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Steve Joordens

Chapter 14 Personality Personality: a particular pattern of behaviour and thinking that prevails across time and situations and differentiates one person from another Research on human personality requires two kinds of effort: identifying personality characteristics and determining the variables that produce and control them. Need to be careful of nominal fallacy: false belief that causes of an event are explained by simply naming and identifying them Trait Theories of Personality Personality traits: to denote a set of personal characteristics that determine the different ways we act and react in a variety of situations Personality Types and Traits Greek physician Hippocrates Earliest known to explain individual differences in personality (400 BCE) nd Refined by Galen in 2 century CE Theory based on common medical beliefs originating from the Greeks Body containing four humours: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood o Choleric (excess of yellow): bad-tempered and irritable o Melancholic (excess of black): gloomy and pessimistic temperaments o Phlegmatic: sluggish, calm and unexcitable o Sanguine people were cheerful and passionate Theory was obviously dismissed later But it introduced Personality types: different categories into which personality characteristics can be assigned based on factors such as developmental experiences Investigators today reject the idea that people can be assigned to discrete categories It is rather differences in degree, not kind Personality trait: an enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a particular pattern of behaviour in different situations Types is like: tall or short Trait: height If our personality traits are changed through learning, those changes must have a neurological basis in the brain. Identification of Personality Traits Several trait categorization models Allports Search for Traits Gordon Allport (1897-1967) Searched for basic core of personality traits From dictionary conducted analyses and found words that described stable personality characteristics A well developed theory would have value in understanding human functioning Believed that traits were neuropsychological properties Sense of similarity guides feelings, thoughts and behaviour Cardinal traits have most influence Cardinal traits: characterize a strong unifying influence on a persons behaviour o Hitler: aggressive power, Mandela: commitment to justice, M. Teresa: altruism Central traits: capture important characteristics of an individual o Honest, warm Secondary traits: characteristics that have minor influence on consistency of behaviour o Frequently changing jobs Only when we know how to describe an individuals personality will we be able to explain it Cattell: Sixteen Personality Factors Raymond Cattell (1905-1998) Used Allports 18 000 words as a starting point for his theory of central traits Lowered this list to 171 adjectives those that refer to observable behaviour Factor analysis: to identify clusters of these traits Analyzed 1000s of surveys and came up with 16 personality factors = source traits Eysenck: Three Factors Hans Eysneck (1916-1997) Used factor analysis to devise a theory of personality Three important factors: o Extroversion: an outgoing nature and a high-level of activity Extroverts like people and socializing, spontaneous, take risks Introverts: opposite of extroversion - shy, reserved and careful o Neuroticism: at the high end of neuroticism are fraught with worry and guilt, moody and unstable Low end: even-tempered and characterized by emotional stability o Psychoticism: refers to an aggressive, egocentric and anti-social nature self-control: considerent nature, obedient of rules and laws his term of psychoticism is different than clinical psychologists: he refers to anti-social tendencies and not a mental illness at the extreme end: person would have anti-social personality disorder argued that most important aspect are determined by the combination of the above three Eysneck emphasizes biological nature of personality Believes that the functioning of a neural system located in the brain stem produces different levels of arousal of the cerebral cortex Introvert avoids external stimulation in order to maintain arousal level at optimum state Most researchers accept his theory The Five-Factor Model Languages reflect the observations of a culture: people invent words to describe distinctions they notice Analysis of such distinctions by Tupes and Christal (1961) replicated by Norman (1963), has led to the five-factor model Five-Factor Model: proposes that personality is composed of five primary dimensions o Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness o Measured by NEO-PI-R: Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness Personality Inventory NEO-PI-R o Consists of 240 items that can describe a person o Self-report or by someone they know well (usually agree) o Ratings of 1-5 (strongly agree to strongly disagree) o This test is accepted by most o Has considerable cross-cultural ability Agree with ratings of family members o DeNeve and Cooper (1998) showed that it can be used to predict subjective well beings and Vollrath said it can predict daily hassles o Can measure job performance A rapidly accumulating body of evidence points to a very strong degree of heritability of the five factors o Correlation in traits are higher in monozygotic than dizygotic twins Jackson argues that a 6-factor model should be used o Conscientious factor should represent two dimensions: methodicalness (planfulness and need for orderliness) and industriousness (perseverance and achievement orientation) The Dark Triad Some special cluster of traits may underlie socially offensive personalities Paulhus and Williams (2002) Machiavellianism: skill of manipulation o High trait of this used by criminals Psychopathy: a trait describing a lack of empathy and a high degree of impulsivity Narcissism: grandiosity and feelings of superiority Said these three consisted of the Dark Triad of overlapping negative traits Distinct from five factor model Considerable genetic influence on these traits Traits across Cultures If personality comprises a standard of set of factors, then these factors should be exhibited or reported cross- culturally If not then the theory is culture-specific Problems with universality of personality (especially word meanings) The first three of the model can be found in most cultures, but the cross-cultural validity of the others may be questioned McCrae and Terraciano (2005) Asked students from 50 cultures to rate someone they knew well using NEO-PI-R 6 did not show this pattern Women were more positive especially when rating other women Allik and McRae (2004) Examined 36 cultures to see if they would differ with the 5-factor model Found that cultures temperature or distance from equator was not related to personality However, cultures that were geographically close shared similar personal traits o Why? Probably due to shared gene pools or to culture features Study of Chinese people who emigrated to Canada found that differences between them and European Canadians lessened the longer the Chinese lived in Canada o Some traits might be adopted or enhanced by acculturation but others may not o In this case, openness and agreeableness increased for Chinese, but introversion stayed stable Church and colleagues (2005) Investigated cross-cultural beliefs about personality in two individualistic cultures (US and Australia) Hypothesized that the more individualistic the culture, the greater or stronger that cultures beliefs in traits, rather than situations, as determinants of behaviour Trait beliefs were stronger among Americans than Mexicans or Filipinos, but contextual beliefs were weaker Psychobiological Approaches Factor analysis provides a description of consistent patterns of behaviours that we can identify as traits Heritability of Personality Traits Many studies have shown that some personality traits are heritable Compare identical and fraternal twins, raised together and apart Identical twins: more similar than fraternal twins on personality characteristics are heritable Bouchard found that correlations for identical twins were double of fraternal twins Zuckerman (1991) Compiled results of 11 studies on twins Heritabilty for extroversion: 70%; psychoticism: 59%; neuroticism: 48% Results suggest heredity is responsible for 50-70% of the variability in these three personality traits The remaining 30-50 is caused by environment But if family environment has a significant eggect on personality characteristics, identical twins raised together should be more similar than those raised apart o BUT Zuckermans studies showed they were NOT o There was no differences Peoples genetics play an importan
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