The story talks about a man who goes to the hospital to seek assistance due to an illness. The story is used to demonstrate the various concepts or theories of psychology. The various psychological concepts that manifest themselves in this story include; Self-perception, the locus of control, optimism bias, false uniqueness, social comparison, learned helplessness, self-fulfillment prophecy and attributional difference. The paper tries to explain each one of these concepts with examples derived from the story to give a clear understanding.
Self-perception says that people develop attitudes and opinions by observing themselves and drawing conclusions. The neighbor who talks to Giovanni Corte says on page 3, says that he has been on the seventh floor for two months, unlike his brother who went to the fourth floor after to his condition got worse. The neighbor perceived himself better that his brother and therefore attributed his stay on the seventh floor to his good health.
Locus of control is the extent to which someone believes he/she has control in his/her life. Someone with the internal locus of control believes that he or she has control of what events and the results while someone with the external locus of control believes outside forces control events and ultimately results. In page 12 Mr. Giovanni Corte blames the execrable mistake of him being moved to the last floor “resting place”.
The external locus of control is also seen where the doctor comes in Corte’s room when he is about to be taken to the final floor. The doctor listens to him attentively and after he is done talking the doctor say he is sorry about the situation. He, however, says that the situation is not in his control because the list had been signed and that the orders had to be followed.
Optimism bias is the belief that one’s chances of positive effects are high that those of negative comparing with the peers. In page five Corte realizes that it would be difficult for the get back to the seventh floor where he belonged with the “almost-well.” With this attitude that he belonged with the almost-well, he did not have a chance to think that he might not be well. In the story, it seems like he had turned a blind eye on the negativity and only saw himself as the victim of circumstances.
When the nurses come to take him to the first floor, he had hopes that he was being taken back to the third floor. He held on to that lie that the was told and choose to assume the fact that his body was getting worse where on page 11 it says that his agitation was only nourishing the disease, the state of continued weakness continued to affect his vitalities and his temperature was rising. He could not see himself as sick but held on to thinking that he deserves to b on the sixth and seventh floor.
False uniqueness is when someone tends to overestimate the number of people who share with him or her, negative attributes and underestimate the number of those who he/she shares with positive attributes. This concept is seen throughout the story; the first instance is when Mr. Corte is moved from the seventh floor to the sixth floor. In his view, he was healthier unlike the other patients I that floor, he saw himself as only being there for three to four days because he was just transferred to the floor because more space was needed.
However, this was not the case, and the doctors did not want to tell him that he was not getting better. In the real sense, Mr. Corte was only getting worse (Pg.5). Mr. Corte throughout the story believes that he belongs to either seventh or sixth floor which makes it difficult for him to realize that instead of his health improving, it was getting worse considering that he was being transferred from one floor to another downwards in a very short span of time.
Throughout the story, Mr. Corte seems to portray the concept of false uniqueness. He sees himself as unfairly treated because he is taken a floor below every time he settles on the floor waiting to go back to the seventh floor. He also sees that he deserves to be in either seventh or sixth floor.
Social comparison is when one determines his/her social worth depending on how he/she stacks up compared to others. This concept is seen when Corte is talking to his neighbor on the seventh floor, he tries to classify people where he asks on page 3 about the patients on the fourth floor and tries to compare with those on the first floor where he is told that the ones on the first floor are the dying ones. Seeking confirmation, he comments that they are not many on the first floor. In page 4 he further progresses where he seeks reassurance from the doctors who reassure him.
Learned helplessness is when someone feels like they do not have control over a situation bothering them and as a result they give up on looking for ways to relief themselves of the bother. The concept manifests itself in page 6 where Mr. Corte realizes that his body had risen, and he was exhausted and had no strength nor desire to resist the treatment even though it was unfair. He allowed himself to be taken the floor down without any resistance.
After being taken to the last floor “resting place” instead of Corte protesting yet he viewed the situation as hideous, he laughed because he had nothing else to do. From that he seems to have given up and finally when in the room on page 12 after the thought that climbing back the ladder would take him years, and he finally rested.
Self-fulfilment prophecy is when someone makes a prediction, and it unknowingly happens, simply because he/she knew would happen. In page 4 after being told about the division of the sanatorium by the neighbor, Corte secretly anticipates for his unfavorable verdict to move to a floor below that later happens. When lying on the bed on the second floor, Corte listens intently to the floor below and sometimes he would think he heard sounds on the floor of dying. In his thinking, he says that they are sounds of death in action which means at the back of his heard he had some intuition that the sounds were talking to him since he found all this dispiriting.
Attribution differences mean people are trying to attach meaning to our behavior and that of others. It tries to explain why people behave the way they do. It could be because of their personality or their traits. The concept is manifested when the doctor finds the nurses and Corte arguing about them movement whether on the third floor or the first floor. He listens to Corte’s side of the story, and he gets angry since Corte’s promises were not fulfilled. Due to the act of listening to him, Corte views as the doctor reasonable and attentive, and these leads to him accepting to move to the first floor. If he did not perceive the doctor as reasonable, the high chances are that he would not accept to move.
Although not all the concepts of psychology were used in the story, the few that were used were clear, and it was easy to identify and explain each using various examples.
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