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Chapter 1

Chapter 1.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Marc A Fournier
Chapter
1

Page:
of 5
Chapter 1 Studying the Person
Introduction
- Personality Psychology Scientific Study of whole person, construct credible account of psychological
individuality
- Individual differences: Developing ways to classify, categorize and organize diversity of psychological
individuality, and biological environmentally forces and factors that explain those difference
What Do We Know When We Know a Person?
Sketching an Outline: Dispositional Traits
- Personality portrait: General statements concerning her characteristic patterns of behavioural evidence that is
not sufficient to give your complete confidence in assumptions
- Personality traits: General, internal and comparative dispositions attributed to people in initial efforts,
account for consistencies we perceive or expect in behaviour form 1 situation to the next over time
- Ways to quantify individual differences in trait: self-report questionnaires (people know themselves)
- How many traits possible? >18,000 in English dictionary, 4500 were relatively stable and enduring dispositional
traits
- Big 5 traits: OCEAN
1. Openness to Experience (O)
2. Conscientiousness ©
3. Extraversion
4. Agreeableness (A)
5. Neuroticism (N)
MAYBE FILL IN TABLE 1.2 PG 7
Filling in the Details: Characteristic Adaptations
- Trait attributions are useful b/c they tell us about trends in behaviour over time and across different situations,
settings an contexts contextualized in time, place and/or role
- Characteristic adaptations: Contextualized facets of psycho. Individuals speak to motivational, cognitive,
and developmental concerns in personality
- Theories of human motivation what people fundamentally want or desire on life
Sigmund Freud: Motivated by deep urges in sexuality and aggression
Carl Rogers and other humanistic psychologists: Importance for self-actualization and other growth-promoting
human tendencies
Henry Murray: >20 basic psych. Needs or motives
David McClleland: Studying the needs for achievement, power and affiliation/intimacy
- Theories of cognition and personality role of cog. Factors values, beliefs, expectancies, schemas plans, personal
constructs, cognitive styles in human individuality
George Kelly’s personal construct theory, many contemporary approaches to personality
- Theories of development focus on evolution of self and relationship w/ other form birth-old age
Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development
Jane Loevinger’s theory of ego development
TABLE 1.3 PG 9
Constructing a Story: Integrative Life Narratives
- Life story: Internalized and evolving narrative of the self that integrates the reconstructed past, perceived
present and anticipated future in order to provide a life w/ a sense of unity and purpose
- How might personality psychologists interpret stories people live by?
People actively and consciously make meaning out of their lives in terms of narratives that are prevalent in their
own cultures pick and choose among different stories that their cultures have to offer in order to create narrative
identities
Sigmund Freud introduced world of interpreting people’s lives through dark and unconscious forces within 0
meaning are hidden b/w lives
Contemporary approaches postmodern, discursive, dialogical people are storytellers who make themselves a
new w/ each new conversation they have
Table 1.4 pg 11
Science and the Person
- 3 steps refer to what the individual scientist does when exploring new problem/issue to what particular fields of
science do or have done as they evolve form “primitive” “mature” sciences
Step 1: Unsystematic Observation
- Look, listen feel, smell and/or taste thing we want to understand
- Use instruments to help you for getting the five senses
- Carefully observe the phenomenon of interest over a long period of time
- Look for patterns, regularities in phenomenon
- Active attempt to discern and describe organization, pattern, design or structure in a phenomena that initially
seems to be disorganized and w/o design
- Observer interacts in a highly subjective way w/ the phenomenon by virtue of observing it
- Context of discovers: Seeks to discover new ways of seeing reality, formulating a highly subjective manner
new categories, new terms, and new distinctions to describe careful observations, organize observations
into categories
- Induction: Concrete and particular abstract and generation representations
- Examples of psychology of highly subjective observations of human behaviour
i.e. Jean Piaget: Based aspects of theory of cognitive development on careful observations made from his 3 children
i.e. Sigmund Freud: Freud’s highly subjective observation of dream reports, spontaneous utterances and
behavioural symptoms f neurotic patients
- Case Studies: In-depth investigation of single individual over long period of time, gives personality
psychologist a good deal of information about 1 human being
Step 2: Building Theories
i.e. Freidrich Kekule, 19th century German chemist, described how a series of discovering the structure of organic
molecules came to him in hypnologic reveries/waking dreams
- Strangeness of development is not a reflection of how good the theory is
- Theory: Set of interrelated statements proposed to explain certain observations of reality, tentative and
somewhat abstract
- Theory has 4 different tools that scientist can use to increase understanding:
1. An abstract model of picture that serves as easily envisioned representation for structure of theory
2. Conceptual term or set of names for key ideas and major classes of observations in theory
3. Set of correspondence rules that describe the specific relationship to be expected b/w various components
4. Hypotheses or testable prediction that logically derived form correspondence rules
- What are the criteria for a good theory SCIENTIFIC
1. Comprehensiveness: Wider the scope of theory’s explanatory abilities, the BETTER
2. Parsimony: Science is a simplifying and economizing games. Theories attempt to explain the maximum number
of observations w. minimum number of explanatory concepts a simpler and more straightforward explanation is
preferred to a more complex one.
3. Coherence: Theory should be logical and internally consistent
4. Testability: A scientist should be able to derive hypotheses that can readily evaluated through empirical research
5. Empirical Validity: Should support theory’s major claims
6. Usefulness: Theories are ways to solve humanly significant problems are generally preferred to those that seem
less relevant
7. Generativity: A god theory should generate new research and new theorizing
Step 3: Evaluating Propositions
- Context of justification: Attempts to evaluate/justify truth of a given statement proposed by a given
theory, seeks to subject a portion of theory to a rigorous and objective test
- The anticipation of step 3 in scientific process feeds back to influence what the scientist does in Steps 1 and 2
- The theory should specify what observations it would take to disprove its major propositions, or such
observation should at least be deductible form theory’s propositions
- Popper’s standard of falsifiability for more speculative and philosophical among us b/c it puts fairly substantial
constraints on kinds of theoretical statements we can make<
Setting Up and Empirical Study
- Scientific hypotheses should be grounded in theories essential early task of hypothetical testing research
- Empirical testing see how these ideas have been examined empirically by others/ what other methods and
what empirical findings or result have been obtained
- Choose appropriate sample of persons to examine
Operationalize the variables that we have chosen to investigate variable: any quality that can assume two or
more values, operationalize=decide how to measure it/”specify the operation” through which it to be
assessed
- General formats of hypothesis-testing is Correlational and experimental design
The Correlational Design
- Correlational/co-related studies: Scientists ask a very simple question “When 1 variable changes in value, what
happens to the other variable
- Positive vs. negative correlation
- Numerical way of expressing the degree of correlation b/w 2 variables is the correlation coefficient
- A relationship or difference is statistically significant when the probability of obtaining the effect, relationship or
difference by chance is less than 5%.”significant at the .05 level
- Remember correlation does not imply causation
The Experimental Design
- Personality psychologists can determine cause0and0effect relationships b/w different variables in an experiment
- Scientists manipulate or alters one variable of interest in order to observe its impact on another variable of
interest
- Independent variable: One manipulated or altered
- Dependent variable: Individual’s response to alteration/manipulation of ind. variable
- It is essential that the conditions of the experimental and control groups be identical with the exception of one
variable
- The study of person is broad and rich endeavour to encompass both experimental and Correlational approaches
to hypothesis-testing research
- 3 basic steps for scientific inquiry unsystematic observation, building theories and evaluating propositions
- Science progresses through`1g47h a continuous dialogue b/w observation and theory
Personality Psychology
- Scientific focus on psych. Individuality distinguishes personality psychology form all other branches of psych. and
social science
The Past and the Present
- Started in 1930s
- 1ST issue of journal Character and Personality published in 1932
- 1937: Gordon Allport published 1st major textbook on personality: Personality: A psychological Interpretation
- Personality past was a dissident field w/o large scene of American Psychology more towards things such as
habits, reflexes, stimuli and discrete responses
- American psych. was nomothetic aimed to discover and test general principles or laws of behaviour
- Allport said that the scientist should examine each individual personality as unique entity idiographic ignore
general laws to discern specific and individual patterning of particular lives
- Modern Psych. into 3 parts: 1930-1950: Establishment of field and development of number of general systems
1. 1930-40s: Personality psychologists proposed comprehensive conceptual system for understanding person
Allport`s psychology of individual, Murray`s personalogical system, trait theories by Cattell and Eyseneck, Roger`s
humanistic theory, Kelly`s cognitive theory of personal constructs, Erikson`s psychosocial theory of personality
development
1930s: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Alfred Adler developed comprehensive theories of personality from clinical
observation and in psychoanalytic tradition