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Lecture 2

Lecture 2.docx

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Connie Boudens

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Personality Lecture #2 - Jan. 16/13 TraitApproach: Part I Common Traits & NomotheticApproach -ordering people along these dimensions is nomothetic approach used in most trait theories -compares people along the same personality dimensions - ex. comparing Canadians and Americans on the trait of risk-aversion -Contrast with idiographic approach - in depth study of individuals, figure out how the various aspects of personality work together Trait = a consistent pattern of behavior, emotion, and thought Personality = sum of all traits Trait theories provide descriptions that must be explained by other theories Theorists try to establish:  framework  taxonomy Approaches to discovering traits Lexical Statistical (Empirical) Theoretical Common Traits and Trait Continua  Common traits = traits shared by all  Behaviours can be represented on trait continuum  Scores assumed to be normal distributed  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  Advocated idiographic approach  Uniqueness = Combination of traits  Use of diaries, interviews, behavioural observations, q-sort (have index cards with different trait words written on them and have person sort those cards that are much like them and ones that are not much like them) etc. to assess personality Traits  Internal structures that render many stimuli functionally equivalent and yield similar adaptive and expressive behaviours - a personality trait was something inside the person that made external stimuli seem the same to that person  internal structure is the personality trait, the many stimuli is many different types of situations and the idea of them being functionally equivalent is for that person they will react in similar ways -ex: shy person might see all social situations as threatening and react with anxiety -ex: person who is very helpful might see many situations as opportunities to help others 1 Personality Lecture #2 - Jan. 16/13  Traits express what a person generally does across situations - not what the person will always do but some pattern will be there • Inconsistency does not mean that traits doesn’t exist - situations also have influence whether, where, and how traits are expressed  ex: lack of sociability at a funeral  Three types of traits…  Cardinal:  single characteristic that directs most of a person's activities  it has a very strong influence over their life, entire life seems to be directed toward a particular ting ; very few people have them  ex: Mother Theresa, Superman (one directive, fighting crime)  Central  major characteristics of an individual ex: main way you would describe your best friend  usually 5-10  people tend to describe others at this level where there is balance between trait generality and behavioral specificity  extraverted vs. sociable vs. talks a lot  Secondary  characteristics that affect behavior in fewer situations and are less influential  something that effects someone in very specific situations or not much impact on the way they behave  secondary traits are easier to change  more easily modified than central traits  ex: preference for dark chocolate or dislike of rap music Raymond cattell  Empirical approach to trait theory  Reduction of 4,500 trait words (left byAllport) to 16 most basic personality dimensions  removed synonyms  collected ratings on remaining traits by testing people on them  used factor analysis to reduce number of traits that he had Major Divisions of Traits  Constitutional (biological) vs. environment-mold (learned)  constitutional traits are biologically based either genetic or in some way part of the fact that we're human  environment mold traits are environmental or learned traits  Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic  Surface vs. source vs. second-order 2 Personality Lecture #2 - Jan. 16/13 Ability vs. Temperament vs. Dynamic Traits Ability  skill in dealing with complexity  equivalent to intelligence  Fluid intelligence:  ability to think and reason - something that is not learned, something the person is born with  Crystallized intelligence:  learned, stuff that you know ex: how to spell Temperament  General traits that appear present early, general way of interacting with your environment ex: how friendly they are with other people, how regular their daily cycles are energy, moodiness, interest in others Dynamic traits  Dynamic traits are motivations  Ambition, competitiveness, etc. things that drive you or prevent you from making progress in certain areas Surface vs. Source Traits  Surface traits: superficial traits, things that are easier to see  Source traits: deeper, more comprehensive traits identified through factor analysis  example: intelligence would be an example of a source trait and the surface traits would be how quickly a person is able to learn information, how good they are at memorization, how easy it is for them to apply rules from one concept to another - these all relate to the source trait of intelligence
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