PSYC 2600 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Type A And Type B Personality Theory, Twin Study, Behavioural Genetics

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What is personality ?
o How might we describe someone’s personality?
Out-going, charming, neurotic, happy….
o How can we begin to make sense of people’s personalities? (i.e. , an organized theory)
o How can we define “Personality?
o Personality is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that
are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with,
and adaptations to the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments. (Larsen & Buss)
Traits a.k.a. tendencies, we are born with them, stable over time
Mechanisms things that change over time.
Our information processing systems
Organized and relatively enduring they are consistent
Intrapsychic- inner world of someone
Adaptations to
o Personality serves adaptive function- accomplish goals, cope, adjust, respond to
Behavior is goal directed, functional purposeful
o Even behaviours that don’t appear functional
The environment
o Understanding person;s environment is also key for understanding personality
o Personality interacts with our environments which in turn interacts with us
Physical environment
Social environmanet
Intapsychic environment
Inner world
E.g. thought, emotions, motivations, memories.
Each environment contributes to our reality and personality interacts with
Three levels of personality
o In some ways, every Human Being is…
.... like all others
Human Nature level of analysis
o What makes us all the same
o Have sense of humour, ability to feel amotions, metacognition
.... like some others
Group (and hence individual) Differences level of analysis
o What makes us different
.... like no other
Individual Uniqueness level of analysis
o The Most Interesting the World
… that are organized
o Organization implies that we are talking about a theory
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