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Psych 2B03 Final Exam Textbook Notes

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Richard B Day

Chapter 4 – Personality Traits, Situations, and Behaviours - Ultimate criterion for any measurement of a personality trait is whether it can predict behaviour - Focuses exclusively on individual differences o Measures degree to which a person might be more or less dominant, sociable, etc. than someone else (ordinal, instead of ratio scales) The Measurement of Individual Differences - “Every man is in certain respects (a) like all other men, (b) like some other men, (c) like no other man.” o (a) Certain psychological properties and processes are universal o (b) Other properties of people differ but in ways that allow individuals to be grouped o (c) Each person’s genetic makeup, past experiences, and views of the world are different from those of anyone else’s - Trait approach comes from the second analysis and also neglects the other two o Based on the idea that all men are like some other men o Useful to assess broad categories of individual difference -> building blocks of personality People are Inconsistent - Personality traits aren’t the only factors that control an individual’s behaviour (situation) o Situations vary according to the people who are present and the implicit rules that apply - Consider the possibility that traits (individual differences) don’t exist and people continually change who they are according to the situation o 18-22 year olds calmly accept this idea o 30 year olds believe this idea is preposterous -> they are more stable across time than adolescents (established consistent individual identities) o Might also be related to psychological adjustment as well as age The Person-Situation Debate - Which is more important for determining what people do, the person or the situation? - Mischel argued that behaviour is too inconsistent from one situation to the next to allow individual differences to be characterized accurately in terms of broad traits - Situatonist argument has three parts: o 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 (low upper limit) o Situations are more important than personality traits in determining behaviour o Everyday intuitions about people are fundamentally flawed Predictability - The situationist argument: predictive capacity of personality traits is severely limited o Mischel compared S and B data, I and B data, and B data with other B data  Mostly performed in laboratory settings, not natural situations  Argued that correlations between personality and behaviour, or between behaviour in diff situations seldom exceed .30 o Later revised to .40 by Nisbett - The pro-personality response o Unfair literature review -> Mischel’s review of the personality literature was selective and unfair o .40 upper limit due to poor or less than optimal research methodology (doesn’t imply unimportance of personality, but that we can do better research)  Can research using more natural situations  Can take into account that some people might be more consistent with others  Can focus on general behaviour trends instead of single actions at particular moments o .40 is not that small -> need a standard of comparison (absolute and relative) Situationism - Doesn’t say which aspects of the situation might be important to personality o Situational variables haven’t been measured, variance has only been subtracted from personality variance - Experiment -> place participants in similar conditions with different incentives (i.e. $20 or $1) o If behaviour of one group is significantly different than other, then can say that incentives played a role o Correlation of -.36, demonstrations of cognitive dissonance Situational Variable Behavioural Variable Effect size r Incentive Attitude change -.36 Hurry Helping -.38 Number of bystanders Helping -.39 Obedience Isolation of victim .42 Obedience Proximity of authority figure .36 Personality and Life Individual Outcomes Interpersonal Outcomes Institutional Outcomes Extraversion Happiness, gratitude, longevity, Peer acceptance, Occupational satisfaction, psychological health success in relationships, community involvement, attractiveness, status leadership Agreeableness Religious involvement, Peer acceptance, dating Social interests, job attainment, forgiveness, humour, heart satisfaction avoidance of criminal behaviour health, psychological health Conscientiousness Religious beliefs, good health Family satisfaction, Job performance, occupational habits, avoidance of drug abuse dating satisfaction success, political conservatism, avoidance of criminal behaviour Neuroticism Unhappiness, poor coping Poor family relations Occupational dissatisfaction, criminal behaviour Openness Forgiveness, inspiration, Artistic interests, political substance abuse liberalism Persons and Situations - People’s impressions of each others’ personalities are based on reality more than cognitive errors - Situational variables are relevant to how people will act under specific circumstances - Traits are better for describing how people act in general Relationships, Jobs, Business - Broad traits such as extraversion, sociability and shyness predict how many friends you are likely to have overall and the degree to which you will find yourself in agreement or conflict with them o In relationships, you may treat every person differently because they present diff situations, but aspects of your behaviour may still remain consistent across relationships - Certain aspects of good job performance are general across almost all jobs o Citizenship performance -> employees try to promote goals of the organization Interactionism - To see persons and situations as constantly interacting with each other to produce behaviour together o Effect of a personality variable may depend on the situation or vice versa o Situations are not randomly populated -> certain types of people go to or find themselves in diff types of situations o People change situation by virtue of what they do in them Persons, Situations, and Values - Situationist view of the world implies that people are free to do whatever they want, rather than having their behaviour influenced by their consistent personality o Also implies that everybody is equal to everybody else and that differing outcomes for different people are a function solely of the situations in which they find themselves o Implies that poverty, popularity, etc. is all due to circumstances and that anybody could be rich, popular or successful depending on the circumstance - Alternate view of the world implies that even under the best of circumstances, some people have traits that make bad outcomes relatively likely o Offers the possibility that an individual might be able to develop a consistent identity and personal style that allows to be consistent in a way that transcends the moment Chapter 7 – Using Personality Traits to Understand Behaviour (pg 197-215, 220-223) - Single trait approach: focusing on one particular trait of interest and learning as much as possible about its behavioural correlates, developmental antecedents, and life consequences - Many-trait approach: researchers determine which traits correlate w/ specific behaviour and explain the pattern of correlations - Essential-trait approach: narrows the list of personality traits to those that really matter - Typological approach: focuses on individual types of people and sorts the patterns of traits of these types The Single-Trait Approach Conscientiousness - Employers administer integrity tests to their employees to measure conscientiousness o Don’t show ethnical differences and addresses racial imbalance - General conscientiousness is a good predictor of job and school performance, and excellence o But are especially likely to suffer if unemployed - Highly conscientious people are more likely to live longer because they avoid all kinds of risky behaviour and engage in activities that benefit their health - Years of education can be used as a marker variable (signal) of conscientiousness Self-Monitoring - Mark Snyder -> interested in relationships and discrepancies b/w inner and outer selves - Some people vary in their inner and outer selves and in how they perform in diff settings o Degree to which this is true varies across individuals o High self- monitors: higher variation in inner and outer selves in diff situations  Carefully survey each situation looking for cues as to the appropriate way to act and adjust their behaviour  Usually described more favourably mainly b/c being positively regarded and popular is more important to them  Perform better in job interviews, make more new friends o Low self-monitors: largely the same outside and inside and don’t vary in situations  More consistent regarding the situation (behaviour guided by inner personality)  More prone to look within themselves than at the environment Narcissism - Excessive self-love which can be so excessive as to be classified as a personality disorder o May become aggressive when their positive view of themselves is threatened or when other people reject them, may take it out on innocent individuals - Follow an ill-advised strategy for dealing with life in which they seek to de
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