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Chapter 1

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Connie Boudens

Chapter 1: Who Am I? Understanding the Building Blocks of Personality Personality psychology: scientific study of what makes us who we are - the study of individual differences for identifying ways in which people are both similar and different and for explaining how they became that way - studying the building blocks or raw materials that make us think and act as we do THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF PERSONALITY All the individual elements that make up the human personality come together to create a whole person in a way that is not reducible to its parts Some individual parts that come together to create a whole person:  Traits  culture  Genetics  society  Neuroscience  socialization by parents and peers  Self and identity  Intrapsychic aspects  Regulation and motivation  cognition Building blocks of personality: traits- a person’s typical way of thinking, feeling, & acting in various situations, at different times  we may develop certain characteristics but there are many other characteristics that we can develop from our socialization (parents, peers, teachers, society…), and from our personal experiences  these traits will be consistent across our lives and will be expressed in all sorts of ways (how we shake hands, the kind of music we prefer, our careers...) genetics- study of how genes and environment affect personality and behaviour  personality starts with our genetic makeup that we have inherited from each of our birth parents  even though many personality variables have a genetic component, every one of them has an environmental component as well neuroscience- study of how our brain and nervous system affect personality and behaviour thru the study of bodily responses, brain structure, brain activity, and biochemical activity  our genes encode our physical bodies, including our brain and nervous system  research suggests extroversion, neuroticism, & impulsivity are related to physiological & neurological differences which may be present at birth, or develop later on in life self and identity- our own sense of who we are including our:  self-concept- sense of who we are  self-esteem- opinion about our self-concept  social identity- try to present ourselves in a certain way to others, or we may embrace what others think about us  dolphins and chimpanzees, like humans, have the capacity for self-reflection intrapsychic foundations of personality- with this sense of self, we can look within ourselves (intra) to our own conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings (psychic) that also make up our personality  Freud claimed that our early experiences left a permanent, but unconscious, imprint on our adult personalities  Freud was one of the first to suggest that personality could be changed, and he originated a method of psychotherapy to do so regulation and motivation: self-determination theory- how people adjust their responses to the environment, both consciously and unconsciously  modern theory of motivation suggests that people can- and do regulate themselves consciously and unconsciously cognitive foundations- describes how people perceive and think about information about themselves and the world  people differ in how they process information, especially about 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 Integration: combine the building blocks of personality into a whole person - when it comes to personality, 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 behaviour, to design accurate methods to answer these questions, and to test competing explanations against one another Methods of Studying Personality:  Scientific method- describes how to make and test observations about the world in order to draw conclusions while minimizing error or bias  Starts with the identification of basic facts about the world  Using the collection of facts, scientists build theories Ex: at a party we might recognize that there are similarities and differences in how people behave, such as how some people laugh more than others  Using these facts as a basis, we can reason what other ideas are likely to be true Ex: we begin to notice that people who laugh a lot like to hang out with other people. Is this true?  Could do more controlled observations of people to test our theory  Then scientists make predictions and test predictions based on their theories using controlled methods  Finally, scientists make their re
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