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Chapter 12

[Textbook Note] Chapter 12 - Personality.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Steve Joordens

Chapter 12 – Reading Notes Personality 12.0  Personality: An individual’s characteristic style of behaving, thinking, and feeling. 12.1  One develops a personality naturally as we travel through life. 12.2  Personality psychologist focus on specific characteristics such as honesty or anxiousness or moodiness.  Anticipated events: Emphasizes the person’s own perspective and often seems intimate and personal in its reflection of the person’s inner life – hopes, fears, and aspirations. 12.3  Self-report: A series of answers to a questionnaire that asks people to indicate the extent to which sets statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behaviour or mental state.  Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2): A well-researched, clinical questionnaire used to assess personality and psychological problems.  Projective techniques: A standard series of ambiguous stimuli designed to elicit unique responses that reveal inner aspects of an individual’s personality.  Rorschach Inkblot Test: A 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.  Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): Is a projective personality test 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.  When measured by rigorous scientific criteria, the TAT, the Rorschach and the other projective tests has not been found to be reliable or valid in predicting behaviour. 12.4  Personality psychologists attempt to find the best ways to describe personality, to explain how personalities come about, and to measure personality.  Two general classes of personality tests are personality inventories such as the MMPI-2, and projective techniques, such as the Rorschach Inkblot Test and the TAT. 12.5  Trait theorists face two significant challenges: o Narrowing down the almost infinite set of adjectives and answering the more basic questions of why people have particular traits – whether they arise from biological or hereditary foundations. 12.6  Gordon Allport (1937): The first trait theorists  believed people could be described in terms of traits just as an object could be described in terms of its properties. o Trait: A relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent way. o Trait may be pre-existing disposition of the person that causes the person’s behaviour, or it may be a motivation that guides the person’s behaviour. o Allport saw traits as pre-existing dispositions  causes of behaviour that reliably trigger the behaviour.  Ex: Person’s orderliness is an inner property of the person that will cause person to straighten things up and be tidy in a wide array of situations.  Henry Murray (originator of the TAT): suggested instead that traits reflect motives. o Just as a hunger motive might explain someone’s many trips to the snack bar. o A need for orderliness might explain the neat closets, organized calendar, and familiarity with the bus schedule. o Researchers examining traits as causes have used personality inventories to measure them, whereas those examining traits as motives have more often used projective tests. 12.7  Factor analysis: Shorts trait terms or self-descriptions into a small number of underlying dimensions, or “factors”, based on how people use the traits to rate themselves.  Hans Eysenck (1967) simplified things with a model of personality with only two major traits (later he expanded that to three): o Extraverts: People who are sociable and active. o Introverts: People who are more introspective and quiet. o Analysis also identified a second dimension ranging from tendency to be very neurotic or emotionally unstable to tendency to be more emotionally stable. o Believed that many behavioural tendencies could be understood in terms of their relation to these core traits.  Today, factor analysis researchers agree that personality is best captured by 5 factors.  The Big Five: The traits of the five-factor model – conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion. (C.A.N.O.E.) o This set of five factors strikes the right balance between accounting for as much variation in personality as possible while avoiding overlapping traits. o The same five factors have emerged in data of people’s descriptions of their own personalities, other people’s descriptions of their personalities, interviewer checklists, and behavioural observation. o Show up across a wide range of participants including children, adults in other cultures, and even among those who use other languages, suggesting that the Big Five may be universal. 12.8  The more genes you have in common with someone, the more similar your personalities are likely to be.  Genetics seems to influence most personality traits; the average genetic component of personality is in the range of .40 to .60.  The remaining of the variability in personality is explained by differences in life experiences and other factors.  Studies of twins suggest that the extent to which the Big Five traits derive from genetic differences ranges from .35 to .49.  Anthropomorphize: To attribute human characteristics to nonhuman animals.  Extraverts may need to seek out social interaction, parties, and even mayhem in the attempt to achieve full mental stimulation. o Pursue stimulation because of their reticular formation (the part of the brain that regulates arousal or alertness) is not easily stimulated. o To achieve greater cortical arousal and feel fully alert, they are drawn to activities such as listening to loud music and having a lot of social contact. o Perform well at tasks that are done in a noisy, arousing context (bartending or teaching).  Introverts may avoid these situations because they are so sensitive that such stimulation is unpleasant. o Prefer reading or quiet activities because their cortex is very easily stimulated to a point higher than optimal. o Better at tasks that require concentration in tranquil contexts (librarian or nighttime security guard).  Jeffrey Gray (1970): Proposed that the dimensions of extraversion/introversion and neuroticism reflect two basic brain systems. o Behavioural activation system (BAS): Essentially a “go” system which activates approach behaviour in response to the anticipation of reward.  Extravert has highly reactive BAS and will actively engage the environment, seeking social reinforcement and on the “go”. o Behavioural inhibition system (BIS): A “stop” system which inhibits behaviour in response to stimuli signalling punishment.  Emotionally unstable person has highly reactive BIS and will focus on negative outcomes and be on the lookout for “stop” signs. o These 2 systems operate independently; it is possible for someone to have both. 12.10  Psychoanalysis: Refer to both Freud’s theory of personality and his method of treating patients.  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, the person’s deepest instincts and desires, and the person’s inner struggle to control these forces. 12.11  Mind consists of three independent, interacting and often conflicting systems: the id, the ego and the superego.  Id: The part of the mind containing the drives present at birth; it is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. o Operates according to pleasure principle, psychic force that motives the tendency to seek immed
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