Textbook Notes (290,000)
CA (170,000)
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Psychology (10,000)
PSYB30H3 (500)
Chapter 1

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Shy People, Personality Psychology, Social Environment


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Lisa Fiksenbaum
Chapter
1

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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
1
PSYB30 Chapter 1: Introduction to Personality Psychology
Aristotle discussed humour like a personality psychologist
o Analyzed characteristics of people with an appropriate sense of humour, plus what
features are associated with a sense of humour
o Did so by comparing those with an extreme sense of humour and those with too little
sense of humour
We say that a friend goes to a lot of parties because she is outgoing
o Behaviour Going to parties, Personality Outgoing
o We’e usig pesoalit to eplai he ehaviour
Trait-descriptive adjectives: adjectives that can be used to describe characteristics of people
Adjectives that describe personality refer to many different aspects of people
o Thoughtful Inner qualities of mind
o Charming and humorous Effects a person has on other people
Difficult to create a definition for personality that sufficiently includes all aspects of people
o 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
adaptions to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social interactions
Personality is the Set of Psychological Traits
Psychological traits: characteristics that describe ways in which people are different from each
other
o Examples: outgoing, shy, creative
o Traits also define ways in which people are similar to one another
Shy people are similar cause they get anxious in social situations
Traits describe the average tendencies of a person
o On average, a high-talkative person starts more conversations than a low-talkative
person
Four questions asked in personality research
o How many traits are there?
o How are the traits organized?
Example: how is talkativeness related to other traits, like extraversion?
o What are the origins of traits?
Heredity vs. cultural and child-rearing practices that affect trait development
o What are the correlations and consequences of traits?
In terms of experience, behaviour, and life outcomes
Psychological traits are useful for at least three reasons
o They help describe people and help understand the dimensions of difference among
people
o They help explain behaviour
o They can help predict the future
Example: the sorts of careers individuals will find satisfying
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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
2
Personality Mechanisms
Personality mechanisms: are like traits, except that the term mechanisms refers more to the
processes of personality
o Example: an extraverted person is prepared to notice and act on certain kinds of social
information
o Most psychological mechanisms involve an information-processing activity
Most psychological mechanisms have three essential ingredients
o Inputs, decision rules, and
outputs
o A psychological mechanism
may make people more
sensitive to certain kinds of
information from the
environment (input), may
make them more likely to
think about specific options
(decision rules), and may
guide their behaviour toward
certain categories of action (outputs)
At any point in time, only a few traits and psychological mechanisms are activated
o Example: Courageousness Only activated when person faces serious dangers and
threats to their life
Personality is Within the Individual
Within the individual personality is something a person carries with him/herself over time
and from one situation to the next
o We feel like we are the same today as we were last month, last year
o Although our personalities are certainly influenced by our environments and the
significant others in our lives, we feel that we carry with us the same personalities from
situation to situation in our lives
Thus, the sources of personality are somewhat stable over time and somewhat consistent over
situations
Traits and Mechanisms are Organized and Relatively Enduring
Organized the psychological traits and mechanisms for a given person are not simply a
random collection of elements
o Mechanisms and traits are linked to one another in a coherent fashion
Personalities contain decision rules that govern which needs are activated, depending on the
circumstances
Psychological traits are relatively enduring over time, particularly in adulthood
o Are also somewhat consistent over situations
Thee a e soe oasios he the geealizatio aout osiste of pesoalit does’t
hold
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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
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o The debate about whether people are consistent across situations in their lives has a
long history in personality psychology
o Some psychologists have argued the evidence for consistency is weak
o Most pesoalit pshologists aitai that although people ae’t pefetl
consistent, there is enough consistency to include this characteristic in a definition of
personality
Influence of Personality
Influential forces: pesoalit taits ad ehaiss a hae a effet o people’s lies
Personality influences
o How we act
o How we view ourselves
o How we think about the world
o How we interact with others
o How we feel
o How we select our environments (particularly our social environment)
o What goals and desires we pursue in life
o How we react to our circumstances
Thus, personality plays a key role in affecting how people shape their lives
Person-environment interaction: interactions with situations include perceptions, selections,
evocations, and manipulations
o Perception Ho e see, o itepet, a eioet
The difference in how we all perceive an environment is a function of our
personalities
o Selection The manner in which we choose situations to enter
How we choose our friends, hobbies, careers, etc.
How we go about these choices is a reflection of our personalities
o Evocation Reactions we produce in others, often unintentionally
To some extent, we create the social environment that we live in
Example: a physically large person may cause intimidation in others
o Manipulation Ways in which we intentionally attempt to influence others
The ways we try to manipulate the behaviour, thoughts and feelings of others
are essential features of personality
Example: neat and tidy person trying to get their partner to clean up after
themselves
Adaptation: the notion that a central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioning
accomplishing goals, coping, adjusting, and dealing with life challenges/problems
o Ee ehaiou that does’t appea futioal e. Eessie oig a i fat e
functional
o What appears on the surface to be maladaptive (ex. Excessive worrying) may have some
rewarding characteristics for the person (ex. Eliciting social support)
o Some aspects of personality processes represent deficits in normal adaptions
Example: breakdowns when struggling to cope with stress
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