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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

PSYC 2740- Personality Dr. Stephen Lewis Defining Personality Personality is… …the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that is organized and relatively enduring and that influences his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the environment (including the intrapsychic, physical, and social environment). - Psychological traits- characteristics that describe how people are different/ alike, there thousands of traits, what is the origin of traits (genetic/ life), how are traits related, do traits predict behaviour? Traits are on a dimension, traits cannot cause us to act in a certain way, but who we interact with or life events is when personality can explain why people do the things they do - Traits: are some more desirable that others? - Mechanisms: the process of personality. people who experience the exact same thing can react differently - Within the individual: personality come from within us, not driven by environment or interactions - Organized and enduring: traits are organized in different ways for different people; people tend to act relatively the same throughout life. There is stability in personality. Traits refer to an average tendency. State vs. Trait: state is how someone is at that time. Trait is the average state. - Influences: traits influence many things: what you think, how you think, how you perceive situations. How you treat yourself and others. - Interactions: interactions with other people, what situations you out yourself into. - Adaptations to: personality determines how to you adapt to new situations; also susceptibility to illness (mental or physical) - Environment: wishes, dreams. Sometimes conflict. Physical obstacles and barriers in environment. 3 Levels of Analyzing Personality - Human nature level: universal traits most humans to some degree have a want to belong or be loved - Individual and group: how are groups alike and different - Individual: how you are like no one Individual Uniqueness Level: 2 Approaches - Nomothetic: looks at groups, not much deep information - Idiographic: case study, helps with in depth research The Fissure in the Field - Most research we do occurs at the individual and group and the individual levels - We can use different approaches: biological lens, Six Domains of Knowledge - Dispositional: what are the key and fundamental personality traits? This crosses every other domain. - Biological: are some traits more heritable than others. Are there underlying levels of traits? - Intrapsychic: unconscious desires and motives that drive what we do. - Cognitive-Experiential: how we think and how we feel. How we explain events - Socio-cultural: social and cultural influences on personality. Romantic relationships etc. - Adjustment: how we adjust to situations Within Domains are theories… And theories are evaluated by considering… - Comprehensiveness: does it account for most findings - Heuristic value: it should serve as a guide for research - Testability: a theory must be measured and tested - Parsimony: must be comprised of just a few essentials - Compatibility and integration: compatible and integrates with what we know Example: Theory of Planned Behaviour Relating Theory and Research - They must support each other - Ex: you come up with theory but research says no - Redo theory and try again - When they meet up: yay Is there a grand theory of personality? - Freud: psychosexual components September 15, 2011 Sources of Data: Self-Report (S-data) Example: Dichotomous Response Schemes 1. [I can be hard on myself] True or False 2. *If I do well on an exam, I think that…+ I am a smart person / The course is easy Example: Likert Rating [I like being the life of a party] 1. Never 2. Rarely 3. Sometimes 4. Usually 5. Always Pros/cons of structured vs. unstructured. Structured Pros: - Standardization - Use of stats Structured Cons: - Limits in responses - Possible limited accuracy Unstructured Pros: - Detailed - No limits in response Unstructured Cons: - Not standardized - Cannot use routine stats Limitations of self-report 1. Honesty in responses 2. Not having self-knowledge or objectivity to respond Other s-data Approaches - Event sampling Ecological Momentary Assessment - Self-report that occurs over time to assess variables that might change in ‘real-time’ - You get an assessment of what you want at that moment Look at Nock et al., 2009 self injury. Sources of Data: Observer (O-data) Involves gathering data from other individuals (not the self) Pros: Access to unique data and multiple informants Cons: Objectivity AND respondents may not be able to infer internal processes (Feelings) Where O-data may be collected Naturalistic Setting: Observations occur in a natural/ real-life setting. Gamblers: Casino. Kids at school: School Artificial Setting: Observations occur in setting created to resemble a real-life setting. Sources of Data: Test (T-data) T-data uses standardized testing situations to determine aspects of personality and takes various forms: - Mechanical recording (device that measure how active a kid is) - Physiological data (blood pressure, MRI scan etc.) - Projective tests (ink blot) T-data Limitations: 1. Participants may ‘guess’ the trait being assessed and create an impression (if the participant knows then it could skew results) 2. Participants and researchers may view the testing situation differently 3. The influence of the researcher(s) on the participants - Are we consistently getting the same data? Response sets (impact reliability) Response tendency that is unrelated to item content - Acquiescence: always saying yes or true - Extreme responding: always on one end of the scale (choosing 1 or 5) - Social desirability: making themselves look good. Evaluating Personality Measures: Validity - Discriminant: should not be correlating with things you don’t think it should be - Construct: all of the validity types put together. They should all be valid. Evaluating Personality Measures: Gerneralizability Generalizability: whether a measure retains validity over different contexts/ samples Research Designs in Personality - Experimental - Correlational - Case studies Experimental Methods: Correlational Studies Used to understand if 2 (or more) variables share a relation Correlations Coefficient: - Indicates the direction and degree of relation - Range -1 to +1 Limitations: - Directionality (no causation) - Third Variable Case Studies - Can’t use method of statistics to measure data but you can still get really insightful information on a person September 22, 2011 Theoretical Issues 1. Meaning individual differences 2. Stability over time a. Similar traits over time not necessarily the exact same b. Traits re consistent over time but, manifestation of trait may vary. c. The way the trait comes across changes 3. Consistency across situations a. How is there a consistency if a trait is known to change with age? i. Rank Order: with a change in a given trait, a relative difference remains between individuals ii. Example: Impulsivity b. Consistency across situations: in most situations a trait should come across Person-Situation Interactions - Strong Situation: Almost all people react similarly - Situational Specificity: specific reaction to specific situation - Selection: Accounts for some variance - Evocation: certain things evoke a response in other people - Manipulation: people often try to manipulate people. Some people are inherently manipulative Aggregation and an example: - Must have multiple data from multiple test points to get average. - Test-retest reliability of trait over time Measurement Issues - Carelessness: some people simply make mistakes - Faking on questionnaires: good or bad - Response Sets* (discussed in Lecture 2): extreme responding - Barnum statements Carelessness Detected via: - Infrequency scales: question or two on questionnaire that people should answer the same to (the sun is hot: true or false) - Duplicate questions: same item appear more than once. One early on in the questionnaire then ask the same thing later on in the questionnaire Faking on Questionnaires Faking good: to get parole Faking bad: to claim insanity Limitations of approach: - False negative: might make mistake and say that person is lying and throw the data out when they were being truthful - Flase positive: say they were telling the truth and keep the data when they fabricated the whole thing Barnum Statements - Pertain to test interpretation - Generalities that apply to ANYONE - Horoscopes Personality in Employment Personality used to predict: - Personnel selection: selecting certain traits we want for a particular job - Integrity testing: want employees you can trust - Concerns are: negligent hiring: hiring someone who might be a liability down the road Balancing Issues in Employment Measures in Business Settings - Myers- Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): o most widely used personality measures  used to select for leadership positions and other purposes o yields types of personality:  introverted OR extraverted  sensing OR intuitive  thinking OR feeling  judging OR perceiving o Criticisms:  Most traits are distributed normally  Usually not one or the other. Usually a mix of both.  Says there are “types”: cut-off scores may pose difficulties in test-reliability   Assumes homogeneity within “types”  o Correlations with Big 5
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