cost of a modest degree of inaccuracy is outweighed by the gain in positive feelings about the self. There are important individual differences in how people fulfill a specific basic need in relation to fulfilling their other basic needs. Poorly adjusted people tend to fulfill their basic 13 Cognitive-experiential self-theory needs in a conflicted manner, whereas well-adjusted people tend to do so in a harmonious manner by fulfilling each of their basic needs in a manner that is compatible with, and where possible, even synergistic with fulfilling their other basic needs. For example a well-adjusted person is likely to fulfill the need for relatedness in a manner that enhances the person’s selfesteem whereas a poorly adjusted person may fulfill the need for relatedness by ingratiating himself with others and feeling diminished after having done so. Imbalances in the fulfillment of basic needs as sources of psychopathology. As previously noted, specific imbalances among the basic needs are associated with particular mental disorders. For present purposes, it will suffice to present a few such examples. Paranoia with delusions of grandeur can be understood as an extreme compensatory response to a threat to self-esteem. The cost of doing so is a failure to fulfill other basic needs. Thus, being incarcerated in a mental institution for a delusion of grandeur results in a failure to fulfill the need for a favorable sensory pleasure-pain balance, as such incarceration does not provide for a happy existence. Fulfilling the need for self-esteem with a delusion of grandeur also sacrifices the need to maintain favorable relationships with others, who are not likely to appreciate being treated as inferiors, and who are repelled by unrealistic views and inappropriate behavior. The need to maintain a coherent, realistic conceptual system is obviously sacrificed because a delusion of grandeur is unrealistic. Paranoia with delusions of persecution can be understood as a desperate attempt to defend the stability of a person’s conceptual system and, to a lesser extent, to enhance self-esteem. Attributing problems in living to persecution by others can provide a desperately needed increase in the stability of a conceptual system that is threatened with disorganization. Another source of stability is provided by the mobilization of efforts to defend or retaliate against perceived 14 Cognitive-experiential self-theory persecutors. In other words, such focus and mobilization against threat provide a unifying state of cognitive organization that serves as a defense against disorganization. Delusions of persecution contribute to self-esteem as well as to stability as the perception of persecutors as powerful or important people implies that the targets of their persecution must also be somewhat important or the persecutors would not bother with them. The basic need for the fulfillment of the sensory pleasure principle is sacrificed as a delusion of persecution is a terrifying experience. Fulfillment of the need for relationships is sacrificed as others are perceived as threatening and are repelled by the paranoid individual’s unrealistic beliefs. Schizophrenic disorganization is understood in CEST as the best bargain in needfulfillment available to a schizophrenic person in a particular situation at a particular time. Given the threat of disorganization and the intense anxiety it produces, it can be a relief for a schizophrenic individual to succumb to total disorganization and with it a loss of the conceptual system that has been the source of great anxiety and misery (Jefferson, 1974). Thus, what is gained is a net improvement in the super-ordinate pleasure-pain balance from a negative to a zero value and an improvement in the fulfillment of the super-ordinate for maintaining cortical excitation by reducing it to a more acceptable level. What is sacrificed are all the subordinate basic needs, namely the need to maintain the stability and coherence of the conceptual system, to achieve a positive sensory pleasure/pain balance, to maintain relatedness, and to maintain selfesteem. It is hypothesized that disorganization of a conceptual system developed in the course of evolution, as it provided for the possible correction of a conceptual system that has failed to fulfill basic needs, and the possible reconstruction of a more effective belief system (Epstein, 1979a; Laing, 1965; Perry, 1974; Silverman, 1970). Menninger observed, “Some patients have a 15 Cognitive-experiential self-theory mental illness and then get well and then get weller! I mean they get better than they ever were … This is an extraordinary and little realized truth” (in Silverman, 1970, p.63). Lara Jefferson (1974), who recovered from a prolonged state of a complete disintegration of her conceptual system stated the following: “Remember that when a soul sets out on that unmarked sea called Madness, they have gained release much greater than your loss – and more important. Though the need which brought it cannot well be known by those who have not felt it. For what the sane call “ruin” – because they do not know – those who have experienced what I am speaking of, know the wild hysteria of Madness means salvation” (p. 199). Basic Beliefs The four subordinate basic needs are sources of four corresponding basic beliefs. These basic beliefs along with the four basic needs are considered among the most important constructs in an implicit theory of reality. Because of their dominant and central position and their corresponding influence on an extensive network of lower order beliefs, should any of the subordinate basic beliefs be invalidated, the entire conceptual system would be subject to destabilization and the person would experience intense anxiety. The disorganization, should it occur for psychological reasons, as previously noted, would correspond to an acute schizophrenic reaction. According to CEST people acquire implicit basic beliefs based on their experiences regarding the fulfillment and frustration of their basic needs. When a basic need is fulfilled it is accompanied by positive affect and when its fulfillment is frustrated it is accompanied by negative affect. Because of the superordinate hedonic principle, people automatically attend to whatever is associated with the fulfillment and frustration of their basic needs. As a result, they develop basic beliefs corresponding to each of the basic needs. Let us examine this in greater 16 Cognitive-experiential self-theory detail. Depending on a person’s reinforcement history, the person will tend to develop superordinate basic beliefs about the self, others and the inanimate world as being sources of positive and negative feelings and therefore of being sources of favorable or unfavorable beliefs. Thus, if a person had predominantly favorable experiences concerning the self, others, and the inanimate world, the person will tend to represent the experiences in terms of implicit basic beliefs reflecting these experiences. This will occur at both the superordinate and subordinate levels of belief. For example, at the super-ordinate level of belief a person may have very general implicit beliefs about the self, others and the inanimate world located along a dimension varying from highly favorable to highly unfavorable beliefs. The basic implicit belief about the overall favorability of a person’s experiences will be reflected in a person’s general optimism or pessimism. The process just described for the acquisition of super-ordinate favorable or unfavorable beliefs can be extended to all other basic beliefs. Given space constraints, it is not possible here to describe the development of each of the basic belief dimensions from the fulfillment of their corresponding basic needs. The interested reader can find such information in a book on CEST (Epstein, in pressa). Interactions between the Experiential and Rational Systems As previously noted, according to CEST the experiential and rational systems operate in parallel and are interactive. The interactions occur bi-directionally, both simultaneously and sequentially. The influence of the experiential system on the rational system. As the experiential system is the more rapidly reacting system it is in a favorable position for influencing the subsequent processing of the rational system. Such a relation is particularly important because, 17 Cognitive-experiential self-theory as previously noted, it can help to explain why humans, despite their unique intelligence, in many circumstances, particularly in those that involve human relationships, think and behave irrationally. The influence of the experiential system on the rational system can also be positive, such as by providing associations that can contribute to creativity that would not otherwise be available to the linear-processing rational system. Since the experiential system is an empirical learning system, it can also be a source of useful empirically derived information that can be incorporated into the rational system. In addition, the experiential system can provide a source of infused passion for the rational system that the rational system otherwise lacks. The result is that intellectual pursuits can be passionately pursued. Experiential processing can also contribute to rational processing by having a synergistic effect when the two systems operate in a harmonious manner. Thus problem-solving can be facilitated by using procedures that harmoniously engage both systems, such as by the use of metaphors, narratives, and the use of concrete examples of abstract principles (e.g., Epstein, Denes-Raj, & Pacini, 1995). The Influence of the Rational System on the Experiential System. As the slower reacting system, the rational system is in an advantageous position for correcting the experiential system. It is common for people to reflect on their immediate thoughts and impulses, suppress those they consider inappropriate, and substitute more constructive thoughts and impulses. For example, in a flash of anger an employee may have the thought that he would like to tell off his boss, but, on further reflection, he decides it would be most unwise to do so. To investigate this process, we conducted an experiment in which people listed their first three thoughts in response to a variety of provocative vignettes (reported in Epstein, 1993; Epstein & Morling, 1995; Epstein & Pacini, 1999). The first thought was often an inappropriate, emotional response 18 Cognitive-experiential self-theory consistent with the operation of the experiential system whereas the third thought was usually more reasonable and in the mode of the rational system. The rational system can also influence the experiential system by identifying and understanding its operation and deciding whether to express or suppress its promptings. Understanding of the principles and attributes of experiential processing can also be used by the rational system to train the experiential system, so that its prompting are more constructive (Epstein, 1998a). The rational system may influence the experiential system in unintentional ways. As the experiential system is an associative system, conscious thoughts in the rational system can trigger associations and emotions in the experiential system that influence behavior. For example, a student attempting to solve a mathematics word-problem that requires calculating the arrival times at a destination of two speeding automobiles travelling from different starting points is reminded of a near fatal car crash he experienced when driving too fast. The memory produces emotional reactions that interfere with his performance. We have here an interesting cycle of the rational system influencing the experiential system, which then influences the performance of the rational system. Another unintentional way in which the rational system influences the experiential system is through the effect of repeatedly responding in a way that was initially controlled by the rational system. As the result of continued replication, the behavior becomes increasingly automated, or “experientialized.” An obvious advantage to this shift in control is that it allows the behavior to be conducted with minimal cognitive effort. A disadvantage is that it makes the behavior difficult to change. Although this is desirable for constructive thoughts and behaviors, it can be problematic when the thoughts and behavior are counter-productive, or if circumstances 19 Cognitive-experiential self-theory change so that what was once adaptive is now maladaptive. Under such circumstances, the person has developed a bad habit that is difficult to break. The Lower and Higher Reaches of the Experiential System The experiential system, often with various degrees of contribution by the rational system, operates over a wide range of complexity. Conditioning. Classical conditioning is an example of the operation of the experiential system at its simplest level. In classical conditioning, a neutral stimulus, such as a tone, precedes an unconditioned stimulus (the UCS), such as food. Over several trials, a relation is established between the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli so that the animal salivates on hearing the tone in anticipation of receiving the food. Thus, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) that elicits a conditioned response (CR), which in this case is salivation. With a failure to provide reinforcement, the CR gradually extinguishes, but spontaneously recovers after a while. This process illustrates the operation of several attributes of experiential processing, including forming associative connections between stimuli, outcomes, and responses; the role of affective reinforcement; the increasing strength of the associations as a function of the number of reinforced trials; the occurrence of the extinction of the associations as a function of number of unreinforced trials; and the occurrence of the spontaneous recovery. It is noteworthy that the CS is responded to holistically, which is an attribute attribute of the experiential system, as the animal reacts not only to the CS and the UCS but to the overall laboratory situation. Through such classical conditioning animals, including humans, automatically obtain information about relations between stimuli with each other and with outcomes that are important building blocks in the construction of a model of the environment including its effectson them (Hollis, 1997; Rescorla, 1988). 20 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Through operant conditioning animals learn about the relation between their responses to stimuli and the outcomes that follow , which expands their model of reality as it now includes the consequences of their behavior. Through observational learning organisms learn vicariously about relations among stimuli, responses, and outcomes. All these associations allow animals to construct a working model of their environments, its influence on them, and their influence on it that has allowed higher order organisms to adapt successfully to their environments by automatically learning from experiences over millions of years of evolution. Note that the essence of such adaptation is that it is based on automatic, empirical learning from experience and not on reasoning. The point I wish to emphasize is that building a working model of the environment and its effect on the organism and the organism’s effect on it by empirically automatically learning from experience is no inconsequential feat and should not be dismissed as simply a crude form of adaptation that is inferior to adaptation by reasoning. Heuristics. Tversky and Kahneman (1974) defined heuristics as cognitive short-cuts that people use when making decisions. They and other cognitive psychologists consider heuristic responses to be adequate for making decisions in situations where a high level of accuracy is unnecessary, but that it is can be a source of serious irrational decisions in situations in which greater accuracy is required. For example, people typically report that protagonists in situations described in vignettes would become more upset following arbitrary outcomes preceded by acts of commission than by acts of omission, by near than by far misses, by free than by constrained behavior, and by unusual than by usual acts. As they respond in all these situations as if the protagonist’s behavior is responsible for arbitrary outcomes, their thinking is clearly irrational. If people thought that way when investigating in the stock market they would lose a lot of money, and as Tversky and Kahnmen and others indicate, this is what actually 21 Cognitive-experiential self-theory happens because people do think that way. They do tend to sell when prices go down and buy when prices go up. Psychologists such as Kahneman and Tversky (1973), Nisbett and Ross (1980), and others regarded heuristics as “cognitive tools” that are employed within a single conceptual system that includes deliberative processing. This is very different from the view in CEST, according to which there are two kinds of heuristics, one that corresponds to cognitive shortcuts and the other to the use of an entirely different system of information processing which operates by different rules and has different attributes. Of particular interest, the outcome of such processing unlike the other kind of processing is often preferred to the outcome of deliberative processing even when the latter is available without requiring additional effort or resources (e.g., Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994), and it is even sometimes superior to deliberative reasoning (e.g. Dijksterhuis, 2004; Norris & Epstein, in press; Reber, 1993; Wilson, 2002. In conclusion, the assumption that all heuristic processing can be attributed to the use of cognitive short-cuts is an overgeneralization that has resulted in a failure to recognize an alternative mode of information processing in the experiential system that operates automatically and effortlessly and is inherently highly compelling and sometimes more effective than rational processing. It is noteworthy that Kahneman (2003) has more recently acknowledged the limitations of his previous view of heuristics and now endorses a dual-process explanation of heuristics that is very similar to the position of CEST. Experiential processing in more complex decision-making. The experiential system is able to generalize, discriminate, integrate, and direct behavior in more complex ways than by classical and operant conditioning and heuristics. It often does so with a subordinate contribution by the rational system, as in its use of prototypes, metaphors, symbols, and narratives. 22 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Representations in the experiential system are also associated and generalized through their relations with emotions. It is perhaps through processes such as these that the experiential system is able to make its contributions to empathy, creativity, the establishment of rewarding interpersonal relationships, the appreciation of art, and a sense of humor (Norris & Epstein, in press). Can the experiential system reason? Is it is possible for non-human animals to reason without the use of language? If so, it can be assumed that the experiential system in humans can also do so. The answer to the question is that it can be done with the use of imagery. All that is necessary is for an animal to imagine alternative solutions to a problem and to select the image associated with the most favorable affect. This, of course, is solving a problem by trial and error. However, as the trial and error occurs in imagination it qualifies as reasoning if reasoning is defined as solving problems by mental operations. Psychodynamics and maladaptive needs and beliefs Psychodynamics, as used in CEST, refers to the interaction of implicit and explicit motives, defenses and beliefs and their influence on conscious thinking and behavior. The influence of experiential processing on conscious thinking and on behavior is assumed in CEST to be mediated by feelings, including vibes and emotions. A major source, but not the only one, of maladaptive behavior, is the implicit beliefs acquired in childhood when individuals are most dependent on others and have limited cognitive resources. The implicit beliefs in people’s implicit theories of reality consist primarily of generalizations from emotionally significant experiences. These affect-laden implicit beliefs, or schemas, indicate how people tend automatically to view themselves, others, and the impersonal world. Particularly important sources of such beliefs are emotionally significant early 23 Cognitive-experiential self-theory experiences with parents, siblings, peers, and authority figures. These schemas exist at varying levels of generality. Implicit beliefs at a more general level are about what the self and other people in general are like, for example is the self love-worth and competent or the opposite and are other people helpful and trustworthy or the opposite. At a more specific level are views about categories of people, such as authority figures, parental figures, siblings, and peers. At a yet more specific level are beliefs about how categories of people behave in categories of situations. Such implicit beliefs at all levels influence how people relate to others, particularly to those who provide cues that are reminders of their important generalization figures. An important question is why people maintain maladaptive negative beliefs that are sources of distress. Why are such beliefs not simply abandoned because of the ubiquitous influence of the hedonic principle? There are three reasons why people maintain beliefs that are a source of distress. First, people’s biased perceptions and interpretations are usually consistent with and therefore support their maladaptive beliefs. For example, an offer by someone to be helpful may be interpreted as condescending or as an attempt to gain trust that can be used to exploit others, and an expression of affection can be viewed as manipulative. Second, people often engage in self-verifying behavior, such as by provoking responses in others that confirm their view that other people are unfriendly, aggressive, or rejecting. For example, a person who fears rejection in intimate relationships may behave with aggression or withdrawal whenever threatened by intimacy. This provokes the other person to react with counter-aggression or withdrawal, which is interpreted as evidence that the other person is rejecting. Third, people often fail to recognize the influence of their implicit beliefs and the behavior it promotes, which prevents them from identifying and correcting their biased interpretations and self-verifying behavior. As a result, they attribute the consequences of their maladaptive behavior to the 24 Cognitive-experiential self-theory behavior of others. Returning to the presumed ubiquitous influence of the hedonic principle in maladaptive behavior, the question remains as to whether people’s behavior that is a source of distress is consistent with or violates the operation of the hedonic principle. It will be recalled that one of the four subordinate basic needs is the need to maintain the stability of people’s conceptual systems and that the hedonic principle, as a super-ordinate motive, is involved in all behavior and the fulfillment of all needs. Thus, fulfilling any basic need is a source of positive affect and a failure to fulfill any basic need is a source of negative affect. It follows that behaving in a way that fulfills the need to maintain the stability and coherence of people’s belief systems is a source of positive affect and behaving in ways that conflict with fulfilling this the need is a source of negative affect. Thus maintaining behaviors that are maladaptive and produce distress is consistent with the hedonic principle in a very fundamental way, namely the affective consequences of maintaining or failing to maintain the stability and coherence of one’s belief system, which can over-ride the negative affective consequences of people’s maladaptive behavior. In other words, it is assumed that people automatically tend to behave in a manner that will produce the best affective bargain possible under the circumstances as perceived by the person, which may result in an unhappy state, but is at least a less unhappy one than that produced by the perceived available alternatives. Psychoanalysts have emphasized the importance of transference relationships in psychotherapy. They often encourage the development of maladaptive transference relations in psychotherapy with the aim of interpreting to their patients a presumed tendency to establish similar maladaptive relationships with others. Although this procedure is well-intended and may often be effective, it is fraught with danger, as patients may become overly dependent on their 25 Cognitive-experiential self-theory therapists. Moreover, an emphasis on maladaptive transference relationships may cause the analyst to overlook other important reasons for people’s maladaptive behavior than the influence of early relationships with their parents as the source of the difficulties. Moreover, working through a transference relationship, even when successful, may not be the most efficient way of treating inappropriate generalizations about relationships. Nevertheless, it illustrates how generalizations from early childhood experiences are often reproduced in later relationships, including those with therapists, and how correcting such maladaptive generalizations can be therapeutic. Although there are obvious similarities between the concepts of transference in psychoanalysis and of generalization in CEST, there are also important differences. Generalization is a much broader concept, which, unlike transference, is not restricted to the formative influence of relationships with parents. Rather, it refers to the generalization of all significant relationships, including relationships with siblings, other children, teachers, and authority figures. Schemas derived from childhood experiences are emphasized in CEST because later experiences are assimilated into extant cognitive-affective networks. Also schemas derived from early childhood experiences are likely to be poorly articulated and therefore exert an unconscious influence on maladaptive behavior that, in the absence of identification may be overlooked in certain therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or may be considered untreatable by such an approach. Important as early relationships are, a caveat is in order regarding an over-emphasis on such relationships at the cost of recognizing other important sources of maladaptive behavior. Psychoanalytically oriented therapists often search for maladaptive parenting as the sole or major 26 Cognitive-experiential self-theory source of their clients’ difficulties. They therefore may convince their patients that their problems are the result of destructive childhood relationships with their parents, which may then operate as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Such an expectancy about maladaptive parenting patients may then selectively recall or even imaginative incidents that falsely confirm their expectancy. This may result in an apparent improvement in the patient because of the general effectiveness of scapegoating in raising self-esteem. That is, the self-esteem of patients is elevated by their construction of a narrative in which the origin of their problems lies in their parents’ behavior and not at all in their own behavior or in completely other sources. Unfortunately, I have observed such a development all too often in acquaintances whom I know well and with whom I have discussed their psychotherapeutic experiences. In some cases, I believe the therapist completely missed the mark by emphasizing poor parenting and failing therefore to recognize that the origin of the patient’s maladaptive behavior was initiated by circumstances in which, as a child, the patient was fortuitously rewarded for having an important maladaptive belief by circumstances that had nothing to with the child’s parents. For example, maladaptive beliefs and behavior can be rewarded by providing a short term advantage despite a long term disadvantage. That is, the person has been seduced by the short-term time perspective of the experiential system into making a pact with the devil, who later claims his long-term price. As the results of such observations I believe that Freud’s view that all neurosis is the result of repression and maladaptive relationships with parents has been far more influential than is warranted and has resulted in the neglect by many psychoanalytically oriented therapists of other important sources of their patients’ difficulties in living. Such behavior contributes to my belief that there is nothing more destructive than a strong, wrong hypothesis. It has been the source of lost battles, wars, and empires, and, not surprisingly, is no less unforgiving in psychotherapy. 27 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Support for CEST in an Extensive Research Program Three kinds of research are reviewed, research on the operating principles of the experiential system, research on the interactions within and between the two processing systems, and research on individual differences, including individual differences in the “intelligence,” or efficacy, of the experiential system, in the degree to which people engage in processing in the two systems, and in the sources of individual differences concerning basic beliefs.. Research on the Operating Principles of the Experiential System My associates and I have conducted an extensive research program for testing the operating principles and attributes of the experiential system. One approach consisted of adapting procedures used by Tversky and Kahneman and other cognitive and social-cognitive psychologists to study heuristic information processing through the use of specially constructed vignettes. As previously noted, in most of the research on heuristic processing there is a failure to distinguish between two different kinds of heuristic processing. Thus, some researchers interpret all their results on heuristics as indicative of cognitive shortcuts within a single system that includes deliberative processing, whereas others attribute all their results on heuristics to a different system of information processing. This latter approach has been criticized by noting that the results claimed to report a different kind of information processing from deliberative processing could just as well be attributed to cognitive shortcuts in a single processing system (Kruglansky, Thompson, & Spiegel, 1999). The only way to establish a different system of processing is to demonstrate that it operates by different principles, has different attributes from analytical processing, and may conflict with the latter. 28 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Irrational reactions to unfortunate arbitrary outcomes. People in everyday life often react to arbitrary outcomes as if they or others are responsible for the outcomes. Thus, they reward the proverbial bearer of good tidings and punish the conveyer of unwelcome news. Such rrational reactions are readily explained by the attributes of the experiential system. We investigated people’s reactions to arbitrary unfavorable outcomes by adding some questions to the usual one concerning the protagonists’ reactions to the situations in the vignettes. We asked the participants to indicate in addition to how most people would behave, how the participant would behave in real life, and how a completely logical person would behave (e.g., Epstein, Lipson, Holstein, & Huh, 1992). To investigate the effect of degree of emotional consequences of the outcomes, one group was given a version of the vignette with a very unfortunate outcome and another group was given a version with a less unfavorable outcome. As an example, one of the vignettes described a situation in which two people dawdled at home for ten minutes before driving to the airport. Both missed their flights because of unanticipated heavy traffic and both arrived at the airport 30 minutes after the scheduled departure of their flights. One learned that the flight left on time, and the other learned that the flight was delayed and left only a few minutes ago. Who felt more foolish about having dawdled at home? Participants were asked to respond from three perspectives, how most people would react in the situation, how they themselves would react, and how a completely logical person would react. Tversky and Kahneman (1982) reported that their participants indicated that the protagonist who barely missed the flight would be more upset than the other protagonist. We replicated this finding, and we also found that most participants reported that a logical person would feel much less foolish about having dawdled than the participant or others would feel. The significance of the consequences of missing the flight also influenced the protagonists’ 29 Cognitive-experiential self-theory responses. When the outcomes were very unfortunate the respondents were said to feel more foolish for having dawdled than when the outcomes were less unfortunate. The results support the following hypotheses based on CEST: • People are aware of two different modes of thinking, one that determines how people normally behave, which corresponds to the operation of the experiential system, and the other that determines how people would behave if they were logical, which corresponds to the operation of the rational system. • The more people are emotionally involved in an outcome the more they tend to think and behave in the mode of the experiential system. • People regard themselves as similar to others in processing information primarily in the experiential mode, but they consider themselves more than others like a completely logical person, indicating that they explicitly (not necessarily implicitly) value rational over experiential processing. • The experiential system can co-opt the rational system as indicated by a substantial minority of participants rating heuristic responses as the way a completely logical person would respond . Such co-option of the rational system by the experiential system is considered in CEST to be an important source of the prevalence of human irrationality despite the capacity of humans for extraordinary levels of rational thinking. The ratio-bias phenomenon. The ratio-bias (RB) experimental paradigm is of particular interest for dual-process theories as it pits experiential against rational processing in a situation in which the two modes of processing are equally accessible and in which both require equally negligible cognitive effort. Imagine you are told that on every trial in which you blindly draw a red jellybean from a 30 Cognitive-experiential self-theory bowl containing red and white jellybeans you will receive two dollars. You are given a choice of drawing from either of two bowls, both of which offer a 10% probability of obtaining a red jellybean. One bowl contains 1 red and 9 white jellybeans and the other contains 10 red and 90 white jellybeans. When people are asked which bowl they would draw from and how much they would be willing to pay to draw from the bowl of their choice, almost all say they would have no preference and would not pay a cent for a choice between two equal probabilities. Yet, an interesting thing happens when they are placed in a real situation in which they can win a significant amount of money over trials. Most then willingly part with small sums of money from an amount given to them to keep at the beginning of the experiment for the privilege of drawing from the bowl of their choice, which is almost always from the bowl that contains more red jellybeans (Kirkpatrick & Epstein, 1992). The preference for the bowl with more red jelly-beans despite it having no probability advantage has been labeled the ratio-bias (RB) phenomenon Even more impressive than the irrational behavior of paying for the privilege of choosing between bowls that offer the same probabilities are the results that are obtained when the bowl with the larger number of red jellybeans offers a lower probability of obtaining one. In one study, a probability-advantaged bowl always contained 1 in 10 red jellybeans, and a frequency-advantaged bowl contained 5-9 red jellybeans out of 100 jellybeans, depending on the trial (Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994). Most participants preferred to draw from the slightly frequency-advantaged bowl despite it being probabilitydisadvantaged. Some participants volunteered that although they knew such behavior was irrational, they had a feeling that they had a better chance of getting a red jellybean when there were more of them. Although a substantial minority consistently made optimal choices, 31 Cognitive-experiential self-theory some acknowledged that they had to overcome a temptation to pick from the bowl with more red jellybeans. In a study in which equal probabilities were presented in the two bowls, one bowl always containing 100 jellybeans and the other always containing10 jellybeans, with the probabilities of drawing a red jellybean varied randomly over trials (e.g.10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%), a strong RB effect in the 10% condition became increasingly weaker as the probability of drawing a increased until the RB effect was no longer significant at the 70% probability condition and even exhibited a slight non-significant reverse RB effect in the 90% probability condition (Pacini & Epstein, 1999a). The results were explained by the combined influence of two different effects, a small-numbers effect, according to which small numbers are better comprehended by the experiential system than large numbers, and a frequency effect according to which the comprehension of frequencies is greater than that of ratios or probabilities, as frequencies are more concrete and within the comprehension of three-year old children and nonhuman animals (Gallistel & Gelman, 1992). The combined influence of these two effects can explain the results as their influence operates in the same direction in the 10% condition and in the opposite direction in the 90% condition. In the 10% condition, 10 in 100 red jelly beans is preferred over 1 in 10 red jelly beans because it is frequency advantaged. It is also preferred because 1 in 10 red jelly beans is a more compelling losing condition than 10 in 100 red jellybeans because of the small numbers effect. In the 90% probability condition the frequency effect favors the bowl with 90 out of 100 red jellybeans but the small numbers effect favors the bowl with 9 out of 10 red jellybeans as it is a more compelling winning condition. The overall conclusions from the many studies we conducted on the RB phenomenon 32 Cognitive-experiential self-theory (Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994; Denes-Raj, Epstein, & Cole, 1995; Epstein et al., 1996; Epstein & Pacini, 1999; Kirkpatrick & Epstein, 1992; Pacini & Epstein, 1999a, 1999b, 2000; Pacini, Muir, & Epstein, 1998; Yanko & Epstein, 2000) can be summarized as follows: • The RB effect in low probability conditions can be attributed to the frequency effect and the small-numbers effect operating in the same direction. Both of these effects are consistent with the concrete attribute of experiential processing (e.g., Pacini & Epstein, 1999). • An absence of the RB effect under high probability conditions can be attributed to the frequency effect and the small-numbers effect operating in opposite directions. Both effects are consistent with the concrete operation of the experiential system (Pacini & Epstein, 1999). • The two systems can respond together in the following ways: Either system can be dominant depending on the situation and the person. Thus, most participants prefer nonoptimal, slightly frequency-advantaged responses but a substantial number consistently makes optimal, probability-advantaged responses. The two processing systems usually produce compromises as indicated by the most common response being a frequencyadvantaged response that is only slightly probability disadvantaged. For example, most participants preferred a 9%.frequency-advantaged response over a 10% probabilityadvantaged response but only a few preferred a 5% frequency-advantaged response over a 10% probability-advantaged response (e.g., Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994).. • The two systems sometimes conflict with each other as indicated by some participants reporting a conflict between frequency-advantaged and probability-advantaged choices. • The experiential system is more responsive than the rational system to real situations and 33 Cognitive-experiential self-theory to vividly imagined situations, whereas the rational system is more responsive to abstract, verbal presentations (Epstein & Pacini, 2000-2001). • With increasing maturation from childhood to adulthood, the balance of influence between the two systems shifts increasingly in the direction of rational dominance (Yanko & Epstein, 2000). • Priming the rational system in young children before they have formal knowledge of ratios by asking them to give the reasons for their responses interferes with their intuitive understanding of ratios. This indicates that processing in the rational system can interfere with processing in the experiential system (Yanko & Epstein, 2000; see also Wilson, 2002). • An increase in incentive produces an increase in optimal, rational responses in some participants and an increase in experiential, non-optimal responses in an approximately equal number of participants (Pacini & Epstein, 1999b). • Research with sub-clinically depressed participants verified the depressive-realism phenomenon (Alloy & Abramson, 1988), which refers to depressed individuals being more realistic than others as indicated by their making more optimal responses than their nondepressed counterparts. However, we found this only occurred in conditions in which the consequences were minimal. When the consequences were increased, the depressed participants responded more non-optimally and the non-depressed participants responded more optimally, which cancelled out the depressive-realism effect. The phenomenon of depressive realism was explained as a compensatory reaction by the depressed participants for their awareness of their more general tendency to respond irrationally. They are presumably unable to maintain this compensatory control in more consequential, emotionally 34 Cognitive-experiential self-theory engaging situations (Pacini, Muir, & Epstein, 1998). The global-evaluation heuristic. The global-evaluation heuristic refers to evaluating people holistically as either good or bad people, rather than restricting evaluations more accurately to specific behaviors. As the global-evaluation heuristic is consistent with the assumption that holistic evaluation is a fundamental attribute of the experiential system (see Table 1) it follows that global evaluations tend to be automatic, compelling, and not easily overcome. This heuristic is particularly important because of its prevalence in causing serious problems, as in stereotyping and in the influence of the appearance of a defendant on jurors’ decisions. My associates and I investigated the global-evaluation heuristic (reported in Epstein, 1994) by having participants respond to a vignette adapted from a study by Miller and Gunasegaram (1990). According to the vignette, a rich benefactor tells three friends that if each throws a coin that comes up heads, he will give each $100. The first two throw a heads, but Smith, the third, throws a tails. When asked to rate how each of the protagonists feels, most participants report that Smith feels guilty and the others are angry at him. In an alternative version of the vignette in which we reduced the stakes to a more modest sum, the ratings of guilt and anger were reduced. When asked if the other two would be willing, as they previously had intended, to invite Smith to join them on a gambling vacation in Las Vegas, where they would share wins and losses, most participants said that now they would not invite him, “because he is a loser.” These responses were made both from the perspective of how the participants reported they themselves would react in real life and how they reported most people would behave. When responding from the perspective of how a completely logical person would behave, most said a logical person would recognize that the 35 Cognitive-experiential self-theory outcome of the coin tosses was completely arbitrary, and they therefore would not resent Smith and they would invite him to join them in their gambling venture. This study indicates that people are aware of two systems of information-processing that operate in a manner consistent with the operating principles and attributes of the experiential and rational systems of CEST. It also supports the hypotheses that experiential processing becomes increasingly dominant with an increase in emotional engagement and that people over-generalize broadly and associatively by judging others on the basis of outcomes over which the person has no control, despite knowing better in their rational system. Conjunction problems. The Linda conjunction problem is probably the most researched vignette in the history of psychology. It has evoked a great deal of interest because of its paradoxical results. Although the solution to the Linda problem requires the application of one of the simplest and most fundamental rules of probability theory, almost everyone, including many sophisticated about statistics, makes a conjunction error (CE) when responding to it. Linda is described as a 31 year-old woman who is single, outspoken, and very bright. In college she was a philosophy major who participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations and was concerned about social justice. We asked participants to rank-order the following alternatives: Linda is a feminist, Linda is a bank teller, and Linda is a feminist and a bank teller. Most ranked Linda as being a feminist and a bank teller ahead of Linda just being a bank teller. In doing so, they made what Tversky & Kahneman (1982) labeled a “conjunction fallacy,” and that we refer to as a CE. It is an error or fallacy because, according to the conjunction rule, the occurrence of two events cannot be more likely than the occurrence of one of them. The usual explanation of the high rate of CEs elicited by the Linda problem is that people 36 Cognitive-experiential self-theory either do not know the conjunction rule or they do not think of it in the context of the Linda vignette. According to Tversky and Kahneman (1982), they make CEs because they respond by the representativeness heuristic, according to which being both a bank teller and a feminist is more representative of Linda’s personality than being just a bank teller. In a series of studies on conjunction problems, including several on the Linda problem (Donovan & Epstein, 1997; Epstein, Denes-Raj, & Pacini, 1995; Epstein, Donovan, & DenesRaj, 1999), we demonstrated that the major reason for the difficulty of the Linda problem is that it provides a concrete representation of a problem in an unnatural manner. As a result, people tend not to view the Linda problem as a probability problem, no matter what they are told about how they view it, including as a probability problem. Following is a summary of the conclusions we arrived at about the Linda problem based on all the studies we conducted: • The difficulty of the Linda problem cannot be fully accounted for by the misleading manner in which it is presented as a personality problem, for even with full disclosure about the nature of the problem and the request to treat it as a probability problem most participants make CEs. However when responding to a conceptually equivalent problem presented in a concrete, natural manner, as in a problem concerning winning one or two lotteries or bets on horse races, almost no one makes a CE. (Epstein, Denes-Raj, & Pacini, 1995). This is particularly interesting from the perspective of CEST because it indicates that the experiential system (which intuitively knows the conjunction rule) is sometimes smarter than the rational system (which may be unable to articulate the rule). • Making a CE to the Linda problem is so compelling that when presented with the correct conjunction rule (i.e., “two events are less like to occur than just one of them”) among 37 Cognitive-experiential self-theory several incorrect rules simultaneously with the Linda problem, thereby circumventing the problem of whether people think of the conjunction rule, most selected a wrong rule that was consistent with making a CE. In other words, they made the rule correspond to their response to the Linda problem, rather than making their response to the Linda problem correspond to the correct rule and then using it to respond correctly to the Linda problem. This result demonstrates the highly compelling nature of experiential processing and its ability to co-opt rational processing. • The difficulty of the Linda problem can be explained by the operating rules and attributes of the experiential system, which is the mode employed by most people when responding to it. Thus, the Linda problem demonstrates that people tend to process information associatively, concretely, holistically and in a narrative manner, rather than abstractly and analytically when responding to the Linda problem. For example, a few participants justified their CEs by stating that Linda is more likely to be a bank teller and a feminist than just a feminist because she has to make a living. • The essence of the difficulty of the Linda problem is that it involves an unnatural, concrete representation of a conjunction problem, where an unnatural presentation of a problem is defined as a presentation in a different context from how such problems are normally presented. Concrete representations facilitate performance in natural presentations, in which case the two processing systems operate harmoniously, whereas they conflict with each other when problems are presented in a concrete form and in an unnatural context. • Processing in the experiential mode is intrinsically highly compelling and can over-ride processing in the rational mode even when the latter does not require more effort or resources. Thus, many participants, despite knowing and thinking of the conjunction rule, 38 Cognitive-experiential self-theory simply find an experiential response more compelling than a rational response. • Priming intuitive knowledge in the experiential system can facilitate the solution of problems in the rational system that people are otherwise unable to solve. Interactions In this section I discuss research on two kinds of interaction, interactions between the two systems and interactions among basic needs. Interactions between the two processing systems. An important assumption in CEST is that the two systems are simultaneously and sequentially interactive. Simultaneous interaction was demonstrated in the compromises between the two systems in the RB studies. Sequential interaction was demonstrated in studies on conjunction problems in which presenting concrete, natural problems first facilitated solutions to subsequently presented conceptually similar abstract problems, which illustrates how experiential processing can prime the effective operation of rational processing. There is also considerable evidence that priming the experiential system subliminally can influence subsequent responses in the rational system (see review in Bargh, 1989). Other research indicates that the form, independent of the content, of processing in the rational system can be influenced by priming the experiential system. Thus, when processing in the manner of experiential mode is followed by attempts to respond rationally, the operation of the rational mode can be compromised (Chaiken & Maheswaren, 1994; Denes-Raj, Epstein, & Cole, 1995; Epstein et al., 1992). Sequential interactions occur not only in the direction of the experiential system influencing the rational system but also in the opposite direction. A common example is suppression of the expression of unacceptable thoughts and impulses. 39 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Interactions among basic needs. A basic assumption in CEST is that behavior often represents a compromise among basic needs. This process is considered to be particularly important, as it provides checks and balances against the excessive investment in the fulfillment of a particular need. It occurs because fulfilling any need at the expense of fulfilling other needs increases the strength of the other frustrated needs. To test this assumption about compromises among needs, we examined the combined influence of the needs for self-enhancement and selfverification. Swann and his associates previously demonstrated that the needs for enhancement and verification tend to operate sequentially, with the former preceding the latter (e.g., Swann, 1990; Hixon & Swann, 1993). We wished to demonstrate that the interaction also occurs simultaneously in the form of compromises between them. Our procedure consisted of varying the favorableness of evaluative feedback and observing whether participants had a preference for feedback that either matched or was more favorable than their self-assessments (Epstein & Morling, 1995; Morling & Epstein, 1997). In support of hypothesis, participants preferred feedback that was only slightly more favorable than their self-assessments, consistent with a compromise between fulfilling the needs for verification and self-enhancement. Individual Differences in Experiential and Rational Information Processing In this section I discuss several measures of individual differences and the research that was conducted with them. Included are measures of individual differences in the intelligence of the experiential system, individual differences in the extent to which people report they engage in experiential and rational thinking styles, and individual differences in basic beliefs. Individual Differences in the Intelligence of the Experiential System If there are two different processing systems for adapting to the environment it is reasonable to suspect that there may be important individual differences in the intelligence of 40 Cognitive-experiential self-theory both systems. It is assumed in CEST that each system has its own form of intelligence and that it therefore would be useful to have ways of measuring such individual differences. Fortunately, there are many tests of intelligence that provide excellent measures of individual differences in the intelligence of the rational system. Such tests are fairly good predictors of academic performance and to a somewhat lesser extent of performance in the real world, including performance in the work place, particularly in situations that require complex operations (see reviews in Gordon, 1997; Gottfredson, 1997; Hunter, 1983, 1986; and Hunter & Hunter, 1984). However, as there were no tests that measured experiential intelligence if I wanted one, I had to construct it, which I did with the aid of one of my assistants. We named the test the Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI; Epstein, 2001). People respond to the CTI by reporting the degree to which they have certain adaptive and maladaptive automatic or spontaneous thoughts. An example of an item is, “I spend a lot of time thinking about my mistakes, even if there is nothing I can do about them” (reverse scored). The CTI provides a Global Constructive Thinking scale and six main scales, all but one of which has subscales. The six main scales are Emotional Coping, Behavioral Coping, Categorical Thinking, Esoteric Thinking, Naïve Optimism, and Personal Superstitious Thinking. The main scales all have high internal-consistency reliability coefficients and evidence of validity from numerous studies. The CTI has been translated into 14 languages and research with it has been conducted in many of these countries as well as in the United States. The CTI scales are predictive of a wide variety of criteria related to success in living. A review of the extensive literature supporting the validity of the CTI is beyond the scope of this chapter, but is available in the manual for the CTI (Epstein, 2001). For present purposes, it will suffice to note that it has been found to be related to performance in the work-place, superior achievement by managers, 41 Cognitive-experiential self-theory superior academic performance, social competence, leadership ability, ability to cope with stress, emotional adjustment, physical wellbeing, and an absence of drug and alcohol abuse. The relation of constructive thinking to intellectual intelligence is of special interest for theoretical as well as practical reasons. As the experiential and rational systems process information by different rules and have different attributes (see Table 1), it was found in several studies that scores on the Global CTI scale were either unrelated or negligibly related to IQ (see review in Epstein, 2001). Of additional interest, constructive thinking and intellectual intelligence exhibited a nearly opposite course of development across the life span. It can be seen in Fig. 1 that constructive thinking is at its nadir in adolescence when intellectual intelligence is at its peak and gradually increases throughout most of the adult years when mental age is gradually declining. Although constructive thinking is less strongly related to academic achievement than intellectual intelligence, it contributes significant variance beyond that of intellectual intelligence to performance in the classroom, as indicated by grades received and class rank (Epstein, 2001). Apparently, good constructive thinkers are able to behave in ways that gain them recognition for and appreciation of their intellectual ability, whereas poor constructive thinkers are less able to do so. A finding of particular importance is that there is a general factor of experiential intelligence that is measured by the CTI Global Constructive Thinking Scale. As this factor includes a wide variety of favorable non-intellective abilities and attributes it is suggestive of a general factor of non-intellective ability comparable in generality to the general factor of intellectual ability. Individual Differences in Rational and Experiential Thinking Styles 42 Cognitive-experiential self-theory The Rational/Experiential Inventory (REI) was constructed to measure individual differences in the extent to which people report they process information according to each of the two processing modes. The REI includes two main scales that measure the extent of processing information in rational and in experiential thinking styles. Each of the main scales has subscales of the degree to which one engages in a particular processing mode and one’s self-assessed ability to use it effectively. A summary of the major findings from studies conducted by my research team with the REI (Epstein,2001; Epstein et al., 1996, Norris & Epstein, in press; Pacini & Epstein, 1999b; Pacini, Muir, & Epstein, 1998) is presented in Table 2, in which it can be seen that a rational thinking style is more strongly positively associated than an experiential thinking style with intellectual performance and a variety of measures related to good adjustment, including low anxiety, low depression, low stress, low neuroticism, high self-esteem and high meaningfulness of life. An experiential/intuitive thinking style is more strongly associated than a rational thinking style with measures of creativity, empathy, aesthetic judgment, intuitive ability, and establishing satisfactory interpersonal relationships. It follows that no statement can be made about the general superiority of either thinking style, as each is superior in some equally important ways and inferior in other equally important ways than the other thinking style. It is important, when introducing a new measure, to demonstrate that it provides information that is unavailable from existing instruments. In order to determine whether the REI meets this standard we conducted a study (Pacini & Epstein, 1999b) in which we compared the REI to several other personality inventories, including the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FI; Costa & McCrae, 1992), the most popular measure of the “Big Five” personality traits (see the chapter by McCrae, Gaines, & Wellington in this volume). The REI contributed independent 43 Cognitive-experiential self-theory variance to the prediction of many of the same variables as the NEO and unique variance to the prediction of other variables. When scores on the five NEO-FFI scales were entered into a regression equation as predictors of scores on the REI scales, they accounted for less than half (e.g., 37%) of the variance of the rationality scale and considerably less (e.g., 11%) of the variance of the Experiential scale. This demonstrates that the REI scales are mainly independent of the NEO-FFI and that the NEO-FFI mainly measures attributes associated with the rational system and is comparatively deficient in measuring attitudes and behavior associated with the experiential system. Individual Differences in Basic Beliefs Concerning the Self, Others, and the Impersonal World A major assumption in CEST is that people’s implicit beliefs about themselves, others, and the impersonal world are derived primarily from emotionally significant experiences in childhood and that such beliefs are important determinants of people’s feelings, behavior, adjustment, and overall quality of life. Based on this assumption, a measure of basic beliefs, the Basic Beliefs Inventory (BBI; Catlin & Epstein, 1992), was constructed. The BBI is a self-report questionnaire that includes a global scale of individual differences in the overall favorability of basic beliefs and also scales for measuring the favorability of the following more specific beliefs: self-esteem, love-worthiness, competence, meaningfulness of life, views about relationships, and views about the world. A study with the BBI was conducted that tested the hypotheses that two important sources of basic beliefs are extreme life-events, as in the loss of a loved one or experiencing a transforming love relationship, and relationships with parents during early childhood. In support of hypothesis, both kinds of experiences were related to individual differences 44 Cognitive-experiential self-theory in basic beliefs. People who reported favorable relationships with their parents and those who obtained high scores on overall favorableness of extreme life-events based on both positive and negative events obtained higher scores than others on the BBI scales of self-esteem, meaningfulness of life, favorable view of others, and an optimistic view about the world. Those who reported unfavorable relationships with their parents or who reported predominantly unfavorable extreme life-events, such as the death of a beloved pet or a significant failure in an important event obtained less favorable scores than others on all basic beliefs. The more recently an extreme negative event occurred, the less favorable a person’s current basic beliefs. Over time, the effect of extremely unfavorable life-events became less unfavorable and sometimes even favorable. This is consistent with other research I conducted on extreme life events in which several participants reported that they gained strength from having to cope with adversity (Epstein, 1979b). Parental relationships and life-events often made supplementary contributions to the prediction of the same basic belief. Also, the quality of childhood relationships with parents moderated the influence of extreme life-events. For those who reported favorable childhood relationships with parents there was a strong positive relation between the basic belief in the meaningfulness of life and the overall favorableness of extreme life events, whereas for those who reported poor relationships with parents there was a near zero relation between these two variables. This suggests that those who felt most secure in their relationships with their parents were able to assimilate their favorable life events, whereas those who reported poor childhood relationships with parents were more resistant to assimilating the implications of their extreme life-events. It is as if they did not trust viewing life as meaningful as such a belief could make them vulnerable to destabilizing changes in their belief system. 45 Cognitive-experiential self-theory Summary and Conclusions Regarding Research on the BasicAssumptions in CEST An extensive research program provided support for the validity of all the assumptions in CEST that were tested, which is most of the assumptions in CEST. In summary, the following basic assumptions in CEST received research support: There are two independent informationprocessing systems that operate in parallel and are simultaneously and sequentially bidirectionally interactive. The influence of experiential processing on rational processing is of particular importance, as it identifies a process by which people’s automatic, preconscious, experiential processing operating most often outside of awareness biases their deliberative, conscious rational thinking. The influence of experiential processing is intrinsically highly compelling and can over-ride rational processing and influence people to behave against their better judgment (e.g., Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994). However, when people are aware of their experientially generated maladaptive thoughts, they often are able to control or correct them through their rational processing. There are reliable individual differences in the efficacy, or “intelligence,” of the experiential system. As hypothesized based on CEST, experiential intelligence is independent of intellectual intelligence and is more strongly associated than rational intelligence with a variety of non-intellectual desirable attributes and abilities, whereas rational intelligence is more strongly associated with intellectual performance and emotional adjustment. With respect to the latter, people apparently can be well adjusted within a wide range of experiential processing so long as it is not irrational.There are also reliable individual differences in the degree to which people report they engage in experiential and in rational processing. Rational and experiential thinking styles exhibited different relations with a variety of important criterion variables. It was therefore concluded that neither mode of information processing can be considered generally 46 Cognitive-experiential self-theory superior to the other mode. The hypothesis was supported that there are reliable individual differences in self-reported basic beliefs. Other hypotheses that received support are that two important sources of basic beliefs are early relationships with parents and the occurrence of extremely favorable and unfavorable life events. Implications of CEST for Diverse Topics As a broadly integrative global theory of personality, CEST provides a useful perspective for elucidating a wide variety of psychological phenomena In this section I describe research based on CEST regarding the following topics: the nature of intuition, the limitations and extension of emotional intelligence, the influence of affect on heuristic processing, the meaning of dreams, Hitler’s rabid anti-Semiticism, and the existence of a cancer-prone personality. Implications of CEST for Understanding Intuition: What it is, What it Does, and How it Does it Intuition has been a most confusing topic in psychology. There is not even agreement on what it is, let alone on how it operates. In a survey by Abernathy and Hamm (1995), 20 different definitions of intuition were identified. Although many psychologists believe there is something of importance captured by the idea of intuition, there are some who doubt it is a useful construct, and others who consider it as simply a lazy form of cognition (e.g., Simon, 1992). Interestingly, most authorities define intuition in terms of what it is not rather than by what it is. For example, Bruner (1961) defines intuition as “the intellectual technique of arriving at plausible but tentative conclusions without going through the analytic steps by which such formulations would be found to be valid or invalid conclusions” (p. 13). Others identify intuition with unconscious processing, which is only a slight improvement in the absence of describing its operating principles and attributes. In contrast, CEST is explicit about what intuition is, what it does, and how it does it. 47 Cognitive-experiential self-theory According to CEST, intuition is nothing more and somewhat less than the operation of the experiential system (Epstein, 2010). It is a subset of experiential processing that operates according to the rules and attributes of experiential processing. It thereby arrives at impressions automatically and by procedures that occur outside of awareness. However, unlike the very broad domain of experiential processing it does not include superstitious thinking it has a narrower range of content and does not include fundamentalist religious beliefs, irrational fears and the motor and sensory coordination that occur in activities such as catching a ball. It follows that intuition consists primarily of tacit information acquired by automatically learning from experience outside of awareness. Thus intuition can be valid or invalid depending on the relation of past experience to present circumstances. Although mainly based on past learning, intuition can also be exhibited in completely new situations by a process referred to in evolutionary theory as pre-adaptation. According to pre-adaptation, a process acquired for one purpose may be used for other purposes. Thus, intuitive reactions can occur in entirely new situations by processing information according to the principles and attributes of the experiential system Implications of CEST for Emotional Intelligence More than two decades ago Salovey and Mayer (1990) introduced the idea that there is an important non-intellectual form of intelligence that is related to emotions. They and their associates constructed a performance test of what they referred to as emotional intelligence, the MSCEIT V2.0. This test includes a global scale of emotional intelligence (EI) with subscales of managing emotions, understanding emotions, using emotions to facilitate thinking, and the accurate perception of emotions (Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, & Sitarenios, 2003). The authors note that theirs is the only test of EI that is a performance test, and that it is specifically restricted to aspects of coping with emotions. All other tests of EI are self-report tests that measure many 48 Cognitive-experiential self-theory attributes different from emotions, such as assertiveness, self-regard, problem solving, and social responsibility. Although the construction of a performance test for measuring EI would be a notable achievement, from the perspective of CEST the test is not a measure of emotional intelligence but rather a test of intelligence about emotions. It is one thing to know about adaptive emotional responses and another to have them. A proper test of EI that remains to be constructed would include items that refer to the degree to which people have adaptive. and not maladaptive, emotions in a variety of situations (Epstein, in pressb). A person who had emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, joy, and affection appropriately would obtain a high score on such a test, whereas a person who reacted emotionally inappropriately would obtain a low score. It is uncertain how such scores would be related to scores on a test of intelligence about emotions. I suspect the relation would not be strong because the former is primarily related to automatic experiential processing whereas the latter is primarily related to rational processing. Among the various self-report tests purported to measure of EI, the most thoroughly researched is the BAR-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (BAR-ON EQ-1, BAR-ON, 1997). The test has impressive evidence of factorial and empirical validity. However, all the self-report tests, including the BAR-ON, that have been constructed are open to the criticism that they are not actually tests of EI as they include a variety of other abilities and attributes that are not emotional (e.g., Daus & Ashkanasy, 2003; Locke, 2005). From the perspective of CEST, although criticisms of such self-report tests as not valid measures of emotional intelligence are correct, they make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bath- water. What these tests unintentionally importantly demonstrate is that there is a global factor of nonintellectual ability that is broader than EI. That is, just as there is a global 49 Cognitive-experiential self-theory factor of intellectual intelligence, there is also a global factor of non-intellectual intelligence, which includes abilities and attributes such as ego-strength, assertiveness, independence, empathy, flexibility, and social facility, among others. The existence of such a broad global, nonintellectual ability is consistent with the operation of the experiential system of CEST. It would include the following abilities and attributes of the experiential system identified in Table 2: empathy, social ability, sense of humor, creativity, and intuitive ability. Thus, the global nonintellectual factor would accurately have to be referred to as experiential intelligence rather than as emotional intelligence (Epstein, in pressb). Implications of CEST for Psycho-biography Two basic principles of CEST particularly relevant to psycho-biography are:(1) where there is grossly irrational behavior there is likely to be the biasing influence of experiential on rational processing, and (2) where there is maladaptive experiential processing there is often a background of an intense negative life experience or experiences. The operation of both of these principles is well illustrated in Hitler’s rabid and irrational hostility toward Jews. For example, he stated that if Jews were not eliminated from the world the...
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Thesis: Integrative theoretical orientations formulated to explain human behavior, functioning,
and development include behavioral, humanistic, psychodynamic, and multicultural approaches
that vary concerning personality, psychotherapy, and psychopathology
✓ One key idea from the biological or evolutionary theoretical orientation and one from the
integrative theoretical orientation.
✓ What is a main difference between these theoretical orientations?
✓ What is similar between these theories?
✓ Which one do you more closely align with?


An Integrative Theory of personality
Institution of Affiliation




Individuals' implicit theories of reality affect their understanding of proceedings, state of
mind, and mindful discernment by automatically and effortlessly directing daily behavior in
individuals. As a character is essential to the study of thinking, theories and classifications have
been advanced by psychiatrists to create a better understanding of individual mental and interactive
process. These theories create a complete background for establishing and understanding matters,
including individual variances, personality growth from inception through maturity, and the

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