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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB30-Notes Chapter 1: Who Am I? Understanding the building blocks of personality  Two early personality psychologists mused that there are aspects of personality that are universal to all people, that are shared by similar people, and that are completely unique to single individuals.  Some of the aspects everyone shares involves such things as having a brain, and a nervous system. Another human universal is the desire for actualization, which involves being who we are meant to be, and developing and expressing out individual identity.  At the basic level some of these aspects we share involve being extroverted (outgoing people, who love to meet and interact with new people) or introverted (those who like to keep to themselves)  Personality psychologist attempt to study both the ways people are similar and the ways people are different from each other. What is Personality Psychology?  Personality Psychology: Is the scientific study of what makes us who we are.  Personality is more than the sum of its part, meaning that the different individual elements that make up the human personality, come together to create a whole person in a way that is not reducible to its parts. The Building Blocks of Personality:  To understand human personality we need to understand the following (In the list social and environmental forces are missing, nevertheless such factors which include culture, society, and socialization by parents or peers impacts human personality at all levels): 1) Traits: A person’s typical way of thinking, feeling and acting, in various situations, at different times. 2) Genetics: is the study of how genes and the environment affect personality and behavior. 3) Neuroscience: the study of how our brain and nervous system affect personality and behavior through the study of bodily responses, brain structures, brain activity, and biochemical activity. 4) Self and Identity: encompasses our own sense of who we are including our self-concept, self-esteem, and social identity. One of the hallmarks of being human is the ability to reflect on ourselves. We have a sense of who we are: our self-concept. We have an opinion about that: our self-esteem. Though self- reflection is one of the hallmarks of being human other species such as dolphins and chimpanzees share this capacity. 5) Intrapsychic Foundations of Personality: With this sense of self, we can look within ourselves (intra) to our own conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings (psychic) that also make up our personality (Intrapsychic) 6) Regulation and Motivation: Self-Determination Theory: Although Freud believed that people were controlled by unconscious forces; modern theory of motivation suggests that people, can and do regulate themselves consciously and unconsciously. The building blocks of regulation and motivation is concerned with how people adjust their responses to the environment, both consciously and unconsciously. 7) Cognitive Foundations: describes how people perceive and think about information regarding themselves and the world. Specifically, there are individual differences in locus of control, learned helplessness, learned hopelessness, and optimism-pessimism. How Do Psychologist Study Personality? The Scientific Method:  Research rests on the philosophy of empiricism: using direct experience to draw conclusions about the world.  Psychological research relies on the scientific method, which describes how to make test observations about the world in order to draw conclusions while minimizing error or bias.  The scientific method starts with the identification of basic facts about the world and using this collection of facts to build theories. Observational Studies and Personality Questionnaires:  Observational Study: involves the observation of what people do, to understand a certain phenomenon.  Hypothesis: education guess to explain one’s findings.  Personality questionnaires: tests in which people answer questions about themselves that identify certain aspects of their personality. Correlational and Experimental Designs:  Correlation coefficient (r): It measures the relationship, or co-relation, between two variables. Correlations can be positive or negative, depending on the type of relationship the two variables in question have. - If two variables increase or decrease at the same time, then they are positively correlated. - If one variable increases as the other one decreases or vice versa, decreasing as the other one increases, then the two variables are negatively correlated.  Correlations are considered high, medium, or low depending on how big they are. Negative Correlation Size Positive Correlation .0 to -. 3 Small .0 to .3 -.3 to -5 Medium .3 to .5 -.5 to -.9 Large .5 to .9  When two variables are related, there are always at least three possible explanations for the findings. 1) It’s possible that the first variable causes the second 2) It’s possible that the second variable causes the first 3) It’s possible that some third variable causes both of the variables.  Knowing that two variables are similar doesn’t tell us about why they are similar.  Correlational studies: Researchers generally don’t manipulate variables; they are often used to measure both personality and behavior. Research Methods Illustrated: A True Experiment  In experiments (a method of placing people in a carefully controlled situation and measuring their responses) researches decide on the variable they would like to study and then design at least two conditions which differ in this variable: 1) Experimental condition: participants experience one treatment. 2) Controlled condition: participants experience a different treatment or no treatment at all.  Random Assignment: involves the random assignment to one condition or another, usually using a coin toss, or other means that would reduce bias.  The variable that researchers manipulated is called the independent variable because it is independent of participants’ responses.  The variable that researchers measure, the responses of the participants, is called dependent variable because it depends on partici
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