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Wilfrid Laurier University
John Stephens

Personality - November 13, 2012 • Who are you? o Gender, height reference, emotional variables, cognitive o We have labels –  Introvert/Extrovert  Optimist and pessimist (half full or half empty) [eeyore&tiger] o Throughout time people have been intuitively aware of individual differences o That they like some people and not others; we like some people and we don’t like some because of personality o Historical knowledge of individual differences  Theophrastus wrote about different “characters” to try to describe individual differences  Attempting to characterize people- their personalities  Labels he used, we can’t use now (eg, the flatterer, the coward) • .:. early on people were already catergorizing people • Personality o (def.) Distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s response to situations. o Comes from word persona- actors mask • How do we measure personality? o Ask them? o Ask others? o Results of a test? o Observe them? • Personality Assessment o Interviews  Structured set of standardized questions  Note other behaviors – appearance, speech patterns etc. • Drawbacks  Characteristics of interviewer can affect answers (because of the way they are eg, miss happy vs eeyore)  Dependence on co-operation honesty of interviewee (we can lie) o Behavioral Assessment  Need explicit coding system  Aim is not solely to ‘describe’ behavior • Specific behavior, frequency, specific situations, under what conditions  Interjudge reliability • High level of agreement among observers o Personality Scales  Objective measures • Use standard questions & agreed upon scoring key  Advantage • Collect large amount of data  Disadvantage • Validity of answers (truthfully answered?) • Validity scales o Personality scales items o Trait theories  Based on theoretical conception of trait  Concern – have to identify what are the underlying traits that describe people  State (changes regularly) versus Trait (enduring over time/stable and can predict that it’s there – eg, the 7 dwarves: sleepy, grumpy, happy but not the kind that we measure) Traits – the big issues • Identifying the number of traits • Are they stable over time, and situation? • Are they the product of genetics? Environment? o Answers by Trait Theorists  Number of traits measured varies by test  Are they stable- somewhat, sometimes  Some genetic component, some environmental  Differences across people come from within the person  Changed now? Cause of the environment o Trait Theories  Cattell was first – 16 traits with opposing labels • “happy-go-lucky” versus “sober”  Cattell gave way to more modern tests which have fewer traits o Trait based personality Assessment  Modern test • NEO-PI-R (Costa &McCrae) o Big 5 personality traits o Extraversion (more outgoing, assertive socially), neuroticism(more anxious, insecure, vulnerable, don’t feel as comfortable where you are, hostility), openness to experience(curious George, flexible), agreeableness, conscientiousness o Easy to do, condense version, most popular approach • Eysenck, had the fewest traits – 2 o Introversion/extraversion and neuroticism/stability  The big modern personality assessment • Empirical devised tests o Hierarchically arranged o Items were answered differently by differing groups  Based on responses by ‘normals’ and psychiatric patients o Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory (MMPI); revised = MMPI-2  A psychologists gives you that ^ o Summing Trait Ideas  Stable (maybe)  Observable  May be genetic/environmental influences  Comes from within o Some behavioral Background (skinner?)  Environment impacts on you – you respond  Stimulus Response  Consistency in people = stable responses to environment  Environment shapes you
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