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Lecture 7

PSY230H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Conscientiousness, Kurt Lewin, Walter Mischel

Course Code
Ulrich Schimmack

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PERSONAL situation
There are variation of behaviors across different situations shows that behavior is influenced by
situational factors.
At the same time, people tend to behave differently even in the same situation.
oFor example, some people talk more during parties than others, and even in
classrooms some students talk. This variation shows the influence of personality
Formula for situation :
oKurt Lewin proposed a formula to capture the idea that behavior can be
influenced by situational factors and personality factors.
Behavior = f (Person, Situation)
oIn this formula, f simply means that behavior is a function of the characteristic
of the person (personality traits) and the situation in which an individual’s
behavior is observed.
oWhat are the personality traits that
influence behavior? What are the
situational factors that influence
oAnd what is the function that relates personality traits and situational factors to
behavior? ( don’t know)
omost personality psychologists assume that personality traits have profound
effects on behavior and make a substantial contribution to the understanding of
human behavior.
Attributions: Lay People’s Explanations of Behavior
attributions. people distinguish between these two possible explanations for human
behavior in everyday life and that these explanations influence our thoughts, feelings,
and future behaviors.
Mischel’s Evidence
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Personality Psychologists’ Response

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Epstein’s point out that the effect of personality increase when behaviors are
aggregated across several situations.
His method :
ohe asked students to rate their feelings during a day in a diary at the end of a day for 30
otwo measures from each student, one measure for the amount of positive feelings and
one measure for the amount of negative feelings.
oHe used these data to examine two questions. First, how consistent are people in their
moods on a day to day
oSecond, how consistent are people’s tendencies to be in a good mood.
o To answer the first question, he correlated mood ratings on one day (say Day 5) with
mood ratings on another day (say Day 17). He then repeated this produced for all pairs of
days. These day-to-day correlations were low to moderate (r < .30). This is probably
what you expected. Moods fluctuate and we all have good and bad days. Hence, there is
little consistency in daily moods.
oTo examine consistency in the tendency to be in a good mood, Epstein aggregated (i.e.,
averaged) ratings on odd days (1,3,5,etc.) as well as ratings on even days (2,4,6,etc).
oHe then computed the correlation between the average mood on odd days and the
average mood on even days. This correlation was very strong (r > .80). This finding
demonstrated that consistency depends on the level of aggregation.
oConsistency from one situation to another tends to be low to moderate, but consistency in
aggregates across situations tends to be high.
oConsistency in many situation tends to be high
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