Final Exam Notes - Chapter 14.docx

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA02H3
CHAPTER 14 PERSONALITY
-research on human personality requires two kinds of effort: identifying personality characteristics and determining
variables that produce and control them
TRAIT THEORIES OF PERSONALITIES
Personality Types and Traits
Earliest explanation for individual differences in personality proposed by Hippocrates in 4th Century B.C.E. refined
by Galen in 2nd Century CE
Based on medical belief that the body contained 4 humours: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, blood
People classified according to the disposition supposedly produced by predominance of one of the four
humors.
Yellow Bile bad tempered, irritable
Black Bile melancholic, gloomy, pessimistic
Phlegm sluggish, calm, unexcitable
Blood cheerful, passionate
This was later discredited, but the notion of personality types persisted
Most investigators conceive of individual differences in personality as difference in degree not kind
Personality Types: different categories into which personality characteristics can be assigned based on factors such
as developmental experiences or physical characteristics
Personality Trait: An enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a particular pattern of behaviour or in a
variety of situations
Personality traits are not just patterns of behaviour, they are factors that underlie the patterns and are responsible for
them
Identification of Personality Traits
Allport’s Search For Traits
Gordon Allport one of first psychologists to search systematically for a basic core of personality traits
Searched a dictionary for words that described aspects of personality found 18,000, then conducted analysis to
eliminate temporary states (such as flustered) and evaluations such as (admirable), leaving only stable personality
traits
Believed traits were neuropsychological properties that led to behavioural consistency
In 44 year longitudinal study, researchers found creativity and some aspects of personality remained consistent
(Fiest and Barron)
Not all traits have equal influence, the most powerful are cardinal traits which are rare but have a strong unifying
influence on behaviour
Central Traits are less singular but capture important characteristics
Secondary Traits include characteristics that have minor influence (i.e. person’s tendency to change jobs frequently)
Most modern theories trace back to Allport’s theoretical work
Modern trait theorists maintain we can only explain personality once we know how to describe it
Cattell: Sixteen Personality Factors
Raymond Cattell took Allport’s 18,000 words and narrowed it down to 171 adjectives that he believed was a
complete set of distinct surface traits
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Then used factor analysis to identify clusters of these traits that represented underlying traits, and by analyzing
thousands of questionnaire responses, identified 16 personality factors (referred to as source traits)
16 Personality Traits: reserved/warm, concrete/abstract, reactive/emotionally stable, deferential/dominant
serious/lively, expedient/rule-conscious, shy/socially bold, utilitarian/sensitive, trusting/vigilant,
grounded/abstracted, forthright/private, self-assured/apprehensive, traditional/open to change,
group-oriented/self-reliant, tolerates disorder/perfectionist, relaxed/tense
Eysenck: Three Factors
Also used factor analysis to devise theory of personality, identified three important factors that are bipolar
dimensions: Extroversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism
extroversion: Tendency to seek company of others, to be spontaneous, and to engage in conversation and other
social behaviours with them
Introversion: the tendency to avoid company of other people, to be inhibited and cautious; shyness
Neuroticism: the tendency to be anxious, worried, and full of guilt
Emotional Stability: the tendency to be relaxed and at peace with oneself
Psychoticism: the tendency to be aggressive, egocentric, and anti-social
Self-Control: the tendency to be kind, considerate and obedient of laws and rules
Eysenck argued the most important aspect of a person’s temperament is determined by combination of the three
dimensions
Also emphasizes the biological nature of personality more than most other trait theorists
Believed the functioning of a neural system in brain stem produces different levels of arousal in the
cerebral cortex. (i.e. Extroversion vs. Introversion (according to Eysenck based on optimal arousal in
brain) Introverts have high levels of cortical excitation and do not look for external stimuli while Extroverts
have low levels of excitation and need the external stimulation to maintain optimal arousal level
The Five-Factor Model
Led to by analysis of distinctions in personality by Tupes and Christal (replicated by Norman)
Five-factor Model: theory personality is composed of five primary dimensions: neuroticism, extraversion,
openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness.(mnemonic OCEAN)
Measured by the Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)
NEO-PI-R consists of 240 items that can potentially describe person being evaluated can be done by person or
someone who knows the participant well
Regarded by many psychologists as robust model of personality, originated with Cattell’s factor analysis, includes
some of Eysenck traits (neuroticism and extroversion) and has considerable cross-culture applicability
DeNeve and Cooper showed 5factors can predict subjective well being
Vollrath found moderate predictability for responses to daily hassles
Barrick, Mount, Judge measured job performance relative to the 5 factors
Correlation of traits higher in monozygotic twins than dizygotic suggesting biological impact
Jackson argues conscientiousness is actually two factors methodicalness (reflects planfulness and need for
orderliness) and industriousness (perserverance and achievement orientation)
The Dark Triad
Paulhus and Williams suggested these three traits formed a dark triad of overlapping negative traits:
Machiavellianism: skill at manipulating others socially
Psychopathy: lack of empathy for others and high degree of impulsivity
Narcissism: grandiosity and feelings of superiority
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More prevalent in men, but when women display it, they show it in the same ways
Considerable genetic influence
Traits Across Cultures
McCrae and Terracciano asked college students from 50 cultures to rate someone they knew well on the NEO-PI-R
test and it was replicated in almost all cultures Women were more positive than men in rating others, especially
other women
Allik and McRae examined respondents from 36 cultures, discovered distance from equator had no effect on
personality, but cultures located closer to each other showed similar personality traits
PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACHES
Heritability of Personality Traits
Studies between fraternal vs. Identical twins show that personality is largely heritable (monozygotic twins have
twice as large correlation with the 5 factors than dizygotic) Zuckerman
Brain Mechanisms in Personality
Zuckerman suggests personality dimensions of extroversion, neuroticism, and Psychoticism are determined by
neural systems responsible for reinforcement, punishment and arousal
People who score high on extroversion are sensitive to reinforcement
People who score high on neuroticism are anxious and fearful high sensitivity to punishment
People who score high on Psychoticism have difficulty learning when not to do something, low sensitivity
to punishment, high optimum level of arousal
Biological Basis for Shyness
Kagan, Reznick, Snidman investigated possibility of biological basis
Noted 10-15% of children showed shyness when in an unfamiliar situation
Childhood shyness related to: low level of extroversion, and high level of neuroticism
Shyness continues on in those young children to 7.5 years at least
Shy were more likely to show increases in heart rate, pupils more dilated, urine contained more norepinephrine and
saliva contained more cortisol (both secreted in times of stress and controlled by the amygdale)
SOCIAL COGNITIVE APPROACHES
Social cognitive theory: idea that both consequences of behaviour and an individual’s belief about the
consequences determine personality
Expectancies and Observational Learning
Albert Bandura combined learning theory with cognitive concepts to explain social behaviour
Based on observational learning
People form expectancies based on their behaviours through observational learning
Reciprocal Determinism and Self-Efficacy
Bandura Does not believe personal characteristics or environment alone determine personality, argues for:
reciprocal determinism: the idea behaviour, environment and person variables interact to determine personality
Self-efficacy: people’s belief of how well or badly they will perform tasks
According to Bandura, our degree of self-efficacy is important determinant of whether we will attempt to make
changes in our environment
Self-efficacy determines not only whether we will engage in a behaviour, but also the extent to which we will
maintain the behaviour in the face of adversity.
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Document Summary

Research on human personality requires two kinds of effort: identifying personality characteristics and determining variables that produce and control them. Earliest explanation for individual differences in personality proposed by hippocrates in 4th century b. c. e. refined by galen in 2nd century ce. Based on medical belief that the body contained 4 humours: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, blood. People classified according to the disposition supposedly produced by predominance of one of the four humors. This was later discredited, but the notion of personality types persisted. Most investigators conceive of individual differences in personality as difference in degree not kind. Personality types: different categories into which personality characteristics can be assigned based on factors such as developmental experiences or physical characteristics. Personality trait: an enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a particular pattern of behaviour or in a variety of situations. Personality traits are not just patterns of behaviour, they are factors that underlie the patterns and are responsible for them.

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