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PSYA02H3 (961)
Chapter 12


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Steve Joordens

CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY PSYA02 2013 Personality is an individual's characteristic style of behaving, thinking and feeling Personality: What it is and How it is Measured Describing and Explaining Personality - most personality psychologists focus on specific, psychologically meaningful individual differences - explanations of personality differences are concerned with prior events that can shape and individual's personality or anticipated events that might motivate the person to reveal particular personality characteristics - anticipated events emphasizes person's own perspective and often seems intimate and personal in its reflection of the person's inner life, hopes, fears, aspirations Measuring Personality Personality Inventories - self-report is a series of answers to questionnaire that asks people to indicate the extent to which sets of statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behaviour or mental state - researcher combines answers to get general sense of individuals personality with respect to particular domain - self report collects sets of self descriptive statements that indicate different degrees of personality characteristic - uses multiple answers to a variety of items that are related in content to gauge the underlying personality characteristic - actuarial method can be used to gauge personality even when the self report items are not clearly related in content to the characteristic being measured - this method is basis on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a well researched clinical questionnaire used to assess personality and psychological problems - consists of more than 500 descriptive statements measures tendencies toward clinical problems, like depression, hypochondria, anxiety, paranoia, and uses validity scales that assess a person's attitudes toward test taking and any tendency to try to distort the results by faking answers - easy to administer, but needs honest responses from people, phenomenon known as response style Projective Techniques -projective techniques consist of standard series of ambiguous stimuli designed to elicit unique responses that reveal inner aspects of an individual's personality - assumes that people will project personality factors that are out of awareness, wishes, concerns, and ways of seeing the world - best known technique is the Rorschach Inkblot Test, projective personality test in which individual interpretations of the meaning of a set of unstructured inkblots are analyzed to identify a respondent's inner feelings and interpret his or her personality structure - although this captures some more complex and private aspects of personality, open to subjective interpretation and theoretic biases of examiner - Thematic Apperception Test is projective personality tests in which respondents reveal underlying motives, concerns, and the way they see the social world through the stories they make up about ambiguous pictures of people - many drawings tend to elicit consistent set of themes, such as success and failures, competition, CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY PSYA02 2013 high-tech methods such as wireless communication, real time computer analysis, and automated behaviour identification open door to personality measurements that are leaps beyond Trait Approach: Identifying Patterns of Behaviour Traits as Behavioural Dispositions and Motives - Allport believed people could be described in terms of traits just as an object could be described in terms of its properties, saw trait as a relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent way - two basic ways in which a trait might serve as an explanation, may be pre-existing disposition of the person that causes the behaviour, or it may be a motivation that guides the persons behaviour - Allport saw traits as pre-existing dispositions, cause of behaviour that reliably trigger the behaviour - Murray tho suggested instead that traits reflect motivse - traits are usually measured as right wing authoritarianism, tendency toward political conservatism, obedience to authority and conformity The Search for Core Traits Classification Using Language - Generation after generation people described with words, core traits could be discerned by finding main themes on all adjectives used to describe a personality - might be related to a hierarchical pattern, with more general or abstract traits at higher levels than more specific or concrete trait, more abstract represent the core of personality - factor analysis used, which sorts trait terms or self descriptions into small number of underlying dimensions based on how people use the traits to rate themselves - hindered of people rate themselves on hundreds of adjectives, indicating how accurately each one describes their personality - researcher calculates patterns to determine similarities in rater's usage, reveal which adjectives are unrelated - each factor is presented as continuum ranging from one extreme trair such as ambitious to its opposite, laid back - different techniques have yielded different views of personality structure - Catell proposed a 16 factor theory of personality -Eysenck simplified it with only two major traits, his two factor analysis identified one dimension that distinguished people who are sociable and active from those who are more introspective and quiet - then he added a second dimension ranking from tendency to be neurotic or emotionally unstable to tendency t be more emotionally stable -believed that many behavioural tendencies could be understood in terms of their relation to these core traits The Big Five Dimensions of Personality - Big Five are the traits of the five factor model: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, extraversion CANOE - strikes the right balance between accounting for as much variation in personality as possible while avoiding overlapping traits CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY PSYA02 2013 - peoples descriptions of their own personalities, others descriptions of their personalities, behavioural observation, show up across a wide range of participants, including children, adults in other culture and even among those who use other languages, may be universal - self reports on big five are associated with predictable patterns of behavioural and social outcomes - personalities tend to remain stable through lifetime Traits as Biological Building Blocks - why a person has stable set of personality traits? immutable brain and biological processes produce the remarkable stability of traits over the life span - brain damage can produce personality change, like the rod dude who became really bitchy - administration of antidepressant medication and other pharmaceutical treatments that change brain chemistry can also change personality Genes, Traits and Personality - importance of biological factors in personality comes from the domain of behavioural genetics - identical twins proved markedly more similar to each other in personality than did fraternal twins - more genes you have in common with someone, more similar your personalities are likely to be - half the variability among individuals results from genetic factors, do not account for everything tho - shared environment can play a part but little indirect impact on personality, twins growing up apart can still be very similar Do Animals Have Personalities? - sure they do! its just hard to measure it tho, - different observers seem to agree on where an animal falls in given dimension, findings do not simply reflect another particular observer's imagination or tendency to anthromophize, attribute human characteristics to nonhuman animals, biological mechanisms that underlie personality traits shared by many species - differences in personality reflect alternative adaptations that species, have evolved to deal with challenges of survival and reproduction Traits in the Brain - Eysenck speculated that extraversion and introversion may arise from individual differences in alertness - extraverts need to seek out social interaction, introverts avoid these situations - pursue stimulation because their reticular formation, part that regulates arousal or alertness, not easily stimulated - drawn to activities such as listening to loud music, having a lot of social contact - behaviorists support Eysenck view - introverts respond more strongly and salivate more when drop of lemon juice is placed on their tongues, react more negatively to electric shocks or loud noises - impact on ability to concentrate, extraverts perform well at tasks that are done in a noisy arousing context, introverts are better at tasks that require concentration in tranquil contexts - Jeffrey Gray proposed the dimensions of extraversion/introversion and neuroticism reflect two basic brain systems, - behavioural activation system is a go system, activates approach behaviour in response to the anticipation of reward, extravert has highly reactive BAS and will engage in environment, seeking social reinforcement and on the go CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY PSYA02 2013 - behavioural inhibition system, stop system inhibits behaviour in response to stimuli signaling punishment - emotionally unstable person has highly reactive BIS and will focus on negative outcomes and be on lookout for stop signs - two systems operate independently, possible for someone to be both a go and stop person simultaneously The Psychodynamic Approach: Forces that Lie beneath Awareness - Freud looked for personality in details - psychodynamic approach, personality is formed by needs, strivings, and desires largely operating outside of awareness, motives that can produce emotional disorders - dynamic unconscious, an active system encompassing a lifetime of hidden memories, persons deepest instincts and desires and persons inner struggle to control these forces Structure of the MInd: Id, Ego, and SuperEgo - Freud proposed that mind consists of three independent interacting and often conflicting systems: id ego and superego - id is part of mind containing the drives present at birth, source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly sexual and aggressive drives - operates according to the pleasure principle, psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse - ego is component of personality, developed through contact with external world and that enables us to deal with life's practical demands - operates according to reality principle, regulating mechanism that enables the individual to delay gratifying immediate needs and function effectively in the real world; helps you resist impulses -superego, mental system that reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly learned as parents exercise their authority - consists of set of guidelines, internal standards, and other codes of conduct that regulate and control behaviours, thoughts, and fantasies - conscious, punishing us when we doing something wrong, and rewarding us - id forces personal needs, superego forces social pressures to quell needs, and ego forces reality demands together to create controversy Dealing with Inner Conflict - dynamics among id ego and superego are governed by anxiety, unpleasant feelings that arise when unwanted thoughts or feelings occur - when ego receives alert signal, it tries repression, mental process that removes painful experiences and unacceptable impulses from conscious mind, aka motivated forgetting - repression of memories may involve decreased activation of hippocampus - ego can imply other means of self deception, called defense mechanisms, unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY PSYA02 2013 rationalization is defense mechanism that involves supplying a reasonable sounding explanation for unacceptable feelings and behaviour to conceal one's underlying motives or feelings - someone who drops a class after failing the exam might say they quit bc poor ventilation in class made it impossible to focus reaction formation involves unconsciously replacing threatening inner wishes and fantasies with an exaggerated version of their opposite - being nice to haters, mean to people you like - in homophobic men showed greater arousal to the male homosexual images than did men in control group Projection involves attributing one's own threatening feelings, motives, or impulses to another person or group - people who think they are overly rigid or dishonest may have tendency to judge other people as having the same qualities - regression in which ego deals with internal conflict and perceived threat by reverting to an immature behaviour or earlier stage of development -using baby noises... dipali and neera...watching cartoons to supress stress displacement involves shifting unacceptable wishes or drives to neutral or less threatening alternative - slamming a door, throwing a textbook - identification helps deal with feelings of threat and anxiety by enabling us unconsciously to take on the characteristics of another person who seems more powerful or better able to cope - child who parent bullies or severely punishes her may take on characteristics of bully too sublimation- involves channelling unacceptable sexual or aggressive drives into socially acceptable and culturally enhancing activities - football, rugby , other contact sports - defense mechanisms help overcome anxiety and engage effectively with outside world Psychosexual Stages and Development of Personality - Freud believed that persons basic personality is formed before 6 years of age during a series of sensitive periods, life stag
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