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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Review

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Marc A Fournier

Chapter 4 Personality Traits: Fundamental Concepts and Issues Personality generalizations doesnt really apply to every single person Trait talk can be used for good and bad Traits can come with labels or stereotypes that can objectify people labels that turn people into objects in the minds of others Can use trait talk to size up people quickly without actually knowing them Most troubling is the use of trait attributions in the service of oppression and prejudice Stereotyping of strangers and out-groups Stereotypes out-groups and strangers can lead to a lot of hatred and justify discrimination, warfare, slavery, and even genocide First and most general level of individual differences between people: the level of dispositional traits THE IDEA OF TRAIT WHAT IS A TRAIT? Rooted in common sense and everyday observation We notice consistencies within a given person and differences between different people First they will consider traits as internal dispositions that are relatively stable over time and across situations Second, traits are typically conceived in bipolar terms o Traits are considered language of opposites: friendliness vs. unfriendliness, extraversion vs. introversion, dominance vs. submissive o People are situated within these in a normal distribution but usually residing toward the middle of it such as moderately friendly or moderately unfriendly Third, different traits are generally seen as additive and independent Finally, personality traits usually refer to broad individual differences in socioemotional functioning www.notesolution.com Personality traits refer to individual differences between people in characteristic thoughts, feelings, and behaviours Psychologists use trait concept to account for consistencies in behaviour from one situation to the next There are dynamics of traits that add up to a trait profile Four positions on traits o Traits exist in the central nervous system (what Allport thinks) neuropsychic structures o Psychophysiological substrata but maintains, nonetheless, that traits exist as dispositions that exert a significant impact on behaviour o So traits can be considered either neurpsychic structures or behavioural dispositions o The third and fourth positions argue that the traits do not really cause behaviour but exist instead as convenient categories for describing the behaviours that people show o The third position by Buss and Craik in their act-frequency approach to personality o Act-frequency: traits are merely language categories for the organization of discrete behavioural acts o Traits are the behaviour, not that they influence behaviour o Acts grouped together in trait families o Fourth position is that traits do not exist in any objective sense, even in the sense of act categories o In sum, first position says that traits have a biological reality; the second points to the dispositional nature of traits; the third suggests that traits connect to functionally similar behaviours; and the fourth points out that trait labels are useful in everyday social cognition Most contemporary psychologists today seem to view traits as dispositions (second position) that have some causal influence on behaviour The meaning of a trait is partially determined by its cultural context A BRIEF HISTORY OF TRAITS In the book of Genesis theres Esau and Jacob and Esau is hairy and active and adventurous while Jacob is the mothers favourite and is timid and quiet and lives a domestic life and is www.notesolution.com
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