PS101 Lecture Notes - Big Five Personality Traits, Trait Theory, Personal Unconscious

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
WLU
Department
Psychology
Course
PS101
Professor
Psychology Study Notes: Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research and Assessment
By: Yen Hoang
The Nature of Personality:
Defining Personality: Consistency and Distinctiveness
o The concept of personality is used to explain:
The stability in a person’s behavior over time and across situations
(consistency)
The behavioural differences among people reacting to the same situation
(distinctiveness)
o Personality refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural
traits
Personality Traits: Dispositions and Dimensions:
o A personality trait is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a
variety of situations
o Factor analysis: correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify
closely related clusters of variables
If the measurements of a number of variables (ie personality traits)
correlate highly with one another, the assumption is that a single factor is
influencing all of them
It’s used to identify these hidden factors
In factor analyses of personality traits, these hidden factors are
viewed as very basic, higher-order traits that determine less basic,
more specific traits
Cattell concluded that an individual’s personality can be described
completely by measuring just 16 traits
The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits:
o McCrae and Costa have used factor analysis to arrive at a five-factor model
They maintain that most personality traits are derived from just 5 higher
order traits that are known as the “big five”:
Extraversion:
o People who score high in extraversion are characterized as
outgoing, sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertive and
gregarious
o Referred to as positive emotionality in some trait models
o Its been studied extensively in research for many decades
Neuroticism:
o People who score high in neuroticism tend to be anxious,
hostile, self-conscious, insecure and vulnerable
o This trait has been the subject of thousands of studies
o Those who score high in neuroticism tend to overreact
more in response to stress than others
Openness to experience:
o Openness is associated with curiosity, flexibility, vivid
fantasy, imaginativeness, artistic sensitivity and
unconventional attitudes
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o McCrae maintains that its importance has been
underestimated
Citing evidence that openness fosters liberalism
He argues that this trait is the key determinant of
people’s political attitudes and ideology
Agreeableness:
o Those who score high in agreeableness tend to be
sympathetic, trusting, cooperative, modest and
straightforward
o People who score high at the opposite end of this
personality dimension are characterized as suspicious,
antagonistic and aggressive
o Agreeableness is associated with constructive approaches
to conflict resolution, making agreeable people less
quarrelsome than others
Conscientiousness:
o Conscientious people tend to be diligent, disciplined, well-
organized, punctual and dependable
o Referred to as constraint in some trait models
o Conscientiousness is associated with being highly diligent
in the workplace
The five-factor model has become the dominant conception of personality
structure in contemporary psychology
These five traits have been characterized as the “latitude and longitude”
along which personality should be mapped
o There’s also criticism with this model, therefore, it’s not completely accepted
o Personality theories:
Psychodynamic perspectives
Behavioural perspectives
Humanistic perspectives
Biological perspectives
Psychodynamic Perspectives:
Psychodynamic theories include all of the diverse theories descended from the work of
Freud which focus on unconscious mental forces
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory:
o He developed a procedure called psychoanalysis
Involved lengthy verbal interactions with patient’s during which Freud
probed deeply into their lives
o His theory grew out of his decades of interactions with his clients in
psychoanalysis
o His theory attempts to explain personality, motivation and psychological disorders
by focusing on the influence of early childhood experiences, on unconscious
motives and conflicts and on the methods people use to cope with their sexual and
aggressive urges
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Most of his contemporaries were uncomfortable with his theory for at leas
three reasons:
By arguing that people’s behavior is governed by unconscious
factors of which they are unaware, Freud made the disconcerting
suggestion that individuals are not masters of their own minds
In claiming that adult personalities are shaped by childhood
experiences and other factors beyond one’s control, he suggested
that people are not master’s of their own destinies
By emphasizing the great importance of how people cope with
their sexual urges, he offended those who held the conservative,
Victorian values of his time
o Structure of Personality:
Freud divided personality structure into three components:
Id is the primitive, instinctive component of personality that
operates according to the pleasure principal
o Freud referred to the id as the reservoir of psychic energy
He meant that the id houses the raw biological urges
that energize human behaviour
Eating, sleeping, defecate, etc
o The pleasure principal demands immediate gratification of
its urges
o The id engages in primary process thinking which is
primitive, illogical, irrational and fantasy-oriented
Ego is the decision making component of personality that operates
according to the reality principal
o The ego mediates between the id with its forceful desires
for immediate satisfaction and the external social world,
with its expectations and norms regarding suitable behavior
o It considers social realities in deciding how to behave
Society’s norms
Etiquette
Rules
Customs
o The reality principal seeks to delay gratification of the id’s
urges until appropriate outlets and situations can be found
o In short, the ego often works to tame the unbridled desires
of the id
o In the long run, the ego wants to maximize gratification just
as the id does
o The ego engages in secondary process thinking which is
relatively rational, realistic and oriented toward problem
solving
Therefore, the ego strives to avoid negative
consequences from society and its representatives
(ie punishment by parents or teachers) by behaving
“properly”
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Document Summary

Psychology study notes: chapter 12: personality: theory, research and assessment. Defining personality: consistency and distinctiveness: the concept of personality is used to explain: The stability in a person"s behavior over time and across situations (consistency) The behavioural differences among people reacting to the same situation (distinctiveness: personality refers to an individual"s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits. If the measurements of a number of variables (ie personality traits) correlate highly with one another, the assumption is that a single factor is influencing all of them. In factor analyses of personality traits, these hidden factors are viewed as very basic, higher-order traits that determine less basic, more specific traits. Cattell concluded that an individual"s personality can be described. The five-factor model of personality traits: completely by measuring just 16 traits: mccrae and costa have used factor analysis to arrive at a five-factor model.