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Chapter 2

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 2B03
Professor
Richard B Day
Semester
Fall

Description
Part 1 Chapter 2: Research methods Clues to personality: the basic sources of data  Henry Murray: in order to understand personality, first you have to look at it  Four different things you must do to look at personality 1. Ask the person directly for her own opinion about what she is like 2. Find out what other people who know the person well say about her 3. Check on how the person is faring in life 4. Observe what the person does and try to measure her behaviour as directly and objectively as possible  Personality is manifested by all of the characteristic ways in which the individuals thinks, feels, and behaves  Patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour such as these typically are complex and may be revealed in many different areas of behaviour and life  Funder’s second law: there are no perfect indicators of personality: there are only clues and clues are always ambiguous Data are clues  The observable aspects of personality are best characterized as clues; these clues are always ambiguous because personality resides hidden inside each individual  Because you never see personality directly you must infer both its existence and nature, and these inferences are forever uncertain  Inferences about personality must be based on indications that can be observed  The psychologists task is to piece these clues together; the trick is to interpret them correctly  Funder’s third law: something beats nothing, two times out of three Four kinds of clues S data  Self judgements  According to most research, the way people describe themselves by and large matches the way they are described by others  Straightforward and simple because the psychologist is not interpreting what the participant says or asking about one thing in order to find out about something else  Questionnaires gathering S data have face validity o Face validity: intended to measure what they seem to measure  Most common basis for personality assessment  5 advantages and 3 disadvantages Advantage: a large amount of information  You have a unique perspective on the general nature of your personality and that the S data you can provide can reflect complex aspects of character that no other data source could access Advantage: access to thoughts, feelings, and intentions  You have unique access to your own intentions  The psychological meaning of a behaviour often lies in what it was intended to accomplish; other people must infer this intention, whereas your knowledge is direct Advantage: definitinal truth  They have to be correct because they are themselves aspects of the self view Advantage: causal force  S data can create their own reality  Self-verification: people work hard to bring others to treat them in a manner that confirms their self-conception  Your view of yourself doesn’t just reflect what you think about yourself, it may be among the causes of what you do Advantage: simple and easy  Cost effective Disadvantage: maybe they won’t tell you  No way to force a person to provide an accurate account of her personality if she does not want to Disadvantage: maybe they can’t tell you  A person’s memory is finite and imperfect; the information he happens to remember is not necessarily the most important or characteristic  People may be so used to they way they characteristically react and behave that their own actions stop seeming remarkable  Information might be distorted in memory  People lack the ability to se all aspects of their own personality accurately  Concealment, failure of memory, active repression, and lack of insight can cause S data to provide less accurate renditions of personality than psychologists might wish Disadvantage: too simple and too easy  Cheap and easy so they are over used  Some investigators forget that other forms of data exist I(informant) data  I data are judgments by knowledgeable informants about general attributes of the individual’s personality, such as traits  The key aspect of the informants knowledge is that they are well acquainted with the individual they are describing  Judgments: they derive from somebody observing somebody else in whatever context they happen to have encountered them and then rendering a general opinion  Five advantages and four disadvantages Advantage: large amount of information  Descriptions are based on hundreds of behaviours in dozens of situations  Come from observing the real world Advantage: common sense  Distillations of behavioural observations that are filtered through the informant’s common sense which allows I data to take account of the context and the intention of behaviour to a degree that no other external source of information can equal  Transforming an observation of behaviour into a judgment of personality: immediate situation and provided by other behaviours tha
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