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PSYA02Winter2012 Chapter 14.docx -textbook and lecture notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

PSYA02Winter2012 Chapter 14 Personalityo Personality a particular pattern of behaviour and thinking that prevails across time and situations and differentiates one person from anothero The goal of psychologists is to discover the causes of individual differences in behaviouro Research on human personality requires 2 kinds of effort identifying personality characteristics and determining the variables that produce and control themTrait Theories of PersonalityPersonality Types and Traits tho Hippocrates in 4 century BCE started theory of personalityndo Galen in 2 century CE refined Hippocrateso The body was thought to contain 4 humours fluidsyellow bile black bile phlegm and bloodo People were classified according to the dominant humour in the bodyo Choleric people excess of yellow bile were bad tempered and irritableo Melancholic people excess of black bile had gloomy and pessimistic temperaments o Phlegmatic people excess of phlegm were sluggish calm and unexcitable o Sanguine people excess of blood were cheerful and passionate o This theory divided people into personality typesdifferent categories into which personality characteristics can be assigned based on factors such as developmental experiences or physical characteristicso Theory of the humours was later discredited but dividing people into personality types persistedo Most investigators today reject the idea that people can be assigned to discrete categoriesdifferences in personality are differences in degree not the type of personality o Personality trait an enduring characteristic that reveals itself in a particular pattern of behaviour in a variety of situationso We carry our personality traits with us around in our brains some are biological and some are learned etc Identification Of Personality TraitsAllports Search for Traits o Began his work by identifying all words of the English language in a dictionary that described aspects of personalityfound 18000 entries o Analyzed and identified the words that described stable personality characteristics o Words that represented temporary states such as flustered or evaluations such as admirable were eliminated o He believed traits were neuropsychological properties that led to behavioural consistency over time and contexts by producing functional similarity in the way a given person interprets and experiences eventspeople with a particular trait react similarly across situations because 1they experience a unique sense of similarity across those situations that guides their feelings thoughts and behaviour o Some traits remain consistent over timeo Not all traits have equal influence on those who posses themo Cardinal traits are the most powerfulcharacterize a strong unifying influence on a persons behaviouro Allport believed these traits were rare but people that possessed them deffinately stood out from the crowdo Example Hitlers relentless excercise of oppressive power Mandelas commitment to justice Mother Teresas altruism o Central traits are less singular in their influence but capture important characteristics of an individualexample when we say someone is honest or warm in order to distinguish them from other peopleo Secondary traits includes characteristics that have minor influence on consistency of behaviourexample a persons tendency to frequently change jobsCattell 16 Personality Factors o Used Allports list of 18000 traits as starting point for his theory of central traits o Narrowed list down to 171 adjectives that made up a set of distinct surface traitsrefer to observable behaviour o The then used factor analysis to identify clusters of these traits that he believed represented underlying traitsidentified 16 personality factors o He called them source traits because they were cornerstones upon which personality was builto Example relaxed and tense tradition and open to change reserved and warm with a scale from 18 between each characteristic Eysenck 3 Factorso Hans Eysenck also used factor analysis to devise a theory of personalityextroversion neuroticism and psychoticismo These factors are bipolar dimensions extroversion is the opposite of introversion neuroticism is opposite to emotional stability and psychoticism is opposite of high level of activityo Extroversion the tendency to seek the company of other people to be spontaneous and to engage in conversation and other social behaviours with themo Introversion the tendency to avoid company of other people to be inhibited and cautious shyness o Neuroticism the tendency to be anxious worried and full of guilt o Emotional stability the tendency to be relaxed and at peace with oneselfo Psychoticism the tendency to be aggressive egocentric and antisocial o Self control the tendency to be kind considerate and obedient of laws and ruleso The most important aspects of a persons temperament are determined by the combination of the 3 dimensions extroversion neuroticism and psychoticism2
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