[PSYC 31A] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (23 pages long!)

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Brandeis
PSYC 31A
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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What is personality?
Derived from persona - mask (Latin)
Closely linked to what it means to be a person
Americans - composite nature of personality, malleability, dynamic relations to
the social environment
Europeans - deep structure, fundamental continuities, and the internal aspects of
its development
Theories
Theory
Set of abstract concepts developed about facts, ideas, events that is used to
explain the phenomena
Macro vs micro
Example
Orientations
Art
Oldest way of the three - understanding self and others, theater, art,
negotiation
Assessment - your text places this here, but it really belongs with science,
with issues of validity and reliability
Philosophy
Assumptions
Freedom vs determinism
Heredity vs environment
Uniqueness vs universality
Proactivity vs reactivity
Optimism vs pessimism
Importance of past, present and future
Evaluation
Coherence
Relevance
Comprehensiveness
Compellingness
Science
Philosophical basis of science - paradigmatic (model) with scientific
statements made based on currently accepted paradigms
Empirical data
Objective vs subjective
Consensual validation (agreement among observers) and generalizations
(applied to a specified class of observations)
E.g. some people hear the voice of God, cannot be verified by
science
Observational definitions
Evaluating scientific statements
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Precision and testability
Empirical validity
Comprehensiveness and parsimony
Internal consistency
Utility
Heuristic value
Historical context
Study of consciousness
Wundt
Tichener
James
Study of behavior
Skinner
Watson
Study of the unconscious
Freud etc.
Scientific study of personality
Experimental methodology
Cognitive psychology and neuroscience
What makes us who we are?
Dispositional traits (biological traits)
Characteristic adaptations
Integrative life narrative
Internalized / evolving narrative of the self integrating the reconstructed past,
perceived present, anticipated future to provide life with a sense of unity and
purpose
E.g. grandparents tell stories. The stories tell who they are
Other definitional components
Unique characteristics
Is it what makes us different than others?
How others see us
Persona again
Stable and predictable characteristics
Individual difference variables
E.g. family, friends, job
Persistence questions - what does it take for a person to exist from one time to
the next? (what says, what remains)
Historically arises from the hope/fear of continued existence after death
Function of some biological mechanism that creates a stable narrative?
Motivations
Network of convictions and values that structure your life
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