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PSYC 2740 (173)
Chapter 2

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Chapter 2: Personality Assessment, Measurement, and Research Design  Self-report, observer report, test data, life history data - Source, by itself, is limited, incomplete Self-Report Data (S-Data)  Obtained through: interviews, periodic reports, and questionnaires (most common)  Individuals have access to knowledge about themselves that is inaccessible to others  Unstructured (open-ended) - Require coding schemes for classifying the responses  Structured (forced-choice) - can be true-or-false or degree scale (Likert rating scale) - a personality scale consists of summing the scores on a series of individual rating scales - questionnaires in the form of statements  California Psychological Inventory (CPI): true-or-false  NEO Personality Inventory: Likert scale  Limitations: - Respondents must be willing and able - Not always honest, lack accurate self-knowledge Observer-Report Data (O-Data)  Advantages: - Observers may have access to information not attainable through other sources - Multiple observers can be used to access each individual  Inter-rater reliability – evaluation of the degree of agreement among observers, reduces the idiosyncratic features and biases of single observers Selection of Observers 1. Using professional personality assessors who do not know the participant in advance 2. Using individuals who actually know the target participants - Advantages: in a better position to observe target’s natural behaviour, from this multiple social personalities can be assessed - Disadvantages: observers can be biased Naturalistic Versus Artificial Observation  Naturalistic observation - Observers witness and record events that occur in the normal course of the lives of theirs participants - Secure information in realistic context, but can’t control the events and behavioural samples witnessed  Artificial observation - Control the conditions and elicit the relevant behaviour Test Data (T-Data)  Participants are placed in a standardization testing situation  Different people react differently to an identical situation  Situation elicits behaviours that indicate personality variables  Edwin Megargee’s study on manifestations of dominance - Two participants had to decide who would be the leader in the task 1. High-dominant man (75%) with low-dominant man 2. High-dominant woman (70%) with low-dominant woman 3. High-dominant man (90%) with low-dominant woman 4. High-dominant woman (20%) with low-dominant man  Woman were appointing their low-dominant partners to the leadership positions  Limitations - Some participants may guess the traits being assessed and alter their responses - Difficultly in verifying the participants interpret the testing the same as the experimenter - Situations are interpersonal and researcher may inadvertently influence the participant  Advantages: - Can elicit behaviour that would be difficult to observe in everyday life - Control the context and eliminate extraneous sources of influence - Enable testing of specific hypotheses for a causal influence Mechanical Recording Devices  Ex. Actometer – (like a watch which can be strapped to the wrist or ankle) movement activates the winding mechanism, registering the person’s activity on the hands of the dial  Can assess some aspects of personality  Advantages - Provide a mechanical means of assessing personality, without bias - Can be obtained in a relatively naturalistic setting  Disadvantage - Relatively few personality dispositions lend themselves readily to being assessed by mechanical devices Physiological Data  Provide info about a person’s level of arousal, a person’s reactivity to various stimuli, and the speed at which a person takes in new info  Sensors can be placed on different parts of a person’s body  Christopher Patrick’s study of psychopaths using “eyeblink startle reflex” - Psychopaths, who were in prison for violent crimes, did not exhibit the faster eyeblink response while viewing the anxiety-producing photographs, suggesting that they were not feeling the same level of fearlessness or anxiety as normal participants 
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