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Chapter 12

PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Rorschach Test, Thematic Apperception Test, Twin

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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PSYA02 2013
Personality is an individual's characteristic style of behaving, thinking and feeling
Personality: What it is and How it is Measured
Describing and Explaining Personality
- most personality psychologists focus on specific, psychologically meaningful individual differences
- explanations of personality differences are concerned with prior events that can shape and individual's
personality or anticipated events that might motivate the person to reveal particular personality
- anticipated events emphasizes person's own perspective and often seems intimate and personal in its
reflection of the person's inner life, hopes, fears, aspirations
Measuring Personality
Personality Inventories
- self-report is a series of answers to questionnaire that asks people to indicate the extent to which sets
of statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behaviour or mental state
- researcher combines answers to get general sense of individuals personality with respect to particular
- self report collects sets of self descriptive statements that indicate different degrees of personality
- uses multiple answers to a variety of items that are related in content to gauge the underlying
personality characteristic
- actuarial method can be used to gauge personality even when the self report items are not clearly
related in content to the characteristic being measured
- this method is basis on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a well researched clinical
questionnaire used to assess personality and psychological problems
- consists of more than 500 descriptive statements measures tendencies toward clinical problems, like
depression, hypochondria, anxiety, paranoia, and uses validity scales that assess a person's attitudes
toward test taking and any tendency to try to distort the results by faking answers
- easy to administer, but needs honest responses from people, phenomenon known as response style
Projective Techniques
-projective techniques consist of standard series of ambiguous stimuli designed to elicit unique
responses that reveal inner aspects of an individual's personality
- assumes that people will project personality factors that are out of awareness, wishes, concerns, and
ways of seeing the world
- best known technique is the Rorschach Inkblot Test, projective personality test in which individual
interpretations of the meaning of a set of unstructured inkblots are analyzed to identify a respondent's
inner feelings and interpret his or her personality structure
- although this captures some more complex and private aspects of personality, open to subjective
interpretation and theoretic biases of examiner
- Thematic Apperception Test is projective personality tests in which respondents reveal underlying
motives, concerns, and the way they see the social world through the stories they make up about
ambiguous pictures of people
- many drawings tend to elicit consistent set of themes, such as success and failures, competition,
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high-tech methods such as wireless communication, real time computer analysis, and automated
behaviour identification open door to personality measurements that are leaps beyond
Trait Approach: Identifying Patterns of Behaviour
Traits as Behavioural Dispositions and Motives
- Allport believed people could be described in terms of traits just as an object could be described in
terms of its properties, saw trait as a relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent
- two basic ways in which a trait might serve as an explanation, may be pre-existing disposition of the
person that causes the behaviour, or it may be a motivation that guides the persons behaviour
- Allport saw traits as pre-existing dispositions, cause of behaviour that reliably trigger the behaviour
- Murray tho suggested instead that traits reflect motivse
- traits are usually measured as right wing authoritarianism, tendency toward political conservatism,
obedience to authority and conformity
The Search for Core Traits
Classification Using Language
- Generation after generation people described with words, core traits could be discerned by finding
main themes on all adjectives used to describe a personality
- might be related to a hierarchical pattern, with more general or abstract traits at higher levels than
more specific or concrete trait, more abstract represent the core of personality
- factor analysis used, which sorts trait terms or self descriptions into small number of underlying
dimensions based on how people use the traits to rate themselves
- hindered of people rate themselves on hundreds of adjectives, indicating how accurately each one
describes their personality
- researcher calculates patterns to determine similarities in rater's usage, reveal which adjectives are
- each factor is presented as continuum ranging from one extreme trair such as ambitious to its
opposite, laid back
- different techniques have yielded different views of personality structure
- Catell proposed a 16 factor theory of personality
-Eysenck simplified it with only two major traits, his two factor analysis identified one dimension that
distinguished people who are sociable and active from those who are more introspective and quiet
- then he added a second dimension ranking from tendency to be neurotic or emotionally unstable to
tendency t be more emotionally stable
-believed that many behavioural tendencies could be understood in terms of their relation to these core
The Big Five Dimensions of Personality
- Big Five are the traits of the five factor model: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism,
openness to experience, extraversion CANOE
- strikes the right balance between accounting for as much variation in personality as possible while
avoiding overlapping traits
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- peoples descriptions of their own personalities, others descriptions of their personalities, behavioural
observation, show up across a wide range of participants, including children, adults in other culture and
even among those who use other languages, may be universal
- self reports on big five are associated with predictable patterns of behavioural and social outcomes
- personalities tend to remain stable through lifetime
Traits as Biological Building Blocks
- why a person has stable set of personality traits? immutable brain and biological processes produce
the remarkable stability of traits over the life span
- brain damage can produce personality change, like the rod dude who became really bitchy
- administration of antidepressant medication and other pharmaceutical treatments that change brain
chemistry can also change personality
Genes, Traits and Personality
- importance of biological factors in personality comes from the domain of behavioural genetics
- identical twins proved markedly more similar to each other in personality than did fraternal twins
- more genes you have in common with someone, more similar your personalities are likely to be
- half the variability among individuals results from genetic factors, do not account for everything tho
- shared environment can play a part but little indirect impact on personality, twins growing up apart
can still be very similar
Do Animals Have Personalities?
- sure they do! its just hard to measure it tho, - different observers seem to agree on where an animal
falls in given dimension, findings do not simply reflect another particular observer's imagination or
tendency to anthromophize, attribute human characteristics to nonhuman animals, biological
mechanisms that underlie personality traits shared by many species
- differences in personality reflect alternative adaptations that species, have evolved to deal with
challenges of survival and reproduction
Traits in the Brain
- Eysenck speculated that extraversion and introversion may arise from individual differences in
- extraverts need to seek out social interaction, introverts avoid these situations
- pursue stimulation because their reticular formation, part that regulates arousal or alertness, not easily
- drawn to activities such as listening to loud music, having a lot of social contact
- behaviorists support Eysenck view
- introverts respond more strongly and salivate more when drop of lemon juice is placed on their
tongues, react more negatively to electric shocks or loud noises
- impact on ability to concentrate, extraverts perform well at tasks that are done in a noisy arousing
context, introverts are better at tasks that require concentration in tranquil contexts
- Jeffrey Gray proposed the dimensions of extraversion/introversion and neuroticism reflect two basic
brain systems,
- behavioural activation system is a go system, activates approach behaviour in response to the
anticipation of reward, extravert has highly reactive BAS and will engage in environment, seeking social
reinforcement and on the go