Chapter 1: Introduction
January 12 2012
Personality – is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the
individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her
interactions with, and adaptations to, the Intrapsychic, physical, and social
Psychological Traits – are characteristics that describe ways in which people are
different from each other. Traits describe the average tendencies of a person. (i.e.
on average, a high-talkative person starts more conversations than a low-talkative
- Research on personality traits asks four kinds of questions:
1. How many traits are there?
2. How are the traits organized? (How are certain traits related to others)
3. What are the origins of traits? (Where they come from and how they
4. What are the correlations and consequences of traits? (i.e. Do talkative
persons have friends?)
Psychological Mechanisms – are like traits, except that the term mechanisms refer
more to the process of personality. For example, most psychological mechanisms
involve an information-processing activity.
Input: is an environmental context (i.e. being invited to a house party on the
Decision Making: will I go or not go.
Output: is the outcome or result of your decision.
Within the individual: means that personality is something a person carries with
him or herself over time and from one situation to the next.
Organized: means that the psychological traits and mechanisms for a given person
are not simply a random collection of elements, but they are linked together in a
Enduring: the trait lasts with there person their whole life, might change a little.
State-> how your thinking or feeling right now
Trait-> how you think or feel most of the time. Influential Forces: personality traits and mechanisms can have an effect on
people’s lives. Personality influences how we act, how we view ourselves, how we
think about the world, how we interact with others, how we feel, how we select our
environments, what goals we pursue in life, and how we react to circumstances.
His or Her Interactions With: interactions with situations include: perceptions,
selections, evocations, and manipulations.
Perceptions: how we see and interpret and environment (i.e. 2 people look at
inkblot and see different things)
Selection: describes the manner in which we choose situations to enter (i.e. choose
friends, hobbies, college classes, and careers.
Evocations: are the reactions we produce in others (i.e. a person who is physically
large may evoke feelings of intimidation in others)
Manipulations: are the ways in which we intentionally attempt to influence others.
(i.e. Someone who is anxious or frightened easily may try to influence the group he
or she is a part of to avoid scary movies or risky activities.
Adaptations: How you cope with or manage certain situations.
Intra psychic -> what is going on in your mind. (motives, urges)