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Chapter 1

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McGill University
PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

Chapter 1  Personality psychology: scientific study of the whole person o Individual human being as a complex whole o Study of individual differences  Personality portraits: o Personality traits – general, internal dispositions  We create personality portraits of people when we first meet them. We see how those stay constant throughout different situations. We susually form our impression about the person durin one situation. These impressions will guide us to dealing with the person when we meet them next time o Self-report questionnaires: quantifies individual differences in such traits.  Most people have a good sense of their basic traits in comparison to others  Big Five traits: o Openness to experience (O) o Conscientiousness (C) o Extraversion (E) o Agreeableness (A) o Neuroticism (N) o OCEAN o Provide a comprehensive description of basic dimensions of variability in human psyc qualities= implicated in social behave o Big Five traits sketch the outline of the person.  Characteristic adaptations: o Trait attributions: tell us about trends in behavior over time and across different situations o Characterstics adaptations: aspects of personality that are contextualized→show motivational, cognitive and developmental concerns in personality  Theories of human motivation:  What do people want in life  Freud: humans motivated by deep urges regarding sexuality and aggression  McClelland: needs for achievement, power, affiliation or intimacy  Theories of cognition and personality:  Role of cognitive factors (values, beliefs, expectancies, etc)  Kelly: personal construct theory  Developmental:  Evoluntion of the self and its relationships with others  Erik erikson: psychosocial developments  Loevinger: ego development o As you move from dispositional traits to characteristic adaptations: you move from focus on personality structure → one that emphasizes personality dynamics , process, change  Identity: o Challenge of unity and purpose in life o What provides one’s life with an overall sense of unity, purpose and meaning? o People have a desire to determine their purpose through time: who am I today? How will I change tomorrow? Etc o Challenge of modern identity:  1) despite many different part of me, I am whole  2) despite many changes that occur through time, my past determines who I am for the future, or at least sets a basis for my identity for the future  Third level of personality: Identity as a life story o Life story:  Self narrative that consists of past, present and fuure to provide life with a sense of unity and purpose o Story = identity. As the ientity changes so deos the story o Approaches to interpreting stories people live by:  People consciously take meaning out of their own lives constantly; they take things out of their own cultures to shape their identity  Peoples stores are shaped by forces over which we have little control, life narratives are fragmentary and people will never really knw what the meaning of their life is  Freud: psychoanalysis → interpretation should be delving deep into the narrative/ meanings are hiddn bhind the lines  Postmodern: looked at swirls of narratives in culture and society  People are storytellers  Discursive  Dialogical o If we know a person really well:  1) we know their dispositiona traits→ behavior across time  2) we know how they are adapting and confronting to motivational, cognitive, and developmental tasks → contextualized in place, time, role  3) we know what kind of identity they consider for themselves through their life stories  Psychological individuality is conveyed through patterning of traits, adaptations ands stories Science  Personality psychs study people in a scientific way  Step 1: Unsystematic Observation o Need to observe the phenomenon of interest over a long period of time o This step involves a creative observer who looks for order or patterns which may have not been observed before o This is not a passive or causal thing o You are actively trying to discern and then describe the observation tht eemes to be otherwise to other people o Science= subjective endeavor in this case (thught we usually think it to be objective and rational) o Context of discovery: discover new ways of seeing reality→ moves from concrete and particular events to abstract and general representations of those events= induction o Can organize observations into case studies  In-depth investigation of a single individual- conducted over a long period of time  Gives a lot of information about one person  Usually used to develop theory about many people  Serves as a bridge between step 1 and 2  Step 2: building general theories: o Making a theory o Organize observations collected in step 1 into a system that explains the phenomenon of interest o Not always arrived at in a logical manner o Developed in stragne ways ( dreams and reveries eg. Kekule
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