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PSYC 2130
Frank Marchese

PERSONALITY LECTURE 1: Scientific Outlook (Ch. 1 & 2) 9/10/2012 11:24:00 AM The Definition of Personality: personality is a psychological construct – a complex abstraction encompassing a person’s genetic and experiential background and history that combined determine habitual and unique ways of responding (that differentiate you from everyone else). - a personality is not completely predictable, we engage in unpredictable and unexpected behavior as well - we are like a vase, filled with beliefs, customs, traditions, laws, rules, and regulations that shape our personality A. Implicit Theories of Personality: our own “naïve” notions of personality as a person’s temperament, social attractiveness or otherwise, or one has “no personality”. Implicit theories are not grounded in careful observation, they limit what qualifies as personality and imply that some people “have” and others “do not have” a personality. - our own “naïve” notions of personality:  implicit means our OWN; personal philosophies, concepts, ideas, etc.  naïve means: my everyday notions  they are a result of our temperament, social attractiveness, etc. - Implicit theories are not grounded in careful observation: they are not formed by carefully observing something, they are formed overtime as we interact and develop from infants to adults, they are also subject to change as different events and situations occur in our life - they limit what qualifies as personality: since we have a very vague knowledge of personality, we do not know what qualifies or what doesn’t qualify as personality. Thus, our own implicit notions of what WE think personality is are very small. As we learn about personality, as in this course and our understanding of personality broadens, what we qualify as personality also changes and grows. - imply that some people “have” and others “do not have” a personality: we engage in black and white thinking  such as we conclude that this person has personality and that person doesn’t because we only have LIMITED knowledge of what personality is; our limited notions make us engage in black and white thinking I. Origins: Term Personality derived from “persona,” meaning MASKS.  different masks point to different personalities, there are different masks and we can change these masks, meaning that there are different personalities that vary from person to person, and every individual’s personality is subject to change. A. Derived from early Greek and Roman theatre – different masks mean different yet consistent personalities – consistent attitudes and behavior. B. Personality means recognizable individual differences. C. What influences these consistencies and differences? Heredity, environment, or some combination of the two?  genetic, social conditions, early development, etc., which of these influences consistencies and differences in personality?  the expression “he or she was born that way” assumes that they were born with a fully grown and formed personality, there was no room for development and change  what is the relative contribution of each? What is the relative contribution of nature? What is the relative contribution of nurture?  intra individual differences: internal differences D. Scientific study of personality attempts to predict, control, and explain individual differences. II. Concepts of Personality – no universally agreed upon definition, yet there are conceptions of personality: A. Kluckhorn & Murray (1953): Every person is in certain respects: i. Like all other people (e.g., - every person eats) ii. Like some other people (e.g., -similar to family members) iii. Like no other person (we are a unique, non-repeatable phenomena)  every human being is similar to every person in some ways, similar to certain people in limited ways, and have their own uniqueness that makes them similar to no other person B. Pervin (1989): Personality represents those characteristics of the person that account for consistent patterns of behavior.  we are consistent and predictable to some extent C. Allpot (1961): Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine characteristic thought and behavior. D. Analysis of Allport’s definition: - personality is dynamic not static  it changes – e.g. we see drastic changes during puberty, physical changes during menopause lead to psychological changes - it is organized and structured not an accumulation of traits  therefore being disorganized & unstructured & unpredictable would mean that the individual has an unhealthy personality - it is a psychological concept within a physical entity – the body - it is a causal force that influences thought and action - genotype is your genetic endowment - phenotype is the expressed characteristic  the gene that we see  it is observable and measureable – e.g. height and weight - dominant and recessive genes  the dominant gene is expressed in an individual’s phenotype, but the recessive gene is not - paleo-cortex: old brain/ sub-coordinate  oldest reactions we have: fight or flight - paleo-cortex evolved into the neo-cortex - neo-cortex: new brain - just noticeable difference (JND): do you need a major JND to notice what is going on, o
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