Textbook Notes (363,559)
Canada (158,426)
Psychology (1,309)
PSYCH 2B03 (108)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Using Personality Traits to Understand Behaviour - Textbook Notes

7 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Richard B Day

Psych 2B03 2012 Part II: How People Differ: The Trait Approach Chapter 7: Using Personality Traits to Understand Behaviour  Traits used to predict and understand behaviour  Single-Trait Approach – examines the link between personality and behaviour by asking, “what do people like to do?” (Important personality trait)  Many-Trait Approach – beings with an implicit research question, “who does that?” (Important behaviour); attack behaviour of interest with many traits intended to cover a wide range of personality, determine which traits correlate with specific behaviour and seek to explain the pattern of correlation o Eg/ measure “self control” behaviour in children and 100 traits – see which traits correlate with being able to delay gratification  Essential-Trait Approach – addresses the difficult question, “Which traits are most important?” o The Big Five list – extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness  Typological Approach – focuses on patterns of traits that characterize whole persons (instead of traits directly) and tries to sort these patterns into types o Doubt whether it is valid to compare people with each other quantitatively on the same trait dimensions o Hope that researchers can identify groups of people who resemble each other enough and are different enough from everyone else, that it makes sense to conclude they belong to the same “type” The Single-Trait Approach  Authoritarianism – implications for social problems; been theorized as a basis of racial prejudice and fascism  Conscientiousness and integrity – useful in predicting who will be productive employees  Self-Monitoring – addresses fundamental issues concerning the relationship between ones private inner reality and external self presented to others Authoritarianism  Eg/ Hitler and Nazism  Erich Fromm – wondered how civilized people could participate in such barbarism o Theorized that the demise of Catholicism and the rise of Protestantism, combined with the rise of capitalism, gave individuals unprecedented freedom to conceive God as they wished o With this freedom came responsibility, that they sought to escape – turned their will over to an external authority (government, church etc); take comfort in “just taking orders”  Authoritarian Character – individuals who enjoy giving orders, which they expect to be unquestioned, to those below them in the hierarchy o Personality must be involved, since not all people become authoritarian under his theorized circumstances  Berkeley Group of psychologists attempted to understand the differences between authoritarians and nonauthoritarians o Commissioned by the American Jewish Committee to search for the psychological causes of the anti-Semitism that produced so much death and suffering in the 1930-40’s o Constructed a questionnaire to measure anti-Semitism – A-Scale; included statements about Jews, such as “In order to maintain a nice neighborhood, should prevent Jews from living in it” o People who scored highest or lowest on the scale were singled out for extensive clinical interviews and other tests o Individuals who endorsed anti-Semitic statements tended to be prejudice against other minority groups – anti- Semitism is a part of a pattern that goes beyond attitude toward Jews o Construct a general ethnocentrism scale – E-scale; included statements about Negroes and other ethnic groups, such as “the worst danger to Americanism come from foreign ideas and agitators” o Scores on the E-Scale were highly correlated with chores on the A-scale (Range from 0.63 to 0.75)  Berkeley group believes that a more general political outlook was associated with both anti-Semitism and ethnocentrism – developed the Politico-Economic Conservatism (PEC) scale o The California F scale (fascism) was developed from the PEC scale – aimed to measure the basic antidemocratic psychological orientation that these researchers believed to be the common foundation of anti-Semitism, racial prejudice and political pseudoconservatism o Genuine Conservatives (Adorn) – hold an internally consistent set of political beliefs all of which support institutions and the traditional social order while seeking to protect individual rights, property and initiative  No necessary connections between these beliefs and racism or psychopathology o Pseudoconservatism – shows blatant contradictions between their acceptance of all kinds of conventional and traditional values and their simultaneous acceptance of more destructive attitudes (such as cynicism, punitiveness, violent anti-Semitism); hold radical positions that are anything but truly conservative  Authoritarians are pseudoconservative not genuine conservative 1 Psych 2B03 2012  Research on authoritarianism continues – uses the updated measure of “right-wing authoritarianism” (RWA) developed y Bob Altemeyer  RWA made up of three clusters of attitudes and behaviours o Authoritarian Submission – the tendency to be obedient and submissive to established leaders of the government and other important institutions (eg/ the church) o Authoritarian Aggression – the tendency to act with aggressive hostility toward anybody perceived as a deviant or a member of an out-group, or anyone who is described by authorities as someone to be despised (eg/ designed “enemies a country might be warring against) o Conventionalism – the tendency to follow tradition sand social norms that are endorsed by society and by the people in power  Authoritarians o Tend to be uncooperative and inflexible when playing experimental games o Relatively likely to obey an authority figures commands to harm a person o Experience fewer emotions than nonauthoritarians o Likely to oppose equal rights for transsexuals o Watch more TV o 6 times more likely than nonthreatened authoritarians or nonauthoritarians, to restrict welfare; 6 times more likely to ban abortion o Likely to support a leader who they see as “stronger” and projects the most powerful image  Two important points about authoritarianism o Authoritarianism is an individual-difference construct  Cannot explain why Nazism arose – it tries to explain which individuals within a society would be most likely to follow a leader like Hitler o Authoritarianism Provides an example of how a personality trait can be helpful for understanding a complex social phenomenon “Integrity” and Conscientiousness  Survey to measure most important out of 96 possible employee qualities; 7 of the top 8 include conscientiousness, integrity, trustworthiness, and similar qualities (eighth was general mental ability) o Prospective employers try to gauge these traits when deciding whether to hire someone  Formal personality tests/integrity tests are sometimes administered to measure qualities such as responsibility, long- term job commitment, consistency, moral reasoning, friendliness, work ethic, dependability, cheerfulness, energy level and even-temperedness  described by broad traits of agreeableness, emotional stability and conscientiousness  Tests in predicting job performance (supervisors ratings of employee) o Reviewed 700 studies, 576,460 subjects in assessing validity of 43 tests of predicting supervisors ratings of job performance – validity was found to be 0.41  Recall BESD (Ch 3 and 4) – reliable 70%  Absenteeism – more specific criterion of job performance o Examined 28 studies, 13,972 participants, overall correlation between “integrity” test scores and absenteeism to be equivalent to a correlation of -0.33  Recall BESD (Ch 3 and 4) – reliable 67%  Integrity tests are better viewed as broad measures of personality traits related to job performance, especially conscientiousness, than as narrow tests of honesty, and are impressively valid  Racial imbalance could be addressed without affecting productivity if personality tests were used instead of aptitude or ability tests o African Americans tend to score lower than white-Americans on aptitude tests – product of discrimination in educational and social environments  African Americans do not tend to score lower on personality tests  Conscientiousness is a good predictor of job/school performance and a cause of excellence o Seek out opportunities to work, to acquire skills and knowledge, more schooling, avoid risk, seek protection, prepare ahead of time Self-Monitoring  Mark Snyder – developed the concept and test of self-monitoring; interested in relationships and discrepancies between the inner and outer selves  Standard title of the original measure of self-monitoring is the Personal Reaction Inventory o Score of 14 or about interpreted as high self-monitoring o Score of 12 or below interpreted as low self-monitoring  High Self-Monitors – someone who varies in their inner and outer selves in how they perform in different settings 2 Psych 2B03 2012 o Carefully survey every situation looking for cues as to the appropriate way to act; adjusts behaviours accordingly o Less judgeable o Adaptable, flexible, popular, sensitive, able to fit in anywhere o Wish-washy, two-faced, lacking integrity slick o More likely to be described with Q-sort items such as  Skilled in social techniques of imaginative play, pretending and humor (eg/ good at charades)  Talkative  Self-dramatizing, histrionic (exaggerates emotion)  Initiates humor  Verbally fluent  Expressive in face and gestures  Having social poise and presence  Low Self-Monitors – someone who is largely the same outside as inside and do not vary much from one setting to another o Consistent regardless of situation; behaviour is guided by inner personality o More judgeable o Self-directed, having integrity, consistent, honest o Insensitive, inflexible, stubborn o More likely to be described as the following (seems negative, but low self-monitors don’t tend to care about these traits)  Distrustful  Perfectionist  Touchy and irritable  Anxious  Introspective  Independent  Feeling cheated and victimized by life  Study – compare self-monitoring scores of members of different groups that should score differently (according to self- monitoring theory) – stage actors (high self- monitors), mental patients (low self-monitors)  Study – asked participants to read a passage into a tape recorder 6 times, each conveying a different emotion – emotions more easily distinguished when projected by high self-monitor  High self-monitors take environmental clues to distinguish how they feel, low self-monitors are prone to look within o Eg/ High self-monitors laugh at jokes when there is a laugh track, rated women as prettier when they heard the “bogus heart beat”  Critics have factor-analyzed the scale; items break into 3 factors – measures acting ability, extraversion and “other directedness” (tendency to be concerned about what others think) o Extraversion and “other directedness” may be mutually exclusive; extraversion tends to be aggressive and assertive, while “other directedness” is more agreeable – causes difficulty interpreting score  Mark Snyder reduced 25-iten scale to 18-item scale – more accurate The Many-Trait Approach  Lists of traits have been developed The California Q-Set  Consists of 100 phrases printed on separate cards – each phrase describes an aspect of personality that might be important for characterizing a particular individual; phrases more complex than traits o Eg/ Is critical, skeptical and not easily impressed  Raters express judgments of personality by sorting the items into nine categories ranging from highly uncharacteristic (category 1) to highly characteristic (category 9); neither (category 5); predetermined number of items must go into each category (most at center)  I Data – friend, researcher, psychotherapist sorts the phrases about an individual  S Data – individual sorts phrases about self  Advantages o Forces judge to compare all items directly against each other within one individual, as opposed to making a relative comparison across individuals o Judge is restricted from only identifying a few items as being important; finer and subtler discriminations must be made  Items were not derived through factor analysis or any formal empirical procedure – team of researchers and clinical practitioners developed a comprehensive set of terms sufficient to describe the people they interacted with every day o Would use words to describe people 3 Psych 2B03 2012 o List would be revised  If phrase proved to be useless or vague it would be revised or eliminated  When the set lacked an item needed to describe someone it would be added  Technical phrasing was revised to be more comprehensible Delay of Gratification  Delaying oneself from immediate pleasure for long-term gain seems opposed to basic human nature, yet it is necessary for many important goals  Sex differences – males in society are less prone to delay gratification than females o Exp/ 116 four year old children (59 boys, 57 girls) tested in two delay-of-gratification experiments  Each child was shown a festively wrapped gift, promised after completing a puzzle – placed within reach, time measured time before child reached out and grabbed it  Child forbade from playing with a certain toy, experimenters left the room, the more the child moved toward playing with the toy, the lower the child’s delay of gratification score  Two delay scores averaged and correlated with Q-sort personality descriptions obtained when children were 3 years old, 4 years old and years later (7 and 11)  Pattern – revealed that personality correlated of a behaviour measured when the children were 4 years old could be detected through personality assessments made one ear earlier and as much as seven years later  Indicates that many aspects of personality remains fairly consistent even throughout the rapid development and changes that occur during childhood  Pattern – correlates of delay of gratification are both similar and different between the sexes  Boys and girls that are planful, reflective, reasonable and not emotionally unstable (labile) are likely to delay most in the experimental tests  Girls who delay most are intelligent, competent, attentive and resourceful – correlates missing in boys  Boys who delay most are shy, quiet, compliant and anxious – correlated missing in girls  Interpreted in terms of two broader personality attributes  different because girls must learn to absorb society’s lessons
More Less

Related notes for PSYCH 2B03

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.