Lecture 5: 2013/01/22
Questions of the day:
1) What are the most common forms of characteristic adaptions?
2) How do we integrate the various aspects of our life and personality?
3) What are some methods used to assess individual differences in personality?
A different kind of film clip
- How would you describe Peter and Mary Jane’s personality?
Peter Parker: low E, low N, high A, high C
Mary Jane: low E, high N, high A
Talk about what they are going to do after graduation
There are things that do not reflect their Big 5 traits necessarily, but they are important and they
represent aspects of their personality that are maybe merging and salient at this time.
What are you going to do after graduation? This has to do with their desire, goals, dreams,
motivational and developmental concerns. These kinds of concerns that McAdams would say
belong in level 2 of personality.
They are not well-organized, or well-mapped as the Big 5 traits. Many different measures have to
do with motivation, cognition, developmental tasks. Still, they are very important to understand
who they are.
They are more conditional on where we are in life, what are situation is, what role is. They are
also changeable and fluid.
- Would a trait description be sufficient?
- “Think about someone who you know really well. What is it that you know about him/her that you
don’t know about other people? Is it traits? Probably not?
- “It is likely that you know a person well by knowing what the person’s life is like, what it has been like
in the past, and what it may be like in the future. As part of this knowledge you may have access to the
person’s desires, needs, wishes, wants, goals, challenges, values and the unique way in which the
person puts this all together, puts this together in a narrative pattern to make sense of who he/she is.”
Three levels of personality
- Traits: social and emotional consistency. Important, predict. These things are what you learn from
stranger. But once you get to know someone better, you can move to more fluid, less stable, less
- Characteristic adaptions: “More particular aspects of personality that describe personal adaptions to
motivational, cognitive, and developmental challenges and tasks - Life narrative: “Internalized and evolving narratives of the self that people construct to integrate the
past, present and future and provide life with a sense of meaning and purpose.”
Only as an adult (around 20s) that we begin to do this
Try to understand who we were and who we are now. And what led to the change
Study: Interview people who are in 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. And ask people about important
memories, and describe it. Reminiscent bomb: vast majority of your important memories come
Examples of Characteristic amputations
- Implicit Motives (Motivational)
- Self-Discrepancies (Cognitive)
- Developmental Stages (Developmental)
The Big Three Motives
- Motivation has to do with what we are striving for. It has to do with how we energize and direct our
- Motivation has been considered as independent aspect of your personality
- 20 motives that can energize and direct our behavior. But only the three of motives that have been
- There are a lot of research which suggest that depending on what your motivational orientation is, you
may do better/worse in certain job
- The big three motives are thought to be non-conscious. We do not really know what our motive is.
A recurrent preference or desire for experiences of doing well and being successful
A recurrent preference or desire for experiences of having impact on others
A recurrent preference or desire for experiences of warm, close, and commutative
interactions with others.
- Relatively independent from each other
- Power and Intimacy are negatively related
- The way motives were assessed by clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists by using
Thematic Apperception Test (Clinical Uses)
20 pictures which present ambiguous social interactions
Ask to tell a story that is 5 minutes long with the beginning, middle, and the end
Pictures always present something mysterious, and indicating a conflict Can see interpersonal life, and infer what kind of conflict you have in your relationship
They have disturbing themes of danger, sex, and murder, etc. (with children, animals pictures)
Problems: use it in an impressionistic way and there’s not good agreement between psychologies.
Concerned with validity and reliability. Not stable (different results after a year or months later)
- Researchers who want to study motives did not use these pictures because it is provocative themes.
Instead they picked more ordinary pictures that would allow you to tell a story about achievement,
intimacy and power (Research version)
Constructed in a systematic way. Proved to be valid and reliable by creating conditions that
would high achievement, power, and intimacy
And then they coded the stories and put it together a systemic code book for judging what kinds
of sentences or words would indicate achievement, power and intimacy
Achievement: “studies and done research for a long time” = long term commitment,
“Breakthrough”, “good results, outstanding”
Power: “plotting, sabotaged”