PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Learned Helplessness, Mars Ill, Scientific Method

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Published on 1 Mar 2013
Personality - Chapter 1
What is Personality Psychology?
personality psychology is the scientific study of what makes us who we are - it is the study
of individual differences: for identifying ways in which people are both similar and different
and for explaining how they became that way
we can study the individual elements that make up the human personality, the elements
come together to create a whole person in a way that is not reducible to its parts
The Building Blocks of Personality
1. Traits
a person's typical way of thinking, feeling and acting in various situations, at different times
we may be born with certain physiology that makes us more likely to develop certain
there are many other characteristics that we can develop from our socialization
these traits will be consistent across our lives and will be expressed in all sorts of ways
2. Genetics
genetics is the study of how genes and environment affect personality and behavior
even though many personality variables have a genetic component, every one of them has
an environment component as well
3. Neuroscience
neuroscience is the study of how our brain and nervous system affect personality and
behaviour through the study of bodily responses, brain structure, brain activity and
biochemistry activity
some research suggests that extroversion, neuroticism, and impulsivity are related to
physiological and neurological differences which may be present at birth = part of who we
are in these 3 characteristics is built into us by our neurology
4. Self and Identity
self and identity encompasses our own sense of who we are including our self-concept, self-
esteem and social identity
we have a sense of who we are: our self-concept
we have an opinion about that: our self esteem
present ourselves in a certain way to others, or we may embrace what others think about
us; taking on a social identity
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Personality - Chapter 1
5. Intrapsychic Foundations of Personality
we can look within ourselves (intra) to our own conscious and unconscious thoughts and
feelings (psychic) that also make up our personality (intrapsychic)
a complete understanding of personality must also take into account our unconscious
motivations, including our defence mechanisms and important attachments, starting with
our caregivers and continuing with our intimate relationships
6. Regulation and Motivation: Self-Determination Theory
according to self-determination theory, when people feel free to choose, are competent at
what they do, and are connected to people around them, they will be motivated and self-
directed for the task at hand
building block of regulation and motivation is concerned with how people adjust their
responses to the environment, both consciously and unconsciously
7. Cognitive Foundations
people differ in how they process information, especially about the causes and impacts of
events in their lives, and expectations for what may happen in the future
there are individual differences in locus of control, learned helplessness, learned
hopelessness and optimism-pessimism
cognitive foundation describes how people perceive and think about information about
themselves and the world
Putting It All Together: Integration
in integration, we combine the building blocks of personality into a whole person - the
whole is greater than the mere sum of the parts
How Do Psychologists Study Personality?
research allows us to formulate and test questions about human behavior, to design
accurate methods to answer these questions and to test competing explanations against
one another
by conducting research using sound methods, scientists are able to generalize beyond their
own findings and add to the collective knowledge about a given phenomenon
The Scientific Method
research rests on the philosophy of empiricism: using direct experience to draw conclusions
about the world
scientific method - describes how to make and test observations about the world in order to
draw conclusions while minimizing error or bias
the scientific method starts with the identification of basic facts about the world
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