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Chapter 3- Personality Traits- Practical Matters.pdf

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Connie Boudens

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Chapter  3:  Personality  Traits:  Practical  Matters     What’s  Missing  From  The  Five  Factors?   -­‐Something  as  simple  as  a  handshake  can  express  who  we  are  when  it  comes  to  the   five  factors  of  Neuroticism,  Extraversion,  Openness,  Agreeableness,  and   Conscientiousness.   -­‐In  one  study,  participants  came  to  the  laboratory  for  a  study  on  "personality   questionnaires"  where  they  were  greeted  by  four  experimenters,  one  at  a  time  .   -­‐Each  experimenter  shook  hands  with  the  participant  on  arrival  and  departure,   twice  in  all,  for  each  participant.     -­‐These  experimenters,  two  men  and  two  women,  were  trained  extensively  to  rate   handshakes  on  various  scales  including  strength,  grip,  dryness,  temperature,  vigor,   duration,  eye  contact,  and  texture.   -­‐   Participants   took   a   version   of   the   Big   Five  Inventory,   which   measured   their   personalities  on  the  five  factors.   -­‐  They  discovered  that  men  had  firmer  handshakes  than  women  and  that  personality   for  three  of  the  five  factors  was  significantly  correlated  with  this  Firm  Handshake   Composite.   -­‐  Neurotic  participants   tended  to  have  a  weak  handshake,  whereas  those  who   were  more  emotionally  stable  had  a  firmer  handshake.  In  additio n,  extraverts   had  a  firmer  handshake  than  introverts.   -­‐  There  was  a  correlation  between  handshake  and  Openness  for  women  only,  such   that  women  who  had  a  firmer  handshake  were  more  open  to  experience  than   women  with  a  softer  handshake .     -­‐  Some  critics  have  claimed  that  the  five  factors  are  complete  and  can  account  for   even  these  unusual  traits  such  as  beautiful,  athletic,  or  handy.  Others-­‐reanalyzing   the  same  data-­‐take  a  more  liberal  view  and  identify  additional  factors.     Is  Intelligence  a  Personality  Trait?     -­‐  Cognitive  abilities  are  not  considered  personality  traits.  However,  an  early   personality  psychologist,  Raymond  Cattell,  identified  ability  traits  such  as  memory,   mathematical  ability,  and  intelligence.   -­‐  So,  is  intelligence  considered  a  personality  trait  today?  Maybe  not.       -­‐First,  the  early  studies  of  the  Big  Five  defined  Openness  as  consisting  of   sophistication,  artistic  and  intellectual  interests,  and  intelligence.   -­‐Psychologists  in  the  lexical  tradition  thought  of  this  factor  as  Culture  rather  than   Openness  to  experience,  as  we  do  today.   Second,  when  people  rate  themselves  or  a  close  friend  on  "intelligence"  they  are   generally  thinking  of  intelligence,  rational  and  logical,  clear-­‐minded,  mature,  and   similar  adjectives.  These  are  personality  descriptors  that  are  clearly  different  from   cognitive  ability  or  IQ,  which  is  what  we  generally  think  of  when  we  think  of   intelligence.   -­‐  Third,  there  is  evidence  that  there  are  individual  differences  in  how  people   perceive  and  process  information  about  the  social  world.  (Emotional  intelligence)   -­‐  Finally,  the  whole  topic  of  intelligence  as  an  ability  in  the  form  of  IQ  has  a  long  and   controversial  history  in  psychology.     Is  Religiosity  a  Personality  Trait?     -­‐  Despite  the  importance  of  religion  in  many  people's  lives,  religion  has  not  occupied   a  central  role  in  psychology,  and  certainly  not  in  the  study  of  personality.   -­‐  Whether  religiosity  is  an  important  dimension  of  personality  beyond  the  five   factors  is  a  source  of  some  debate.  For  example,  Saucier  and  Goldberg  suggested   that  religiosity,  like  many  dimensions  beyond  the  five  factors,  is  more  appropriately   considered  a  secondary)'  trait,  applicable  for  certain  purposes,  but  not  a  core  aspect   of  personality.   -­‐  Researchers  consistently  find  correlations  between  religiosity  and  Agreeableness,   Conscientiousness,  and  sometimes  Openness  and  Extraversion  depending  on  the   aspect  of  religiosity  under  study.     Spiritual  transcendence:  The  ability  of  individuals  to  "stand  outside  of  their   immediate  sense  of  time  and  place  to  view  life  from  a  larger,  more  objective   perspective.     -­‐  According  to  Piedmont,  spiritual  transcendence  includes  a  personal  search  for  a   greater  connection  rather  than  a  spiritual  encounter  with  a  higher  being.  The   concept  of  spirituality  goes  beyond  any  particular  religious  tradition,  and  in  fact,   Piedmont  and  his  colleagues  designed  the  Spiritual  Transcendence  Scale  (STS)  after   first  meeting  with  experts  from  various  faiths  including  Buddhism,  Hinduism,   Quakerism,  Lutheranism,  Catholicism,  and  Judaism.   -­‐  The  scale  has  three  facets:  Prayer  Fulfillment,  feelings  of  joy  and  contentedness   from  connection  with  the  transcendent;  Universality,  seeing  humanity  as  a  single   interrelated  whole  such  that  harming  one  harms  all;  and  Connectedness,  feeling   belongingness  to  and  social  responsibility  and  gratitude  for,  others  across   generations  and  across  social  groups   -­‐  In  two  different  validation  samples,  Piedmont  and  colleagues  discovered  that   scores  on  each  of  the  three  transcendence  scales  were  only  slightly  related  to  scores   on  the  five  factors  as  measured  by  both  adjectival  scales  and  by  scores  on  the  NEO-­‐ PI-­‐R.  Further,  factor  analysis  yielded  six  independent  factors:  five  for  each  of  the  five   factors  and  one  for  spiritual  transcendence.   -­‐  Together,  this  suggests  that  spiritual  transcendence  is  a  dimension  of  personality   separate  from  the  five  factors  of  personality.   -­‐  Further,  scores  on  the  STS  predicted  scores  on  measures  of  life  outcomes  beyond   the  five  factors  and,  in  some  cases,  the  effect  of  spirituality  was  stronger  than  the   effect  of  personality!  Specifically,  spiritual  transcendence  and  personality  together   predicted  scores  on  locus  of  control  beliefs  for  health  issues,  vulnerability  to  stress,   responsiveness  to  others,  perceived  social  support,  prosocial  behavior,  positive   sexual  attitudes,  and  prochoice  and  prolife  attitudes  toward  abortion.   -­‐  This  evidence  suggests  that,  indeed,  we  may  think  of  spirituality  as  an  important   part  of  personality.  Whether  spirituality,  gratitude,  ultimate  concerns,  or  some   additional  aspect  of  religiosity  is  best  thought  of  as  a  trait,  dimension,  or  as  some   other  important  part  of  human  personality  is  still  to  be  determined  by  researchers.      Is  Sexuality  a  Personality  Trait?   -­‐  Words  that  described  aspects  of  sexuality  or  that  were  more  applicable  to  one   gender  or  the  other  were  purposely  excluded  from  early  lexical  studies.   -­‐  This,  according  to  evolutionary  psychologist  David  Buss,"  resulted  in  the  near  total   omission  of  the  individual  differences  in  sexuality".   -­‐  Undergraduate  students  rated  themselves  on  each  of  these  67  words  along  with  
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