PSYB30 the personality puzzle
Chapter 1: The study of the person 01/23/2014
Psychological triad: how people feel, think, behave.
Personality psychology: social, cognitive, developmental, clinical, biological.
Personality: individual characteristic patterns of though, emotion, behavior.
Basic approach: paradigm
trait approach:personality trait: ways people differ psychologicall and how these differences might be
conceptualized and measured.
biological approach: anatomy, physiology, genetics.
psychoanalytic approach: unconscious mind (dream
phenomenological approach: people’s conscious experience of the world
humanistic psychology: conscious awareness can produce human attributes.
Learning approach: how people change their behavior as a result of learning: reward, punishment, other
Behaviourists; behavior affected by rewardpunishment
Behaviourism: social learning that draws inferences about ways that mental process such as observation
and selevaluation determine which behaviours are learned/ performed.
Employer deciding who to hire: psychoanalytic approach.
Funder’s first law: great strengths are great weaknesses, and sometimes opposite is true.
The goals of personal psychology
Personality psychology’s unique mission is to address the psychological triad of though, feeling, and
behavior, and to try to explain the functioning of whole individuals. This is an impossible mission, so
different approaches to personality must limit themselves by emphasizing different psychological topics.
Personality psychology can be organized into 5 basic approaches: trait, biological, psychoanalytic,
phenomoenlogical, and learning and cognitive processes. Each address human psychology as well as
ignore others. Clues to personality 01/23/2014
4 things to look at individual personality
1. Ask person directly
2. Find out what other people knows about the person
3. Check how person is faring in life
4. Observe what person does/try to measure behavior.
Funder’s second law: there are no perfect indicators of personality: only clues, and clues are ambiguous.
Funder’s third law: something beats nothing, two times out of three. (better to collect data than no data).
Four kinds of clues
S data: ask the person directly: selfjudgment, questionnaires. Straightforward. Face validity: intend to
measure what they seem to measure on their face.
Advantage: large amount of information. Access to thoughts, feelings, intentions. Definitional truth:
personality are selfviews. Casual force: selfverification: you think yourself smart, so you put effort to think
smart. Simple and easy=cost effective.
Disadvantage: maybe they won’t tell you. They can’t tell you. Fish and water effect: the fish does not notice
they are wet: person has been acting like this forever and doesn’t notice. Culture. Lack of insight. Too
simple and too easy.
I data: ask somebody who knows: judgments by knowledgeable informants about general attributes of
individual personality. Judgments: derived from sombebody observing somebody else.
Advantage: large amount of information. Observants in the real world. Common sense: informant knows
person’s response in immediate situation(bump into someone), and context other behaviours informant
might know (nemesis.). definitional truth. Casual force. Expectancy effect=behavioural confirmation.: other
expect you to be good so you tend to be good. People expect me to be pretty, ill tend to be pretty
Disadvantage: limited behavioural information: people only knows you at school/not home. Compartments:
distinct identities in differnet environment: you see boss in office vs boss in a party. Lack of access to
private experience. Error: informants can be bias.
Life outcomes: L data. : verifiable concrete reallife facts that hold psychological significance. (did you
graduate? In jail?)
Advantage: objective and verifiable: specific numeric. Intrinsic importance. Psychological relevance: L data
is informative, people with psychological makeup will engage in criminal behavior
Disadvantage; multidetermination: other factors can cause their action.
B data: watch what the person does: b for behavior. testing situation where behavior is observed.
Natural B data: in real life. (diary) experiencesampling methods: using a beeper and participant would write
what they felt whenever beeper randomly beeps. Specific behaviors offered by participant or acquaintance:
person record how many phone calls in a day. Electronically activated recorder: EAR audio recorder to
sample sounds around him. Placing a baby in front of a mirror.
Laboratory B data: Clues to personality 01/23/2014
certain personality tests. S,B data. Minnesota Multiphasic personality inventory: contain truefalse item (e.g
I am a special messenger of the Lord t/f?). projective test: Thematic Apperception Test: participant shown
picture of someone doing something. In S data: psychologist asks you a question because he wants to
know the answer. In B data: psychology ask question because he wants to see How you will answer
(placed in a situation).. physiological measure: blood pressure, skin response (moisture/sweating), heart
rate, brain function from CT or ET scan.
Advantage: range of contexts. Appearance of objectivity; only get his own information and not listen from
other bias info. High reliability.
Disadvantage: uncertain interpretation. If someone gives you a gift is it because person is generous? Likes
you ? or both?
Mixed types of data.
Behaviouroid: hybrid between B and S data. Participants report what they would do in situations.
L and S data mix: selfreport of how many times you suffered the flu?
L and I data mix: parent’s report of how healthy you were as a child.
No infallible indicators of personality
S data tend to agree with I data: people tend to see themselves as others see them.
Funder’s fourth law: there are only two kinds of data. Terrible data: ambiguous incomplete. No data.
Data are clues: observation
4 kinds of clues:
S(selfjudgment) data comprise of person’s assessment of his own personality. The advantage of S data
are that each individual have large information about himself; unique access to own
thoughts/feelings/intention; some S data are true by definition (selfesteem); S data have casual force all
their own; S data are simple and easy to gather. The disadvantages are that people sometimes will
not/cannot tell researchers about themselves; S data may be easy to obtain that psychologist rely on them
I (informant) data comprise the judgments of knowledgeable acquaintances about the personality traits of
the person being studied. The advantage of I data are that large amount of information on informants’
judgments are based; information comes from real life; informants can use common sense; kinds of I data
are true by definition (likeability); judgment of people who know the person are important because they
affect reputation, opportunities, expectancies. The disadvantage of I data are that no informant knows
everything about the person; the informants judgments can subject to random errors (forgetting/bias) Clues to personality 01/23/2014
L (life) data comprise observable life outcomes such as being arrested, graduating form college. L data
have advantage of being objective and verifiable, as well as being intrinsically important and potentially
psychologically relevant, but they have the disadvantage of being determined by many different factors, and
sometimes not even being psychologically relevant.
B(behavioral) data comprise direct observations of a person doing something in a testing situation. This
situation may involve the person’s reallife environment , artificial stoical setting in lab, personality testing
such as MMPI, inkblot, physiological measurement of variable such as heart rat, blood pressure, brain
activity. The advantage of B data are that they can tap into many different kinds of behavior including those
that might not occur or can be easily measured in normal life; and that they are obtained through direct
observation and so are in that sense objective. The disadvantage of B data is that all superficial objectivity,
it is still not always clear what they mean psychologically. Psychology as Science:
Research Methods. 01/23/2014
Scientific Education and technical training
Quality of data. Are the data reliable? Are the data valid? Are the data generalizable?
Reliability: measurements that reflect what you are trying to assess and not affected by anything else. Ex.
Personality test getting different results=not reliable. Measurement error: extra influence. If trying to
measure state: mood when he won lottery is highly relevant, not extra. If measure trait: level of emotion,
then it is extra and measurement will be wrong. Reliable: can you get the same results more than once.
(thermometer, blood count).
4 things can undermine reliability: low precision, state of participant (can enter room bad/sad). State of
experimenter (not always attentive or treat each person the same). Environment: using fire alarm, noise,
noise level provide data unreliable.
4 things to enhance reliability. Data entry sheet double check, constant scripted procedure, measure
something important (measure how happy person is vs measure how much he smiles to measure happy).
Spearmanbrown formula in psychometrics: technology of psychological measurements. Aggregation more
important to predict behavior. Consistency controversy: single behaviours are difficult to preduct form
Validity: measurement actually reflects what one thinks/hopes. a valid measure is always reliable (you get
the right answers all the time). A reliable measure doesn’t always mean valid (you get the same Wrong
answers all the time.). when ultimate truth reality=measurement then it is valid. Construct: something that
cannot be seen/touched but explain things visible (gravity/IQ test). Construct validation: process of testing
theory behind a construct such as intelligence/sociability.
Generalizability: reliability and validity.
Gender bias. Shows vs no show. Cohort effect: tendency of group of people living at a particular time to be
different from earlier or later generation. Ethnic/cultural diversity. WEIRD: Western Educated industrialized
Research Design: case, experimental, correlational
Case Method: closely studying event in order to find out as much as possible. Advantage: source of ideas,
method is necessary. disadvantage: obvious, not controlled, many factors.
Experimental method and correlation method.
Experimental method: randomly .
Comparing experimental and correlational methods. In experimental design: anxiety is manipulated.
Correlational method: R factor without manipulation. Psychology as Science:
Research Methods. 01/23/2014
Problem with experimental method: never be sure what you have manipulated (you tell them that the test
score will affect their life, they can become angry, anxious, sad when you want them to be anxious). It can
create levels of variables unlikely in real life. (does your life REALLY depend on this experiment? Levels of
anxious exaggerated). Requires deception. Some experiments are not possible (child abuse, you study
those that were abused, you can’t just abuse some).
Representative Design. Stimuli and response.
How strong are the results. NHST: null hypothesis significance testing.: what are the changes I would have
found this result if nothing were really going on? Problem with NHST: difficult to describe logic precisely
Type I error: deciding that one variable has effect with another variable when it does not.
Type II error: one variable does not have effect on another variable when it does.
Effect size: likely hood of the result. Correlation coefficient: describe strength of correlation or experimental
results. R. strong/weak, positive/negative. Linear, nonlinear
Binomial effect size display: BESD: Psychology as Science:
Research Methods. 01/23/2014
The uses of psychological research: ethics. Truthfulness. Deception.
Tools of exploration.
Psychology’s emphasis on method.
Psychology emphasize the methods by which knowledge can be obtained, and is generally more
concerned with better understanding human nature than cataloging specific facts.
Scientific education and technical training.
Real science is the seeking of new knowledge, not the cataloging of facts already known. Technical training
conveys current knowledge about a subject, so that knowledge can be applied. Scientific education teaches
not only what is known but also how to find out what is not yet known.
Quality of Data
The essence of science is that conclusions should be based on data. Data can vary widely in quality; in
personality psychology, the important dimensions of data quality are reliability, validity, and generalizability.
Reliability refers to the stability or repeatability of measurements. Validity refers to the degree to which a
measurement actually measures what it is trying to measure. Generalizability is a broader concept that
subsumes both reliability and validity and it rears to the kinds of other measurements to which a given
measurement is related.
The plan one uses for gathering psychological data is the research design. The 3 main methods are: case,
Case studies examine particular phenomena or individuals in detail, and can be important source of new
ideas. To test ideas, correlational/experimental studies are necessary. Each of the 3 methods has
advantages and disadvantages, but experimental method is the only one that can be used to determine
Representative design maximizes generalizability of research results by including different stimuli and
responses that are representative of those theorized to be important.
How strong are the results?
Statistical significance of a result represents the probability that the data would have be obtained if the “null
hypothesis” were true, but it is typically misinterpreted as the probability that the null hypothesis is true. Null
hypothesis significance testing: NHST: has many problems that are increasingly being acknowledged. In
particular statically significance is not the same as the strength/ importance of result.
Best way to evaluate research results in term of effect size, which describes the degree one variable is
related to another. One measure of effect size is correlation coefficient, which can be evaluated with
Binomial effect size display BESD.
Ethics. Psychology as Science:
Research Methods. 01/23/2014
Ethical issues relevant to psychology include way research results are used, truthfulness in science, and
the use of deception in research with human participants
Tools of exploration
Knowledge of research methods is critical because nature does not give up her secrets easily. It is
important to do everything possible to enhance the reliability and validity of data to have any hopes
of using them to understand how the world works. Personality traits, situations,
The measurement of individual differences.
Clyde Kluckhohn and Henry Murray: every man is in certain respects: like all other men, like some other
men, like no other man. All people have biologically based need for food, water, sex. People differ in
properties but can be grouped. Each individual are unique and cannot be compared with anyone else (past
People are inconsistent
Casual observation is sufficient to confirm personality trait are not only factor control behavior, situation
matter because it vary to people who are present and implicit rules that apply
If situation is important, personality plays not much role because individual behavior are inconsistent and
apt to change.
Situationist argument in 3 parts:
1. A thorough review of personality research literature reveal low upper limit to how well one can predict
what a person will do based on personality.
2. Situationism: situation more important than personality trait in determining behavior
trait is not descriptive because people generally tend to see each other as being more consistent across
situations than they really are. Fundamental attribution error.
Situationist argument. If you know somebody’s trait score, you should be able to guess what the person will
do in the future. There is no trait that can predict behavior accurately. Mischel looked at relationship
between SB: ability of personality trait to predict behavior (predict how sociable you are on Friday)., IB, BB
(consistency of behavior across situationif you’re sociable in Friday, are you on Tuesday too?.
Unfair literature review: one way to improve research is to move out of labs. People become more
consistent than others.(more consistent=easier to predict accurately)
3 ways to improve personality research: measure behavior in real life, check for variations in consistency,
and seek to predict behavioral trends rather than single act.
A correlation of 0.4 is not small.
1 A correlation of 0.4 represents true upper limit to which one can predict behavior from personality or see
consistency in behavior from one situation to another
2 this is a small upper limit. (if you say correlation is not small, then limit would cease to be worrisome, and
critique would be gone.)
to tell if 0.4 is big/small. 2 kinds of standards: absolute and relative.
Absolute standard: calculate how many correct/incorrect prediction of behavior a trait measurement with
validity would yield in hypothetical context. Binomial Effect size display. 0.4 correlation means 70% accurate
(used to decide how much people to train in a company) Personality traits, situations,
Relative standard: accuracy of other methods used to predict behaviors. Situation, not person is important
in determining behavior. Draw comparison with ability of situation variable to predict behavior.
Situationism. (relative standard)
1. Forced compliance effect demonstrated by Festinger and Carlsmith where people paid $1 to change
attitude (lie that something is fun) tend to change more than $20. .36
2. Bystander intervention. If people would help others lying on the floor when rushed/not rushed. .39
3. Stanley Milgram investigation of obedience. 2 variables: isolation of victim(if victim can’t heard
protesting). Proximity of experimenter: more obedience if researcher is physically present than orders over
the phone/tape. .36
Are person perceptions erroneous?
Situationist argument: personality variable to predict behavior is limited. Personality traits, situations,
01/23/2014 Personality traits, situations,
Personality and Life
Ozer and Benet Martinez made the traits into 5 categories. Reason that personality affects outcomes
because it is present throughout life. Personality traits, situations,
01/23/2014 Personality traits, situations,
Persons and situations
Situational variables are relevant to how people will act under specific circumstances. Personality traits are
better for describing how people act in general
Relationships, jobs, and business.
Extraversion, sociability, shyness predict how many friends you will have.
Human capital formation: development of knowledge and skill: focus on cognitive abilities: IQ. (personality
traits such as motivation, persistence, and selfcontrol matter).
Interactionism: to see persons and situations as constantly interacting with each other to produce a
Person and situation interact in 3 ways
1. Effect of personality variable depend on situation, vice versa. (introvert +
caffeine=worse outcome on activity. Extrovert + caffeine=better outcome on
2. situations are not randomly populated. (you can choose to go to a club to
dance or not in the first place).
3. People change situations by what they do in them. (you hit me, I hit you back).
Persons, situations, and values
Mischel’s argument that personality did not exist impact the world psychology. Controversy such as how
little personality tell about behavior and how behavior change to little situations.
People are different
The measurement of individual differences
The trait approach to personality begins by assuming that individuals differ in characteristic patterns of
thought, feeling, and behavior. These patterns are called personality traits.
People are inconsistent
Classifying people according to traits raises an important problem, however; people are inconsistent.
Indeed, some psychologists have suggest that people are so inconsistent in their behavior from one
situation to the next that it is not worthwhile to characterize them in terms of personality traits. The
controversy over the issue is called the personsituation debate.
The personsituation debate Personality traits, situations,
Situationist, or opponents of trait approach, argue (1) that according to a review of personality literature, the
ability of traits to predict behavior is extremely limited; (2) that situations are therefore more important than
personality traits for determining that people do; and (3) that not only is personality assessment –
measurement of traits a was to confirm, but also many people’s intuitions about each other are wrong.
The rebuttals for first Situationist argument are that a fair review of the literature reveals that predictability of
behavior from traits is better than is sometimes acknowledge; that improved research methods can increase
this predictability; and that putative upper limit for predictabilitycorrelation of .40 yield better outcomes than
The response to second Situationist argument is that many important effects of situations on behavior are
no bigger statistically than the documented size of effect of personality traits on behavior.
If the response to the first two Situationist arguments are valid, then third argument (assessment and
people’s intuitions are fundamentally flawed.
The large number of personality trait terms support importance of trait as usefully way to predict behavior
and understand personality.
Personality and life
A wideranging survey of the research literature shows that personality traits affect important life outcomes,
including health, longevity, and interpersonal career success.
Persons and situations
Situational variables are best suited for predicting behavior in specific situations, whereas personality traits
are more relevant to patterns of behavior that persist across relationship partners, work settings, economic
decisions, and other life situations.
The resolution of the personsituation debate requires recognizing that persons and situations do not
compete for which one determines behavior more. Instead persons and situations interact to produce
Interactionism recognizes that 1. Effect of a person variable may depend on situation, vice versa; 2. People
with different personalities may choose or find themselves in different situations. 3. Situations are affect by
personalities of people who inhabit them.
The person situation debate may have been instigated and maintained, in part, because of deeply held
philosophical beliefs. Emphasizing the effect of the situation implies personal equality and individual
flexibility, along with avoidance of personal blame, whereas emphasizing the person accentuates the
importance of selfdetermination and personal responsibility. The resolution of the debate may imply that
these values are not as incompatible as is sometimes assume.
People are different Personality traits, situations,
The psychological differences among people matter. The business of personality psychology is to
describe and measure these differences, and to use them to predict and understand what people do. Using personality traits to
Understand behavior. 01/23/2014
4 method to connect trait with behavior
1. Single trait approach: examine link between personality and behavior by asking: what do
people like that trait do. (examine conscientiousness , selfmonitoring, narcissism)
2. Manytrait approach: beginning with implicit. Who does that trait? Researcher interest in self
control measure delay of gratification.
3. Essentialtrait approach: which traits are the most important. Big five list: extraversion,
neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness.
4. Typological approach: whether it is valid to compare people with others of same trait. Instead of
focusing on trait directly, focuses on pattern of traits to sort these types. Which type are you?
The single trait approach.
Conscientiousness: predicting who will be productive employee, selfmonitoring: relationship between
inner reality and external self, narcissism: people who