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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Textbook notes

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Marc A Fournier

Personality B30 Midterm (Chapter 1-6) Neshanthie Sanmugathas 3/4/2011 Chapter 1: Studying the Person Personality psychology is the scientific study of the whole person Personality psychologists often study individual differences in people What Do we Know When we Know a Person? SKETCHING AN OUTLINE: 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 and over time o You dont know Amanda well yet- but based on what you have observed you might begin to suppose that, in general she tends to be relatively less domineering- these kinds of traits attributions might guide you in your future interactions with Amanda in that they might give you some clues about what to expect from her Personality psychologists have identified many different methods for quantifying individual differences in dispositional traits o Most common procedure is to administer self-report questionnairesbecause people have some idea of what their basic traits are Many personality psychologist argue that the many different dispositional traits that might be invoked to outline psychological individuality can be grouped into about five categories o The Big Five traits (OCEAN) Openness to Experience (O) Conscientiousness (C) Extraversion (E) Agreeableness(A) Neuroticism (N) FILLING IN THE DETAILS: Characteristic Adaptions Trait attributions are useful because they tell us about trends in behaviour over time and across different situations, settings and contexts o In talking about the psychological details of Amadas individuality, however, we have moved on www.notesolution.com beyond general trait attributions to consider aspects o her personality that are contextualized in time, place and/or roles Characteristic adaptations are contextualized facets of psychological individuality that speck to motivational, cognitive, and developmental concerns in personality o Address many questions: What do people want? How do people seek what they desire and avoid what they fear? ...etc Many of the greatest theories in the history of personality psychology have addressed questions regarding characteristic adaptations- we can group these theories into three major categories o 1). There are theories of human motivationspecify such characteristic adaptation as human needs, motives, goals and strivings Sigmund Freud suggested that humans are motivated by deep urges regarding sexuality and aggression Carl Rogers and other humanistic psychologists placed prime importance on needs for self- actualization and other growth-promoting human tendencies Henry Murray enumerated a list of more than 20 basic psychological needs or motives and David McClelland devoted his long career to studying thee of themthe need for achievement, power and affiliation/intimacy o 2). There are theories of cognition and personality, which underscore the role of cognitive factors- values, beliefs, expectancies, schemas, plans , personal constructs, cognitive styles- in human individuality The most famous of these theories is probably George Kellys (1955) Personal construct theory, but many contemporary approaches to personality also emphasize cognitive or social- cognitive factors and processes o 3). A third set of theories is more explicitly developmental , focusing on the evolution of the self and its relationship with others from birth to old age Erik Eriksons theory of psychosocial development and Jane Loevingaers theory of ego development are among the most influential and far-reaching developmental theories of personality ever created As you move from dispositional traits to characteristic adaptations in the study of person, you move from a focus on personality structure to one that emphasizes personality dynamics, process and change o In examining the details, you begin to explore aspects of psychological individuality that may be more fluid and malleable than what you would typically see if you were to stick exclusively to the trait outline with which you begin CONSTRUCTING A STORY: Integrative Life Narratives www.notesolution.com The question of identity points to a third way to think about psychological individuality- -beyond traits and adaptations, many people seek an integrative framework or model for their own lives that gives them a sense that the various pieces of who they are come together into some kind of sensible whole The challenge of modern identity is to come up with a way of understanding and talking about the self such that o (A). Despite the many different parts of me I am whole and coherent and o (B). Despite the many changes that attend the passage of time, the self of my past led up to or set the stage for the self of the present, which in turn will lead up to or set the stage for the self of the future The third level of personality is the level of identity as a life story o A life story is an internalize 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 The story is the identity, as the identity change the story changes What do we know when we know a person? o 1). Where he or she stands on a series of dispositional traits that speck to general tendencies in behaviour across situations and over time o 2). How he or she is confronting and adapting to motivational, cognitive, and developmental tasks and concerns that are contextualized in place, time and/or role o 3). What kind of identity he or she is articulating in life through the construction of stories about the self Three Levels of Personality Level Definition Examples Broad dimensions of personality that describe -Dominance assumedly internal, global, and stable individual-Tendency toward differences in behaviour, thought, and feeling. depression Dispositional Traits Traits account for consistency in individual -Punctuality functioning across different situations and over time More particular facets of personality that describeoals, motives, and personal adaptations to motivational, cognitive, life plans and developmental challenges and tasks. -Religious values and Characteristic Adaptation Characteristic adaptations are usually beliefs contextualized in time, place, situation, or socialognitive schemas role -Psychosocial stages -Developmental tasks www.notesolution.com
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