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2 B03 Lecture 2

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Richard B Day

1 Jan 08/14 Psych 2B03, Personality, Dr. Day, C02 Lecture 2 Theories of Personality • No one definition of personality What is Personality • Our behaviour is consistent • There is a pattern of consistency in our behaviour that we need to explain, where does this consistency come from? The answer is that it comes from our personality • Personality is what gives consistency to our thoughts, behaviour and emotions • That’s what personality is about, it’s about the consistent pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that we observe in ourselves and others, it’s an explanation for that • The pattern of consistency varies from person to person • There are individual differences in the patterns of consistency and personality is designed to account for that too • These patterns are different for different people, because we have different personalities • We need to understand that personality does not exist, it’s not a physical object, not a brain structure not a chemical, it has not existence Hypothetical Constructs • Personality is a hypothetical construct • Virtually all sciences use hypothetical constructs • Hypothetical constructs are ideas that we make up, that we create out of nothing, they are invented fictional entities or processes or characteristics, but don’t have any physical entities • They play a role in many theories • We begin the formation of a theory by making observations we see things happening around us, things about behaviour, emotion, cognition or physical world and in order to understand how these things may be tied together we invent hypothetical constructs that relate number of the observations to each other 2 Jan 08/14 Psych 2B03, Personality, Dr. Day, C02 • We can understand all these things we say if we can consider that there is such thing as X in the world • And then we develop a theory in which we describe how the constructs are related to each other and then we may have a theory that explains the set of observations that we made • All science uses hypothetical constructs • The science that uses hypothetical constructs the most is the one we put the most faith in – physics - uses it as much as psychology does • The concept of energy in theoretical physics is hypothetical construct, there is no such thing as energy • In every definition energy is the defined as’the ability to do work’, ability is not a physical thing • The force of gravity is a hypothetical construct as well • The reason the chapstick falls on the floor because, there is a force emanating from every particle of matter that attracts every other particle of matter no matter how distant and because enormous amount of the particle on the earth are attracted in this tiny little chapstick it falls towards the center of the earth • That’s a set of hypothetical constructs derived from the work of Isaac Newton • 300 years later that theory was supplanted by the theory ofAlbert Einstein who came up with theory of General Relativity • There is no force of gravity in Einstein’s theory • He explains it saying, matter doesn’t attract other matter, it bends space, matter bends the physical universe, and particle, objects of any sorts follow that curvature and because there is enormous amount of curvature right here, because of the presence of the earth beneath our feet that chapstick follows that curve right to the ground, as do our feet and planets that circle the sun • Who is right? • It doesn’t matter, what matters is that their ideas help us understand what’s going on around us • All of Einstein’s predictions have been validated 3 Jan 08/14 Psych 2B03, Personality, Dr. Day, C02 • It’s 2 ways explaining the reality that we will never really understand, but if think of it that way everything makes sense • The things we will be talking about most don’t exist and it doesn’t matter • Freud knew they don’t exist, but what he said is that if we think about them this way, lots of things are going to make sense • Just like if we think about the force emanating from the matter or curvature in space, lots of things will make more sense • Some things in science began as hypothetical constructs and turned out to be real • When we create a theory we are creating a story about how the world might be Hypothetical Constructs in Theoretical Physics • If it explains what we observer and if it predicts what we will measure, then it’s a good theory, it doesn’t matter if it matches with reality or not, that’s not important • Quantum theory is strange and non-intuitive, essentially it says that if you are not looking at a particle, it does not exist, it exists only as a probability wave, probability that it will appear in certain places high or low, only when you observe it that this probability collapse and the particle will appear • What matter is that we think of reality this way it makes sense, we can make predictions • Interferometer – suppose you have a box and you have a source of particles, electrons for example, they are shooting trough a little gun and you are shooting them through a tiny slit towards a screen on the back which detects them and what you see in the back wall you see a line that matches the size and shape of the slit, the particles have gone through the slit and they’ve hit the screen and they made a line • Now suppose you replace that one slit with two, so you don’t know where the particles are going they could go to one slit of the other, what do you see in the back screen? You don’t see 2 vertical lines, you see overlapping waves, because you didn’t determine which slit the electrons went through, if you measure which slit they go through • Particles only appear when you look at them, if you don’t look at them you see waves • Sometimes it’s best to understand light as wave and sometimes it’s best to understand it as a particle but it’s neither of those things 4 Jan 08/14 Psych 2B03, Personality, Dr. Day, C02 • The important point here is that there are number of different ways of looking at the same set of phenomenon which are equally useful and valid • Completely different sets of hypothetical constructs can equally well explain the same set of phenomenon • The philosophy of science in theory there is an infinite number theories which will equally well explain the same phenomenon • We don’t want to think of theories as discovering something about reality • We want think of theories including the ones we’ll talk about as modeling reality which we will never really understand • Hypothetical constructs are not real but help us make sense of the world around us • Theories are not realities, they don’t discover anything, they tell a story that make sense of it • Today they are looking at 2 hypothetical constructs of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the reason they talk about these is because 90% of the universe is made up of matter we can’t see, that’s because the stars and galaxies are spinning too fast to be account for by the amount of visible matte that we see there
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