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PSYC 2130 Chapter 7.docx

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PSYC 2130
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PSYC 2130 Chapter 7: Using Personality traits to understand behaviour - The research that seeks to connect traits with behaviour has used four basic methods 1. The single trait approach: examines the link between personality and behaviour by asking, what do people like to do? 2. The many trait approach: works from the opposite direction, beginning with the (implicit) research question, who does that? Researchers attack the behaviour of interest with long lists of traits intended to cover a wide range of personality. They determine which ones correlate with the specific behaviour, and then seek to explain the pattern of correlations. 3. The essential trait approach: addresses the difficult question, which traits are the most important? Tries to narrow the list to the traits that really matter. The big five list includes traits of extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness. 4. The typological approach: stems from a doubt and a hope. The doubt is whether it is really valid to compare people with each other quantitatively on the same trait dimensions. The hope is that researchers can identify groups of people who resemble each other enough, and are different enough from everybody else, that it makes sense to conclude they belong to the same type. Instead of focusing on traits directly, this approach focuses on the patterns of traits that characterize whole persons, and tries to sort these patterns into types. The single trait approach - Some of the most influential research in personality has focused on the nature, origins and consequences of single traits of special importance. It zeros in on one particular trait and its consequences for behaviour. These include: 1. Authoritarianism, has implication for social problems: it has been theorized as a basis of racial prejudice and even fascism 2. Conscientiousness, has turned out to be surprisingly useful for predicting who will be productive employees 3. Self monitoring, is important because it addresses fundamental issues concerning the relationship between one’s private inner reality and the external self presented to others - Authoritarianism, to avoid frightening personal choices, some people turn their will over to an external authority, such as a government or church, and take the comforting attitude that they are just following orders. - Right wing authoritarianism (RWA) scale is made up of three clusters of attitudes and behaviours: 1. Authoritarian submission: the tendency to be obedient and submissive to established leaders of the government and other important institutions 2. Authoritarian aggression: the tendency to act with aggressive hostility toward anybody perceived as a deviant or a member of an outgroup, or anyone who is described by authorities as someone to be despised (ex. Enemies, a country might be warring against) 3. Conventionalism: the tendency to follow traditions and social norms that are endorsed by society and by the people in power - Two points are important to remember about authoritarianism. The first is that authoritarianism is an individual difference construct, it tries to explain which individuals within any society. Second, authoritarianism provides an example of how personality trait can be helpful to understanding a complex social phenomenon. - Conscientiousness conscientious people live longer, they are more likely to avoid many kinds of risky behaviours as well as engage in activities that are good for their health. They are less likely to smoke, overeat, or use alcohol to excess. They avoid violence, risky sex, and drug abuse. They are more likely to exercise regularly. - Self monitoring, high self monitoring carefully survey every situation looking for cues as to the appropriate way to act, and then adjust their behaviour accordingly. Low self monitors by contrast, tend to be more consistent regardless of the situation, because their behaviour is guided more by their inner personality. One nice thing about the self monitoring scale is that you probably got the score you wanted. - High self monitors: skilled in social techniques, talkative, initiates humor, verbally fluent. Low self monitors: distressful, perfectionists, touchy and irritable, anxious, introspective, independent, feeling cheated and victimized by life. - Self monitoring: the degree to which behaviour and emotion are controlled by the environment (high self monitoring) or by the person (low self monitoring) The many trait approach - Although it can be highly informative to explore the implications of single traits in depth, a number of personality psychologists enjoy looking at many traits at once. - The many trait approach looks at the relationship between a particular behaviour and as many different traits as possible - One test used in this approach is The California Q set: the set consists of 100 phrases printed on separate cards. Each phrase describes an aspect of personality that might be important for characterizing a particular individual. The phrases are more complex t
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