PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Executive Functions, Learned Helplessness, Impulsivity

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12 Mar 2013
Lecture 1: Personality Psychology Introduction
Personality psychology is the scientific study of what makes us who we are
- Study of individual differences: for identifying how we are similar or different + how we became that way
Common ways of thinking about personality
- Good personality
o Global quality but we don’t really know what it means
o Often contrasted with attractiveness
- Energy or liveliness extraverted
o Person has "personality" or " a lot of personality"
- Personality is defined in "two types" of people
The scientific study of personality
- We do not think that personality has a global quality but rather that it is more complex and has many components
- Categories are more nuanced than just saying its two mutually exclusive categories
- There are personality tests out there that are better validated empirically to assess peoples personality
Personality Defined
An organized and relatively enduring set of psychological traits and mechanisms that influences a person’s interactions
with, and adaptations to, the environment.
- Organized: you have traits and mechanisms that are not just a collection of things but they work together as one unit
- Relatively enduring: over time and over situations a person will exhibit these qualities
o If things change over time/ situations then this is not key part of their personality
- Traits and mechanisms: fun, outgoing, clever etc; the way the person interacts with the environment, how particular
impact on the person to create a particular effect
- Interactions with and adaptations to environment: only evident when they are interacting or adapting with something in
the environment (person, task, situation etc) when the environment makes a demand from them; their personality is
how they makes changes to them or how they deal with the situation/ pressures the environment is putting on them
Main Issues of Interest
What is basic nature of people?
- Addresses things that are common to all people the need to belong, need for affiliation
- But personality psychologists are interested in understanding where that comes from, where it is rooted, how it varies
between people, how it effects how they behave and interact with the environment, and how they adapt to the load that
the environment puts on them
Is human behaviour internally or externally determined?
- Are the things driving the behaviour internal, something to do with their life, is it due to unconcious mind, the way the
person thinks, or in some cases is it due to the situation think social psych, how the situation has a strong impact on
human behaviours regardless of what the person's personality is like or what their internal influences are like
- Interested in internal, external and how the two interact to create certain types of behaviours
How consistent is personality?
- Under what conditions would their behaviour be inconsistent with their personality, are there traits/mechanisms that
invariant of the situations, under what particular situations can pervasive personality be changed, consistency over
situation and over time, over development which traits will change and which will stay the same
Do we have control over internal states and behaviour?
- Can we control them, to what extent can we control, is it effected by age or gender
Is present and future behaviour determined by past behavior?
- Predictive power of past behaviours, how can past predict present or future behaviours and to what extent, everyone likes
stability when dealing with other people so important in HR,
How adaptive (positive) are certain aspects of personality?
- Resilience, courage, how do these help us to adapt to environmental challenges/ overcoming difficulties or help other to
overcome, can these be taught or fostered, does it come with age
How do our personalities help us to adjust to the environment?
- What ways do we adapt personality, what ways do our personality traits help us to make the changes we need to make in
order to deal with the situations that present themselves (not just challenging but even the positive) e.g. her sister who
was fun challenged is now having fun because she recognised that and made a plan and changed her personality
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