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Lecture 4

Week 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Marc A Fournier

Week 4: TraitsHistory & Controversy Overview of Week 4 Lectures Gordon AllportLexical Hypothesis Raymond CattellFactor Analysis Walter MischelParadigm Crisis Overview of Part I Gordon Allport & the Lexical Hypothesis Raymond Cattell & Factor Analysis Emergence of the Big Five Trait refers to any consistency or regularity in cognition affect or behaviour o We are not entirely variable; we show consistencies and regularities in our behaviour, feelings and thoughts o We introduce trait terms to capture those regularities in our behaviour o Ex: when we refer to someone as extraverted; it refers to the consistency of the behaviour in that person Trait can also refer to the variation in the population with the respect to the given characteristic o Ex: Within the population, there is a range of characteristics shown with the increase of the extraversion; some people are extraverted and boisterous and others are shy and introverted; we use the term extraversion to describe the range of variation that people show between those two extremes Allports Concept of Personality Founding father of personality psychology First personality psych book published by him in 1937 First to offer a working definition 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 o Personality can be broken into smaller and simpler elements; we talk about traits, needs or goals o Even though we can break the system down into these smaller elements, these become integrated, unified and organized into a dynamic system o Refers that personality is rooted in the physical, chemical and biological processes of the brain and the nervous system o It was his profound belief that the observed regularities and consistencies that we see in behaviours have their roots in brain processes o Personality regulates how we adapt to the changing physical and psychological environments; this is the function the personality system Revised Definition (1961): o The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his [or her] characteristic behavior and thought o Emphasizes that we dont just react to the environment but we reflect on it and we strive to master them and sometimes we succeed o Revised to enhance the role that personality plays so that its not just about how we react to changing environments but also to indicate how we act upon the environment and create places for us to grow Allports Concept of Traits A trait is 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 behavior. (1961) o Traits Common vs. Individual Refers to some attribute that would be possessed my many group of individuals; ex: conscientious o Traits Cardinal, Central, Secondary It is some attribute that is possessed by only one person specific to a single individual Trait is a lens through which to see the world; it filters information such that we use it with meaning; bc of that the 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 Consistency is due to the overriding trait that helps to organize and shape the behaviour The trait is the explanation for the consistency Allport believed in the power of case studies; he believed that it was really important that personality psych not just be the study of individual differences but also individuals for that reason he introduced individual traits o It is really difficult to describe those individual traits; Allport wanted us to at least acknowledge them The distinction between the cardinal, central and secondary trait o Cardinal trait broadest of traits; so board that virtually that all aspect of an individuals functioning can be traced to it; so unifying that every other trait must be considered subordinate to it; they are very rare; most dont have
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