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PSYB30H3 (485)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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Marc A Fournier

Chapter 1 Studying the Person Personality Psychology: is the scientific study of the whole person. It often studies the individual differences in people by developing ways to classify, categorize and organize the diversity of psychological individuality and they look for the biological and environmental forces and factors that explain those differences The three levels of personality  Personality Traits(outline sketching)  Adaptations(filling in the details)  Identity as a life story(constructing a life story) Sketching the outline Where do people usually start in guessing a person’s personality? People usually start with dispositional traits Personality Traits: are those general, internal, and comparative dispositions that we attribute to people in our initial efforts to sort individuals into meaningful behavioural categories and to account for consistencies we perceive or expect in behaviour from one situation to the next over time. How do personality psychologists quantify individual differences in dispositional traits? Self report questionnaires The big five traits (OCEAN): provide a comprehensive description of basic dimensions of variability in human psychological qualities that are implicated in consequential social behaviour , in other words a vast ocean of concepts for describing general psychological differences between persons Filling in the details Characteristic adaptations: are contextualized facets of psychological individuality that speak to motivational, cognitive, and developmental concerns in personality in time, place, situation or social role The three major theories regarding characteristics adaptations: 1. Theories of human motivation: what people want and desire in life, e.g Sigmund Freud suggested that humans are motivated by deep urges regarding sexuality and aggression, while Carl Rogers placed prime importance on needs for self-actualization . Henry Murray and McClelland suggested the needs for achievement, power and intimacy 2. Theories of cognition and personality: which underscore the rule of cognitive factors-values, beliefs, schemas- in human individuality 3. Theories of development: focusing on the evolution of the self and its relationships with others from birth to old age e.g Erikson’s theory of development and loevinger’s theory of ego development *note: refer to table 1.3 page 9 of the textbook and table 1.4 page 11 Constructing a story Life story: is an internalized and evolving narrative of the self that integrates the reconstructed past, perceived present and anticipated future in order to provide a life with a sense of unity and purpose Science and the person What is the aim of personality psychologists? To study the persons in a scientific way, which involves : unsystematic observation, building theories, and evaluating propositions Unsystematic observation  It is an active attempt to discern and then describe organization, pattern, design, or structure in a phenomenon that initially seems to be unorganized and without design  Scientists operate in the context of discovery: seeks to discover new ways of seeing reality, formulating in a highly subjective manner new categories and terminologies and new distinctions to describe the careful observation that he/she undertakes.  Induction: is the process by which the scientist move from concrete and particular events to the more abstract and general representation of these events  Case study: is an in depth investigation of a single individual, conducted over a substantial period of time Building theories  A theory: is a set of interrelated statements proposed to explain certain observations of reality  A theory is always tentative, and is a speculative abstraction  A theory is subject to change  It provides 4 tools: 1. An abstract model=a bigger picture of reality 2. A conceptual terminology=naming of the major components 3. A set of correspondence rules=specific relationships among the components 4. Hypotheses or testable predictions The seven standards by which a scientific theory may be judged: 1. Comprehensiveness-a theory that explains more is much preferred over one that explains less 2. Parsimony-a simpler and more straightforward explanation is generally preferred to a more complex one 3. Coherence-the various statements that make up the theory should hang up together in a sensible manner 4. Testability-can be tested through empirical design 5. Empirical validity-the results of hypothesis-testing research should be in accord with what the theory says 6. Usefulness- a theory that seems to solve a human problem is much preferred over one that is less relevant 7. Generativity- a good theory should genet=rate new research and new theorizing Evaluating prepositi
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