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Personality (Psych 2740) Chapter Summaries.docx

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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Personality Chapter Summaries Chapter 1 Introduction to Personality PsychologyFeatures of personality make people different from one another and these features usually take the form of adjectivesTraitdescriptive adjectives adjectives that can be used to describe characteristics of peoplePersonality DefinedPersonality 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 environmentsLets examine the elements of this definition more closelyPersonality is the set of Psychological TraitsPsychological traits are characteristics that describe ways which people are different from each otherTraits also define ways people are similarTraits describe the average tendencies of a person o Average tendencies tendencies to display a certain psychological trait with regularity Research on personality traits asks 4 kinds of questions o How many traits are thereAre there dozens or hundreds of traits or merely a few o How are the traits organizedThis question pertains to the organization or structure of traits o What are the origins of traitsThis question pertains to the origin of traitswhere they come from and how they develop o What are the correlations and consequences of traitsThis question pertains to the correlations and consequences of traits in terms of experience behaviour and life outcomesPsychological traits are useful for 3 reasons o They help describe people and help us understand the dimensions of difference between people o They help explains behaviourthe reason people act may be partly a function of their personality traits o They can help predict future behaviourPersonality is useful in describing explaining and predicting differences between individuals And MechanismsPsychological mechanisms are like traits except that the term mechanism refers more to the processes of personalityMost psychological mechanisms have 3 essential ingredients o InputsPeoples sensitivity to certain kinds of information from the environment o Decisions rulesPeoples likelihood to think about specific options concerning that information o OutputsPeoples behaviour toward certain categories of actionTraits and psychological mechanisms are not activated at all times only a few are o Consider the trait of courageousness this trait is activated only under particular conditions such as when people face serious dangers and threats to their lives Within the IndividualWithin the individual means that personality is something a person carries with them over time and from one situation to the next That are Organized and Relatively EnduringOrganized means that the psychological traits and mechanism for a given person are not simply a random collection of elements o They are linked to one another in a coherent fashion o Our personalities are organized in the sense that they contain decision rules that govern which needs are activated depending on the circumstancesPsychological traits are also relatively enduring over time particularly in adulthood and are somewhat consistent over situations o There may be some occasions when this generalization about the consistency of personality traits from situation to situation does not hold o Some situations may be overpowering and supress the expression of psychological traitsEx People who are generally talkative may remain quiet during a lecture at the movies or in an elevatorAnd That InfluenceInfluential forces of personality means that personality traits and mechanisms can have an effect on peoples livesPersonality 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 and desires we pursue in life and how we react to our circumstances His or Her Interactions withPersonenvironment interaction are interactions with situations include perceptions selections evocations and manipulations o Perception refers to how we see or interpret an environmentTwo people may be exposed to the same objective event yet what they pay attention to and how they interpret the event may be very different o Selection describes the manner in which we choose situations to enterhow we choose our friends hobbies etcHow wego about making these selections is a reflection of our personalities o Evocations are the reactions we produce in others often quite unintentionallyTo some extent we create the social environment that we inhabit o Manipulations are the ways in which we intentionally attempt to influence others And Adaptations toAdaptations conveys the notion that a central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioningaccomplishing goals coping adjusting and dealing with the challenges and problems we face as we go through life The EnvironmentThe physical environment often poses challenges for peopleSome of these are direct threats to survival o Ex food shortages extreme temperatures etco At a psychological level our fears of heights snakes spiders and strangersthe most common human fearshelps us avoid or safely interact with these environmental threats to our survivalOur social environment also poses adaptive challenges o We may desire the prestige of a good job but there are many others competing for the same positionsIntrapsychic means within the mind o In this environment we have our memories dreams desires fantasies and a collection of private experiences that we live with each dayThree Levels of Personality AnalysisThe 3 levels of personality analysis made by Kluckhohn and Murray are o Human nature levelLike all othersUniversalsThe ways in which we are all alike o Individual and group differences levelLike some othersParticularsThe ways in which we are like some people but unlike others o The individual uniqueness levelLike no othersUniquenessThe ways in which we are unlike any other person Table Three Levels of personality analysis Level of Analysis Examples Human NatureNeed to belongCapacity for love Individual and Group differences Variation in need to belong individual differencesMen are more physically aggressive than women group differences Individual UniquenessLatishas unique way of expressing her love
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