PSY230H5 Lecture Notes - Big Five Personality Traits

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Chapter four
- Personality traits are relatively enduring dispositions, not temporary states.
Longitudinal Research Studies
- Looking for developmental changes in personality traits
- Take a group of people the same age, measure certain personality traits on
difference occasions, usually a few years apart.
- Take the average standard scores and compare
- One study showed that there was an increase in levels of assertiveness, emotional
stability and conscientiousness as people got older.
Why do these changes take place?
- Biological processes of maturation. Neurotransmitters and hormones may
influence personality characteristics.
- Events and changes in social roles that most people experience during their lives
influence personality
- Decrease of physical vitality and health
Stability of personality
- assessed by retest
o retest interval
- Studies done on ADULTS showed a stability of traits over long periods of time
(one study was done over 7 years). These results were found from both observer
reports and self reports.
- Study done showed a 0.65 correlation with stability of personality over 24 years,
slightly less than the 0.7 correlation seen at 12 years. [These studies were done
begging at the age of 25-30 (disadvantage)]
- Studies done to test the stability of personality traits in adolescence and early
adult hood show lower correlation ranging from 0.35 to 0.6. there is less stable
correlation during early adult hood.
It is hard to research the development of personality in childhood because:
- Self reports are hard to obtain from children. They use very simple over views of
themselves such as good or bad
- Reading comprehension that is needed is not reached till adolescence
- It is hard to observe children because many behaviours that would have to be
assessed would not be seen because those situations that the behaviours are seen
in the children do not find themselves in.
Personality structure during childhood:
- When teachers, parents and guardians were asked to assess their children the big 5
factors showed up consistently. Although, there are some factors that have not yet
developed in children which therefore cannot be measure such as honesty-
humility and openness to experience.
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