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PSY100H1 ch13 textbook notes

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Dan Dolderman

Chapter 13: Personality  Personality – The characteristic thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviours that are relatively stable in an individual over time and across circumstances  Personality trait A characteristic; a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and across circumstances How Have Psychologists Studied Personality?  To understand people well is to understand everything about them – from biological perspective to the way they think  Psychologist study personality on many levels  Classic Scientific definition of personality is: the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behaviour and thought  The notion of organization indicates that personality is not just a list of traits but a coherent whole  This organized whole is dynamic in that it is goal seeking, sensitive to context, and adaptive to environment.  Personality arises from basic biological processes  Psychophysical systems, it is highlighted the psychological processes.  This definition stresses that personality causes people to have characteristic behaviours and thoughts (and feelings) Psychodynamic Theories Emphasize Unconscious and Dynamic Processes  Psychodynamic theory made by Sigmund Freud stats that unconscious forces, such as wishes and motive influence behaviours  Freud referred to these forces as instincts (although he used the term in a way slightly different from it contemporary use), defining them as mental representations arising out of biological or physical need.  He proposed that people follow the life instinct by following the pleasure principle which causes ppl to seek pleasure and avoid pain  Topographical model of mind o Freud believed that most of the conflict between psychological forces occurs below the level of conscious awareness o He proposed that the structure of the mind or its topography is divided into three zones of mental awareness  Conscious Level: people are aware of their thoughts  Preconscious level: Content that is not currently in awareness but can be brought into it  Unconscious: contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieve o According to Freud the unconscious contains wishes, desires, and motives and they are associated with conflict, anxiety, or pain; to protect person from distress. o When it leaks into consciousness, such as occurring during a Freudian Slip – in which a person accidentally reveals a hidden motive o Development of sexual instincts  Important component of Freudian thinking is the idea that early childhood experiences have a major impact on the development of personality  Psychosexual stage: According to Freud, the developmental stages that correspond to the pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urges.  Libido is the energy that drives the pleasure principle  Libido is focused on one of the erogenous zones: anus, mouth, or genitals  The oral stage lasts from birth to approx. 18months (pleasure through mouth)  Anal Phase – focus on bowel movements  Phallic stage directing the libidinal energies toward the genitals  Children desire an exclusive relationship with the opposite sex parent  Oedipus complex – Greek character Oedipus who killed his father and married his mother  Read Development of sexual instincts on pg 586 o Structural model of personality o Freud proposed how the mind is organized  Most basic level submerged in the unconsciousness is id, which operates according to the pleasure principle  Acting as a brake on id is superego, the internalization of parental and societal standards of conduct.  Mediating between superego and id is the ego, which tries to satisfy the wishes of the id while being responsive to the dictates of the superego  Ego operates according to the reality principle, which involves rational thoughts, and problem solving  Conflicts between id and superego lead to anxiety  Ego copes with the conflict by defence mechanism, unconscious mental strategies that the mind uses to protect itself from distress.  For e.g. you tell your parents you did not call them because you were studying for your exams  Good excuses keep people from feeling bad and prevents other from getting mad  Reaction formation occurs when a person wards off an uncomfortable thought about the self by embracing the opposite thought Humanistic approaches emphasizes integrated personal experience o While Freud believed that personality is determined by unconscious conflicts, behaviourists such as B.F. Skinner argued that patterns of reinforcement determine response tendencies, which are the basis of personality o Emphasizes personal experience and belief systems and propose that humans seek to fulfill their potential for personal growth through greater self-understanding; this is called self-actualization o Maslow believed that the desire to become self-actualized is the ultimate and most important human motive o Person centred approach to personality emphasizes people’s personal understandings o Children who are loved conditionally abandon their true feelings, dreams and desires and accept only those parts of themselves that elicit parental love and support. o A child raised with unconditional positive regard will develop a healthy sense of self- esteem and will become a fully functioning person  People who are resilient, who can bounce back from negative events, experience positive emotions even when under stress  According to broaden and build theory positive emotions prompt people to consider novel solutions to their problems, and thus resilient people tend to draw on their positive emotions in dealing with setbacks or negative life experiences Type and trait approaches describe behavioural disposition  Same underlying mental processes that make up personality is the same in everyone, but the experiences, conflicts, treatment, and so on are the factors that make people individuals  You will not describe your friend by unconscious conflicts; you would describe your friend as introvert or an extrovert.  Personality Types are discrete categories of people we fill in gaps in our knowledge about individuals with our beliefs about the behaviour and dispositions associated with these types/  Implicit personality theory is the tendency to assume that certain personality characteristics go together  Trait approach is an approach to studying personality that focuses on the extent to which individuals differ in personality dispositions  Introvert is an shy and self-centred person and extrovert is an outgoing person  Factor analysis grouping items according to their similarities o Through this analysis Cattell found 16 basic dimensions of personality (i.e. friendliness (nice, pleasant, co-operative and so on)). Eysenck’s Hierarchical model  Hans Eyseneck reduced the number of traits even further and created the hierarchical model of personality  Basic level of this model begins at the specific response level, which consists of observed behaviours. (i.e. a person might buy an item because it is on sale)  If the behaviour continues it is at the habitual response level (i.e. some people cannot pass up sale items whether they need it or not)  If a person is observed to behave the same way on many occasions, the person is characterized as possessing a trait.  Traits such as impulsiveness and sociability can be viewed as components of superordinate traits: Eysenck proposed three: introversion/extroversion, emotional stability, and psychoticism o Introversion/extroversion  Refers to extent to which people are shy, reserved and quite versus sociable, outgoing and bold.  Eysenck believed that this dimension reflects differences in biological functioning o Emotional stability  Refers to extent to which peoples moods and emotions change  Low emotional stability = neurotic ppl. Experience frequent and dramatic mood swings, especially toward negative emotions, compared to ppl that are more stable  Highly neurotic ppl report often feeling anxious, moody, and depressed, and they generally hold very low opinions of themselves.  Psychoticism is a mix of aggression, impulse control, and empathy; those high in psychoticism are more aggressive, impulsive, and self-centred than low in psychoticism The big Five  Five factor theory which is similar to esyenck’s model and identifies five basic personality traits  Five factor theory is the idea that personality can be described using five factors: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism  Each factor is a higher-order trait comprising interrelated lower-order traits. o Conscientiousness is determined by how careful and organized one is, while agreeableness reflects the extent to which one is trusting and helpful. o Those high in openness to experience are imaginative and independent o Those low in this basic trait are down-to-earth and conformist (conform to the society) o Cultural differences in big five exist for example in china, interpersonal relatedness or harmony is an important personality trait, but it is not in western cultures  This is created by population differences, More ppl = getting along with others is more essential Personality Reflects Learning and Cognition  B.F. Skinner viewed personality mainly as learned responses to patterns of reinforcement  George Kelly emphasized the importance of ppls understandings, or personal constructs of their circumstances. o These constructs are personal theories of how the world works. o These constructs develop through personal experiences  Behaviour is a function of people’s expectancies for reinforcements, as well as the values they ascribe to the reinforcers. (person deciding whether to study for an exam or go to an exam will weigh the likelihood of each case)  People differ in their beliefs that their efforts will lead to positive outcomes  People with internal locus of control believe they bring about their own rewards  People with external locus of control believe that rewards and therefore personal fates – result from forces beyond their control  Cognitive social theories of personality emphasizes how personal beliefs, expectancies, and interpretations of social situations shape behaviour and personality.  Albert Bandura argued that humans possess mental capacities such as beliefs, thoughts, and expectations that interact with environment to influence behaviour.  For Bandura the extent to which people they can achieve specific outcomes is called self- efficacy is an important determinant of behaviour  Bandura proposed that people develop expectancies through observational learning, such as noticing whether others are rewarded, or punished for acting in certain ways  According to Mischel’s Cognitive – affective personality system (CAPS) people’s Reponses are influenced by how they perceive a given situation, their affective (emotional) response to the situation and their skills in dealing with challenges, and their anticipation of the outcomes of their behaviour.  Personality style: defensive pessimism: defensive pessimists expect to fail and therefore enter the test situations with dread. Optimists enter test situations with high expectations. Yet, they both perform similarly  Self-regulatory capacities in which people set personal goals, evaluate their progress, and adjust their behaviour accordingly. How is personality assessed and what does it predict? Personality refers to both unique and common characteristics o Idiographic approaches are person –centred in that they focus on individual lives and how various characteristics are integrated into unique persons. o Nomothetic approaches in contrast focus on characteristics common among all people but on which individuals vary o Idiographic uses unique comparisons between ppl. Whereas nomothetic uses same metric to compare all people o Idiographic assumes all individuals are unique o Central traits are important for how individuals define themselves o Secondary traits less personally descriptive or not applicable o Central traits can predict behaviour more than secondary traits o Idiographic studies emphasizes that personality unfolds over the life course as people react to their particular circumstances o Narrative psychologists pay attention to stories ppl tell to see personality o Nomothetic compare ppl by using common trait measures such as questionnaires or other similar methods Researchers use objective and projective methods to assess personality  Projective measures o Explore the unconscious by having people describe or tell stories about ambiguous stimulus items. (Idea is that people will project their mental contents onto the ambiguous items and will reveal hidden aspects of personality such as motives, wishes, and unconscious conflicts. o Rorschach ink bolt test in which people look at an apparently meaningless inkblot and describe what it looks like to them. How a person describes reveals conflicts and other problems. (This doesn’t work for diagnosing psychological disorder) o Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is in which a person is shown an ambiguous picture and is asked to tell a story about it. (Useful for measuring motivational traits, especially those related to achievement, power, and affiliation.  Objective measures o Objective measures of personality make no pretense of uncovering hidden conflicts or secret information. o Measures only what the raters believe or observe o NEO personality inventory consists of 240 items designed to assess the big five personality factors o Self-reports can be affected by desires to avoid looking bad and by biases in self perception o One technique that assess traits is the California Q-sort, in which people sort 100 states printed on cards into nine piles according to how accurately the statements describe them Observer show accuracy in trait judgment o A person’s close acquaintance may predict the person’s behaviour more accurately than the person does o This effect occurs because our friends observe how we behave in situations, whereas we may be preoccupied with evaluating other people and therefore fail to notice how we actually behave o Another possibility is that our subjective perceptions may diverge from our objective behaviours o There is a disconnect between how people view themselves and how they behave People sometimes are inconsistent o Mischel proposed that behaviours are determined more by situations than by personality traits, a theory referred to as situationism o One can be dishonest in one situation and honest in another situation o Person/situation debate is that the extent to which a trait predicts behaviour depends on the centrality of the trait, the aggregation of behaviours over time and the type of trait being evaluated o People tend to be more consistent with central trait than secondary o Behaviours are averaged over situations  Shy people are more shy on average than ppl that are not shy o Trait of shyness seems to stable o Traits such as honesty may be consistent across situations, whereas others , such as shyness, might vary depending on the situation o Some people may be more consistent than others o Considering the trait of self-monitoring, which involves being sensitive to cues of situational appropriateness o Those high in self-monitoring alter their behaviour to match situation, so low levels of consistency o Low self-monitoring are less able to alter their self-presentations to match situational demands, more consistency Behaviour is influenced by interaction of personality and situations o Personality traits ar
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