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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB30 – Lecture 2 Purple Text – Prof’s Speech PSYB30 – Lecture 2 Purple Text – Prof’s Speech TraitApproach: Part I Trait = a consistent pattern of behavior, emotion, and thought - Not just behaviour - each trait can be thought of as a way of relating to the environment - explains/emphasizes the idea of stability over time and situations and distinctiveness between people Personality = sum of all traits Trait theories provide descriptions for the way people behave that must be explained by other theories - the descriptions theories provide do not explain why people behave that way, or any developmental aspect, and don’t explain subconscious factors – they look at things close to the surface Theorists try to establish:  framework within which any and all persons can be described  taxonomy – (classification scheme) of traits Approaches to discovering traits Lexical – takes words that describe traits and tries to figure out which ones are the most common Statistical (Empirical) – start from data collected from people, use data to try to figure out differences between people Theoretical – starting from theory Common Traits and Trait Continua • Common traits = traits shared by all, traits that everyone has more or less of • Trait continuum – each person can be placed somewhere on the continuum • Behaviours can be represented on trait continuum • Scores assumed to be normal distributed - fewer people score in the extreme on any trait • Ordering people along these dimensions is nomothetic approach used in most trait theories • Compares people along the same personality dimensions • Contrast with idiographic approach • In-depth study of individuals GordonAllport Key Ideas  Advocate of Idiographic approach  Individual Uniqueness = Combination of traits  Use of diaries, interviews, behavioural observations, q-sort etc. to assess personality Traits • Internal structures that render many stimuli functionally equivalent and yield similar adaptive and expressive behaviours. • Apersonality trait is something inside the person that makes external stimulus seem the same to that person • Ex.Ashy person might see all social situations as threatening and react with anxiety • Traits express what a person generally does across situations, not what they’ll always do • Inconsistency does not mean that traits doesn’t exist - situations also have influence • Ex. Lack of sociability at a funeral Allport specified Three types of traits… • Cardinal • Asingle characteristic that directs most of a person’s activities; everything that that person does; has a strong influence over their life • Few people have them • i.e. Mother Theresa – caring, sacrificed much • Superman – helpful • Central • Main characteristics of an individual – how you describe someone • Usually 5-10 central traits that a person has • This is how people tend to describe people at this level because there is a balance of very general and very specific; • Ex. Extraverted vs. sociable vs. Talks a lot • Secondary • Affects behavior in fewer situations • Less central • Doesn’t have that much impact on the person’s behavior • Easier to change • Easier to modify • Ex. Preference of dark chocolate, preference of rap music Raymond Cattell  One of the founding individuals of trait psychology  Empirical approach to trait theory  Started off with some lexical work that Gordon Allport had done • Allport had gone through a dictionary and looked for words related to traits (his lexical contribution) • There was a list of 4500 trait words that Allport developed • And Catell used those to develop a taxonomy of 16 personality factors  Reduction of 4,500 trait words (left byAllport) to 16 most basic personality dimensions  Catell removed the synonyms  Collected ratings on the remaining traits  Used factor analysis to reduce the amount of traits that he had Catell had three Major Divisions of Traits • Constitutional (biological) vs. environment-mold (learned) • Biological based – either genetic or in some way part of the fact that we are human • Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic • Surface vs. source vs. second-order Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic traits Ability • Basically concern the ability to deal with complexity • More or less equivalent to intelligence (or very similar) • Skill in dealing with complexity • = intelligence • Catell described two types of intelligence • Fluid • Ability to think and reason • Not learned • Might to some extent learn better techniques to think and reason • But Catell said that it was innate, not learned • Crys•allStuff that you learn • Memory, facts Temperament • General traits that appear early • Used in the same way as developmental psychologists • Usually with infants, temperament falls into 3 categories: easy, difficult or slow to warm up • Catell used the idea of temperament traits to describe something that appears very early in someone’s development when that person is still an infant • their daily cycles are, moodiness, interest in othersare, and how regular Dynamic traits • Motivations • Ambition, competitiveness, etc. • Things that drive you or prevent you from making progress in certain areas are dynamic traits Surface vs. Source Traits • Where Catell’s data reduction comes into play • Surface traits: superficial • Not superficial meaning meaningless, superficial meaning on the surface of things, things that are more accessible • Source traits: deeper, more comprehensive • The traits that Catell identified through factor analysis • Intelligence may be thought of as a source trait and the surface traits associated with this source trait would be how quickly they learn rules and apply them to different contexts, etc. FactorAnalysis • Statistical technique • Summarizes how a large number of variables are related to each other Summarizes how a large # of variables are related • Many different measures administered to many respondents • Some scores will be positively correlated; others negatively correlated • If there is a high correlation between things, there may be an underlying factor that connects those two things; suggests that the two things have something in common; Correlations might reflect t
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