PSYC 287 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Impulsivity

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12 Oct 2017
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1. Inordertosaythatonevariablecausedanother,aresearchermust:
a. conductanexperiment
2. Inorderfordatatohaveahighdegreeofvalidity:
a. theymustmustalsohaveahighdegreeofreliability
3.Thecasemethodshouldbeusedwhen
a. thereisanindividualthattheresearcherwantstounderstandasfullyas
possible
PersonalityTraits,Situations,andBehavior
● ThemeasurementofIndividualDifferences
○ “Everymanisincertainrespects(a)likeallothermen(b)likesomeothermen,©
likenootherman.”(p.108)
○ Traitsarethebuildingblocksofpersonality
● StrengthsandCriticismsofTraitApproach
○ Strengths
■ assessesandattemptstounderstandhowpeoplediffer
■ numerouspracticalapplications
● educationalpsychologistsandemployersusetraitmeasuresin
theirwork
● singletraitcanpredictaperson’sbehaviorifthattraitisimportant,
orcentral,fortheperson
■ generatedalargeamountofresearch
○ Criticisms
■ noexplanationonhowtraitsdeveloporhowtohelppeoplewhosuffer
fromextremescores
■ lackofanagreeduponframework
● howmanytraitsarethere?18,000?27?5?
■ thereislittleevidenceforcrosssituationalconsistency
■ traitmeasuresdonotalwayspredictbehaviorwellbecauseboththe
personandthesituationarerelatedtobehavior
● personbysituationapproach:individualtraitsaswellas
situationsdeterminebehavior
● PeopleAreInconsistent
○ personalitytraitsarenottheonlyfactorsthatcontrolbehavior
○ thestabilityofpersonalitymaydependonyourage
● ConsistencyAcrossTime
○ researchindicatesconsistencyovertimeforbroadtraits
○ althoughconsistentovertime,howatraitismanifestedinbehaviormightchange
overtime
○ howcantherebeconsistencyinatraitifitisknowntochangewithage(e.g.,
impulsivity)?
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■ focusontherankorderdifferencesbetweenpeople
● ConsistencyAcrossSituations
○ traitpsychologiststraditionallyassumedcrosssituationconsistency
○ ifsituationsmainlycontrolhowpeoplebehave,thentheexistenceorrelevanceof
traitsisquestionable
○ Mischel(1968):personalitypsychologistsshouldabandontheireffortstoexplain
behaviorwithtraits,focusinginsteadonsituations
● ThePersonSituationDebate
○ Mischel(1968):behavioristooconsistentacrosssituationsforindividual
differencetobecharacterizedbytraits
○ whyisthisimportant?
■ StanfordPrisonExperiment
● TheFirstSituationistArgument:Predictability
○ thereisanupperlimittohowwellonecanpredictwhatapersonwilldobasedon
anymeasurementofthatperson’spersonality,andthisupperlimitislow
■ MischellookedatrelationshipsofS,I,andBdatawithbehavior
■ correlationsrarelyexceed.30(maybe.40)
■ predictivecapacityisextremelylimited
● ResponsetotheFirstSituationalArgument:Predictability
○ Mischeldidanunfair,selectiveliteraturereview
■ afairreviewoftheliteraturerevealspredictivecapacityoftraitsisbetter
thanissometimesacknowledged
○ somepeoplearemoreconsistentthanothers,andsomebehaviorsaremore
consistentthanothers
■ getbetterpredictivecapacityiffocusonbehavioraltrends
○ theupperlimitforpredictability(r=.40)yieldsbetteroutcomesthanissometimes
recognized
○ (aspirincorrelatedtoheartattacks)
● TheSecondSituationistArgument:Situationism
○ littleevidenceforcrosssituationalconsistency(HartshorneandMay):honesty,
helpfulness,selfcontrol
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