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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

Personality – Intro Common ways of looking at personality: ―Good‖ personality  Fun, friendly, gets along with others – Global quality  Often contrasted with attractiveness o They‘re not attractive so you need to find something good to say about them. Energy or liveliness  If they‘ve got a ―lot of personality‖, they‘re more likely to seem like they‘re more active and interesting.  Extroverted, fun to be with. Types of personality People try to categorize others – they always try to separate it into types of people via personality. The Scientific Study of Personality More complex than a global quality… More nuanced than just categories… Better validated empirically than trying to guess through the ‗pig test‘. Personality Defined An organized and relatively enduring set of psychological traits and mechanisms that influences a person‘s interactions with, and adaptations to, the environment.  Organized o Traits and mechanisms are not just a random collection, they work in relation to each other. They‘re organized so they can work in one uit  Relatively enduring o Over time, a person will exhibit the same traits. They will react to situations the same way over and over.  Trait AND mechanisms o Traits: things that can identify/describe a person o Mechanisms: way person interacts with environment; how situations have effected them,  Interactions with, adaptations to environment o We can see personality when we see them interact and adapt Main Issues of Interest What is basic nature of people?  Things that are common to everybody and where it comes from/how it varies from person to person/how it influences people. Is human behaviour internally or externally determined?  Does it have to do with the way the person is and how they think? Or is it caused by surrounding environments How consistent is personality?  What could cause a person to change their personality? Across time, situations, development. Can we control internal states and behaviour?  To what extent?  What mechanisms can we use to control? Is present and future behaviour determined by past behavior?  People want stability when dealing with others o human resources want to know that people are going to be worth the investment put into them, in teaching them How adaptive (positive) are certain aspects of personality?  How do traits like courage, resilience that help us deal with the environment?  Can they be fostered/encouraged in people? How do our personalities help us to adjust to the environment?  How do we deal with situations – how do our personalities allow us to deal with things that happen, good or bad? Areas of Interest and Research Originally, psychologists sought to understand the whole of personality (see ―grand theories of personality‖)  Historical, classical theories of personality – when psychologists would develop huge theories that would deal with a person‘s entire theory.  One large theory for every aspect of personality/function Modern work is now done within many subdomains and areas. Building Blocks of Personality  Trait/Dispositional  Biological  Self and Identity  Intrapsychic  Regulatory and motivational  Cognitive-Experiential
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