PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Machiavellianism, Psychopathy, Extraversion And Introversion

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21 Mar 2015

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PSYA02 Chapter 12 Notes
12.1 – Contemporary Approaches to Personality
-Personality: A characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that is unique to each individual,
and remains relatively consistent over time and situation
oIdiographic approach: Focuses on creating detailed descriptions of a specific persons unique
personality characteristics
Helpful for understanding yourself and your social world, as well as the full range of
human experience, from the most disturbed to the healthiest and most highly functioning
Maslow’s detailed analyses of the biographies of famous people who were widely
regarded as being wise and fully functioning launched decades of work trying to uncover
what makes human beings thrive and develop to their maximum potential
oNomothetic approach: Examines personality in large groups of people with the aim of making
generalizations about personality structure; allows psychologists to examine what types of
people are more or less likely to engage in certain behaviours
Dr. Gordon Flett: Examined personality predictors of alcohol, drug use, and depression in
university students
Dr. Lawrence Walker: Identified the “moral personality”, seeking the personality factors
that predict courage and heroism
-Personality trait: Describes a person’s habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving; how that
person is “most of the time”
oSummarize a great deal of information about a person, and help to predict how that person will
behave across a range of different situations
- The first systematic attempt to identify all possible traits was made in the 1930s by Gordon Allport, who
tallied nearly 18000 English words that could be used to describe an individual’s physical and
psychological attributes
- Personality tests: Present a list of trait labels and ask an individual to rate how well the trait describes
him or her
oCan also connect a behaviour with a trait (“I like to meet new people” = outgoing)
- Barnum Effect: Named after P.T. – hearkens back to the late 1940s when psychologist Bertram Forer
gave research participants a personality test and then generated a description of subjects; personalities,
which they believed was based on their test responses
oParticipants found the profiles very convincing, make them rate an average of 4.6 of how well it
describes them, even though every participant was given the same personality description
- Using statements that were fairly general and most could apply to most people, at least some of the time
-Factor analysis: Used to group items that people respond to similarly (for instance, the terms friendly,
warm, and kind have similar meanings = factor)
- Raymond Cartell: Narrowed personality traits to 16
-Five Factor Model: By McCrea and Costa, is a trait-based theory of personality based on the finding
that personality can be described using five major dimensions
oOpenness: Individuals high in openness (high Os) are the dreamers and creative; the they to be
more “open” to new things – ideas, opinions, and perspectives that differ from theirs – and new
ways of seeing a problem that they had not considered, abstract thinking, sensitively aware
Low Os find security in the known facts, tangible > symbolic, resistant to change and
suspicious to their emotions
oConscientiousness: Highly conscientiousness people (high Cs) are the organizers – efficient,
self-disciplined, and dependable; meet deadlines, plan ahead to achieve goals, and are
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comfortable with schedules and lists, great employees/students, live longer because of healthy
Low Cs are easy-going, fun to hang out with, not great collaborators, disorganized,
careless with details, suffer due to lack of self-discipline
oExtraversion: Extraverts (high Es) are the socializers and sensation seekers, comfortable in
stimulating environments, love the company of others, energetic, talkative, fun to be around
Introverts (low Es) are quiet, need time for solitary activities, tend to be more cautious
and reserved
oAgreeableness: High As are warm and friendly, easy to be friends with, kind, compassionate,
helpful, great team members
Low As put themselves first, value being authentic, tend to be seen as cold, unfriendly,
skeptical of others motives, less trusting
oNeuroticism: High Ns are difficult to deal with, tendency to experience negative emotions, quite
sensitive, interpret situations as overly threatening and magnify small frustrations into major
problems, vulnerable to anxiety / depression
Low Ns are prototypically healthy people, secure and confident, take the good with the
bad, excellent at managing their emotions, stable
-Authoritarian personalities are considered to be rigid and dogmatic in their thinking, to separate their
social world into strict categories of Us and Them, and then to believe strongly in the superiority of Us
and the inferiority of Them
oEndorse prejudice and violence
-HEXACO model of personality: Michael Ashton developed a six-factor theory that generally
replicates the five factors of the FFM and adds one additional factor: Honesty-Humility
oHigh HHs are sincere, honest, faithful, modest, pro-social behaviours
oLow HHs are deceitful, greedy, harbour more selfish and anti-social behaviours, fake
-Dark Triad: Refers to three traits – Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism – that describe a
person who is socially destructive, aggressive, dishonest, and likely to commit harm in general
oMachiavellianism: Tendency to use people and to be manipulative and deceitful, lack respect for
others, focus on their own self-interest
oPsychopathy: Tendency toward having shallow emotional responses, tend to feel little empathy
for others, enjoy conflicts and exerting control / harm on others
oNarcissism: An egotistical preoccupation with self-image and an excessive focus on self-
importance, full of themselves, excessive pride, tend to put themselves > others
-Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA): Highly problematic set of personality characteristics that
involve three key tendencies:
Obeying orders and deferring to the established authorities in a society
Supporting aggression against those who dissent or differ from the establish social order
Believing strongly in maintaining the existing social older
oTendency to think in dogmatic terms, hold strong beliefs, resistant to change (ignore/ judge
information that contradicts their beliefs), judge people harshly who disagree with their
perspectives, positive attitude towards corrupt governments
Nazis of WW2
- Research on monozygotic and dizygotic twins in Canada, Germany, and Japan found clear genetic
contributions to personality structure that were similar across these different cultures; our genes
predispose us to forming a certain lifelong personality
-Temperaments: Relatively rudimentary; infants do not have the same complexity of personalities as
adults, but they d ovary on characteristics such as activity level, mood, attention span, and distractibility
oWell adjusted: Capable of self control, confident, not overly upset by new situations
oUnder-controlled: Impulsive, restless, distractible, emotionally volatile
More likely to engage in externalizing behaviours (fighting, bullying)
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oInhibited: Socially uncomfortable, fearful, easily upset by strangers
Engages in internalizing behaviours
- To some extent, research confirms that infant temperament predicts the adult personality traits of
neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness
- Your personality conditions how you tend to feel, perceive, interpret, and behave; this sets in motion
processes that feed back to reinforce the original personality structure
oHighly conscientious people are super organized, so if they succeed with their organizational
skills, they will continue to use them in the future
oPositive feedback system: Personality structures influence patterns in the person’s life and build
networks in the person’s brain in ways that reinforce themselves, leading personality to be quite
stable over time
- Adults have to be more conscientious than children, because they have so many more responsibilities –
like taking care of their unconscientious children
- Over time there are many changes – in our environments, our roles, the amount of choice and power we
have, the sophistication of our thinking processes, our bodies and brains themselves, and many other
things – so there may be many reasons why personalities change over time, which is a current focus of
personality research
-State: A temporary physical or psychological engagement that influences behaviour
oSituation motivates the behaviour more than usual demeanor
- Saucier and colleagues: Four general aspects of situations that influence behaviour
oLocations – beings at work, school, or home
oAssociations – being with friends, alone, or with family
oActivities – awake, rushed, studying
oSubjective states – mad, sick, drunk, happy
Quick Quiz 12.1a
1. Which of the following statements best describes the difference between the nomothetic and idiographic
approaches to personality? The nomothetic approach focuses on traits found across large groups,
whereas the idiographic approach focuses on individuals
2. One reason for going beyond the Big Five, such as the three lines of research on Honesty-Humility, the
Dark Triad, and Right-Wing Authoritarian is they predict anti-social tendencies, such as violence and
prejudice, better than the Big Five traits
3. You are the type of person who tends to go to the same restaurant and order the same thing, sticking to
your daily routine. You have even turned down opportunities to travel to new destinations. Which of the
Big Five factors would account for this description of your personality? Openness
4. Your friend, who is normally introverted, is outraged at the taxi driver who is trying to overcharge you.
He is cursing at the river in a verbal altercation. This event is most likely due to his subjective state
5. The theory that our personalities consist of a stable set of traits is very useful to psychologists, but there
are some notable problems with trait theories. Which of the following is not a problem? Factor analysis
is not considered a valid technique in this study of personality
- B.F. Skinner believe that “personality” is simply a description of the response tendencies that occur in
different situations
- A behaviourist perspective emphasizes the importance of the stimulus-response associations that are
learned through exposure to specific situations, rather than emphasizing internalized, relatively stable
personality traits
oEnvironment  Behaviour  Consequences (which can affect behaviour)
oEnvironment  Behaviour  Personal/cognitive factors, beliefs, expectancies, personal
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