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Chapter 7

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Jennifer Ostovich

Chapter 7: Using personality traits to understand behaviour - measure traits to (1) predict behaviour and (2) understand behaviour - 4 different approaches which sought to connect traits with behavior - Single-trait: examines the link between personality and behavior by asking, what do people like THAT do? That = important personality traits (e.g. authoritarianism) - Many trait: works the opposite way, asking who does that?(implicit) o Measure children’s ability to delay gratification and measure up to 100 traits  see which traits tended to characterize these children who delayed the longest vs. shortest - Essential-trait: which traits are themost important? Tries to narrow the list - Does itmake sense to array everyone along various trait scales?  typological approach - Is it valid to compare people with each other quantitatively on the same trait dimensions? Perhaps they are qualitatively different because they’re different types of people that comparing their individual trait scores makes as little sense as comparison between apples and oranges - Typological approach: patterns of traits that characterize whole persons, and tries to sort these patterns into types The single trait approach - authoritarianism: implications for social problems (prejudice/fascism) - conscientiousness: useful for predicting who will be productive employees - self-monitoring: addresses fundamental issues concerning the relationship between one’s private inner reality and external self presented to others Authoritarianism - Fromm: rise of barbarism from influence of history and society o Avoid frightening personal choices, turn to external authority and take comforting attitude that they are just following orders o Wide spread presence of people who liked to give orders w/o being questioned that lead to Nazism uprise - Berkeley group constructed a questionnaire tomeasure anti-semitism (A-S scale) o Isolated the extremes for more analysis o Those who endorsed anti-semitic statements  prejudicedagainst other minority groups as well o Did more, constructed a general ethnocentricism scale (E scale)  measures correlated highly with A-S scale score o A more general political outlook was also associated? Developed a Politico-economic conservatism (PEC) scale followed by the California F scale (fascism) which measured basic antidemocratic psychological orientation, which researchers believed to be common foundation of anti Semitism/political psuedoconservatism - Pseudoconservatism: show contradictions between their acceptance of all kinds of conventional and traditional values and their simultaneous acceptance of themore destructive attitudes (cynicism, violent anti-semitism), radical positions - Instead of classic F scale, now there’s a right wing authoritarianism (RWA) developed by Altemeyer (Canadian) - RWA made of 3 clusters of attitudes and behaviours: o Authoritarian submission: tendency to be submissive and obedient to established leaders of the government and other important institutions (e.g. the church) o Authoritarian aggression: tendency to act with aggressive hostility toward anybody perceived as a deviant or a member of an outgroup, or anyone who is described by authorities as someone to be despised (e.g. designated enemies) o Conventionalism: tendency to follow traditions and social norms that are endorsed by society and by the people in power - Uncooperative/inflexible when playing experimental games, likely to obey authority figure’s commands to harm another, fewer positive emotions, oppose equal rights for transsexuals, favourmilitary intervention in Iraq, watch more TV - When society is in turmoil, basic values are threatened  become likely to support strong candidates, favour restrictions on welfare (6x), support laws to ban abortions (8x) - Ready to go to war when they feel nation is in danger - Little correlation between authoritarianism and political party affiliation, just support whichever has more powerful image (even communists can be authoritarian) - Crave strong leaders, support dictatorship - Authoritarianism is an individual-difference construct and thus it cannot explain why Nazim arose in Germany rather than in America or why it arose in one time and not the other o It tries to explain which individuals within any society would be most likely to follow a leader like Hitler - Authoritarianism provides an example of how a personalitytrait can be helpful for understanding a complex social phenomenon o Examination of those who did vs. did not can help us understand who is the most and least susceptible, help explain why some people are swayed by the charm of leaders Integrity and conscientiousness - casual observations (how well you are groomed, how well you are dressed) - then, formal personality tests (i.e. integrity tests)  measure wide range of qualities (responsibility, LT job commitment, friendliness etc.) o qualities measured by these tests are partially described by the broad traits of agreeableness and emotional stability o trait most closely associated with integrity tests is conscientiousness - how well can these tests predict job performance?  from a supervisor’s ratings, if I hire this person, a year from now willI be glad or sorry? o Assessed validity of these tests at predicting supervisor ratings of job performance: equivalent to a correlation of 0.41- predictions if she uses the test instead will have an accuracy rate of greater than 70% (opposed to 50%), which is financially significant - Can also assess job performance from absenteeism: overall correlation between integrity test scores and absenteeism = correlation of 0.33 cube  according to BESD then, high scorers on this test would be in themore reliable half of employees about 67% of the time - Less well at predicting employee theft - Integrity tests are better viewed as broad measures of personality traits related to job performance, especially conscientiousness, than as narrow tests of honesty - Implications: can be useful tool for employers, can also help alleviate the effects of bias in testing o AA score lower on aptitude tests, which can damage their employment prospects o But tests of integrity, conscientiousness andmost other personality tests typically don’t show racial or ethnic differences (therefore should use this instead) o Same goes for college admissions: conscientious students do very well in college, and the trait is better predictor of SAT orGPA - General conscientiousness is a good predictor of job, schoolperformance and a cause of excellence o These people seek out opportunities, acquire skills that go beyond present job  positive feedback loop (i.e. they get promoted) o They also spend more time prepping for interviews beyondbeing able to present themselves well o Wait a while for the others to do something and then end up doing most of the work in a group setting - Implications beyond job performance o Highly conscientious people avoid risks and seek to protect themselves just in case, sot hey are the ones who drive carefully and carry lots of insurance  Explains why those with the lowest risk are the ones most likely to buy insurance o They also live longer: more likely to avoid risky behaviour, engage in activites that are good o Tend to accumulate more years in school even though the trait is uncorrelated with IQ  perhaps years of education can be amarker variable or signal of conscientiousness Self monitoring - Snyder: relationships and discrepancies between the inner vs. outer selves (drinking beer vs. studious) - High self-monitors: vary in their inner and outer selves and in how they perform in different settings o Surveys every situation looking for cues as to the appropriate way to act and then adjust their behavior accordingly o Adaptable, popular, sensitive, fit in/ wishy-washy, twofaced, lack integrity o Talkative, skilled in social techniques, humor, self-dramatizing, verbally fluent, expressive etc. o Described more favourably - Low o More consistent regardless of the situation, behavior guided more by inner personality o More judgable o Self-directed, integrity, honest, consistent/insensitive, inflexible, stubborn o Distrustful, perfectionist, touchy, anxious, introspective etc. o Seem more negative, but the low self-monitor probably doesn’t care - Comparing self-monitoring scores ofmembers of different criterion groups o Stage actors  score high o Hospitalizedmental patients  low scores on self-monitoring - Asked people to read a message 6 times, projecting a different emotion each time  easier to figure out which emotion is being projected when the reader is high in self-monitor people - Self monitoring scores and numerous other behaviours o High perform better in job interviews, place themselves in central positions in social networks, use more strategies to influence coworkers, are willing to lie in order to get a date, masturbate - Self-monitoring related to experience of emotion o Put on headphones and shown pictures of a women, hearda tape of heartbeats that they were told were their own  high self monitors reported feelingmost attracted to the women whose pictures they saw when they thought their hearts had sped up (vs. low self monitoredless likely to be influenced by this bogus heart rate feedback) o High selfmonitored thought jokes were funnier when accompanied with laugh track o Shows that the high look to environment for clues to how they are feeling (vs. looking within) - Factor analyzed the scale, items breakinto o Acting ability o Extraversion o Other directedness: a tendency to be concerned about what other people think - Extraverts use aggressive assertive style of getting along whereas other directed people try to get along by going along  opposite styles and may bemutually exclusive yeteither kind of person could score high on self-monitoring  this possibilitymakes scores difficult to interpret - 25 item scale reduced to 18  purer measure of the core idea behind self-monitoring (degree to which behavior and emotion are controlled by environment or person) The many-trait approach - In depth exploration of single traits in depth can be informative  but interesting to look at multiple - California Q-set: list of 100 traits The California Q-set - phrases more complex than just traits, but describes an aspect of personality that might be important for characterizing a particular individual - sort items from highly uncharacteristic to highly characteristic (1-9 category) - pre-determined set must go into each (normal distribution) - forces the rater (self or others) to compare all of the items directly against each other within one individual, rather than making relative comparisons across individuals - restricted to only identifying a few items which are important for characterizing an individual – discriminations have to be made - started with a huge set and then narrowed it down as it was useless in describing people. Added new items when appropriate. Reworded stuff etc. Delay of gratification - behaviour frequently investigated via Q-sort - delaying is an interesting topic because it’s against nature but important for reaching goals - why are males less prone to delay? - 166 4 years old: shown festively wrapped gift promised after completing a puzzle  measured how long children could resist + forbid them to play with toy – averaged the scores - Delay scores then correlated with Q-sort personality descriptions obtained when the children were 3 (before delay experiment), 4 (time it was conducted), 7 and 11 - Results: o Personality correlates of a behavior measured when the children were 4 could be detected through personality assessments made a year earlier and as much as 7 years later  aspects of personalityremain fairly consistent throughout rapid development and chances that occur in childhood o Correlates of delay of gratification are both similar and different between the sexes  o Can be interpreted in two broader personality attributes  Ego control: self-control, impulse control, inhibition  Ego resiliency: healthy psychological adjustment o In both sexes, children who delayed the longest had highest levels of ego control  But only in girls was ego resiliency also related to delay (this aspect varied in the guys)  Because girls are taught to be self control. So those who are most able to absorb society’s lessons (i.e. the well adjusted) accordingly best absorb the lesson about delay and thereforemanifest the behaviour more  Irrelevant or even negative correlation in boys Drug abuse - those who scored as fidgety, emotionally unstable, nervous etc. on the Q-sort began using illegal drugs by 14 - regardless of peer pressure, those who are most likely to use drugs suffered from other significant problems that had been visible way earlier - therefore, should re direct resources to LT problems and the susceptibility to stress that underlie drug abuse rather than short term say no to drug campaigns Depression -
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