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Personality Textbook Notes Up to midterm.docx

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Psychology
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PSYC 2740
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Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychology Features of personality make people different from one another and usually take on the form of adjectives to describe people -> trait-descriptive adjectives - there are nearly 20,000 of these adjectives in the English language - adjectives refer to many different aspects of people such as inner qualities, social effects, qualities of the mind, qualities of the body, relations to others, and inner goals Personality: 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 intrapsychic, physical and social environments. Traits also define ways in which people are similar. - if a person is outgoing, they will generally be that way all the time but do have periods of quiet times - in this sense, traits describe the average tendencies of people The core of psychological research are based on these 4 questions: - How many traits are there? - How are the traits organized - What are the origins of traits - What are the correlations and consequences of traits Personality traits are useful for at least 3 reasons - They help describe people and help understand the dimensions of difference between people - They help explain behaviour -> why someone is acting a particular way - They can help predict future behaviour Psychological Mechanisms: similar to traits but it is more about the process of personality. There is always an information processing activity and there are 3 essential ingredients: - Inputs: information from the environment which, - Decision rules: make them more likely to think about options which, - Outputs: may guide them to carry out certain types of behaviours or actions Not all of our traits and mechanisms are activated at the same time, in fact, only a few are at a time. - Under certain conditions, social scenes. Ex. courageousness o You wont know until you are in a situation that activated this behaviour Personality is something that a person carries with himself or herself over time and from one situation to another -> Within the individual Traits and mechanisms are not a random collection of elements, they are Organized - Mechanisms and traits are organized because they are linked to one another - Our personalities contain decision rules that govern which needs are activated depending on the circumstance Traits are enduring, particular in adulthood, and are somewhat consistent over situations. - If a person gets angry in a certain situation, it doesn’t mean that they are an angry person. Therefore, it is more of a state than a trait. However, if you were to say that a person is anger prone, than that is a personality trait that they consistently show. - Some situations may be overpowering and suppress the expression of psychological traits Influential forces: personality traits and mechanisms can have an effect on peoples lives - It influences how we act, how we view ourselves, how we think about the world, how we interact with others, how we feel, how we select out environments, what goals and desires we pursue in life, and how we react to our circumstances - Personality plays a key role in affecting how people shape their lives - In short, it influences how we think, act and feel. Person – environment interaction - Interactions with situations include perceptions, selections, evocations and manipulations o Perceptions: how we see or interpret an environment. Two people may be exposed to the same event but they may be paying attention to two different things and interpret the same thing differently. This difference is a function of their personality o Selection: the manner in which we choose situations to enter – how we choose our friends, hobbies, college classes and careers. How we go about making these decisions is a reflection of our personality o Evocations: the reactions we produce in others, often quite unintentionally. To some extent, we create the social environment that we inhabit o Manipulations: the ways in which we intentionally attempt to influence others. If we are scared of something, we may encourage our friends to avoid it too. Adaptation: a central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioning -> accomplishing goals, coping, adjusting, and dealing with the challenges and problems we face as we go through life. Environment: the ways in which we cope with our social environment, the challenges we encounter in our struggle for belongingness, love and esteem, are central to an understanding of personality. - We have intrapsychic environments which means within the mind - Our memories, dreams, desires, fantasies and a collection of private experiences that we live with each day are very important to our personalities. The Levels of Personality Every human being is: - Like all others (the human nature level) the universals (the ways in which we are all alike - Like some others (the level of individual and group differences) particulars (the ways we are like some people but unlike others) - Like no others (the individual uniqueness level) uniqueness (the ways in which we are unlike any other person) Human Nature: the traits and mechanisms of personality that is typical of our species and is possessed by everyone or nearly everyone. Ex. Spoken language: all cultures on earth have a spoken language, so it is part of our universal human nature. Individual differences: the ways in which each person is like some other people. Ex. Being adventurous or taking risks while some others would not. Group Differences: People in one group may have certain personality features in common and these common features make that group of people different from other groups. Ex. Different political parties Individual Uniqueness: - Nomothetic: humans should be studied as individual instances of general characteristics that are distributed in the population. Typically involves statistical comparisons of individuals or groups. It is typically applied to identify universal human characteristics or dimensions of individual or group differences. - Idiographic: studied as single, unique cases. The description of one and focuses on a single subject, trying to observe general principles that are manifested in a single life over time. Often results in case studies. 6 Domains of Knowledge - Domain of Knowledge: a specialty area of science and scholarship in which psychologists have focused on learning about some specific and limited aspects of human nature. - It describes the boundaries of researchers knowledge, expertise and interests. - Researchers have developed common methods for asking questions o Dispositional domain: personality is influenced by traits the person is born with or develops. Concerned mainly with the ways in which people differ from each other. Ex. Peoples differing habitual emotions o Biological domain: by biological events. Humans are first and foremost, collections of biological systems, whichprovide the building blocks for behaviour, thought and emotion. The two biological approaches are genetics and psychophysiology, which deals with the nervous system. o Intrapsychic domain: by conflicts within the person’s own mind. Deals with the mental mechanisms of personality, many which operate outside of our conscious awareness. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. o Cognitive-experiential domain: by personal and private thoughts, feelings, desires, beliefs, and other subjective experiences. Focuses on cognition and subjective experiences such as conscious thoughts and feelings etc. o Social and cultural domain: by social, cultural and gendered positions in the world. o Adjustment domain: by the adjustments that the person must make to the inevitable challenges of life. - Within each of these domains we focus on two key elements o The theories that have been proposed within each domain, including the basic assumptions about human nature o The empirical research that has been accumulating within each of these domains The Role of Personality Theory Good Theory: fulfills three purposes in science: - Provide a guide for researchers o Directs them to important questions within an area of research - Organizes known findings o By accounting for known findings, theories bring both coherence and understanding to the known world - Makes predictions o About behaviour and psychological phenomena that no one has yet documented or observed Scientific standards for evaluating personality theories: - Comprehensiveness o Does the theory do a good job at explaining all of the facts and observations within its domain - Heuristic Value o Does the theory provide a guide to important new discoveries about personality that were not known before - Testability o Does the theory provide precise enough predictions that personality psychologists can test them empirically - Parsimony o Does the theory contain few premises and assumptions or many premises and assumptions (lack of parsimony) - Compatibility and integration across domains and levels o Consistent with what is known in other domains, can be coordinated with other branches of scientific knowledge The field or personality psychology lacks a grand theory, but by work in each of these six domains will ultimately lead to one. Chapter Two: Personality Assessment, Measurement and Research Design Sources of Personality Data - Self-report data (S-data): the information that a person reveals. It is the most common method for measuring personality  Can be obtained through interviews, periodic reports and questionnaires (the most common)  The reasons to use self report: o Individuals have access to a wealth of information about themselves that is inaccessible to anyone else o It is an indispensible source of personality data  Unstructured: open ended: tell me about parties you like to go to -> twenty statements test  Structured: I like loud parties – true or false -> adjective checklist (ACL) or likert rating scale (rate how much the adjective describes you) - Observer-report data (O-data): gathers information from friends, teachers, family and casual acquaintances about ones personality  Advantages: o Observers have access to information not attainable through other sources -> impressions the person makes on others, his or her social reputation and the persons relative status within the group hierarchy o Multiple observers can be used to assess each individual whereas in self-report only one person provides information. This allows for inter-rater reliability -> the degree of agreement between observers  Naturalistic Observation: Observer’s witness and record events that occur in the normal course of the lives of their participants. It offers researchers the advantage of being able to secure information in the realistic context of a person’s everyday life, but at the cost of not being able to control the events and behavioural samples witnessed. - Test Data (T-Data): participants are placed in a standardized testing situation - The test is designed to see how people’s reactions differ to an identical situation - The situation is designed to elicit behaviours that serve as indicators of personality variables - An example: o Edwin Megargee’s study on manifestations of dominance. He wanted to devise a test situation in which he could examine the effect of dominance on leadership. He administered the California Psychological Inventory Domincance scale to a large group of men and women who might serve as potential research participants. He then chose those who scored very high or very low. He paired people with high to people with low dominance scores. There were 4 conditions  A high dominant man with a low dominant man  A high dominant woman with a low dominant woman  A high dominant man with a low dominant woman  A high dominant woman with a low dominant man o He presented each pair with a large box containing many red, yellow and green bolts and nuts. They were told that the purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between personality and leadership under stress. They had to work as a team to fix the box as fast as possible by replacing the nuts and bolts with different colours. One was told to be the leader and the other had to be a follower. o He found that 75% of the high dominant men and 70% of the high dominant woman took the leadership role in the same sex pairs. When high dominant men were paired with low dominant women, 90% of the men became leaders and only 20% of the high dominant women were the leader when paired with low dominant males. - His study shows that it is possible to set up conditions to reveal key indicators of personality. It also suggests that laboratory experiments should be sensitive to manifestations of personality that occur in incidental part of the experiment, such as the discussions between participants. Also, there are often interesting links between S-data and T- data obtained through controlled testing conditions. These link enhance the validity of both the questionnaire and the laboratory test of dominance. - T-data have limitations. o Some participants might try to guess what trait is being measured and then alter their responses to create a specific impression of themselves. o The difficulty in verifying that the research participants define the testing situation in the same manner as the experimenter. This may cause them to become anxious and affect the result. o These situations are inherently interpersonal and a researcher may accidentally influence how the participants behave. - Projective Techniques: the person is given a standard stimulus and asked what he or she sees. Ex. Inkblots - Life-Outcome Data (L-Data): information that can be gleaned from the events, activities, and outcomes in a person’s life that are available to public scrutiny. - Personality psychologists often use S-data and O-data to predict L-data Issues in Personality Assessment - A key issue that personality psychologists must address is how closely the findings obtained from one data source correspond to findings from another data source. Ex. If a person rates herself as dominant, do peers believe she is dominant too? - One of the central advantages of using multiple measures is that each measure has unique habits that have nothing to do with the underlying construct of interest. By using multiple measures from various data sources, researchers are able to average out these habits and key into a specific variable in the study Evaluation of Personality Measures - Reliability: the degree to which an obtained measure represents the true level of the trait being measured. o Can be estimated by repeated measurement. If two tests are highly correlated after testing the same thing on people, then it is said to have high test-retest reliability. If the relationship between items at a single point in time is well correlated, it is said to have high internal consistency reliability. If different observers agree with each other, it is said to have high inter-rater reliability. - Response Sets: the tendency of some people to respond to the questions on a basis that is unrelated to the question content. o Also referred as noncontent responding. o Ex. Acquiescence: the tendency to simply agree with the questionnaire items, regardless of the content of those items. o Ex. Extreme responding: refers to the tendency to give endpoint responses such as strongly agree or strongly disagree and to avoid the middle part response scales such as slightly agree or slightly disagree. o Ex. Social desirability: has received the greatest amount of research and evaluation by personality psychologists. It is the tendency to answer items in such a way as to come across as socially attractive or likable. - Validity: refers to the extent to which a test measures what it claims to measure. There are 5 types: o Face validity: refers to whether the test predicts criteria external to the test -> sometimes called criterion validity o Convergent validity: refers to whether a test correlates with other measures that it should correlate with. o Discriminant validity: evaluated simultaneously with convergent validity. Refers to what a measure should not correlate with. o Construct validity: a test that measures what it claims to measure, correlates with what it is supposed to correlate with and does not correlate with what it is not supposed to correlate to.  The broadest type of validity - Generalizability: the degree to which the measure retains its validity across various contexts Research Designs in Personality - Experimental Methods: typically used to determine causality – to find out whether one variable influences another variable. In order to establish the influence of one variable on another, two key requirements must be met: o Manipulation of one or more variables o Ensuring that participants in each experimental condition are equivalent to each other at the beginning of the study - Correlation Studies: a statistical procedure is used for determining whether or not there is a relationship between two variables. - Case Studies: give researchers insight into personality that can then be used to formulate a more general theory to be tested on a larger population. o They can provide in-depth knowledge of particularly outstanding individuals o One of the strongest advocates for the case study method was Gordon Alport. He believed that an important hypothesis of personality could come from examining single individuals in great depth. Chapter 3: Traits and Trait Taxonomies Traits, or dispositions are reasonably stable over time and at least somewhat consistent over situations There are 3 fundamental questions that guide those who study traits - How should be conceptualize traits? - How can we identify which traits are the most important traits from among the thousands of ways in which individuals differ? - How can we formulate a comprehensive taxonomy of traits – a system that includes all the major traits of personality? What is a trait: two basic formulations - Internal: hidden properties of a person that cause their behavior o Individuals carry their desires, needs and wants from one situation to the next. These desires and needs are presumed to be causal in that they explain the behaviour of the individuals who possess them. Your internal desire influences her external behaviour, presumably causing her to act in certain ways o Traits can lie dormant in the sense that the capacities remain present even when particular behaviours are not actually expressed. They exist even in the absence of observable expression. - Descriptive Summaries: no assumptions about internality or causality and use these trait terms to describe the enduring aspects of a person’s behaviour. o It summarizes the general trend in expressed behaviour, yet no assumptions are made about what causes the persons behaviour. - Personality psychologists say that we must first identify and describe the important individual differences among people, then subsequently develop causal theories to explain them. Act Frequency Approach: traits are categories of acts. It involves three key elements: - Act Nomination: a procedure designed to identify which acts belong in which trait category o Identify hundreds of acts belonging to various trait categories - Prototypicality Judgment: identifying which acts are most central to each trait category o Panel of raters judge how prototypical each act is as an example of a particular concept - Recording of Act Performance: securing information on the actual performance of individuals in their daily live o Use self report data The act frequency has been criticized on several grounds - Does not specify how much context should be included in the description of a trait relevant act. - Seems applicable to overt acts but what about failures to act and covert acts that are not directly observable o Eg. Courageousness -> not displayed in everyday circumstances It has some accomplishments as well - It has been very helpful in making explicit the behavioural phenomena to which traits refer - It is also helpful in identifying behavioural regularities - It has been helpful in exploring the meaning of some traits that have been proven difficult to study - It is useful in identifying cultural similarities and differences in the behavioural manifestation of traits Identification of the most important traits - There are 3 fundamental approaches to identify important traits - Lexical Approach: all traits listed and defined in the dictionary form the basis of the natural way of describing differences between people. Thus the logical starting point for the lexical strategy is the natural language. o Lexical hypothesis: all-important individual differences have become encoded within the natural language. There are two clear criteria for identifying important traits  Synonym frequency: if an attribute has not merely one or two trait adjectives to describe it but rather, six, eight or nine words, then it is a more important dimension of individual differences  Cross-cultural universality: if a trait is sufficiently important in all cultures that its members have codified terms to describe the trait, then the trait must be universally important in human affairs. - Statistical Approach: identify the major dimensions or coordinates of the personality map. It starts with a pool of personality items such as words, or a series of questions about behaviour, experience or emotion. o A large number of people rate themselves on the items, then using a statistical procedure to identify groups or clusters of items. o The most commonly used statistical procedure to identify the dimensions is factor analysis: identifies groups of items that go together (covary) but tend not to covary with other groups of items.  A major advantage of identifying clusters of personality items that covary is that it provides a means for determining which personality variables have some common property.  It can reduce the large array of diverse personality traits into a smaller and more useful set of underlying factors. It provides a means for organizing the thousands of personality traits  Factor loading: indexes of how much of the variation in an item is explained by the factor. They indicate the degree to which the item correlates with or loads on the underlying factor. o Cautionary note: you get out of it what you put into it. In other words, if an important personality trait happens to be left out of a particular factor analysis, it will not show up in the subsequent results. Thus it is critical that researchers pay attention to their initial selection of traits to be studied. - Theoretical Approach: starts with a theory that determines which variables are important. o It is only as good as the theory you come up with Taxonomies of personality - Eyesenck’s hierarchical model of personality: developed a model of personality based on traits he believed were highly heritable and had a likely psychophysiological foundation - The three main traits that met these criteria were o Extraversion-introversion (E) o Neuroticism-emotional stability (N) o Psychoticism (P) - Description of these traits o Extraversion: subsumes a large number of narrow traits – sociable, active, lively, venturesome, dominant and so forth. They all covary with each other to load on the same large factor o Introverts: like to spend more time alone. They prefer quiet time and pursuits such as reading and are aloof and distant but they often have a small number of intimate friends with whom they share confidences. o Neuroticism: anxious, irritable, guilty, lacking self esteem, tense shy and moody. They tend to be a worrier and have a greater degree of emotional arousal. o Psychoticism: aggressive, egocentric, creative, impulsive, lacking empathy, and antisocial. Men tend to score twice as high as women and have a history of cruelty to animals. - The hierarchy has the advantage of locating each specific personality relevant act within a precise nested system o Thus the fourth level act I danced wildly at the party can be described as extraverted at the highest level, sociable at the second level, and part of a regular habit of party-going behaviour at the third level. - There are two aspects of biological underpinnings that are critical for understanding o Heritability o Identifiable physiological substrate: one can identify properties in the brain and central nervous system that correspond to the traits and are presumed to be part of the casual chain that produces those traits. Cattell’s Taxonomy: The 16 Personality Factor System - Among the largest in the number of factors identified as basic traits - Label each of the factors A, B, C etc. as they were discovered. Circumplex Taxonomies of Personality - Argued that trait terms specify different kinds of ways in which individuals differ o One kind of individual difference pertains to what people do to and with each other – interpersonal traits o Other kinds of individual differences are described by  Temperament traits: nervous, gloomy, sluggish, excitable  Character traits: moral, principled, dishonest  Material traits: miserly and stingy  Attitude traits: pious and spiritual  Mental traits: clever, logical and perceptive  Physical traits: healthy and tough o He was mainly concerned with interpersonal which he defined as interaction between people involving exchanges. The two resources that define social exchange are love and status and thus define the two major axes of the Wiggins Circumplex. - There are 3 advantages of this Circumplex o It provides an explicit definition of interpersonal behavior thus it should be possible to locate any transaction in which the resources of status or love are exchanged within a specific area of the Circumplex pie o It specifies the relationships between each trait and every other trait within the model. There are 3 types of relationships:  Adjacency: how close the traits are to each other in the Circumplex. They are positively correlated  Bipolarity: located at opposite sides of the circle and are negatively correlated.  Orthogonality: specifies that traits that are perpendicular to each other on the model are entirely unrelated to each other. There is a zero correlation. o It alerts investigators to gaps in investigations of interpersonal behaviour. Five -Factor Model (the big 5) - the broad traits composing the big five have been named: o Surgency or extraversion  They engage in frequent social interaction. Social Attention is the cardinal feature of extraversion.
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