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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 dispositional strategy intro.docx

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PSYC 2130
Frank Marchese

Chapter 7: Introduction to the Dispositional Strategy  Disposition – enduring, relatively stable personality characteristic  According to strategy, people differ in the way they are generally disposed to behave  Gordon Allport – found that people often use a large number of descriptive adjectives but many are synonymous and thus the total number can be reduced  After condensing redundant adjectives, Allport found that most people actually use a fairly small number of adjectives in describing others they know; usually range between 3 and 10  Evidence suggesting certain dispositions may be transmitted genetically  Evidence suggesting that people often feel more comfortable assigning dispositional adjectives to those they know less well  Dispositions vary in degree to which they pervade a particular personality; not many people have dispositions that pervade all that they do and dominate their entire personality  Dispositional labels serve as organizing concepts that may explain a person’s behaviour in a variety of situations  Early dispositional views assumed that people could be divided into relatively small number of types, according to their personalities  Theory of four temperaments – is close to several contemporary theories and many everyday conceptions of personality o View based on ancient Greek idea that universe can be described in terms of four basic elements  Air  Earth  Fire  Water o Hippocrates – suggested body contains four ‘humors’ – blood, black bile, yellow bile, & phlegm – these correspond to four elements o Galen – later suggested that an excess of any of these humors leads to a characteristic temperament or ‘personality type’  sanguine (hopeful)  melancholic (sad)  choleric (hot tempered)  phlegmatic (apathetic) o two broad, ingredients in personality on which people differ in amount: extraversion and neuroticism  extraversion – personality dimension that differentiates people according to their tendency to be socially outgoing  neuroticism – personality dimension that includes a disposition toward unrealistic fear and emotional instability o most striking idea was that physical appearance indicated personality o issues of terminology crop up in even the most formal writing of the Dispositional Strategy Dispositional Terminology  no consensus among theorists and researchers as to exact definitions of many technical terms  theorists within this strategy often apply different terms to same concepts  Disposition – enduring characteristics on which individuals differ; often used synonymously with traits  Domain –Broad personality factor; sometimes called supertraits, domains each encompass a number of narrower traits or facets  Facet – Narrow elemental personality features of which personality characteristics (dispositions or traits) are compromised  Factor – Broad domains or ‘supertraits’ often identified through factor analysis  Temperament – Broad dimensions of personality that can be observed, measured and used to classify individuals from early infancy ; three temperaments have been distinguished – emotionality, activity level and sociability  Trait – Synonymously with disposition, but often used in combination with other terms to convey somewhat different ideas or to convey the enduring nature of a characteristic that might in other people appear to be a transient “state”  Type – Cluster of characteristics (or dispositions or traits) that tend to occur together in some people; these can range from a small number of characteristics to large groupings of distinguishable patterns of characteristics sometimes referred to as supertraits or personality factors Theoretical Assumptions of Dispositional Strategy  Set of enduring characteristics innate to the person  These characteristics influence people’s interactions with others and their environment  Individuals differ primarily in the amount of each of these characteristics that they possess  Dispositions produce some degree of consistency in behaviour across time and circumstance  Relative Stability of Dispositions o Enduring dispositions – as permanent, inherent elements of personality and distinguish them from temporary conditions or states o States result from transient situations or conditions like illness, fatigue, stress or sudden changes in life circumstance o Spielberger described trait anxiety as “the disposition to respond with anxiety to situations that are perceived as threatening.” o State anxiety is “condition of the organism characterized by subjective feelings of apprehension and heightened autonomic nervous system activity” o Trait anxiety is only a predisposition to be anxious  People high in it will become an
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