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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

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 characteristics  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 1 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 2 Personality - Chapter 1  then, using this collection of facts, scientists build theories  then using these facts as a basis, we can reason what other ideas are likely to be true  then scientists make predictions and test predictions based on their theories using controlled methods  finally scientists make their results public by publishing them in journals, on the internet, or presenting their results at conferences - they do this to seek out independent verification from other researchers Observational Studies and Personality Questionnaires  researchers might use an observational study, where they observe what people do, to understand a certain phenomenon  then based on these observations researchers might make an educated guess or generate a hypothesis to explain their findings  personality questionnaires are tests in which people answer questions about themselves that identify certain aspects of their personality Correlational and Experimental Designs  a correlation coefficient (r) measures the relationship, or co-relation, between two variables  they can be positive or negative, depending on the type of relationship  if two variables increase or dec
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