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Jiahua Chen

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-1Lecture #13 Personality (part I) Ÿ Personality is the basis of various psychologies, many ways of defining what personality is Ÿ Characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and behaviour that distinguish one individual from another Ÿ One of the key concepts of personality theories, and oldest concepts is the idea of a trait, most widely researched and theorized Ÿ Two definitions of trait, in one sense it is an attribute that describes a person or anything, another way in which researches use the word which is more subtle, refers to the dimension or continuum relating to the extent to which you have a particular attribute (intelligent, people can be described either more or less intelligent) Ÿ Dimension that describes and dimensionalizes that trait Ÿ Field of personality was found in 1937, publication of the first text book on personality b y Gordon Allport, founder and father of the fiend Ÿ He had a very specific definition of personality, represents the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his/her unique adjustments to the environment Ÿ Five important ideas conveyed in this definition, the first idea is the concept of dynamic organization, connotation of coherences, all the attributes within a person cohere and hang together, unified whole Ÿ The second is with reference to the phrase within the individual, all of our theories are hypothetical, but Allport believed personality IS real and isn’t just a hypothetical concept, its real in so far that its substantiated in the brain and neural system (psychophysical systems) it has a biological basis, physical and chemical processes of the brain Ÿ In reference to the word determined, personality causes things, causality, it has explanatory value, when you ask why someone does something, you can explain it in reference to their personality, what makes us how we are causes us to do the things we do Ÿ The fifth quality is the unique adjustments to the environment, personality helps regulate how we adapt to the environment, it helps us behave properly, adjustment quality that is part of personality Ÿ 25 years later he published the first text book and had a revised definition altering the last phrase, the revision was intended to address that he found a mistake, he came to realize in the subsequent years that personality is more than reacting and adapting to our environment, but we reflect upon it, were also capable of growth and show development, so he introduced a broader definition Ÿ Allport thought the corner stone, the piece that completes the puzzle is the concept of a trait, most important personality variable, Ÿ a functional equivalence=trait, a trait attribute makes the person look at the world and see different situations in the same way (e.g to an extrovert, a business conference and a party are both different events, but to the extrovert its an opportunity to get attention and recognition) Ÿ It guides the way we look at situations for what they afford us, even thought the superficial features are different, for a person, it displays the same opportunities (functionally the same) Ÿ Allport had all different notions for traits, many different forms, common traits and individual traits Ÿ Some traits that lots of people have=common traits (idea of extroversion, consciousness) Ÿ Allport also recognized that some instances that one person has, and no one else has, which are individual traits or personal dispositions, help render you entirely unique Ÿ Allport made another distinction between cardinal, central and secondary traits Ÿ Secondary trait forAllport is the most useless of trait ideas, attribute that explains very specific areas of a persons functioning, e.g. punctuality, being punctual describes a very limited scope of limitations Ÿ Central traits are attributes that explain significant areas of functioning, e.g. consciousness, how you go about your daily life in work, level of responsibility, how you behave in a range of situations, approx. 5-10 central traits Ÿ Allport also reserved the right to say that some traits are so consuming, that virtually every aspect of the persons behaviour that every aspect of a persons behaviour can be attributed to it, called cardinal trait, so encompassing explains everything a per
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