Chapter 12 : Personality
12.1 Contemporary approaches to personality
Personality is a characteristic pattern of thinking, interacting, and reacting
that is unique to each individual, and remains relatively consistent over time
Idiographic approach, meaning that they focus on creating detailed
descriptions of individuals and their unique personality characteristics.
What makes the idiographic approach distinct is that is it person centered,
and might include how an individual perceives his or her own personality, as
well as how others perceive that individual’s personality.
Nomothetic approach, which examines personality in large groups of people,
with the aim of making generalizations about personality structure.
One advantage is that it allows psychologists to ask questions about the
genetic and cultural basis of personality traits.
The Trait Perspective
Personality traits, which are labels applied to specific attributes of
personality such as “shy,” “cheerful,” “outgoing,” and “adventurous.”
Factor analysis reveals statistical similarities among a wide variety of items.
The factors derived from this analysis comprise broad personality trait labels,
such as extra-version, that psychologists use when measuring personality.
18,000 words to describe an individual’s physical and psychological
The five factor model.
Narrowed the 18,000 to 16 words.
Five factor model (or just the big five
personality factors) which is a trait-based
approach to personality measurement that
includes extraversion, emotional stability
(also referred to by the opposite quality,
agreeableness, and openness.
Extraverted people tend to report
happier moods than do introverts Temperament refers to
that appear to be present at
birth, and includes such
characteristics as activity
levelm mood, attention
State is a temporary
physical or psychological
4 general aspects of situations and reduced them to influence our behaviour:
- Locations (eg., being at work, school, or home)
- Associations (eg., being with friends, alone, or with family)
- Activities (eg., awake, rushed, studying)
- Subjective states (eg., mad, sick, drunk , happy)
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), a
multiple-question personality inventory that is used to characterize both
normal personality dimensions and profiles that fit various psychological
Schizophrenia and psyhopathic deviancy are included in the MMPI.
The main purpose of the MMPI is to discriminate between “normal” and
Two additional methods for measuring personality include interviews and
When using interviews, a psychologist asks a structured set of questions and
analyzes the responses to create an individual profile.
When using behavioural assessments, a psychologist will create a personality
profile by observing an individual in a specific context or situation.
Fourth method includes projective tests.
Behaviorist and Social Cognitive
The fundamental difference between
Bandura’s theory and a strict behaviorist
approach is that Bandura sees people as
actively shaping and determining their
environments, rather than the other way.
Reciprocal determinism - the idea that
behavior, internal (personal factors, and external factors interact to determine one another, and that our personalities
are based on interactions among these three aspects.
12.2 Cultural and Biological Approaches to Personality
The study of personality is the study of human nature.
Culture and personality
One major challenge to doing cross cultural work is finding a standardized
measure of personality that can be translated and administered in languages
other than english.
Individualism refers to the view that personal identity, goals, and attributes
are of greater value than group identity, goals, and attributes.
Collectivism is a view that places greater value on defining the self in terms
of group membership and goals.
How Genes affect personality