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Chapter 1

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PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

Chapter 1 – Studying the Person • Personality psychology – scientific study of whole person o Often studies individual differences o Developed ways to classify, categorize and organize diversity of psychological individuality  look for biological and environmental forces and factors to explain differences • Ultimate goal of personality psychology: construct a scientifically credible account of psychological individuality o Situate biological and cultural context while specifying how that person is similar/different from others What do We Know When We Know a Person Sketching an outline: Dispositional Traits • When trying to figure out what kind of a person someone is, you sketch a personality portrait • Personality traits are those general, internal, and comparative dispositions that we attribute to people in: o our initial efforts to sort individuals into meaningful behavioral categories o to account for consistencies we perceive or expect in behavior from one situation to the next over time • most common procedure for quantifying individual differences in dispositional traits: self- report questionnaire o rationale: most people have an idea of what their basic traits are • good trait measures useful in predicting behavior over time and across situations o employed in efforts to discern the biological bases of human behavior • Big Five trait categories: OCEAN  provide comprehensive description of basic dimensions of variability in human psychological qualities that are implicated in consequential social behavior o Openness o Conscientiousness o Extroversion o Agreeableness o Neuroticism Filling in Details: Characteristic Adaptations • Trait attributions are useful because they tell us about trends in behavior over time and across different situations, settings, and contexts o In Amanda’s case, we considered aspects of her personality that are contextualized in time, place, and/or role  characteristic adaptations (contextualized facets of psychological individuality that speak to motivational, cognitive, and developmental concerns in personality • Theories of human motivation: o Freud: humans motivated by deep urges regarding sexuality and aggression o Rogers and others: placed prime importance on needs for self-actualization and other growth-promoting human tendencies o Murray: list of more than 20 basic psychological needs or motives o McClelland: studied 3 needs  needs to achievement, power, and affiliation/intimacy • Theories of cognition and personality  underscore role of cognitive factors – values, beliefs, expectancies, schemas, plans, personal constructs, cognitive styles—in human individuality o George Kelly’s personal construct theory is the most famous theory • Third set of theories is explicitly developmental  focuses on evolution of self and its rlnsps with others from birth to old age o Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, Jane Loevinger’s theory of ego development  most influential and far-reaching development theories of personality created • Theories of human motivation: specify such characteristic adaptations as human needs, motives, goals, and strivings • Social cognitive theories: speak of adaptations such as personal constructs, beliefs, values, schemas, and personal ideologies • Developmental theories: address questions as stages, pathways, and developmental tasks in psychological individuality • Traits move from dispositional  personality  one that emphasizes personality dynamics, process, and change Table 1.3 – A selection of characteristic adaptations and a selection of corresponding classic theories Motivational theories and concepts: drives, needs, motives, goals, strivings, personal projects, current concerns Freud Unconscious drives/needs for sexuality and aggression Henry Murray More than 20 psychogenic needs, such as needs for achievement, power, and affiliation/intimacy Carl Rogers Fundamental need for self-actualization motivates healthy, growing-inducing behavior Abraham Maslow A hierarchy of needs, running from physiological and safety needs to esteem and actualization needs Deci and Ryan Three basic growth needs: autonomy, competence, relatedness Socio-Cognitive theories and concepts: personal constructs, beliefs, values, expectancies, schemas, cognitive styles George Kelly Psychology of personal constructs: basic categories for construing subjective experience Cantor and Kihlstrom Social intelligence: schema and skills Self-development theories and concepts: stages, pathways, developmental tasks Erik Erikson Eight stages of psychosocial development Jane Loevinger Stages of ego development Constructing a story: Integrative Life Narratives • Identity  the problem of unity and purpose in life o Integrative framework of various pieces of who they are come together into some kind of sensible whole • Challenge to modern identity o Despite many different parts of me I am whole and coherent o Despite many changes that attend passage of time, the self of my past led up to or set stage for self of present, which in turn led up to or sets stage for future • Integration of self into identity accomplished through construction and revision of a “life story” (Third level of personality is level of identity as life story) • Life story: internalized and evolving narrative of self that integrates reconstructed past, perceived present, and anticipated future in order to provide a life with sense of unity and purpose o Story is the identity, thus as identity changes, so does the story • Freud and psychoanalytic tradition o Interpretation always a matter of delving deep beneath surface narrative • 3 contemporary approaches to understanding life stories: o Postmodern – confusing swirl of narratives in culture and society whereas Freud only looked deep within the person  people are story tellers who make themselves anew with each new conversation they have, each new story they tell and perform o Discursive o Dialogical Table 1.4 – Three Levels of Personality Level Definition Examples Dispositional Traits • Broad dimensions of Dominance personality that Tendency toward depression describe internal, global, and stable Punctuality individual differences in behavior thought and feeling • Account for consistency in individual function across different situations and over time Characteristic adaptations • Describe personal Goals, motives, and life plans adaptations to Religious values and beliefs motivational, cognitive, and developmental Cognitive schemas challenges and tasks • Usually contextualized Psychos
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