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Psychology 2550A/B Chapter Notes -Entrepreneurship, Personnel Selection


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2550A/B
Professor
Kelly Olson

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TRAITS, SITUATIONS, AND THE PERSONALITY PARADOX
Individual differences in behaviour tendencies
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The list of individual differences in behaviour tendencies is long - and for every type of behaviour, one also can think of a corresponding personal quality
that makes a person display that behaviour more often or more strongly than other people
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For any given type of behaviour, one can hypothesize a corresponding personal quality that leads people to enact it
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The intuitive assumption of consistency
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People differ in their personality characteristics, and many if not all of such characteristics do take the form of xxx -ness, where xxx refers to a type of
behaviour
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If in one situation a person displays more of behaviour X than other people, then we expect her, in other situations as well, to display more of that
behaviour than other people
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Cross-situational consistency - the individual's consistency across different types of situations
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Findings: the aggressive child at home may be less aggressive than most when in school; the man exceptionally hostile when re jected in love may be
usually tolerant about criticism of his work; the one who melts with anxiety in the doctor's office may be a calm mountain cl imber; the high risk-taking
entrepeneur may take few social risks
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The 1968 challenge
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Intense reaction when Mischel challenged the field by concluding that although overall cross -situational consistnecy was not zero, it was much less than
has been assumed traditionally at the trait level of analysis
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The paradox defined
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Personality paradox - the data from extensive research indicated low cross-situational consistency of behaviour
Mischel book --> personality paradox
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A long "person vs situation" debate resulted and persisted for many years
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The person versus situation debate
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Consisted of a prolonged and heated controversy about personality traits, consistency, and the role of the situation that con sumed much of the agenda of
personality psych
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The emphasis on the power of situational variables, and the belief that personality was less important than the situation
Fundamental attribution error - tendency to focus on dispositions in causal explanations - was seen as a mistake committed by laypersons in
everyday life and by psychologists who study them
Some critics argues that personality was mostly a fictitious construction in the mind of the perceiver
Situationism
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Founded on an agreement among many researchers to reach a consensus concerning the set of major traits or basic dispositions needed for a
comprehensive taxonomy of personality using factor analyses based on trait ratings, in the form of the big five
Revival of the traditional paradigm
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In social psych, the person became the error variance - the noise - that had to be removed
In personality psych, it was believed that one had to remove the effects of situations - and treat them as noise/error - in order to glimpse the true
situation-free personality that remained consistent
The role of the situation
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INCORPORATING SITUATIONS INTO TRAITS
Within the patterns of variation shown by an individual, however, there may be a distinctive temporal order, a stable pattern over time that is unique to
each person
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If...then... Situation-behaviour signatures
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The situations in which particular behaviours do and don't occur can be informative
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First one is sociable with students, cold with colleagues
Second is opposite
Such profiles seem to constitute a sort of signature of personality that does reflect some of the essence of personality coherence and promises to
provide a route to glimpse the underlying system that generates them
For ex, suppose two professors on the whole display the same average amount of sociability
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The point is that an individual's personality may be seen not only in the overall average frequency of particular types of be haviour shown, but also in
when and where that behaviour occurs
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An expression of personality coherence is eliminated when the situation is removed by aggregating the behaviour across differ ent situations or by
ignoring the situation altogether
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Even if two individuals display the same overall average level of behaviour, depending on the pattern of where it is displaye d, one may reach
dramatically different inferences about the individual
A focus on the conditions under which an individual behaves in a particular way can be basic for understanding personal dispo sitions and give insights
about what is underlying the behaviour
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Evidence for signatures indicative of personality types
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Has clear support
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Children tend to display stable, distinctive patterns of if...then... Relationships
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Another group displayed opposite if...then... Patterns - results in very different children
For ex, some children were consistently more verbally aggressive than others when warned by an adults, but were much less agg ressive than most when
their peers approached them positively
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Stable if...then... Personality signatures, not just stable levels of average overall behaviour, were found to characterize i ndividuals, and their patterns seem
to be meaningful reflections of the personality system
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They will behave in their characteristic ways within a given type of situation, but they will vary their behaviour predictabl y when the "if" changes,
thus producing behavioural variability across situations
Individuals differ stably in their distinctive if...then... Strategies and behaviour patterns
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The Expressions of Dispositions
September-28-12
4:55 PM
Chapter 4 Page 1
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