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Midterm 1 Notes

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Psychology 2550A/B
David Vollick

Chapter 1 Orientation to Personality 9/9/2012 11:58:00 AM - goal of personality psychology is to find and describe those individual differences between people that are psychologically meaningful and stable need to account for the individuals characteristic patterns of thoughts, emotion and behavior together with the psychological mechanisms behind those patterns study how peoples thoughts and actions interact with, and shape reciprocally, the conditions of their lives - personality refers to qualities of individuals that are relatively stable the change in a persons behavior may be due to personality coherence in the pattern of change in an individuals behavior is another component of personality - personality psychology is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought - personality: complex organization of cognitions, affects and behaviors that gives direction and pattern to a persons life consists of both structures and processes and reflects both nature and nurture includes the effects of the past, including memories of the past and constructions of the present and future includes a persons unique patterns of coping with, and transforming, the psychological environment - the personality construct: personality; shows continuity, stability and coherence is expressed in many ways is organized is a determinant that influences how the individual relates to the social world is a psychological concept, but is also assumed to link with the physical, biological characteristics of the person - Hippocrates philosophized about the basic human temperaments and their associated traits - Aristotle postulated the brain the be the seat of the rational mind, or the conscious and intellectual soul that is peculiar to man - Descartes viewed the mind as what gives us the capacities for thought and consciousness, which sets us apart from the physical world of matter - Freuds theory made reason secondary and instead made primary the unconscious and its often unacceptable, irrational motives and desires, thereby forever changing the view of human nature - levels of analysis are the major theoretical approaches to the study of personality that have guided thinking and research Trait-Dispositional Level: seeks to identify the types of stable psychological qualities and behavioral dispositions that characterize different individuals and types consistently o Stability and consistency of traits and types over the course of time throughout the life span o Agreeableness, conscientiousness and open-mindedness Biological Level: try to specify the role of the genetic determinants and of the social environment in shaping who and what we become o Addresses fact that humans are biological beings who evolved in adaptive ways that endowed the species with biological characteristics, constraints and possibilities o Goal is to examine how aspects of personality may have evolved in response to the evolutionary pressures and history that shaped our species over time Psychodynamic-Motivational Level: probes motivations, conflicts, and defenses, often without ones awareness, that can help explain complex consistencies and inconsistencies in personality Behavioral-Conditioning Level: provide accounts of irrational behaviors that perplex the people who are tortured by them o Analyzes specific patterns of behavior that characterize individuals and the situations or conditions that seem to regulate their occurrence and strength o Studies the determinants of learning and applies learning principles to modify problematic patterns of behavior Phenomenological-Humanistic Level: focus is on subjective experience, feelings, the personal view of the world and the self o Have to try to see how people perceive their world o Focus also on peoples positive strivings and their tendencies toward growth and self-actualization o Explores links between self and personality adjustment, mental health and positive functioning Social-Cognitive Level: persons social knowledge of the world, and how people make sense of other people and themselves and cope as they negotiate their interpersonal lives o Individual differences in how social knowledge is used in dealing with the world, in the construction of the self, in self- regulation and in self-control - work at each level provides basic concepts and strategies for seeking information about people and for constructively changing maladaptive behavior patterns - an increasingly comprehensive view of the person seems to be emerging that incorporates many of the insights and findings from each level of analysis - boundaries are also being crossed between personality psychology and other related fields - findings of personality research address diverse human problems, such as depression, anxiety, impulse control and poor health Chapter 2 Data, Methods and Tools 9/9/2012 11:58:00 AM - the most distinguishing feature of persons is that they construct meaning by reflecting on themselves, their past and the future - the interview: a verbal exchange between the participant and the examiner favored most by workers at Psychodynamic-Motivational level and Phenomenological level tend to be expensive and time consuming to conduct, as well as to code or score - a test: any standardized measure of behavior, including verbal behavior self-reports: any statements people make about themselves performance measures - projective tests: assessors present the person with ambiguous stimuli and ask them ambiguous questions that have no right or wrong answers Rorschach - naturalistic observation/behavior sampling: prefer to observe behavior as it naturally occurs, without any scientific interference - remote behavior sampling: a tiny computerized device carried by respondents pages them at randomly determined times of the day when beeper sounds, respondents record their current thoughts, feelings or behaviors, depending on what the researcher or therapist is assessing - polygraph: apparatus that records the activities of the automatic nervous system - electrocardiogram (EKG): as the heart beats, its muscular contractions produce patterns of electrical activity that may be detected by electrodes placed near the heart on the body surface - plethysmograph: changes in blood volume are recorded - galvanic skin response (GSR): changes in electrical activity of the skin due to sweating - electroencephalograph (EEG): degree of activation in the cerebral cortex may be inferred from brain waves recorded - positron emission tomography (PET) scan: measure amount of glucose being used in various parts of the brain and provide and index of activity as the brain performs a particular function - functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): measures magnetic fields created by the functioning nerve cells in the brain and with the aid of computers depicts these activities as images
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