Study Guides (238,069)
Canada (114,906)
Psychology (921)
PSYCH 2B03 (63)

Textbook Notes For Exam

13 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Richard B Day

Chapter 4 – Personality traits and behaviour • Psychologists who follow the trait approach begin with ordinary language and common sense • Approach is based on correlational empirical research and focuses exclusively on individual differences (no absolute judgement, only relative) o However it does miss on things like what are common to all people and what makes them unique o Trait aspect focuses exclusively on individual differences; does not attempt to measure how ___ anyone is in an absolute senses • Every person is like everyone else, like some other people and like no one else. • Trait weakness: only look at the middle, don’t look at how we are as humans all the same or all unique • People are inconsistent – there are always exceptions to a general rule for someone’s behaviour – depends on rules of a situation and who is there – people do have consistent patterns of behaviour • Person-situation debate – Mischel triggered o behaviour was too inconsistent from one situation to the next to allow individual differences to be characterized accurately in terms of broad personality traits o Do people have consistent patterns of behaviour or is it dependent on each situation? o Are common, ordinary intuitions about people fundamentally flawed, or basically correct? o Why are psychologists still debating this topic? The SituationistArgument o there is an upper limit to predicting what a person will do based on measurement of their personality, and this limit is quite low o situations are more important than personality traits in determining behaviour (Situationism) o Personality assessment is waste of time, intuitions about people are flawed: we think people are way more consistent than they are • The Situationists also believe that if traits are useful then you should be able to predict their behaviour o However you cannot predict someone’s behaviour with very much accuracy – took self-descriptions of personality and direct measures of behaviour from lab – correlations seldom exceeded .30 (this was later bumped up by Richard Nisbett to 0.40) • The response to this was that the situationist argument was based on too short of a literature review of poor studies in personality, that personality psychologists can do a better job at conducting their research and .40 is not a small correlation (absolute and relative comparison; 70% accuracy instead of 50% isn’t bad). o To improve, the lit review should include studies in natural settings and studies with assessment of high and low self-monitoring behaviour, and focus on general trends of behaviour o Psychologists should move the studies out of the lab more often: measure behaviour in real life o Moderator variables could be used to identify people that might be more consistent than others – high self-monitors (change quickly in situations), low self-monitors are the opposite. (check variance in behaviour) o Different behaviours are more consistent by nature – ie. Goal-directed (unique) vs. expressive gestures (don’t change) o Psychologists need to focus on general trends, rather than single actions. • Situationism – situations determine behaviour – though they rarely measured situational variables in the studies; used a lot of subtraction • Power of Situation – can have an all or none effect that is unpredictable o Measured in social psych experiments, traditionally randomly assign/expose people to 2 or more different conditions such as changing a subject’s attitude by the influence of monetary incentives  But how large is this effect? o Three important situational experiments were analyzed to see the effect size  Experiments with attitudes and cognitive dissonance dealing with forced compliance and monetary intervention (change beliefs vs. pay off feelings)  Bystander Intervention ( in a hurry) Experiments  Milgram “electric shock” experiments o Effect size was determined to be roughly the same as the personality trait correlation (0.40); situation and personality/traits appear to have equal effect • Situationists also argue that people’s perceptions of one another are largely erroneous; but our intuition says otherwise. Why are there so many personality words that are useful in the everyday world? (Number of descriptive words for something ~ importance) • What is the point of all this personality talk anyways if it’s so debated and unclear? o Useful because it affects life outcomes and how people go about things: people care about the most important things in their life o Is present throughout lifetherefore affects tons of outcomes! Institutional success, happiness, etc. • Personality Traits are better for describing how people will act in general • Situational Variables are relevant to how people will act under specific circumstances o Examples that support these are relationships and jobs, each is different but has aspects of similar behaviour o Personality variables are important as they comprise the psychological aspect of a person that stays with her throughout her life from one job and relationship to the next ones long-run effect mainly • Interactionism: persons and situations constantly interact with each other to produce behaviour together o The effect of a personality variable may depend on the situation, or vice versa (caffeine and extroverts/introverts: when combined they have an effect) o Situations are not randomly populated: people choose, or find themselves in, an environment that matches their personality o People change situations abruptly by what they do in them (e.g. swing the first punch) Stanford prisoner experiment • People like the situationist side (absolves responsibility), but personality explains ‘one size doesn’t fit all’and that people are not powerless to overcome situationslife debate! • The situationist and personality sides both have pros & cons • In the end the person-situation debate was resolved with that people are different from each other and that these differences do mater. Chapter 7 – Using Personality Traits to Understand Behaviour (212-252) • Traits exist: we should measure in order to a) predict and b) understand behaviour • Two assumptions: best way to test accuracy of a psychological understanding is to try to predict behaviours, and if you can predict which traits cause which behaviours, insights can be made as to why o Single TraitApproach: examines single highly important personality traits (What do people like that do?) o Many TraitApproach: examines highly important behaviours to figure out which traits caused them o Essential Trait Approach: which traits are most important o TypologicalApproach: don’t know if all people fit on developed trait scales; instead, try to group them by ‘types’characterized by shared patterns of traits. Single-trait approach Authoritarianism – basis for racial prejudice and fascism; historically affect society • Fromm: after WW2, wondered how people could have morally survived Nazi Germany. To deal with the freedom of choosing with no repercussions, they turned their will over to an authority so they could say they were ‘just taking orders’, and subsequently enjoyed giving them to people below them in the hierarchy personalities described as ‘authoritarian characters’. • Berkley Group came up with an anti-Semitism scale, ethnocentrism (prejudice) scale and political conservative scale called the California F scale o Found that there are genuine conservatives and pseudoconservatives which are authoritarians o Pseudoconservatives display contradictions between their traditional values and their acceptance of destructive attitudes/radical ideas o F Scale measure the traits of authoritarianism o RWA Scale: updated Right WingAuthoritarianism scale, by Canadian Bob Altemyer. Made up of three clusters of attitudes and behaviours:  Authoritarian Submission: tendency to be obedient and submissive to established leaders (government, church, etc).  AuthoritarianAggression: tendency to act with aggressive hostility towards anybody who might be marginalized (societal deviants, for example)  Conventionalism: tendency to follow traditions and social norms endorsed by society and people in power • High in authoritarianism? Less empathy, uncooperative playing games, more likely to obey an authority figures commands no matter what (Milgram), oppose transsexuality, favour military interventions, and watch TV • Two important points: a) individual-difference construct, can’t explain Holocaust, but tries to determine which individuals would be predisposed to participate/support, and b) demonstrates how a trait can help explain a complex social phenomenon “Integrity” and Conscientiousness – predicting productive employees – integrity tests (formal personality tests given to interviewees: general qualities measured by these tests are traits emotional stability and agreeableness: better than ability tests in many ways) • conscientiousness might not only be a good predictor of job performance, but also a cause of excellence (the ‘motivation’component that separates good employees/students from bad) o Conscientousness tests are unbiased  They correlate with academic success (more years in school, could be a marker variable, or signal of conscientiousness) and health Self-monitoring o High self monitors adjust behaviour according to situation, low self monitors do the opposite High: dramatic, emotional, humourous, verbally fluent, social poise Low: distrustful, perfectionist, independent, introspective, feel victimized o Positives and negatives to both: depends what you value o High and low self monitors usually have personality traits consistent with their nature o Factor analysis says high is really broken into three (extraversion, acting ability, and ‘other directedness’) changed the scale to 18 questions, it’s better now Many Trait Approach • California Q set – list of hundred traits/phrases printed on separate cards – not characteristic of the person to highly characteristic, 9 categories to cover this range – forced peaked/normal distribution • Can be S or I data; judge must determine what is important within a person, not across a range of people Delay of gratification: males are less prone to delay gratification • Many aspects of personality remain consistent across rapid development that occurs in childhood (girls and boys who are playful, reflective and reasonable and not emotionally unstable are likely to manifest the most delay) • Girls who delay are more competent, intelligent, attentive and resourceful (not seen in boys) • Boys who most delay are shy, quiet, compliant and anxious • Ego control (self-control or inhibition) and ego resiliency (healthy psychological adjustment) – those who delayed had high ego control and girls had high ego resiliency – boys not taught to value self-control and delay DrugAbuse: restless, fidgety,
More Less

Related notes for PSYCH 2B03

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.