PSYC 332 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Repeated Measures Design, Blackboard, Extraversion And Introversion

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20 Jul 2016
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Are We All Chameleons????????? The Debate About
Cross-situation Consistency of Behaviour.
23:29
-The number one biggest challenge to personality psychologists- Behavioural
oriented psychologists/social psychologists would highlight that we are not
that consistent in our behaviours, and trait implies that there is a
generalized consistency.
-What does it mean when someone behaves diff. on a given trait dimension
across diff. situations?????????????
Ex. Someone highly extraverted, but behave diff. sometimes.
We will often be struck when someone behaves diff., we may also notice it in
ourselves.
McAdams Comments 2009:
We talk in traits all the time.
The currency of everyday trait talk is the generalization.
Natural to use trait terms to describe other people, the currency is we
generalize. They may be true or useful in a relative sense but they do not
apply to every instance of a person’s behaviour.
Nobody, no matter how strong on a given trait, is perfectly consistent; no
single trait can characterize any person; life offers to many situations for
people to do the same thing in each one.
Despite its important limitations, trait talk is a useful and natural way to
account for human individuality.
There are concerns about how consistent people might be, still generalized
tendencies that help us distinguish between diff. people.
The debate about consistency of personality, studies seem to resolve the
debate.
Chameleon Story:
First year of graduate school, 22 or so. Kind of late to get on the whole
dating kind of thing, went on some dates and first real girlfriend was when
he was in his first year of graduate school.
She was a research coordinator, and he was a student.
She suggested they go away on a romantic get away weekend, he was
excited, he had never done that before. They had been dating for 3 weeks.
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In New York, they were ganna drive to an area with many country inns and
bed and breakfast.
An hour into the drive, she says to get off at the next exit to talk to him. He
pulls over and says was I driving too fast, playing the wrong music, why did
you want me to stop. And she says she doesn’t really know who he is
anymore, she felt confused about who he was.
He said I don’t know what you mean, and she explained that something
happened in the morning that day that really upset her and distressed her.
The center for children from abusive and neglectful homes was the center-
that morning in the staff lounge he was talking with the bus driver and male
teachers and she was in the room next door, she overheard him talking to
them, and she said that he sounded loud, opinionated, buffoonish, extreme,
and felt like she no longer knew who he was.
First reaction.-Is there something wrong with you. He said- You know people
behave diff. depending on who they are with.
-People change their behaviour and she said- so you mean you are a
chameleon???????????????
He said yah, I think we all are.
Issue- How much variability/inconsistency can there be without worrying
that there is no core personality/traits there.
How consistent are people in their behaviour across situations??????????
-Dudycha(1936) study of punctuality:
8 AM classes
appointments
extracurricular activities
vesper services
entertainments.
R=.19
To capture observable behaviour from situation to situation to see how much
consistency, in a very empirical way, could be demonstrated.
In 1936, focused on punctuality, an aspect of conscientiousness, more
narrow- more narrow=better consistency you would expect.
200 male students at a boarding school.
Actually observed how punctual students were across the 5 diff. situations.
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Did this for 10 days.
Recorded 10 data points- so 50 in total.
Simple question they were wondering about- If someone is punctual,
shouldn’t we expect them to be punctual to all of the activies.
The average correlation was only .19- is a significant correlation but not that
strong. Later researchers would look at it and say even with something
specific with punctuality, if you actually measure people, you see they are
not consistent across situations.
Walter Mischel (1968):
It is impossible to demonstrate generalized consistencies in heavier and the
concept of personality traits as broad dispositions is thus untenable.
Not enough consistency to speak of traits as consistent/stable.
It is a result of reinforcement contingencies, our history of reinforcement
and conditioning is.
Saw the 1936 study and felt it was too low, not enough evidence.
Later researchers did something very simple, they would aggregate across
all of the situations, use all 50 data points and then give a scale of
conscientiousness- when you aggregate across situations on the same
dimension- you find greater consistency- more evidence of a greater core at
work.
Wanted to get rid of personality psychologist-Walter.
Not enough evidence that personalit traits could predict anything.
Classical study- tried to predict marriage outcomes- Neuroticism associated
with divorce and unhappy marriages- only .22 correlation, significant but
still- Walter looked at it, and would say, the relationships of traits to
outcomes is not compelling/strong enough, said there was a r=.30 ceiling-
cannot predict it better than that, it is just not powerful enough.
Walter is wrong about that- .22 is a sign. Effect, if you would typically have
a 50% chance of divorce, and something predicts at a .22 correlation- your
chances of divorce would fall to 30%.
Did not understand effect sizes.
Darryl Bem(1974) frames the issue:
“There is a discrepancy between our intuitions, which tell us that people do
in fact display pervasive cross-situational consistencies in their behaviour,
and the vast empirical literature, which tells us that they do not.”
Response to Walter.
One response- you have to aggregate behaviour, if you measure across
situations you find a general consistency.
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