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Chapter 1.2

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1.2: Personality Disorder, Oedipus Complex, Panic Disorder

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Michael Inzlicht

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12.1 - Contemporary Approaches to Personality
- personality can be measured by the details of our dwellings
- e.g. if you have photos of mount everest and major european cities in
your living space, it can mean that you are into experiencing new and
exciting things
-personality characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, behaving, that is
unique to each individual and remains relatively consistent over time and
- two broad approaches to personality measurement:
idiographic approach creating detailed descriptions of a specific person’s
unique personality characteristics
this is when you are trying to figure yourself out or other people you know
when you try to figure out why your cousin Bob is so weird, you are taking
an idiographic approach
this approach can help people understand themselves as well as the social
world around them but also a full range of human experiences, from the
most disturbed individual to the healthiest individual
e.g. criminal profilers may focus on a detailed study of a serial killer to
help the police with their investigation
but at the same time, Maslow tried to understand what makes human
beings thrive and develop to their maximum potential
nomothetic approach examine personality in large groups of people, with
the aim of making generalizations about personality structure
rather than trying to understand a specific person, psychologists may
want to understand the factors that predict certain behaviours across
people in general
this kind of approach allows psychologists to examine what types of
people are more or less likely to engage in certain behaviours which is an
important step toward being able to change behaviours of societal

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the key to nomothetic research is to identify the important personality
traits that are related to whatever it is that you are interested in
The Trait Perspective
-personality trait a person’s habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and
- traits are useful as shortcuts to understand people
- they summarize a great deal of information about a person and help to
predict their behaviours in certain situations
- the first systematic attempt to identify all possible traits was discovered
by Gordon Allport; he developed a theory of personality structure by
organizing words like “shy” “cheerful” ”outgoing” into personality traits,
launching a strong trend in personality psychology
-the Barnum effect when people are easily convinced that a personality
profile describes them well but really the profile was not generated to
describe them at all
- the Barnum effect may be a key reason why personality tests of
questionable validity are so widely believed (e.g. believing in horoscopes,
psychics, etc. basically, you’re making yourself believe in things that can
generally apply to everyone else)
The Five Factor Model
- the five factor model (most popular approach) was created by McCrae and
Costa; it is a trait-based theory of personality based on the finding that
personality can be described using five major dimensions
1. Openness
people high in openness (high O’s) are dreamers and creatives; they tend
to be more “open” to new things like ideas, perspectives that are different
from theirs, new ways of solving problems
they hold beliefs that would be considered “unconventional”

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they think more abstractly and are more sensitively aware of their
people low in openness (low O’s) are more conventional, and find security
in known things rather than new, exciting things
they are more practical, they like things to be straightforward and dislike
they prefer to learn about things they already believe in and approach
new information defensively and pay less attention to things that
challenge their perspective
they tend to be resistant to change and suspicious of their emotions,
placing more emphasis on the attempt to be rational and logical
2. Conscientiousness
highly consciousness people (high C’s) are the organizers, they are
efficient, self disciplined and dependable
they meet deadlines, plan ahead to achieve their goals, make schedules
and lists, etc.
high C’s are great employees and students because they get things done
on time and aim high
Low C’s are easy going, fun to hang out with, but not great to work with
on a group project bc they aren't dependable
they are disorganized, careless, have difficulty meeting deadlines
they like to be “in the moment” rather than make a schedule or list
Low C’s suffer in life because of their lack of self-discipline but they also
benefit by not being stressed all the time and are able to enjoy themselves
when things don’t go according to plan
3. Extraversion
extraverts (high E’s) are socializers and sensation seekers
they like stimulating environments and to be with others, they are
outgoing and energetic
they prefer high levels of excitement and are very talkative
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