Personality psychology: scientific study of what makes people who they are. Study of
individual differences: for identifying ways in which people are similar and different, how
they became that way.
Traits: a person‟s typical way of thinking/feeling/acting in various situations, at different
These are consistent across lifetime and expressed in many ways
Genetics: study of how genes and environment affect personality/behaviour
Evolution has selected behaviours that improve survival of species/individual and
their close genetic relatives
Neuroscience: study of how brain and nervous system affect personality/behaviour
through the study of bodily responses, brain structure, brain activity, and biochemical
Self and Identity: sense of who we are – including self-concept, self-esteem, social
Self-concept: sense of who we are
Self-esteem: our opinion of our self-concept
Social identity: trying to present ourselves in certain way to others or taking on
the personality that others give us
Intrapsychic Foundations of Personality: Looking within selves (intra) to own conscious
and unconscious thoughts/feelings (psychic) that also make up our personality.
Regulation and Motivation: concerned with how people adjust their responses to the
environment, both consciously and unconsciously.
Cognitive Foundations: how people perceive and think about information about
themselves and the world
Scientific Method: describes how to make and test observations about the world in order
to draw conclusions while minimizing error or bias
1. Identification of basic facts about world and building a theory with them
2. Make predictions and test predictions based on their theories using controlled
methods 3. Make results public by publishing them in journals, on internet, or presenting at
Observational study: observe what people do, to understand a certain phenomenon
Make a hypothesis (educated guess) to explain findings
Personality questionnaire: tests in which people answer questions about themselves
that identify certain aspects of their personality
Correlation coefficient: measures the relationship, or co-relation, between two variables.
Indicated by r
Correlations can be positive or negative.
Positive: two variables increase or decrease at the same time
Negative: one variable decreases while the other increases or vice versa
Correlational studies: researchers generally don‟t manipulate variables but instead
measure two variables to see how they are related.
Experiment: placing people in a controlled situation and seeing how they react
Researchers usually design at least two conditions that differ in the variable that they
wish to study:
Experimental condition: participants experience one treatment
Control condition: participants experience another treatment or no treatment at
Researchers use random assignment (giving each participant an equal chance of being
in either group) to assign a participant to one group or another.
Experimental control: all aspects of the experiment are the same except for the variable
True experiment: allows researchers to conclude that what they manipulated caused a
difference in the outcome.
Independent variable: variable that the researchers manipulate – independent of
participants‟ responses. Dependent variable: variable that the researchers measure – the responses of the
Self-report data: questionnaires, interviews etc.
Observation data: behaviour is observed by professionals, friends
Test data: example – how person behaves in a controlled situation
Life data: info about the person‟s life
Respect for persons: includes allowing person to choose whether they want to
participate, by giving their consent after they have been informed about the procedures
and possible risks of the study (informed consent).
Special consideration must also be given to people who have limited autonomy
or limited physical/mental capacity
Beneficence: researchers should do no harm to the participants
Using best research methods/materials, having trained personnel interact with
research participants, minimizing potential harm and maximizing possible
benefits of research participation
Justice: benefits and burdens of research participants must be shared equitably among
potential research populations
Researchers must treat all participants fairly/equally, avoiding samples or
convenience/exploitation of vulnerable populations/not involving persons from
groups unlikely to benefit from research
Also suggests that participants should receive some benefit or value for being in
the study – money, learning experience, treatment for cure under study or
general benefit for society
Common Rule: mandates that institutes that conduct research must establish and
maintain an institutional review board (IRB) to review all research to make sure they
hold up standards CHAPTER 2
Behavioural residue: when people live in an environment, they leave behind traces that
hint at the personality of the person.
Personality trait: describe a person‟s typical style of thinking, feeling, acting in different
kinds of situations and at different times.
Temporary states (emotions), attitudes, physical attributes are not considered
Traits are measured over a continuum – a continuous stretch from low to high. They
can‟t be directly measured (like height/weight) so psychologists view them as
Idiographic: goal is to understand personality of a single individual with all of the
idiosyncrasies/characteristics that make them unique
Nomothetic: goal is to discover universals – concepts that can apply to everyone – by
identifying traits that describe all people or can be applied to any person.
Central traits: traits that are a major importance in understanding person. 5 or 10 traits
that people might use to describe one person to another. (“They‟re talkative, outgoing
Secondary traits: traits of lesser importance, less consistently displayed or seldom
displayed or only slightly revealed so only a close friend might recognise them.
Cardinal traits: these are for unusual people where only trait can describe them. They
are extremely pervasive and extremely influential that practically every aspect of the
person‟s life is touched by the „ruling passion‟.
Example: Oscar the Grouch
Theoretical Approach: personality psychologists start with a theory or even common
wisdom about human personality
Lexical Approach: explores a particular language and identifies the number of
synonyms that describe personality
Measurement Approach: discovering important aspects of personality and trying to
Factor analysis: statistical technique that mathematically identifies meaningful
underlying structure among a set of variables Eigenvalue of a factor: Each factor can explain a certain amount of variation (variance)
in answers between participants.
Factor loadings: calculated from the eigenvalue, an estimate of how strongly each
questions fits into a given factor.
The Big Five is composed of Surgency (Extraversion), Agreeableness,
Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Culture.
FFM: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness
Eysenck‟s PEN model of personality: Identified three broad dimensions of personality,
based on physiological/biological differences between people: Psychoticism,
Psychoticism: how tough-minded or antisocial a person is. People high in psychoticism
tend to be selfish and antisocial.
Extraversion: how outgoing people are to social/physical environment. People high in
extraversion tend to be outgoing and experience many positive feelings.
Neuroticism: refers to negative emotionality and emotional reactivity. People high in
neuroticism tend to be easily upset and vulnerable to negative emotions. People low in
neuroticism tend to be even-tempered and calm, somewhat unemotional, and recover
quickly after an upsetting situation.
Facets: the six subscales that make up the five factors, according to the NEO-PI-R
Openness (or “Inquiring Intellect”): can refer to an appreciation of the life of the mind in
such things as ideas, thoughts, fantasies, art, and beauty. NOT the same as
intelligence. People can score high on Openness and low on IQ.
Agreeableness: quality of interpersonal relationships (how well the person gets on with
others). Can also be thoughts of as prosocial or communal orientation to others and is
contrasted with antagonism/competitiveness.
Conscientiousness: individual‟s degree of organization, both physical organization (tidy
office) and mental organization (planning ahead). Also includes how they regulate
People high in this are organized, neat, thorough, and diligent. Also have better GPA
and job performance. This can lead to annoying habits like fastidiousness, compulsive
neatness, and workaholic behaviour. People low in this are more likely to
smoke/drink/do drugs, show ADD, have poor diet, and not exercise enough. General personality factor (GPF): the smallest number of factors that can describe
personality. In this case, it is one factor that is hypothesized to explain all of human
personality like the way g represents an underlying factor of all intelligence. The GPF
lies at the top of a hierarchy.
This factor would include all of the positive aspects of the five factors (Emotional
Stability, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Intellect). It would
also have the two factors of alpha (ability to get along with others) and beta (the
flexibility to deal with change, challenges, demands).
People high in GPF are altruistic, sociable, able to handle stress, dependable,
HEXACO (six-factor model): Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion,
Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience.
Alpha: Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness
Beta: Extraversion and Openness to Experience CHAPTER 3
Spiritual transcendence: ability of individuals‟ to „stand outside of their immediate sense
of time and place to view life from a larger, more objective perspective‟
Sexy Seven: 7 sexuality-related factors – Sexual Attractiveness, Relationship
Exclusivity, Gender Orientation, Sexual Restraint, Erotophilic Disposition, Emotional
Investment, Sexual Orientation.
Philotimo: (Greek) polite, generous, responsible, respectful, strong sense of honour.
Filial piety: (Chinese) caring for the physical/mental well-being of elderly family
members, continuing family line, and bring honour to one‟s family.
Amae: (Japanese) Person who has a strong social obligation to take care of others
Indigenous traits: traits originating from another language and that are unique to a
Ren Qing: traditional relationship orientation, emphasizing give/take and
Ah-Q mentality: defensiveness
Interpersonal Relatedness: made up of Harmony, Ren Qing, Ah-Q, and Face
Triangulation: process of using multiple methods within a single program of research.
Each method compensates for the weakness of others.
S data (self-report data): objective personality tests, interviews, narratives, life stories,
and survey research
T data (test data): information from testing situations – experimental procedures or
standardized measures that have objective rules for scoring a person‟s performance.
Ex.: intelligence tests, task persistence, and reaction times
O data (observation data): obtained by watching people in the laboratory or in their daily
lives. Can be provided by researcher or by family members/friends/colleagues etc.
L data (life data): information about a person that is publicly available – socioeconomic
status, membership in clubs, number of family members.
Continuity/consistency: amount of trait that stays the same
Change: amount of trait that is different, either increased or decreased from previously. Personality coherence: underlying trait stays the same but the way it is expressed
changes. A type of continuity.
Example: sensation-seeking 10 year-old might explore neighbourhood.
Sensation-seeking 26 year-old might do cliff diving
Longitudinal study: method to study how traits develop over a lifetime.
Mean level change: type of general change that affects nearly all people as they grow
from infancy to childhood.
Individual change: how individual person changes over time
Normative change: how people change over time, on average
Temperaments: individual differences that originally begin to be shown in childhood. CHAPTER 4
Personality Assessment: measurement of the individual characteristics of a person
Reliability: an estimate of how consistent a test is, describing the extent to which test
scores are consistent and reproducible with repeated measurements. Consistent results
should be across time, items, and raters.
Temporal consistency reliability: when an assessment gives consistent results across
time, often tested by test-retest reliability
Test-retest reliability: when a test gives a consistent result from one point in time to a
later point in time.
Internal consistency reliability: when an assessment gives consistent results across
items, demonstrated by:
Parallel-forms reliability: two versions of the test that are comparable and can be
checked to see if the scores on both versions are similar
Split-half reliability: splitting a test in half and seeing if test-takers‟ scores on one
half correlated with the scores on the other half.
Cronbach‟s alpha ( ): Taking the correlation between the scores of two halves of
a test then calculating the average correlation of all possible halves of the test.
This estimates the generalizability of the score from one set of items to another.
o Researchers try to make sure that their measures have an alpha of 0.70 to
o This should be even higher when desi