Lecture 3.docx

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26 Apr 2012
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PSYC2600 Introduction to the Study of Personality
January 19, 2010
Goals for today’s class…
Finishing the material from last class: Integrating Personality Research
Dispositional Domain
What is a trait?
How do we identify traits?
The Five Factor Model (FFM)
From the text…
Identify the three fundamental questions that guide psychologists who study traits and be
capable of explaining the answers to these questions
Define the Act Frequency approach
What is Eysenck’s 3-factor model?
Cattell’s Taxonomy and the 16 Personality Factor System
Circumplex Taxonomies of Personality - what are they?
What is the five-factor model, and is it comprehensive?
Agenda for Research
In the Dispositional Domain, we are focused on…
Identifying the number, nature, and organization of “basic” traits
Defining the “basic tendencies” and the facets of each
Identifying the underlying biological bases
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Agenda for Research (continued)
Identifying the dynamic processes of the personality system (defenses, cognitive styles,
planning, etc.)
Catalogue the Characteristic Adaptations (interests, roles, skills, self-image) associated with the
factor
Account for lifespan development
Assumptions…
The trait perspective makes four basic assumptions
1. Knowability personality is a proper object of scientific study. That there is much to be
learned from the study of personality in individuals and groups (vs. irreducible
uniqueness)
2. Rationality despite errors and biases, people are in general capable of understanding
themselves and others
Assumptions…
3. Variability asserts that people differ from each other in psychologically significant
ways
4. Proactivity refers to the assumption that the locus of causation of human action is to be
sought in the person
Personality Traits
How should we conceptualize traits?
Internal properties that cause behaviour?
or
Descriptions of enduring aspects of behaviour (descriptive summaries)?
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What is a trait?
Internal Causal Properties
Internal: individuals carry their desires, needs, and wants from one situation to the next
Causal: desires and needs explain the behaviour of the individuals who possess them
“Capacities” = internal disposition that can be dormant
What is a trait?
Purely Descriptive Summaries
Make no assumptions about internality
Nor is causality assumed
“Trait” describes expressed (i.e. observable) behaviour
The Act Frequency Approach
o Act Nomination, Prototypicality Judgment, Recording Act Performance
Personality Traits
In personality psychology, the concept of trait has been used to denote consistent intercorrelated
patterns of behaviour, especially expressive or stylistic behaviour (Winter & Barenbaum, 1999)
Personality traits are individual difference variables (McCrae & Costa, 1999)
Individuals can be characterized in term of relatively enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings, and
actions; that traits can be quantitatively assessed; that they show some degree of cross-situational
consistency (McCrae & John, 1992)
Studying Personality Traits
How can we identify which traits are the most important from among the thousands of ways in
which individuals differ?
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