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What is generation me?

The personality equivalent of the Flynn effect for IQ due to societal changes over time, mainly investigated by Jean Twenge.


What changes have been suggested in terms of generation me?

- Becoming more pro-social due to increased media, knowledge and access.
- Feeling like we have more control over our lives due to more money, resources and opportunities.
- Becoming more self-centred - more media, knowledge, access, money, resources and opportunities might instead lead to competition, desire to succeed and sense of entitlement.


How is generation me studied?

Through temporal meta-analysis, examining mean changes in traits over times. Collates personality data from the 1930s or even before.


What did Twenge and Campbell (2008) do and find?

Compared questionnaire responses from the 1970s to 2000s, e.g. asking participants if they would be a ___/had them self-rate their___. Found that good spouse, good parent, self-satisfaction, self-liking and general intelligence increased, whereas self-competence/efficacy decreased. This disconnect in sense of competence and goals/aspirations is psychologically problematic, although one doesn't have to be competent to like oneself.


How has narcissism changed over time?

It has generally increased over time - college students' average narcissistic personality (NPI) scores have increased 1982-2006 from 15.5-17.5.


What suggestions are there for why narcissism has increased over time?

Increased individualism, self-orientation, personal success, notion of entitlement. The fact that failure isn't spoken of, success is. Commodities - increased access and desire.


Is the increase in narcissism over time a bad thing?

Not necessarily - it’s correlated positively with self-esteem, life-satisfaction and short-term self-liking and being selected for reality TV.


What are the costs of high narcissism?

Risk taking, addictive disorders, compulsive shopping, pathological gambling (environment has also changed to make these things easier - exposure may affect this). Also students may have unrealistic expectations about their educational attainment.


What did Twenge et al. (2010) find about depression and psychopathy?

Increase in both scale (depression and psychopathic deviation) scores 1938-2007 for college students.


Why is the increase in depression underestimated?

Because many people are now on antidepressants.


What may have caused the Twenge effect?

Short time scale changes cannot be genetic, so it is likely to be due to cultural effects:
- Social changes
- Increase in media access, more money, better healthcare etc.
- Also views of depression have changed - perhaps people are just more likely to report it now?
- Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation
- People could be more extrinsically motivated now - goals, not enjoyment.
- Response bias over time
- Economic cycle


How is the Twenge effect useful in terms of application?

Can be applied to planning for mental health services, as this suggests that use of mental health services will increase in years to come.


What changes have there been in personality over time?

Twenge (2000) found that neuroticism and anxiety (self-report) have also both increased dramatically over time.
Twenge (2001) found that both women and men’s extraversion scores have increased 1965-1995.
Also locus of control (Twenge et al., 2004).


Define victim mentality.

Externalisation of 'bad' events, enables individual to distance themselves from disappointment of not attaining goals etc.


What two models are there for changes in locus of control over time (Twenge et al., 2004)?

Independence model - we're getting more internal due to individualism and environmental control.
Alienation model - victim mentality (a function of individualism = paradox) and negative social indicators (divorce, crime, suicide).


What is the paradox of individualism?

Increased individualism has caused increased external locus of control.


What model of changes in locus of control over time is supported?

The Alienation model - externality has increased by 0.81 of a standard deviation in 42yrs. It could be that people are more realistic/honest now.


What did Twenge (2009) state about generation me?

Generational changes are due to individualism. The benefit is that we accept differences, and the cost that we believe anything is possible (erroneous, mismatch causes problems).


What cautions are there related to generation me research?

- Only western samples have been used, and as it's a cultural shift, cross-cultural conclusions cannot be drawn.
- Samples aren’t themselves representative - they're mainly USA student samples and therefore cannot be used for population inferences.


What problems are there with generation me?

- Changes are linear (no major shifts despite major socio-cultural changes, e.g. the internet, which suggest that changes should be non-linear)
- Group (generational changes) aren’t necessarily linkable to individuals (ecological fallacy)
- Failed replications by Trzeniewski and Donnellan (2010), who had a very large sample size.