Lecture 7 Tuesday, January 25, 2011
- Our goals for today- finish last class- FFT
o Focus on traits (dispositional domain)
- What do traits MEAN? What does it mean for someone to be high or low on a
- Consistency and coherence (essence of personality is stable over time)
o How early in life does personality start to manifest?
o Will do this as parents anyway
o Make predictions?
o Do early traits hold through across life span?
- Although core might stay the same, we would expect some things to change
o The way you express that part of yourself might change, but that part of
yourself stays the same
o Expressing happiness as baby- rocking back and forth
o Expressing happiness as adult- something else, hopefully
- *Big question: Can we predict life outcomes? (whether person will end up happy,
- *What predicts behaviour? Predict why people do what they do, what they’re
likely to do again.
- Ch. 5: coherence across time
o *Rank order (stability) and mean level (change)
o Two big concepts in this chapter
o Consistency despite of the fact that we change
o A lot of research evidence- life outcomes (interesting stuff- achievement,
impulsivity, etc.)—summarize the research evidence
- Last week’s notes
o Dynamic processes of FFT
Connection between objective biography and self-concept
Elements of life story can impact parts of personality
*Objective biography is personal life story of things that
influenced you, but we’re not talking about everything—we’re
talking about the meaningful events that happened to you
o Objective biography- one of peripheral components of FFT
Not what you would immediately think of when you think of
But it could influence it
Ex. Dispositionally bubbly friend suddenly isn’t bubbly anymore.
That was part of her personality that she would carry everywhere
with her, but for the last few months she has not done any of that
behaviour. Like a big personality shift and no longer has this core.
Part of her objective biography is that two months ago, her father
suffered a serious heart attack and had to be hospitalized. Had an impact on all aspects of personality- how she interacts with world,
thinks about herself, etc.
o FFT is a personality system—how the process works together
o FFT in action
o Trait one: Neuroticism
Basic tendency (trait)
• Neuroticism- depression (facet)- sadness, hopelessness,
• Way of interacting with world- low self-esteem, irrational
perfectionistic beliefs, pessimistic attitudes
• Betty would feel guilty about low-prestige job (basic
tendency influences objective biography)
o Trait two: Extraversion
• Extraversion- gregariousness (social interaction)
• Good at social interaction- friendships (good at making and
maintaining)- more likely to engage in participation in
• Low in gregariousness- life of solitude (countryside)
o Not seeking social interaction
o Trait three: Openness to experience
• Openness to experience- actions (need for variety, novelty,
• Interest in travel- travelling/doing research on where to
travel, different hobbies, knowledge of foreign cuisine
• Cruising the Antarctic
o Trait four: Agreeableness
• Agreeableness- compliance (desire to avoid disagreement)
• Forgives others, cooperates with others, inoffensive
language (not likely to choose language that would start a
Objective biography • Low compliance- doesn’t want to avoid fights, doesn’t
listen to other person, doesn’t care about offending- might
throw things during fight
o Trait five: Conscientiousness
• Conscientiousness- achievement striving (really focused on
goals- want to accomplish as much as they can- not
necessarily selfish- could be in order to help people)
• Leadership skills, long-term planning, ability to network
and organize social connections in order to facilitate
• High in achievement striving- run for PM
- This week’s notes
- Trait psychology
o What does it mean to have high or low level of trait?
o Does it last across whole lifespan?
o Can it carry across all situations or do situations dictate behaviour?
o Can we make predictions?
- Meaningful differences between people
o People can score different levels of a particular trait
o But in this class, we’ll have two who score virtually identically on all five
o We do differ- people may seem to be the same, but when we break it down
into the different facets, almost impossible to be the same.
o Infinite amount of variability
o With just a few core traits, we can start to count for all the individual
o Differential psychology- taking a few core traits and by subtle variations,
can give all the infinite types
o Goal is to be able to understand behaviour- what will potentially happen in
the future- we could potentially prevent that by improving social skills and
o Costa and McCrae would argue that the basic tendencies are consistent
over time. But will argue that we can work on character