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Chapter 1

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Personality Psychology, Pangs, Human Nature


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Lisa Fiksenbaum
Chapter
1

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PSYB30 Chapter 1: Introduction to Personality Psychology
Trait-descriptive adjectives: Adjectives that can be used to describe characteristics of people
o Different adjectives describe different aspects of personalityex. People’s ifluee o othes, oe’s
inner qualities of mind
Personality Defined
Personality: The set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and
relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic physical
and social environments
Personality is the Set of Pshologial Taits…
Psychological traits: Characteristics that describe ways in which people are different from each other
o Ex. A person who is described as shy indicates how they are different from others who are more
outgoing
o Traits can also describe the similarities between people
Average tendencies: Tendency to display a certain psychological trait with regularity
o Ex. A high-talkative person starts more conversations than a low-talkative person
Four questions for research on personality traits:
o 1. How many traits are there?
o 2. How are the traits organized?
Involves the relationship between various traits
o 3. What are the origins of traits?
Also questions how traits develop over timewhat factors influence this development
Factors such as culture, genes, social environment
o 4. What are the correlations and consequences of traits?
Corresponds to experience, behaviour, and life outcomes
Ex. Talkative people are seen as friendly and outgoing in social events, but can be seen as
annoying when people are trying to listen in class
Usefulness of psychological traits
o Help describe people and the differences among individuals
o Help explain behaviour
o Help predict future behaviour
Ad Mehaiss
Psychological mechanisms: Similar to psychological traits except that mechanisms refer more to the processes
of personality
o Ex. An extraverted person will look for signals that allow opportunities of social interaction
Three key ingredients of psychological mechanisms:
o Input
People can be more sensitive to certain kinds of information from their environment
o Decision rules
Make people consider specific options as to how to approach this incoming information
o Output
Ifoatio ifluees people’s ehaiou ad the atios the’ll take
o However, mechanisms are not activated all the time
Ex. Courage is not recognized in all situations; seen when people are facing serious dangers and
threats to their lives
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PSYB30 Chapter 1: Introduction to Personality Psychology
Withi the Idiidual…
Within the individual: Idea that personality is something a person carries with them over time and from
different situations
Personalities can be influenced by the changes in our environments, but they are often thought to be consistent
over time
That Ae Ogaized ad Relatiel Eduig…
Organized: Psychological traits and mechanisms for a given person are not simply a random collection of
elements, but rather coherent because the mechanisms and traits are linked to one another in an organized
fashion
o There are decision rules indicating which personalities are activated for which circumstances
Ex. If a person is experiencing a desire for hunger and a desire for intimacy, their desire for
huge ould e doiat if the hae’t eate food fo a log tie ad the epeiee
hunger pangs
Enduring: When psychological traits are stable over time
o Ex. Being angry is a state (temporary), but being anger prone indicates that this proneness is shown
consistently in many different situations over time
o However, this consistency does not work in certain situations; cases where the situations is dominant
and suppresses the expression of psychological traits
Ex. A talkative person will show this trait when hanging out with friends, but will remain quiet
during a lecture
Ad That Ifluee
Influential forces: Personality traits ad ehaiss a hae a effet o people’s lies—how they think, act,
and feel
o Influences how we act, view ourselves, think about the world, interact with others, etc.
In this sense people are active in their behaviours rather than passively responding to external forces
His o He Iteatios With…
Person-environment interaction: A peso’s iteatios ith situatios ilude peeptios, seletios,
evocations, and manipulations.
o Perceptions efe to ho e see o itepet a eioet.
Differences in how people perceive something is influenced by their personalities
o Selection describes the manner in which we choose situationssuch as our friends, our hobbies, our
college classes, and our careers.
Ex. Personalities can indicate the types of activities people do in their free time
o Evocations refer to the reactions we produce in others, often quite unintentionally.
People can create the social environmentex. A physically large person can make others feel
intimidated unintentionally
o Manipulations refer to the ways in which we attempt to influence others.
Ex. A person who is frightened may try to get other people to avoid scary movies or risky
activities
Ad Adaptatios to
Adaptation: Notion that a central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioning, which involves
accomplishing goals, coping, adjusting, and dealing with challenges and problems that occur
Human behaviour is goal directed, functional, and purposeful
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PSYB30 Chapter 1: Introduction to Personality Psychology
Ex. Someone who excessively worries often receives support from others
The Environment
EnvironmentPhysical, social, and intrapsychic (within the mind)
Physical
o Some are direct threats to survivalfood shortage, extreme temperatures
o Others include heights, snakes, and spiders
o Humans have physically evolved to adapt to these problems
Ex. Hunger pangs encourage people to seek and consume food
Social
o CompetitionEx. Getting a good job while competing with other people for that position
o Achieving intimacy with people
o In terms of personality, it influences how people interact with others
Ex. A talkative person will notice more opportunities to initiate conversations than a less
talkative person
Intrapsychic
o Private experiences including memories, dreams, desires, and fantasies
o Influences how we perceive our external experiences and turn into our intrapsychic experiences
Three Levels of Personality Analysis
Levels:
o . Like all othes the hua atue leel; uiesals
o . Like soe othes the leel of idiidual ad goup diffeees; patiulas
o 3. Like no others (the idiidual uiueess leel; uiueess
Human Nature
Human nature: The traits and mechanisms of personality that are typical of our species and are possessed by
everyone or nearly everyone
o Ex. Ability to speak languages
Individual and Group Differences
Individual differences: Ways in which each person is like some other people
o Ex. Some enjoy going to parties while others prefer quiet evenings at home
Differences among groups: People in one group may have certain personality features in common, which makes
that group of people different from other groups
o Ex. Different cultures, different age groups, and different socioeconomic groups
o These differences are studied in terms of why these differences occur
Individual Uniqueness
Types of research to study the uniqueness of individuals
o Nomothetic research: Typically involves statistical comparisons of individuals or groups, requiring
samples for the research
Studies individual instances of general characteristics distributed in the population
o Idiographic research the desiptio of oe: Tpiall fouses o a sigle sujet, tig to osee
general principles manifested in a single life over time
Single, unique casesEx. Case studies
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