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PSYC 2740 - Week 1.docx

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PSYC 2740
Melanie Parkin

PSYC 2740 WEEK 1 – unit & textbook notes Personality: An introduction personality: refers to relatively stable individual differences that are believed to present early in life and involves characteristics that generalize across time and across situations persona: Greek word that is the “root” of the word personality; refers to the masks that Greek actors would wear according to which character they were portraying personologist: refers to someone interested in the study of personality; they have a great interest in finding out how and why people differ from each other analogue situations Goals, purposes & approaches for personality research (1) complete description of personality differences (i.e. what are the key features of personality, how are they related and to what extent are they related) (2) explain personality differences (i.e. where did they originate? Where did they come from?) – this is the most important goal (3) make predictions about personality in the future based on what is currently known about personality nomothetic approach to studying personality: involves gathering a small amount of data from a relatively large sample in order to identify general laws or principles; this is a variable-centered approach that may tell us whether one variable relates to another variable and looks at personality through a normative perspective  important to remember that general laws derived from large samples of people may not be useful when seeking to predict the outcome for a particular person idiographic approach to studying personality: involves gathering a large amount of data on a small number of people or just one person; it is a person-centered approach because the ultimate goal is to understand the complexity of these individuals; there is little concern with generalizing to other people  Allport suggested changing idiographic to morphogenic to reflect a greater focus on the pattern or structure that exists within the individual The 5 Ws  Who, what, when, where and why - these make sure that there is an equal focus on the 3 goals of description, explanation and prediction who – who is the person or group and who are the people this person differs from what – in what ways does the person or group differ and in what ways is he or they similar to others when – refers to temporal fluctuations that can have an impact on behaviour and the association between personality and behaviour where – refers to the fact that behaviours will often be a joint reflection of the personality characteristics involved as well as the situations in which people find themselves; situational/contextual influences why – ultimate “W” question; directly related to explanation goal Clyde Kluckhohn - emphasized different levels of analysis and inquiry by noting that every person in certain respects is: (a) like all other people, (b) like some other people, (c) like no other people > Runyan kept with Kluckhohn’s views and contended that the scope of personality research includes things that apply to all people (i.e. psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive theories), things that apply to defined groups of people (i.e. demographic, cultural and historical factors) and things that apply to specific people (e.g. yourself, Van Gogh, Usher) implicit personality theories: the tendency to link together certain personality characteristics in our minds, perhaps without basis; distress can occur when these theories are violated (e.g. friendly people are not liars, someone who is described as having a lot of personality are generally ugly) Barnum effect: the widespread tendency for people to accept personality feedback (or general statements) provided to them as accurate and applicable to oneself even though the feedback itself is quite general and vague; named after the circus owner P.T. Barnum who said “a sucker is born every minute” > this effect was demonstrated by Dickson & Kelly who administered a personality test to students and provided them with a personality profile that presumably described them; despite the fact that everyone received the
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