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Chapter 14

Chapter 14


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA02H3
Professor
Oren Amitay
Chapter
14

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Chapter 14 Notes – Personality
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Personality
a particular pattern of behaviour and thinking that prevails across time and
situations and differentiates one person from another
o
The goal is to discover the causes of individual differences in behaviour
o
Research on human personality requires two kinds of effort: identifying personality
characteristics and determining the variables that produce and control them
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Personality Types
different categories into which personality characteristics can be assigned
based on factors such as developmental experiences or personal characteristics
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Personality Trait
an enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a particular pattern
of behaviour in a variety of situations
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Rather than focusing on types, many current investigators prefer to measure the degree to
which an individual expresses a particular personality trait
o
E.g. we would classify two different types: tall people and short people. Note that this is
an either/or categorization. We all recognize that height is best conceived as a trait – a
dimension on which people differ along a wide range of values. If we measure the
heights of a large sample of people, we will find instances along the distribution, from
very short to very tall, with most people falling in between the extremes. It is not that
people are only either tall or short (analogous to personality types), but that people vary
in extent to which they show tallness or shortness (analogous to personality traits)
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Personality traits are not simply patterns of behaviour; they are factors that underlie these
patterns and are responsible for them
o
Once our personality traits are developed, they reside in our brain
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Gordon Allport began his work by identifying all words in an unabridged dictionary of the English
language that described aspects of personality, with approximately 18,000 such entries
o
He then conducted analysis that identified those words that described only stable
personality characteristics
o
He believed that the considerable extent to which trait labels appear in English shows
the importance of traits in how people think about themselves and others
o
He believed that traits were neuropsychological properties that led to behavioural
consistency over timeand contexts by producing functional similarity in the way a given
person interprets and experiences events
i.e. people with a particular trait react similarly across situations because they
experience a unique sense of similarity across those situations that guides their
feelings, thoughts, and behaviour
o
Not all traits have equal influence; the most powerful of them are cardinal traits
Cardinal Traits
characterize a strong unifying influence on a person’s
behaviour
Central Traits
less singular in their influence than cardinal traits, but capture
important characteristics of an individual
Secondary traits
includes characteristics that have minor influence on
consistency of behaviour
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Raymond Cattel used Allport’s list of 18,000 trait words and narrowed it down to 171 adjectives
that he believed made up the relatively complete set of distinct surface traits (observable
behaviours)
o
He used factor analysis to identify clusters of these traits
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Cattell analyzed questionnaire responses from thousands of people and eventually
identified 16 personality factors
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He referred to these 16 traits as source traits, because in his view, they were the
cornerstones upon which personality is built
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Hans Eysenck used factor analysis to devise a theory that identified three important factors:
Extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism
o
These factors are bipolar dimensions; extroversion is the opposite of introversion,
neuroticism is the opposite of emotional stability, and psychoticism is the opposite of
self-control
o
Extroversion
the tendency to seek the company of other people, to be spontaneous,
and to engage in conversation and other social behaviours with them
Introversion
the tendency to avoid the company of other people, to be
inhibited and cautious; shyness
o
Neuroticism
the tendency to be anxious, worried, and full of guilt
Emotional Stability
the tendency to be relaxed and at peace with oneself
o
Psychoticism
the tendency to be aggressive, egocentric, and anti-social; not a mental
illness
Self-Control
the tendency to be kind, considerate, and obedient of laws and
rules
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The original 2 factors he originally devised were only Extroversion Vs
Introversion, and Neuroticism Vs Emotional Stability
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Eysenck argued that the most important aspects of a person’s temperament are determined by
a combination of the three dimensions
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Eysenck emphasized the biological nature of personality, believing that the functioning of a
neural system located in the brain stem produces different levels of arousal of the cerebral
cortex
o
E.g. consider the introversion-extroversion dimension, which is based on an optimum
arousal level of the brain
Introverts have relatively high levels of cortical excitation, while extroverts have
relatively low levels
Thus, in order to maintain the optimum arousal level, the extrovert requires
more external stimulation than does the introvert
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Five Factor Model
a theory stating that personality is composed of five primary dimensions:
neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness (OCEAN). This
theory was developed using factor analyses of ratings of the words people use to describe
personality characteristics
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Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)
the instrument
used to measure the elements described in the five-factor model
o
The NEO-PI-R consists of 240 items that can potentially be used to describe the person
being evaluated
o
Self-ratings on the NEO-PI-R agree closely with the ratings by family members
o
Also it predicts other aspects that seem related to personality, like subjective well-being
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Jackson argued that a six-factor model may be more appropriate; he argued that the
conscientiousness factor in the traditional five-factor model actually represents two distinct
dimensions
o
Methodicalness
reflects planfulness and a need for orderliness
o
Industriousness
characterized by perseverance and achievement orientation
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The Dark Triad
Machiavellianism, Psychopathy, Narcissism
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Machiavellianism
a trait characterized by skill at manipulating others socially
o
Psychopathy
a trait describing a lack of empathy for others and a high degree of
impulsivity
o
Narcissism
a trait characterized by grandiosity and feelings of superiority
o
The dark triad is considered distinct from the five factors
o
Males tend to score higher on tests that measure dark triad traits, although the inter-
correlations between the traits are similar across the sexes
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As its extreme, the dark triad personality seems to epitomize the notion of a cold, calculating,
domineering and remorseless criminal
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Can cultures also differ according to what they believe about personality and the different traits
they may adhere?
o
Implicit trait theories describe whether people ascribed differences in personality to
stable traits, or instead, to the immediate context or situation of an individual
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Cattell and Eysenck have asserted that a person’s genetic history has a strong influence on their
personality
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Many studies have found that identical twins are more similar to each other than are fraternal
twins on a variety of personality measures, which indicates that these characteristics are
heritable
o
Bouchard found that the correlations for identical twins’ personality traits were
approximately double those of fraternal twins
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Zuckerman compiled the results of 11 studies using various tests of Eysenck’s factor of
extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism
o
Every study found that identical twins were more similar than fraternal twins
o
Zuckerman estimated the heritability of these three traits are extroversion – 70%,
psychoticism – 59%, neuroticism 48%
o
It appeared as though the remaining 30-50% were caused by differences in environment
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If family environment has a significant effect on personality characteristics, then identical twins
raised together should be more similar than those raised apart, but these studies found no
differences
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Childhood shyness seems to be related to two personality dimensions: low level of extroversion
and high level of neuroticism.
o
Zuckerman believes that extroversion is caused by sensitive reinforcement system,
neuroticism is caused by a sensitive punishment system and psychoticism is caused by
the combination of a deficient punishment system
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Heredity and environment can interact; the most major source of the interaction comes from
the effect that people’s heredity has on their family environments
o
i.e. people’s genetic endowment plays an important role in determining how family
members interact with them
o
One caution about this interpretation is that studies don’t investigate the effects of the
full range of cultural differences in family lives
i.e. when comparisons have been made between twins raised together and
those raised apart, almost all have involved family environments within the
same culture; it is possible that cultural differences in family environments
could be even more important than the differences produced by a person’s
heredity
o
People tend to learn some important social attitudes from their family environments
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