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Chapter 12

Chapter 12.docx

Course Code
Kris Gerhardt

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Chapter 12/Personality
Definition of Personality:
Personality: refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits
Personality Trait: is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of
Factor Analysis: correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely
related clusters of variables
Is a word we use to describe certain things
The consistencies of behaviour across situations over time
Something that is consistent for you; that drives you to behave in certain ways
Hypothetical constructs
Observations, constructs (groupings of observations), relationships (how one observation
relates to another)
Consistency of behaviour across situations and time
Organization and structure
Approaches to Personality
Assumptions about constructs
Attempts to map constructs to ‘personality’
oWhat parts are useful for describing you personality
Each theory adopts one perspective
Therefore no theory is necessarily more correct than any other theory
Nomothetic – all individuals
oMore people are similar than they are dissimilar
Ideographic – focus on the individual
oThe individuality amongst people
Seen as being less similar
Longest history of any field in Psychology
Tend to be broader than other approaches
Are extremely difficult to test
Most are post-dictive rather than pre-dictive
oPRE: looking at the future and guessing what’s going to happen; POST: looking
at past experiences and figuring out why you behave the way you behave
Type Approach
Assumes small number of personality types
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Emphasizes biological factors
No effect from the environment
oMore nature, less nurture
Very few prevalent Type theories in current use
Sheldon’s somatotype theory
oHe looked at the different features of your body and noticed that there’s a limited
amount of shapes
Trait Approach
Nomothetic approach – data is objective
Gather data that they can quantify
A set of characteristics that can be labelled
This is ‘lay’ person personality
oWe can label them (Examples: passion)
Biological based
Very little on development
oThe environment can have a little bit of influence, but not too much
oThey look at history
Differences in the number of traits
If too many, description is hard
If too few, differentiation between theories is hard
The Big 5
5 core traits that you fit a bunch of things under (examples: aggression anger)
Extraversion. People who score high in extraversion are characterized as outgoing,
sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertive, and gregarious. Referred to as positive emotionality
in some trait models, extraversion has been studied extensively in research for many
decades. Extraverts tend to be happier than others are. They also have a more positive
outlook on life and are motivated to pursue social contact, intimacy, and
Neuroticism. People who score high in neuroticism tend to be anxious, hostile, self-
conscious, insecure, and vulnerable. Like extraversion, this trait has been the subject of
thousands of studies. Those who score high in neuroticism tend to overreact more in
response to stress than others do. They also tend to exhibit more impulsiveness and
emotional instability than others do.
Openness to experience. Openness is associated with curiosity, flexibility, vivid fantasy,
imaginativeness, artistic sensitivity, and unconventional attitudes. People who are high in
openness tend to be tolerant of ambiguity and have less need for closure on issues than
Agreeableness. Those who score high in agreeableness tend to be sympathetic,
trusting, cooperative, modest, and straightforward. People who score at the opposite end
of this personality dimension are characterized as suspicious, antagonistic, and
aggressive. Agreeableness is associated with constructive approaches to conflict
resolution, making agreeable people less quarrelsome than others). Agreeableness is
also correlated with empathy and helping behaviour.
Conscientiousness. Conscientious people tend to be diligent, disciplined, well
organized, punctual, and dependable. Referred to as constraint in some trait models,
conscientiousness is associated with strong self-discipline and the ability to regulate
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oneself effectively. Studies have also shown that conscientiousness fosters diligence and
dependability in the workplace (Lund et al., 2007) and that it is related to impression
If you have “stable” traits, that means what you have today, you should have tomorrow and
further on
Psychodynamic Approach
Personality as the response patterns of internal psychic structures
Emphasis on the unconscious
Freud’s psychoanalytic is the prototype
Interactionist view of development
Discussion of human motivation
Very good at describing why you do what you’re doing
Nomothetic approach – data is clinical
They do well on personality questions seeing as they can answer all of them
There’s a lot of subjectivity in the way we gather the information
Through interviews, talking to people
Humanistic Approach Carl Rogers & Abraham Maslow
One of the newer approaches
Humanism: is a theoretical orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of humans,
especially their freedom and their potential for personal growth
Focus is on the individual NOT group
Therefore approach is Ideographic
How can we become better people?
Really looks at personal history to determine your personality
Belief in the positive nature of humans
Emphasis is on the person as a whole
Perception of situations is critical to development of personality
Data gathered using subjective reports
Behavioural/Learning Approach
Behaviourism: is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should
study only observable behaviour
The only information we can use is from what we observe
Your personality is your behaviour; It isn’t what drives your behaviour
Nomothetic approach – data is objective
Personality as a set of learned responses
Not very concerned with description of different personalities
Rather, descriptions of behaviour patterns
Describing your behaviour in response to certain things
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