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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 evolution of trait concept.docx

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PSYC 2130
Frank Marchese

Chapter 8 Evolution of Trait Concept All perspectives have in common that they consider traits to be real, psychologically meaningful entities Gordon Allport founder of modern Dispositional Strategy, described it as neurotic realism; to find out and discover Lexical approach based on assumption that more important a disposition is, the more often it will be referred to in ordinary language Theoretical approach looks to theory to suggest which human dispositions are most central or important Statistical approach analyzes very large collections of data abot many people to identify basic factors that underlie data set Allports theoretical assertions o Traits have more than nominal existence; arent just summary labels of observed behaviour, rather are part of the person o Traits are more generalized than habits o Traits are dynamic and determine behaviour; traits dont require energizing from somewhere else o Traits are only relatively independent of other traits o Traits are not synonymous with moral or social judgements o Traits may be viewed either in light of personality that contains them (idiographically) or in the light of their distribution in the population (nomothetically) o Acts and even habits, that are inconsistent with a trait are not proof of the nonexistence of the trait; simply means that in this instance, the persons trait is not being expressed Traits differ in the extent that they pervade any given individuals personality Cardinal disposition dominates individual; cant stay hidden Central disposition relatively small number of traits that tend to be highly characteristic of a person Secondary disposition characteristics that operate only in limited settings Two distinct perspectives from which to view human psychological traits o Think of traits as characteristics that allow comparison of one person to another o Think of traits as characteristics that are unique to a person and dont invite, or even permit, comparison with other people o Nomoththetic-idiographic distinction Trait comparisons across people assume that there are common traits When scaled for thepopulation at large, common traits often have normal distribution; bell- shaped curve Allport insisted people can really be understood only by coming to grips with uniqueness of personality; each person has unique inner organization of motives, traits and personal style; result is patterned individuality thatll never again be repeated exactly o Claimed that a perosns traits always interact to form a unique pattern that can't be fully explained by its separate parts Individual traits important characteristics of individual that dont lend themselves to comparison across persons Twentieth Century Typologies Types broad grouping of personality characteristics that tend to co-occur o Type A behaviour pattern Excessive competitive drive and meeting deadlines Is major cause of coronary artery and heart disease Men displaying it at beginning of study were several times more likely to have developed heart problems by the times the study was over than were those displaying type B Constitutionally prone to biochemical and physiological overarousal Produce increased serum cholesterol and catecholamine when under pressure Found to differ from type B in certain glandular and metabolic responses that may result in increased risk for coronary difficulties Appear to display more arousal when working on challenging tasks Tend to ignore signs of physical distress when working intensely on tasks Once person has had heart attack, presence of Type A behaviour is best single predictor of having another one Men with poorest emotional adjustment most likely to have heart attack Scores on Achievement Strivings scale were related to students GPA but not physical complaints; scores on Impatience-irritability measure were related to physical complaints but not grades; tendency towards irritability and impatience is active ingredient in type A pattern Recent research suggests that Type A people plagued by cynical hostility Hostility characterized as anger, resentment, bitterness, distrust a
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