Lecture One: Introduction to Personality
Personality: set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that organized and relatively enduring and
that influences his or her interactions and adaptations with/to the environment (including intrapsychic, physical and
1) Mechanisms: INPUTS -> DECISION MAKING -> OUTPUTS
2) Relatively enduring: traits are relatively stable over time; State vs. Trait
a. Ex. State: anxiety – an unpleasant emotional arousal in the face of danger/threats
Trait: anxiety – tendency to respond with state anxiety in the anticipation of threats.
3 LEVELS OF ANALYZING PERSONALITY
1) HUMAN NATURE : like all others
Most contemporary research occurs in these levels because we have “domains of knowledge”
2) INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP DIFFERENCE: like some others
3) Individual uniqueness level: like no others
i. Nomothetic: recognizes differences between people and uses statistical methods.
ii. Idiographic: research focusing on just one individual (more qualitative)
DOMAINS OF HUMAN NATURE
*Dispositional: focuses on number and nature of traits (links to all domains and focuses how people differ)*
Biological: views people as biological systems that are the foundation for personality
Intrapsychic: largely pertains to mental mechanisms of personality outside of consciousness
Cognitive-experiential: pertains to cognition and subjective experiences of ourselves and others
Social-cultural: entails the view that personality is influenced by social and cultural contexts
Adjustment: pertains how we cope, adapt and adjust to various forms of change & events
Guide for researchers Evaluated by considering: comprehensiveness parsimony
Theory: Organizes findings heuristic value compatibility & integration
Makes predictions testability
EX. Theory of Planned Behaviour
Attitudes Your view of a behaviour
Subjective norms What others think about you doing it
Perceived behaviour control Difficulty of behaviour and control over it
Intent Likelihood of engaging in the behaviour
Subjective norms Intent BEHAVIOUR
Percieved behavioural control Lecture Two: Personality Assessment, Measurement and Research Design
SOURCES OF DATA
a) Self-report (s-data):
1. Structured: responses are set; includes DICHOTOMOUS (forced choice) and Likert-Ratings (1 never, 2 rarely,
3 sometimes, etc.)
Pros: standardization, use of stats Cons: limits in responses; possible limited accuracy
2. Unstructured: responses are not set; open ended questions.
Pros: detailed, no limits in response Cons: not standardized, cannot use routine stats.
Other forms: event sampling that occurs over time to assess variables that might change in “real-time”.
Ex. Youth who have self-injured had PDA’s and were prompted to self-report about thoughts and actions.
Limitation of self-report data: honesty in responses, not having self-knowledge or objectivity to respond.
b) Observer (o-data): involves gathering data from other individuals.
Pros: access to unique data and multiple informants Cons: objectivity and respondents may not be able to infer
internal processes (eg. Feelings)
Where it may be collected:
Naturalistic setting: observations occur in Artificial setting: observations occur in setting created to
a natural/real-life setting resemble a real life setting
c) Test (T-Data): utilizes standardized testing situations to determine aspects of personality & takes various forms:
1) Mechanical recording
2) Physiological data
3) Projective tests
Limitations of test data: participants may “guess” trait being assessed and create an impression; participants and
researchers may view the testing situation differently; the influence of the researcher of the participant.
EVALUATION PERSONALITY MEASURES
Reliability: whether data reflects the true level of what is being measured.
Test-retest: sources of a measure correlate on repeated measures.
Internal Consistency: items on 1 measure correlate with each other.
Inter-rater: ratings of 1 observer correlate with those of another.
Response sets that impact reliability and is unrelated to item content:
2) Extreme responding
3) Social desirability
Validity: degree to which a test measures what it claims to measure.