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
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
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
i. Like all other people (e.g., - every person eats)
ii. Like some other people (e.g., -similar to family
iii. Like no other person (we are a unique, non-repeatable
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
B. Pervin (1989): Personality represents those characteristics
of the person that account for consistent patterns of
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