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PSYC 2740
Dan Meegan

Psychology : Personality Course *2740 May, 12 , 2012 Unit 01 What is personality?  stable individual differences believed to be present early in life and are consistent across time and place - both internal and external “Persona” Greek word for actors masks - Two main approaches to the study of personality are o Nomothetic : (groups)  goal is to understand general themes and principles o Idiographic : (individuals)  goal is to understand the complexity of the individual The 5 W’s of Personality Research WHO is the person WHAT ways do people/groups differ? WHEN does the behaviour occur? (TEMPORAL) WHERE does the behaviour occur? (CONTEXTUAL) WHY does this behaviour occur? (EXPLANATION) - Personality must be studied from a cross-cultural perspective Personality is a science - Relies on theories and empirical research - Findings are formed rom experimental and descriptive methods - Studies are designed according to scientific principles Personality is not just common sense - Research must be done to determine if it is simply common sense - Findings find that common sense is overestimated - Sternberg found only 7% of his samples had high levels of common sense Personality must be viewed from a critical thinking perspective - Theoretical assumptions must be carefully evaluated - Training in research: o Increases critical thinking skills o Decreases tendency to endorse false beliefs o Decrease the BARNUM EFFECT (tendency to accept general statements as applicable to oneself) Personality Development Reflects Multiple Influences - Personality has internal and external determinants - Thompson and Goodvin (2005) state that personality reflects a complex interplay of temperament, emotion, and self-development that further interact with the social environment Cross-Cultural Perspective - The role of culture is an important individual difference variable - Kluckohn (1954)provides a comprehensive overview of the link between personality and culture - According to Heine and Norenzayan (2006), there are at least 3 types of explanations for cultural group differences o Evoked culture o Transmitted culture o Genetic variation Personality shows a large amount of individual differences in: - Emotions - Behaviours - Cognitions - Motivations - Social tendencies Unit 02 Personality Theory and Research Experimental Research  Independent vs. Dependent Variables Independent : the MANIPULATED VARIABLE in an experiment Dependent : the MEASURED variable in an experiment Experimental conditions refer to the groups in which participants are randomly assigned Independent variable - That has different levels presented to different participants is called a between-subjects variable - That has all levels presented to all participants is called a within-subjects variable (repeated measures) - Subject variables  types of independent variables that are naturally occurring and cannot be manipulated (sex, age, personality features etc…) - Need to control for a possible bias in the order of conditions (order effects) Moderator and Mediator Effects  An interaction, or moderator effect occurs when the effect of an independent variable is influenced by the levels of another independent variable  Mediator effect occurs when an intervening variable accounts for the relation between 2 other variables  In an additive model, each factor makes a unique contribution in predicting the outcome variable Benefits and Limitations of experimental Research  Enable cause and effect statements about manipulated variables and a degree of control that is lacking in natural settings  Limitation = participants may become aware of cues or respond in a way that makes them appear favourable to others, termed demand characteristics  Experiments may be artificial, so lack external validity and generalizability to real world Linear vs. Non-Linear Effects Linear  an increase in one personality dimension is associated with a corresponding increase in another Nonlinear  (curvilinear) effect results when the most extreme scores are observed in the middle of a distribution of scores  Tertial Split – divides a distribution of scores into 3  Median split – divides the distribution of scores into 2, based on the midpoint of scores  Regression of the mean – reflects the finding that extreme scores will be pulled toward the mean at retest Positive and Negative Correlation Positive (+)  as one variable increase, the other variable also increases in a particular pattern Negative (-)  as one variable increases, the other variable decreases in a predicable pattern  Causality cannot be concluded in correlation studies due to the 3 -variable problem: a 3 rd variable related to both variables has exerted its influence Correlations have both strength and direction indicated by the coefficient r Direction is indicated by + or – Strength is indicated by the value of the relation which ranges between -1 and +1 A PERFECT CORRELATION produces r = 1; NO CORRELATION produces r=0 Correlational Research - Directionality Issue o Refers to the fact that correlation research cannot determine the timing or order of related variables o It is not known whether A causes B, or B causes A o Does happiness “cause” sociability, or does sociability “cause” happiness? Personality Research Trends - Most personality researchers use more self-report methods and publish fewer experiments - Most studies are cross-sectional rather than longitudinal, and are based on questionaires using correlation analyses - The use of non-student sampling is increasing Types of Data Personality is assessed using measures that rely on: - Self-report (S-Data) ** most common used in personality research - Life Data (L-Data) - Observer-report (O-Data) - Test Data (T-Data) Structured assessments  close-ended scales that require the participant to select from the options given by the test developers Unstructured assessments  open-ended questions that require the participant to generate his or her own response (verbal) Self-report measures and their limitations - Many response biases that may affect the validity of self-report measures 1. People may lack insight and self-awareness 2. People may have an exaggerated positive self-evaluation (self-deception) 3. People tend to present a positive impression to others Self-report should be supplemented with observer reports obtained from several sources Methodological pluralism – reliability and validity of assessment by using multiple methods within the same study Current innovations: Data Collection via the Internet - The net provides a vast sample pool for data collection - The diversity of available samples increases generalizability - Findings indicate high levels of honesty and reliable and valid measures of the 5 factor model - Limitations include: multiple submissions, missing responses, carelessness, and inconsistencies in responding - May represent a biased sample - Ethical concerns are protocols for informed consent and debriefing, and exclusion of children who lack parental consent Issues in Personality Assessment Construct validity and the Construct Validation Approach - Construct validity must include an empirical investigation of both the construct and the tests that are purported to measure the construct - Scales purported to measure the same construct may show different correlations with other variables bc of differences in item content - Individual scales may lack breadth The Sequential System of Test Construction  Personality test development is a process that involves identifying the following empirical aspects using a series of steps: 1. Nomological network: full set of factors related to a theory 2. Acquiescence response bias: items that are prone to “yea” responding 3. Differential reliability index: determines the degree of correlation between a test item and social desirability 4. Internal consistency: Cronbach’s (1951) statistic determines the intercorrelation of test items based on the resultant alpha coefficient 5. Test-retest reliability: stability of scores over time Burisch (1984) suggests four guidelines to evaluate personality measures: 1. Scale Validity 2. Communicability 3. Economy 4. Representativeness Types of Validity in Personality Assessment - Results when a test measures what it claims to measure - Valid test = accurate measure of reality - Should be regarded as a concept having not one but many facets - Multitrait-method = evaluates concurrent and discriminant validity after the variance due to procedural biases is removed - Variance = removed using statistical techniques such as confirmatory factor analysis (determines variability due to individual differences) and method variance (determines variability due to the method employed) Brunswick (1955) defined ecological validity as the degree to which the research depicts the phenomenon as it occurs in the real environmental setting - Experience sampling is a new technique that increases ecological validity by having participants record their daily tendencies in thoughts/emotions - Provides a measure of individual differences across various contexts - Collecting multiple measures of the same construct is called aggregation and tends to decrease measurement error - Incremental validity refers to the degree of additional variance that can be explained by a test measure beyond that explained by other measures Unit 03 Units of Personality: Types vs. Traits  Personality Types  Personality Traits  Situationism  The trait-type interaction in personality research  Beyond traits  How many super-traits are there?  Analysis of a key personality trait: locus of control Personality Types - Discrete categories – differ in kind rather than degree (qualitative vs. quantitative) - Benefit = personality types form clusters of common characteristics that enable prediction - May obscure individual differences within a category due to the all or none aspect Sheldon’s (1942) Somatotype Theory  3 main body type o Ectomorphic o Mesomorphic o Endomorphic  Sheldon coined the term “constitutional psychology” to capture the link between personality and physical attributes  Taxometrics  statistical approach used to test for types or discrete categories in general  Taxon is the identified category  Jung identified 2 distinct types o Extroversion (outgoing) o Introversion (reserved)  Jung revised his categories after finding most people are ambiverts, having both characteristics Contemporary Research on Personality Types  Type approach gained importance in recent yrs. Due to Block and Block’s (1980) model  Block’s research described 2 orthogonal personality types: o Ego control (high, low) o Ego resiliency (high, low)  Results in four possible personality types  Robins, Jon, Caspi, Moffat, and Stouthamer Loeber (1996) focused on 3 types: o Resilient type o Overcoming type o Under controlling type  Hart, Atkins, and Fegley (2003) replicated Robbins et al. (1996) and reported stability of types over time  Other research has failed to replicate these types finding heterogeneity and blending of types  Nagin and Tremblay (2001) explored the heterogeneity issue in their research on conduct disorder  Analyses focused on developmental trajectories, or behavioral charges over time  Found four different types of boys within their sample Allport’s Bold Assertions  Personality has more than nominal(of a role; very small; far below the real value or cost) existence  Personality trait = more generalized than a habit  Personality trait = dynamic or discriminative  Personality trait = may be established empirically  Personality trait may be established empirically (observation)  Personality trait = not similar with moral or social judgement  May be viewed in the light of personality which contains it  Acts/habits that are inconsistent with a trait are not proof of the nonexistence of the trait Allport’s Conceptualization of Traits - Common traits vs. Unique Traits - Phenotypical vs. Genotypical Personal Dispositions - Pseudo traits (pseudo = pretending to be something you’re not) - Cardinal, Central, and Secondary Dispositions Personality Traits Traits versus Types  Types believed to arise from certain conditions that must be present  Traits involve a gradual acquisition of behaviours that can fall along a continuum  Types are discrete(must look hard to find them); Traits are continuous (always happening)7 Situationism Mischel’s Challenge to the Trait Approach - Concluded traits alone are poor predictors of behaviour - Argued it is the situation that produces changes in behaviour, rendering personality trais not as stable as assumed - Only 9% of variance in behaviour is explained by traits, based on his estimated personality coefficient of .30 Trait-Situation Interaction in Personality Research  Interactionism  joint function of person and situation on behaviour  Endler (1983)  distinguished between mechanistic and reciprocal models of interactionism o Mechanistic models: focus on how the situation impacts on behaviour o Reciprocal models  focus on interplay of person and situation on behaviour Endler’s interaction model of trait anxiety distinguished between trait and state anxiety - Trait anxiety: typical level of anxiety - State Anxiety: current level of anxiety One version of Endler’s Model proposes an interaction among stress, anxiety and coping  Perception of threat is a process that involves person variables and situation variables Beyond Traits - Concept of Personality Capabilities allows a distinction between the typical and the maximum capacity - Personality Capabilities are the maximal tendencies in a person’s range of behaviours - Maximal approach requires reporting possible characteristics Metatraits and Traitedness  Metatraits are those traits highly relevant to a person  Concept is “traited” if it is high in trait relevance  Trait relevance validity is the degree to which a construct is relevant to the target population How many super traits are there? - Supertrait = universal and explains a large proportion of variance in behaviour - Identification of supertraits begins with the lexical approach: selection of personality terms in a language - Factor Analyses  reduces the terms to create clusters of related items Eysenck’s Big 3  3 supertraits are heritable (genetic) with physiological substrates  3 super traits o E  extroversion-dimension o N  neuroticism-emotional stability o P  psychotocism-ego control (acronym – PEN) Hierarchical Structure of Eysenck’s Model  At the first level of the 4-tiered hierarchy are personality states  Second level = habitual acts  3 level = trait levels th  4 level (top) = supertraits (P.E.N) 5-factor Models and the Big 7  Norman (1963) reported 5 factors: 1. Extroversion 2. Agreeableness 3. Conscientiousness
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