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PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Predictive Power, Ion

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Oren Amitay

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Lecture 1 Notes
What is Personality?
Personality is not a readily defined concept
Personality is a construct, so you can only infer it from one's behaviour
There is little common agreement among personality theorists on the appropriate use of the
Noone can agree on the degrees of personality and how to measure it.
What is Theory?
A set of abstract concepts developed about a group of facts or events in order to explain
A theory of personality is an organized system of beliefs that helps us to understand
human nature.
The Role of Personality in Psychology
The study of personality is heir to two different approaches: academic psychology and
clinical practice
Macro theories of personality
seek to be global and emphasize comprehension of the whole person
understanding the person as a whole
Micro theories of personality
result from specific research focused on limited aspects of human behaviour.
A look at 1 or 2 pieces of personality or behaviour
The Evaluation of Personality Theories
As philosophers, personality theorists seek to explore what it means to be a person
why are we here, what it means to be human
here, there isn't really a process of gathering data/evidence => you're just philosophizing
As scientists, personality theorists hope to develop a workable set of hypotheses that will
help us understand human behaviour
science requires that we have a basic structure or context
As artists, personality theorists seek to apply what is known abt pple & behaviour to foster a
better life.
Once you know something, you apply it (in a practical manner)
Look at Textbook Table 1.1 (Quiz for yourself)
Philosophical Assumptions
Freedom vs determinism
Heredity vs environmental
Uniqueness vs. Universality
Proactive vs. Reactive
Optimistic vs. Pessimistic
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Scientific Statements (text)
Statements abt the world based on empirical observations arising from currently accepted
a major paradgim shift (the medical model)
has been applied to one big problem in society → alcoholism
research was used to support this paradigm shift
**You can never prove anything – don't ever use the word prove
Empirical observations based on objective or subjective data
when we look at paradigms we need data.
We need to be able to collect information
Example of 2 pictures
Operational Definitions:
Txtbook gives 1 definition of OD
2nd part → Define or explain how you plan to measure a construct (an idea &
something you can't touch).
When observations coincide, a scientist may make a generalization (when there's concencus
and everyone can agree on an observation)
Thinking Critically
True critical thinking
this requires that you be critical
3 elements of critical thinking
a) be critical
b) be skeptical
it means saying that you don't blindly believe everything you here
everything is questionable but you should know what to look for, and see
whether there's merit in the theory, methodology, etc.
c) being open-minded
being open to being corrected
Evaluating Personality Theories
Part of being critical is to recognize which claims or assertions function as a
philosophical assumption and which functions as a scientific statement.
Philosophical: loosely talking about things
Scientific: testing theories/hypotheses
Ask how well the philosophical assumptions fulfill the criteria of philosophy
Coherence, relevance, comprehensiveness, compellingness
Know what each means and how it relates to philosophical assumnption
Ask how well the scientific statements fulfill the criteria of science
Verifiability, compatibility, predictive power, simplicity, usefulness
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