Person-Situation Interactionist Aspects of Personlity.docx

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15 Apr 2014
People are Dishonest:
oKids we allowed to cheat
oSome cheated and some did not
oThen gave the same children a chance to find some money that was planted in a
puzzle box in the room
oSome kids kept the money (behaved dishonestly) and some did not
oSome kids were dishonest in one situation and on the other (inconsistent)
Harry Stack Sullivan:
oBorn in the late 1800’s
oVery lonely as a child and adult
oBorn in isolated, rural setting (no kids nearby)
oWould look at his reflection and would pretend his reflection was a friend
oWas homosexual (had to hide, not accepted)
oPersonality is tied to social situations; personality is the relatively enduring
pattern of recurrent interpersonal situations (we cannot have personality separate
from society, even if others are not present, our personality is still effecting how
we think about the past, future, others, etc.)
oFelt that having peers was very important for kids (he never had many friends and
felt that without this he was disadvantaged)
oBecame a medical doctor
oWorked at a psychiatric hospital
oDeveloped an interpersonal theory of psychiatry and mental disorders
oPersonality constantly changes as a function of relations with others, we do not
have a single, fixed personality
oThe idea that we have a single personality is an illusion (the illusion of
individuality: idea that we have a fixed personality)
oWe become different people in different situations, we imagine how others think
of us and respond accordingly
oWhat he said came from his own experience
oSaid that anxiety comes from outside
oDid not talk about the id, ego and super ego, was focused on interpersonal
Henry Murray:
oWorked for the army during WWII
oHe screened people to see if they could be spies (had to develop ways to assess
people for their appropriateness)
oMethods: used interviews and projective tests (TATs, he created difficult and
stressful situations as tests and the applicants would have to perform)
oViewed personality as the study of human lives across time
oCombines unconscious motives and environmental pressures
oLooked at personality across time and situation
oPersonological system:
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Emphasizes the importance of internal needs and motives, environmental
press (pressure of the situation) and dynamic system with feedback
Personality is a system, it is ever changing
Examples: affiliation, autonomy, dominance, exhibition, harm avoidance,
order, play, understanding
oMurray’s thema:
Typical combination of needs and presses
Individuals have their own themas
Someone can have a high need for achievement and be in a situation where
they would need to make sacrifices and put in a lot of effort (the press would
be the situation that requires making a sacrifice)
Measures with the TAT
His work lead to the narrative approach (learn about the individual through
their life story)
Walter Mischel:
oCompetencies: a persons abilities and knowledge (athletic ability, technical
ability, carpentry skills)
oEncoding strategies: cognitive model, schemas that people use to process and
encode information (some may be focused on nurturance and social justice)
oExpectancies that people have for the outcome of their behaviour (marshmallow
study with kids)
oOur actions are a result of environmental factors (what we choose is related to
how visible the reward is, our internal characteristics such as the strategies we use
and our experiences with the reward)
oBehaviour signature:
Recurring situation-behaviour relationships
Contributes to the apparent consistency of an individual’s personality
oCritique of personality and the person-situation debate:
Observers tend to attribute the behaviours of others to personality
People overestimate the consistency of their own behaviour
oSome situations are so powerful that they override personality effects
oIf there is a fire in a crowded theatre, everyone will do the same thing
Why The Person-Situation Debate is Important:
oIf the situationists are correct, there is no reason to study personality theories
oThe professional practice of personality assessment is a waste of time
oEveryday intuitions about people are fundamentally flawed
Personal vs. Social Situations:
oField independence:
Tendency to judge an entity in isolation, disregarding background influences
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