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PSYC 3604
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Chapter 1 Introduction to Personality PsychologyIntroductionTraitdescriptive adjectives adjectives that can be used to describe characteristics of peoplePersonality DefinedPersonality the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with and adaptations to the intrapsychic physical and social environmentPersonality Is the Set of Psychological TraitsPsychological traits characteristics that describe ways in which people are different from each otheroTraits also define ways people are similarTraits describe the average tendencies of a personoAverage tendencies tendency to display a certain psychological trait with regularity For example on average a hightalkative person will start more conversations than a lowtalkative person Research on personality traits asks four kinds of questions1How many traits are there2How are the traits organized3What are the origins of traits4What are the correlations and consequences of traitsPsychological traits are useful for at least three reasons1They help describe people and help understand the dimensions of difference between people2They help explain behaviour3They help predict future behaviourAnd MechanismsPsychological mechanisms are like traits except that the term mechanisms refers more to the process of personalityoFor example most personality mechanisms involve some information processing activity A psychological mechanism may make people more sensitive to certain kinds of information from the environment inputs may make them more likely to think about specific options decision rules or may guide their behaviour toward certain categories of action outputsPsychological mechanisms have three essential ingredients1Inputs environment2Decision rules specific options3Outputs categories of actionOur traits and psychological mechanisms are not always all activated at all times at any point in time only a few are activatedWithin the IndividualWithin the individual means that personality is something a person carries with him or herself over time and from one situation to the nextThe definition of personality stresses that the important sources of personality reside within the individual and hence Are at east somewhat stable over time and somewhat consistent over situationsThat are Organized and Relatively EnduringOrganized psychological traits and mechanisms for a given person are not simply random collection of elements but that mechanisms and traits are linked to one another in a coherent fashionEnduringconsistent over time and situationsoA trait is consistent over time whereas a state is just situationalFor example a person may be angry state or angerprone traitThe fact that personality includes relatively ensuring psychological traits and mechanisms does not preclude change over timeAnd that InfluenceInfluential forces personality traits and mechanisms can have an effect of peoples livesHis or Her Interactions withPersonenvironment interaction a persons interactions with situations include perceptions selections evocations and manipulationsoPerceptions refer to how we see or interpret the environmentoSelection describes the manner in which we choose situations such as our friends hobbies and classesoEvocations refer to the reactions we produce in others often unintentionally For example a person that is psychically large may evoke feelings of intimidation without meaning tooManipulations refer to the ways in which we attempt to influence othersAnd Adaptation toAdaptation the notion tat a central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioningThe EnvironmentThe physical environment often poses challenges for peopleoHumans have evolved solutions to these adaptive problemsoExample shivering can help combat the coldoThe most common human fears help us avoid or safely interact with these environmental threats to our survivalOur social environment also poses adaptive challengesoThe ways in which we cope with our social environment are central to an understanding of personalityIntrapsychic environment means within the mindoIt makes up an important part of our psychological realityThree Levels of Personality AnalysisEvery human being is is certain respects1Like all others the human nature level2Like some others the level of individual and group differences3Like no others the individual uniqueness levelHuman NatureHuman nature traits and mechanisms of personality that are typical of our speciesoExample spoken language desire to live with others belong to social groupsIndividual and Group DifferencesIndividual Differences ways in which each person is like some other peopleoExample extravertsDifferences between groups people in one group may have certain personality features in common and these common features make that group of people different from other groupsoExample culture and age groups and menwomenIndividual UniquenessNo two individuals have exactly the same personalityThere is a debate whether individuals should be studied nomothetically or idiographically oNomothetic statistical comparisons of individuals or groups study of groupsoIdiographic focuses on a single subject study of individualsA Fissure in the FieldGap between the human nature level of analysis and the analysis of group and individual differencesGrand Theories of PersonalityAddress the human nature level of analysisAttempt to provide a universal account of the fundamental psychological processes and characteristics of our speciesThe ways people are similarContemporary Research in PersonalityAddress the ways in which individuals and groups differThe ways in which people differ from each other
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