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PSY 120 Lecture Notes - Extraversion And Introversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness

Course Code
PSY 120
Donna Darbellay

of 3
Psychology 110
March 2nd 2010
We are not born bad or good, we just have different limits
Modern Study of Personality
Ø Many unscientific test of personality still exist
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Ø Objective inventories: forced choice and self report
Standardized questionnaires requiring written responses
Typically included scales on which people are asked to rate themselves
Ø Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory [MMPI]
Ten traits
Dysfunction - pathology
Ø Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire [MPQ]
Four broad traits, eleven specific traits
Personality pattern
One big problem: individuals can lie depending on the person being honest
Some information is lost, for the most part they are good
Core Personality Traits
Allport: evaluated personality traits based on their influence on a person’s life
Central traits: aspects of personality that reflect a characteristic way of behaving, dealing
with others, and reacting to new situations
They do not change
Secondary traits: changeable aspects of personality
They change often
Factor analysis: often used to identify clusters of behaviors that are measured by a common
underlying factor
Examines the inter-correlations of different traits
The Big Five: most researchers of the centrality of five core traits in personality
Cattel was a leader in this area was six now there is five
Robust traits
i. Extroversion versus introversion
Extroversion: outgoing
Introversion: quiet, cautious
ii. Neuroticism [ negative emotionality] versus emotional stability
Neuroticism: worry
Emotional stability: optimistic
iii. Agreeableness verses antagonism
Agreeableness: cooperative
Antagonism: irritable
iv. Conscientiousness versus impulsiveness
Conscientiousness: responsible fatality commitment
Impulsiveness: fickle not committed irresponsible
v. Openness to experience versus resistance to new experience
Openness: willing to experiences
Psychology 110
March 2nd 2010
We are not born bad or good, we just have different limits
Resistance: rigid
Culture can influence the expression of traits and how they are reflected in language [even
nonverbal signs]
Big five are relatively stable, but may reflect maturational changes over lifespan
As we age we worry less and are more responsible
Genetic influences on Personality
What aspects of personality may have an inherited component?
Temperaments: physiological dispositions to respond to the environment in certain ways
Present in infancy and in many nonhuman species and assumed to be innate
Include reactivity, soothability, impulsivity, positive and negative emotionality
Heredity and Traits
Heritability: a statistical estimate of the proportion of the totally variance in some trait
that is attributable to genetic differences among individuals within a group
Statistical: always plus or minus five, room for error
Often examine adoption and twin studies
Heritability for traits in twins around .50
Canadian researchers have found that similarities in personality increase with
Evaluating genetic theories
If genetic theories are correct, we may not be able to transform personalities drastically
Implications for realistic goals in therapy
Focus on living with temperaments we have
Be careful not to oversimplify support for genetic influences
Genetic predisposition genetic inevitability
Don’t overlook role of environment and experience
Environmental influences
Three primary aspects of environmental influence that have been examined:
i. Situations and social learning
Display differences behaviors in different contexts
Central personality traits acquire from learning history and
Acknowledgement that people can have a core set of traits and their
behavior can vary across situations
We are not born bad or good, we just have different limits
Reciprocal determinism: in social-cognitive theories, the two-way interaction
between aspects of the environment and aspects of the individual shaping of
personality traits
Accounts for aspects of non-shared environments
Psychology 110
March 2nd 2010
We are not born bad or good, we just have different limits
ii. Parental influence
Western belief that child-rearing practices are the strongest influences on
children’s personality development
Especially in cases where public is looking for someone to blame for
horrible events
Death of Reena Virk in BC [1997]
Shooting of 20 people at Dawson College in Montreal by Kimveer
Gill [2006]
Are the parents to blame?
Belief that personality primarily determined by parental treatment
discounted on the basis of three sources of evidence
1. The shared environment of the home as little if any influence on personality
2. Few parents have a single child-rearing style that is consistent over time and that
they use with all their children
3. Even when parents try to be consistent in the way they treat their children, there
may be little relation between what they do and how the children turn out
Are parents responsible?
Parents contribute to the child’s religious beliefs, values, intellectual
development, self-concept, confidence
Parents influence trait development and coping in child
ADHD, shyness related to support
Reciprocal determinism/mutual regulation of parent and child is
generational fostering of maturity and self-regulation
Aspects of individual:
temperment, learned
habbits, perceptions
and beliefs
Apects of situation:
opportunities, rewards or
punishments, chance