PSYC 2P25 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Trait Theory, Agreeableness, Brainstem

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PSYC 2P25 October 1, 2012
Midterm exam:
60-70 questions -> in class
Will post a review/review seminar
Everything in the textbook we’ve learned so far.
Test is challenging.
Essay due November 19th.
Development: Stability and Change
Do personality traits change in a life time?
Two questions
o How does the typical person’s trait level change across the lifespan?
o How much do relative trait levels of people (from same age cohort) change across the
lifespan?
Changes in mean levels
o Recent review by Roberts et al. (2006) of previous research
o Some main findings (using Big Five)
Between adolescence and late middle age, average person becomes higher in
conscientiousness, emotional stability, “assertive” aspects of extraversion,
agreeableness (to a lesser extent), openness (increase by young adulthood)
Not much change between these periods in the “sociable/lively” aspects of
extraversion
Changes during childhood are harder to measures
o Hard to get self-reports
o Also, which behaviours to assess via observer report
Why do mean trail levels change across lifespan?
Environmental demands (“social roles”) that differ across stages of life? (e.g. student, employee,
spouse, parent, grandparent, retiree)
Genetic influences expressed at different periods? (natural selection favouring age-appropriate
trait levels)
Stability (vs. change) of individual differences
o About after age 30, high stability
o Across 6-7 year period r=.70 for same trait
Even across a few weeks, only have r=.85
o Between 18 and 30, fairly high stability (a bit less than in later adulthood)
Across 4-8 year period, r=.55-.60 for same trait
o During teenage years, moderate stability
Across 4 year period, r=.40-.50 for same trait
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Document Summary

Everything in the textbook we"ve learned so far. Changes in mean levels: recent review by roberts et al. (2006) of previous research, some main findings (using big five) Between adolescence and late middle age, average person becomes higher in conscientiousness, emotional stability, assertive aspects of extraversion, agreeableness (to a lesser extent), openness (increase by young adulthood) Not much change between these periods in the sociable/lively aspects of extraversion. Changes during childhood are harder to measures: hard to get self-reports, also, which behaviours to assess via observer report. Environmental demands ( social roles ) that differ across stages of life? (e. g. student, employee, spouse, parent, grandparent, retiree) Genetic influences expressed at different periods? (natural selection favouring age-appropriate trait levels) Stability (vs. change) of individual differences: about after age 30, high stability, across 6-7 year period r=. 70 for same trait. Even across a few weeks, only have r=. 85: between 18 and 30, fairly high stability (a bit less than in later adulthood)

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