[PSYC 2740] - Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes fot the exam (112 pages long!)

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30 Mar 2017
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PSYC 2740
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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January 17th, 16
Personality Psych
Chapter 1
Aristotle described and analysed many personality characteristics, including
truthfulness, courage, intelligence, self-indulgence, anger proneness, and
friendliness in his book on ethics
Features of personality make people different from one another
o These features usually take the form of adjectives
o Adjectives that can be used to describe characteristics of people are
called trait-descriptive adjectives
Nearly 20,000 trait-descriptive adjectives in the English
language
Adjectives describing personality refer to several very different
aspects of people
Personality Defined
Difficult to define human personality
The definition has to be sufficiently comprehensive to include all of the
aspects of personality:
o Inner features
o Social effects
o Qualities of the mind
o Qualities of the body
o Relations to others
o Inner goals
Personality: 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 intra-psychic, physical, and
social environments
Examining the definition:
Personality is the set of psychological traits:
Psychological traits are characteristics that describe ways in which people
are different from each other
o Describing someone as shy is to mention one way in which he/she
differs from others who are more outgoing
Traits also define ways in which people are similar to some others
o Ex. People who are shy are similar to each other in that they are
anxious in social situations, particularly when there is an audience
focusing attention on them
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Traits describe the average tendencies of a person:
o On average, a high-talkative person starts more conversations than a
low-talkative person
Research on personality traits asks four kinds of questions:
o Haw many traits are there?
o How are traits organized?
o What are the origins of traits?
o What are the correlations and consequences of traits?
Four research questions constitute the core of the research
program of many personality psychologists
Psychological traits are useful for at least three reasons:
o Help describe people and help understand the dimensions of
difference among people
o They help explain behaviour
The reasons people act may be partly a function of their
personality traits
o Can help predict future behaviour
Ex. What career an individual will pursue, who will tolerate
stress better, who is likely to get along well with others etc..
o Therefore, personality is useful in describing, explaining, and
predicting differences among individuals
…and mechanisms…
Psychological mechanisms: like traits, except the term mechanisms refers
more to the processes of personality
Most psychological mechanisms have three essential ingredients: inputs,
decision rules, and outputs
o A psychological mechanism:
May make people more sensitive to certain kinds of
information from the environment (input)
May make them more likely to think about specific options
(decision rules)
May guide their behaviour toward certain categories of action
(outputs)
o Our personalities contain many psychological mechanisms of this sort
information-processing procedures that have the key elements of
inputs, decision rules, and outputs
o Ex.: Input (Danger) Decision rules IF THEN (If courageous, then
face danger/ If cowardly, then run from danger) Output (Confront
source of danger/ Run from source of danger)
o Does not mean that all of our traits and psychological mechanisms are
activated at all times
At any point in time only a few are activated
Ex. Courageousness trait that is only activated under
particular conditions such as when people face serious dangers
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