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PSYA02H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Observational Learning, Heritability

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John Bassili
Study Guide

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Chapter 14: Psychology
Personality is a particular pattern of behaviour an thinking that prevails across
time and situations and differentiates one person from another
Research on human personality requires two kinds of effort:
1. Identifying personality characteristics
2.Determining the variables that produce and control them
Trait Theories of Personality
Personality Types and Traits
The earliest known explanation for individual differences in personality was
proposed by the Greek physician Hippocrates in the fourth century B.C.E and
refined by his successor Galen in the second century C.E. They believed that:
oThe body contained four fluids:
1.Yellow bile: choleric people were bad tempered and irritable
2.Black bile: melancholic people had gloomy and pessimistic tempers
3.Phlegm: phlegmatic people were sluggish, calm, and unexcitable
4.Blood: sanguine people were cheerful and passionate
Personality types: different categories into which personality characteristics can
be assigned based on factors such as developmental experiences
Individual differences in personality are of different degree, not the kind of
The degree to which an individual expresses a particular personality trait
Personality trait is an enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a
particular pattern of behaviour in different situations
Trait: dimension on which people differ along a wide range of values
oPersonality traits are not simply patterns of behaviour; they are factors that
underlie these patterns and are responsible for them
oOut personality traits are developed and reside in our brain

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Identification of Personality Traits
Allports Search for Traits
Gordon Allport was one of the first psychologists to search systematically for a basic
core of personality traits
He found 18,000 words in the English dictionary that described aspects of
Temporary states, such as flustered, or evaluations, such as admirable, were
The wealth of trait terms helped confirm his belief that a well-developed trait theory
would have value in understanding human functioning
People with a particular trait react similarly across situations because they
experience a unique sense of similarity across those situations that guide their
feelings, thoughts, and behaviour.
Creativity and some aspects of personality remained constant over time
According to Allport, not all traits have equal influence on their possessors.
oCardinal traits characterize a strong underlying influence on a persons
behaviour. These traits are rare but people characterized by them clearly
stand out from the crowd (ex: Nelson Mandelas commitment to justice)
oCentral traits are less singular in their influence that cardinal traits, but
capture important characteristics of an individual
oSecondary traits includes characteristics that have minor influence on
consistency of behaviour
Cattell: Sixteen Personality Factors
Raymond Cattell used Allports list of 18,000 trait words as a starting point for his
theory of central traits
He extracted 171 adjectives from the list of words that he believed make up a
relatively complete set of distinct surface traits—those that refer to observable
He then used the process of factor analysis to identify clusters of these traits that he
believe in turn represented underlying traits

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He eventually identified 16 personality factors. He referred to these 16 traits as
source traits because they were the cornerstones upon which personality is built
(according to him)
Eysenck: Three Factors
Hans Eysenck also used factor analysis to devise a theory of personality
He identified three important factors that were bipolar dimensions:
1.i) Extroversion
Refers to an outgoing nature and a high level of activity
Socializing, spontaneous, and risk-taking people
ii) Introversion
Shy, reserved and careful
2.i) Neuroticism
Fraught with worry and guilt, and are moody and unstable
ii) Emotional stability
those who score low on neuroticism are even-tempered
3.i) Psychoticism
refers to an aggressive, egoistic, and anti-social nature
ii) Self-control
kind and considerate nature, obedient of rules and laws
Eysenck emphasizes the biological nature of personality
the functioning of a neural system located in the brain stem produces different levels
of arousal of the cerebral cortex
introversion-extroversion is based on an optimum arousal level of the brain
introverts have relatively high levels of cortical excitation, which extroverts have
relatively low levels
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