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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

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PSYC 2740 PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY Lecture 1 and Chapter 1 Intro to Personality psychology Defining Personality: 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 intrapsychic, physical and social environment) The set of psychological traits - Traits: ways we use to describe how people are similar or different to one another o Not necessarily how someone is ALL the time, its the AVERAGE tendency o Not categories (introvert, extrovert), its about continual o Ex. if someone is described as sociable, doesnt mean they are sociable ALL the time o Traits can have moderate stability overtime ex. If someone is shy at a young age, they may still stay shy as they age o Traits can be developed with how we are raised, attachment to caregivers - Trait descriptive adjectives: adjectives that can be used to describe traits, attributes of a person that are reasonably characteristic of the person and enduring over time - Research on personality traits asks 4 kinds of questions o How many fundamental traits are there? Dozens or hundreds or a few? o How are the traits organized? Ex. how is talkativeness related to other traits such as impulsivity and extraversion? o What are the origins of traits? Like where they come from and how they develop? Does heredity influence talkativeness? What sort of cultural or child-rearing practices affect talkativeness? o What are the correlations and consequences of traits in terms of experience, behaviour and life outcomes? Do talkative people have many friends? Do they have an extended social network to draw upon in times of trouble? Do they annoy people that are trying to study? - Psychological traits are useful for 3 reasons o They help describe people and help understand the dimensions of usefulness among people o Traits are useful because they help explain behaviour o Traits can predict future behaviour: ex. careers individuals will find satisfying, who will tolerate stress better and who is likely to get along with others o Thus, personality is useful in describing, explaining and predicting differences among individuals And Mechanisms - mechanisms is a process of personality and how it may reel different outcomes and actions - most psychological mechanisms have an information-processing activity - Inputs, decision rules and outputs o Input: a psychological mechanism may make people sensitive to certain kinds of information from the environment, circumstances and situations o Decision rules: may make them more likely to think about specific options, by product of the trait itself o Output: may guide their behaviour towards certain categories of action, what happens because of those decisions o Ex. we have 2 very different people, one social and one shy and both invited to a house part (input), so the input is the same but their decision making will be difference (one will be too shy to talk to people and the other will be very social and energetic, drinking) and hence output will be different (one may end up going home and the other may end up getting very drunk) PSYC 2740 o Ex. Input = danger, decision rule = 1. If courageous then face danger 2. If cowardly, then run away from danger, output = 1. Confront source of danger 2. Run away from source of danger - All traits and mechanisms are not always activated, only a few activated at a time o Ex. the trait of courageousness will only show in an individual when put in a certain situation, or else you cannot look at a person and determine if they are courageous or not Within the individual - Personality is something a person carries with them overtime form one situation to the next - We carry the same personalities with us from situation to situation - We are the same people we were last week, last month, last year and we continue to carry them in the coming years - Important sources of personality reside within the individual and remain stable overtime and somewhat consistent That are organized and relatively enduring - Traits and mechanisms are not random, they are connected to each other in a coherent fashion - Traits are also ENDURING overtime, especially in adulthood and consistent in situations - Ex. saying someone is angry is not saying anything about a trait, anger is more of STATE than a trait o saying someone is anger prone means someone is frequently so its a trait And that influence - Emphasis on influential forces means that personality traits and mechanisms can have an effect on peoples lives - Personality influences how we act, how we view ourselves, how we think about others, how we interact with others, how we feel, how we select our environments (esp. social environments), what goals and desires we pursue in life and how we react to out circumstances - How people shape their lives - Forces that influence how we think, act and feel His or her interactions with - Interactions with situations include perceptions, selections, evocations, and manipulations o Perception: how we see/interpret the environment Ex. two people introduced to the same object event but interpret it in different ways o Selection: the manner in which we choose situations to enter ex. how we choose friends, hobbies, university classes and careers How we make these selections is a reflection of our personalities and how we use our free time is a reflection of our trait o Evocations: reactions we produce in others, often unintentionally, we create the social environments that we inhabit Ex. child with high activity level evoke parents to constraint the child even though these actions are not desired by the child Ex. a physically large person will evoke feelings of intimidation in others even if thats not the goal Our evocative interactions are essential features of our personality o Manipulation: are the ways in which we initially attempt to influence others Ex. someone who is anxious or freighted easily may try to influence their group to avoid scary movies or risky activities or a husband that is very neat and tidy may influence his wife to stay keep her things tidy Adaptations to - adaptive functioning: accomplishing goals, coping and adjusting and dealing with the challenges and problems we face as we go through life - ex. people who worry a lot receive lots of support from others - some aspects of personality processes represent deficits in normal adaptations such as breakdowns in the ability to cope with stress, to regulate ones social behaviour or to manage ones emotions PSYC 2740 The environment - physical environment often poses challenges for people and some of these are direct threats to survival - ex. food storages create the problem of securing adequate nutrients for survival, extreme temperature poses the problem of maintaining thermal homeostasis and heights, snakes, spiders and strangers can all pose threats to survival - humans have evolved solution to these problems hunger pangs motivate us to seek foods, shivering helps combat the cold and sweat glands help fight the heat, at a psychological level the fear of heights, snakes, spiders and strangers (most common) help us avoid or safely interact with these environmental threats to survival - from the infinite dimensions of environment we inhabit, our effective environment represents only a small subset of features that our psychological mechanisms direct us to attend and respond to - we have an INTRAPSYCHIC environment: means within the mind: o we all have memories, dreams, desires, fantasies and a collection of private experiences that we live with each day o ex. self-esteem: how good or bad we feel about ourselves at a given moment may depend on our success in goal achievement Three levels of personality analysis 1. like all others (the human nature level), universal (ways in which we are all alike) 2. like some other (the level of individual and group differences), particulars (ways in which we are like some others but not others) 3. like no others (individual uniqueness level), uniqueness (ways in which we are unlike others) Human nature: LIKE ALL OTHERS - ex. need to belong, capacity for love - traits or mechanisms of personality that are typical for our species and posses by everyone or nearly everyone - Ex. nearly every human has language skills, which allows them to learn and use a language - All humans possess psychological mechanisms ex. the desire to live with others and belong to social groups Individual and group differences: LIKE SOME OTHERS - ex: variation in need to belong (individual differences), men more physically aggressive than wome
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