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CA (170,000)
UTSC (20,000)
Psychology (10,000)
PSYB30H3 (500)
Chapter 5

PSYB30H3 Chapter 5: PSYB30 Chapter 5


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Lisa Fiksenbaum
Chapter
5

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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
PSYB30: Chapter 5 Personality Dispositions over Time: Stability,
Coherence, and Change
Conceptual Issues: Personality Development, Stability, Coherence, and Change
Personality development: The continuities, consistencies and stabilities in people over time and
the ways in which people change over time
Three most important forms of stability are:
o Rank order stability: The maintenance of individual position within a group
If people tend to maintain their positions on a personality characteristic relative
to the othes oe tie, the thee’s a high ak ode stailit to that
characteristic
If they fail to maintain it, they are displaying rank order instability (rank order
change)
o Mean level stability: Constancy of level
Example: if the average level of liberalism in a group remains the same over
time, the group exhibits high mean level stability
If the get ieasigl oseatie as the get olde, the the’e displaig
mean level change
o Personality coherence: Maintaining rank order in relation to other individuals but
changing the manifestations of the trait
Does’t euie fo the peise ehaioual aifestatios of a tait to eai
the same
Manifestations change, but what stays the same is the overall level of acts
based on a personality trait
Personality coherence includes both elements of continuity (in the underlying
trait) and elements of change (change in the outward manifestation of the trait)
Not all change qualifies as personality development
o Must be enduring and not external
o Certain inteal hages like gettig sik do’t last so the also do’t out
o Tepoa hages i pesoalit eause of osuig alohol o dugs also do’t
constitute personality development
Personality change has two defining qualities
o The changes are typically internal to the person
o The’e elatiel eduig oe tie
Three Levels of Analysis
Population level deals with the changes and constancies that apply more or less to everyone
o Eaple: thee’s a geeal deease i ipulsie ad isk-taking behaviours as people
get older
o Describes a general trend that might be part of what it means to be human and go
through life
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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
Group differences level deals with changes over time that affect different groups of people
differently
o Example: During adolescence, men and women suddenly develop differently from one
another in their average levels of risk-taking (men become more risk-taking)
o Other group differences include cultural or ethnic group differences
Individual Differences level focuses on individual differences in personality development
o Example: predicting which individuals will change over time and which ones will stay the
same
Personality Stability over Time
Stability of temperament during infancy
o The most commonly studied personality characteristics in infancy and childhood fall
under the category of temperament: the individual differences that emerge very early
in life are likely to have a heritable basis, and are often involved with emotionality or
arousability
o Mary Rothbart (who studied infants) examined six factors of temperament, using ratings
completed by the caregivers
Activity level: the ifat’s oeall oto atiit, iludig a ad leg
movements
Smiling and laughter: How much does the infant smile or laugh?
Fear: The ifat’s distess ad elutae to approach novel stimuli
Distress to limitations: Child’s distess at eig efused food, eig dessed,
being confined, or being prevented access to a desired object
Soothability: The degree to which the child reduces stress, or calms down, as a
result of being soothed
Duration of orienting: The degree to which the child sustains attention to
objects in the absence of sudden changes
o Infants who tend to score high at one time period on activity level (smiling and laughter)
and the other personality levels, also tend to score high on these traits at later time
periods
o Activity level and smiling and laughter tend to show higher levels of stability over time
than the other personality traits
o Personality traits tend to become more stable toward the end of infancy (from 9 to 12
months), compared to the earlier stages of infancy (from 3 to 6 months)
o Limitations
Caregivers may have developed certain conceptions of their infants (It may be
thei oeptios that sho stailit istead of the ifat’s ehaiou)
o Findings reveals
Stable individual differences appear to emerge very early in life, when they can
be assessed by observers
For most temperament variables, there are moderate levels of stability over
time during the first year of life
The stability of temperament tends to be higher over short intervals of time
than over long intervals of time (occurs in adulthood as well)
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PSYB30: Personality Clara Rebello
The level of stability of temperament tends to increase as infants mature
Stability during childhood
o Longitudinal studies: Examinations of the same groups of individuals over time
Costly and difficult to conduct
o Exception: Block and Block Longitudinal Study Two ways to assess the activity levels
of children
Actometer: Recording device attached to the wrists of the children during
several pla peiods that’s atiated  otoi oeet
Stability coefficients: The correlations between the same measures obtained at
two different points in time (also sometimes called test-retest reliability
coefficients)
Validity coefficients: The correlations between different measures of the same
trait obtained at the same time
The actometer-based measurements of activity level have significant positive
validity coefficients with the judge-based measurements of activity level
The correlations of the activity level measurements are all positively correlated
with measurements of activity level taken at later ages
The size of the correlations tends to decrease as the time interval between the
different testings increase (the longer the time between testings, the lower the
stability coefficients)
o Marked individual differences in aggression emerge very early in life, by the age of 3
Individuals retain their rank order stability on aggression to a substantial degree
over the years
o Individual differences in personality emerge very early in life (infancy for some traits and
early childhood for other traits)
o Childhood personality at age 3 turns out to be a good predictor of adult personality at
age 26
o The stability coefficients gradually decline over time as the distance between testings
increases
Rank order stability in adulthood
o Across self-report measures of personality, the traits of neuroticism, extraversion,
openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness all show moderate to high levels of
stability (average correlation of about 0.65)
o Moderate to high levels of personality stability, in the individual differences sense, are
found whether the data source is self-report, spouse-report, or peer-report
o Moderate levels of rank order stability of the Big Five are highly replicable across
different populations and investigators
o Personality dispositions, whether the standard Big Five or other dispositions, show
moderate to considerable rank order stability over time in adulthood
How people feel about themselves (their level of self-confidence) proven to be
very consistent over time (correlations between 0.50-0.70)
o When does personality consistency peak? (Roberts and DelVecchio (2000))
Personality consistency tends to increase with increasing age
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