PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Liberation Tigers Of Tamil Eelam, Gordon Allport, Raymond Cattell

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Published on 7 Jul 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB30H3
PSYB30 PersonalityMon, Jan 31/2011
Lecture 07
PART I:
Gordon Allport & The Lexical Hypothesis
Raymond Cattell & Factor Analysis
Emergence of the Big Five
PART II:
Walter Mischel's Original 1968 Critique
The Trait Theorists Strike Back
Walter Mischel's Return
PART III:
The Camp Wediko Data (Shoda et al., 1994)
Evidence of Behavioural Signatures
Toward Reconciliation
*** When he says the word TRAIT, we have to pay to which one of the two possible meanings for the
word he is using. One meaning is the way we use trait in day to day language, but the other use of the
word trait is specific to Psychological researchers
A trait refers to any consistency (regularity) in cognition, affect, or behaviour of an
individual.
The term trait can also be used to refer to the variation in the population with respect to a
given characteristic
When he says extroversion, he's referring not to a single person and the fact that he or she
might be extroverted, rather he's describing that within the population there is a range of
characteristics that people show with increasing levels of extroversion (from high to low
levels in extroversion)
PART I
Gordon Allport & The Lexical Hypothesis
Allport's Concept of Personality
Allport was the first to offer a working definition of Personality
Original Definition (1937): The dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his [or her] unique adjustments to the environment
Here Allport is trying to convey the regulatory function of personality. Personality regulates
how we adapt to changing physical and psychological environments
There is a function to the personality system and the function of the system is to regulate
how we cope with, how we respond to, how we adapt to changing physical and
psychological environments
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In 1961 he published a revision of his first textbook, inside which was a revised definition of
personality
Revised Definition (1961): The dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his [or her] characteristic behaviour and thought
This was to emphasize that we don't just react to our environment. We reflect upon it, and
strive to master it.
Sometimes, in our attempts to master our environments, we succeed
He wanted to enhance the definition to revise the role that personality plays so that it's not
just about how we, in our own unique ways, react to changing environments, but also to
indicate how we act upon the environment and create places for us to grow
He felt that his original definition was too focused on the compensatory functions of
personality, on the ways in which our personalities react to stressors or challenges.
He wanted to accentuate the fact that people, as they go through life, grow and develop.
They become more masterful, competent, and increasingly purposeful and we develop
the capacity for reflection. These were aspects he felt he didn't pay enough attention to
in his original definition
He felt that an individuals traits are the cornerstone (key concept) of their personality
At the most general level we can talk about a trait as a consistency or regularity in the behaviour
of people
But this definition is very vague, because over the 80 or 90 years since Allport's first
writing, the definition of trait has undergone a series of revisions
What traits mean has changed from the 1930s to the 1960s to the 1990s and the new
definition covers all of these changes
Allport's definition of Traits:A neuropsychic structure having the capacity to render many
stimuli functionally equivalent, and to initiate and guide equivalent (meaningfully consistent)
forms of adaptive and expressive behaviour. (1961)
A trait is a lens through which to see the world. It colours our vision of things and filters our
information such that it imbues it with meaning...and because of that common filter we
carry with us from one situation to the next we behave in ways that are similar in spite of the
fact that situations are changing
The trait is not just something used to describe the behaviour. It is the explanation for the
consistency. The trait is meant to provide what is going on inside the individual that
accounts for why they're being so consistent in spite of the fact that situations are changing
In his writings, Allport introduced subcategories of traits:
Traits – Common vs. Individual
A Common Trait refers to some attribute that would be possessed by a group of individuals
Ex: the word “conscientious is a common trait. It's an attribute that is possessed by
more than one person. Many people can be described accurately asconscientious
An Individual Trait refers to some attribute that is possessed by only one person.
It's hard to pick out a person with an Individual Trait, because only one person would
possess that attribute
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