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Lecture 2

PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: International Personality Item Pool, Walter Mischel, Lexical Hypothesis

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Marc A Fournier

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Personality Part Two
Lecture Four:
Part I. Lexical Hypothesis, Factor Analysis, & Paradigm Crisis
Allport’s Concept of Personality
Original Definition (1937)
o The dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his or her unique adjustments
to the environment
Personality is coherent and unity (feel like the same person
across situation and time)
Personality is real not hypothetical construct
Psychophysical system; personality has roots in biological
Personality is something and does something, what lies behind
and is the cause of our action
Personality is for adjusting and adapting in our environments
Revised Definition (1961)
o The dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his or her characteristic
behaviour and though
Personality also reflects, master and succeed in the
Allport’s Concept of Traits
A trait is a neuro-psychic structure having the capacity to render many
stimuli functionally equivalent and to initiate and guide equivalent forms of
adaptive and expressive behaviour
o Trait organizes us to treat different situation in the same way
Traits Common vs. Individual
Trait: organizing principal within an individual
o Humour is a trait and can have different roles in different people’s life
Factor: quality present in every person but in different degrees
TraitsCardinal, Central, Secondary (individual traits)
Cardinal: trait that is pervasive that all aspects of an individuals functioning
can be traced to it
o Are very rare and not everyone has them
Example: Machiavelli is synonymous to the ends justify the
Central: trait categorized significant areas of an individuals functioning
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Secondary: trait that categorizes specific area of an individuals functioning
o Limited range of situations
The Lexical Hypothesis
Those individuals differences that are most salient (obvious) and socially relevant in
people’s lives will eventually encoded into their language, the more important such as
difference the more likely is it to become expressed as a single world
Develop word or phrase to speak to the difference
A very obvious difference people will find a single word to describe it
o However there will be many words synonymous with one word
Example: confidence, dominance, assertiveness
Allport’s Psycholexical Study
Sorting through 550,000 entries in the dictionary and found 18 000 terms
that possessed the capacity to distinguish the behaviour of one human being
from that of another
Listed 18000 terms in four columns
o Potential personality traits (4,504)
Introverted, sociable
o Temporary states and activities (4,541)
Afraid, angry
Describe in general or given point of time or in a state
o Evaluative judgments of personal conduct and reputation (5226)
Responsible, worthy
o Miscellaneous (physical qualities, capacities, talents) (3,682)
Tall, short, red head
Factor Analysis: Key Concepts
Variable: any quality that can assume two or more values
Correlation: a standard index of the extent to which two variables are co-
related; -1 < r < +1
Factor Analysis: a statistical procedure through which a large number of
observed variable are reduced to a smaller number of underlying dimension
called factors
Factor Analysis: An Illustration
Cattell’s Factor-Analytic Study
Raymond Cattell applying factor analysis to personality data
Started with personality trait and put them into clusters
Variables had correlations
From cluster came to 12 factors
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Cattell’s Concept of Traits
Surface traits
Source traits
Lewis R. Goldberg
The “Big Five”
o How to manage negative emotion
o Social
o Kind and compassion
o Hardworking
Openness/Intellect (openness to experience)
o Imaginative and curious
Part II. Situationists, Aggregationists, & Interactionists
Walter Mischel
Personality and assessment; person situation debate
The Situationists
Walter Mischel (1968)
Cross-situational correlation coefficients rarely surpass a ceiling of 0.30
o Behaviour in one situation behaviour in another situation over 0.3
o Anything below 0.3 was a personality coefficient
Behaviour is situation-specific rather than cross-situationally consistent
o Behaviour is not driven by trait but rather situation
To what extent do traits predict behaviour?
The Aggregationists
Epstein (1979, 1980, 1983)
Single indices of behaviour contain a sizable component of error variance
o Single measures of behaviour will have large errors
o Two measures both have poor reliability then both will have a poor
If error is randomly distributed across occasions, then the process of
aggregation (or averaging) should separate SIGNAL from NOISE
o Measure more than once
o Got above 0.3 consistency
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