PSYO 1012 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Walter Mischel, Oedipus Complex, Psychoticism

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Lesson 7: Personality
Chapter 13
Define personality
Personality: the unique and relatively enduring set of behaviours, feelings, thoughts, and
motives that characterize an individual.
- Personality distinguishes us from one another and makes us unique.
- Personality is relatively enduring consistency
oConsistency across different situations: refers to the notion that people behave
the same way in different situation and carry who they are into almost every
situation.
oConsistency over time: is the extent to which people behave the same way
throughout their lives.
-Trait: a disposition to behave consistently in a particular way.
oPersonality is a broad term that comprises traits, motives, thoughts, self-concept,
and feelings.
oAn important principle of personality traits is that they are normally distributed in
the population.
oTraits are directly connected to behaviour and lower behavioural thresholds.
Behavioural thresholds: the point at which a person moves from not
having a particular response to having one.
A low threshold means you are very likely to behave in a particular way,
whereas a high threshold means you are not.
Discuss how nature and nurture contribute to personality development
- Having some degree of fearfulness is adaptive, and people with that quality were more
likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on that disposition.
- Naturally selected traits are favoured if they increase one’s chances of survival and
reproductive success.
- Sexually selected traits make one more attractive to the opposite sex.
-Quantitative trait loci (QTL) approach: a technique that looks for the locations of
specific bits of DNA that might be associated with particular behaviours.
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oUncovers locations on particular genes that are associated with high or low levels
of a trait.
-Twin studies: a second method for examining the effect that genetics play in behaviour
and personality.
oFor both identical and fraternal, who have been raised together or apart.
oFound that most basic personality traits have heritability estimates of between 40-
60%.
o50% of the differences in personality in a population is explained by three non-
genetic sources:
Shared environment: consists of what siblings share in common, such as
parents or household.
Unshared environment: consists of things like birth order, different
friends, different teachers, and different social groups.
Most of the environmental effects are due to unshared environment
Personality is influenced by our environment, but more by the
experiences we do not share in common with our family members.
Error
- Temperament and personality differences are manifest even before birth
oA high heart rate at 36 weeks foreshadowed less predictable eating and sleeping
habits three-six months after birth and less emotionality at six months.
oHaving high activity levels at 36 weeks predicted being slow to adapt to new
people or situations and having more irregular eating and sleeping habits at three
and six months and being more difficult or fussy at six months.
oThe amount of stress the mother experiences during pregnancy changes the
infant’s permanent stress response.
oEnvironment and culture modify temperament and make certain traits more likely
in some societies than others.
- One common measure of personality is the NEO-Personality Inventory, which has been
translated into more than 40 languages.
oAssesses the five major dimensions of personality
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oPeople from different cultural backgrounds universally exhibit these traits
- Asian cultures exhibit qualities that fit a dimension of “interpersonal relatedness” that is
rarely seen in Western cultures.
oIncludes behaviours and attitudes as a respectful, obedient demeanour toward
others, a belief in saving “face”, and an emphasis on harmonious relationships.
Describe Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, including the key criticisms of
his theory
Sigmund Freud
-Psychoanalysis: the idea that the unconscious is the most powerful force in our
personality.
oConsciousness: what we are aware of at any given moment in time.
oPreconscious: just below the surface of awareness. It is not currently conscious
but can become so relatively easily.
oUnconscious: contains all the drives, urges, or instincts that are outside awareness
but nonetheless motivate most of our speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions.
What we do and the reasons we do it are hidden from our awareness and
revealed to us only in distorted forms, such as slips of the tongue and
dreams.
Id: developed in infancy and is responsible for impulse and desire. The
sole function is to seek pleasure.
“Do it” principle
Ego: by the end of the first year of lie a sense of self develops. The ego is
in direct contact with the outside world.
Operates on the “reality principle”
If the id wants pleasure, the ego makes a realistic attempt to obtain
it.
Superego: develops around age 2 or 3, the part of self that monitors and
controls behaviour.
Stands over us and evaluates actions in terms of right and wrong.
Operates on the “moralistic principle”
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Document Summary

Personality: the unique and relatively enduring set of behaviours, feelings, thoughts, and motives that characterize an individual. Personality distinguishes us from one another and makes us unique. Behavioural thresholds: the point at which a person moves from not having a particular response to having one. A low threshold means you are very likely to behave in a particular way, whereas a high threshold means you are not. Discuss how nature and nurture contribute to personality development. Having some degree of fearfulness is adaptive, and people with that quality were more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on that disposition. Naturally selected traits are favoured if they increase one"s chances of survival and reproductive success. Sexually selected traits make one more attractive to the opposite sex. 60%: 50% of the differences in personality in a population is explained by three non- genetic sources: Shared environment: consists of what siblings share in common, such as parents or household.

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