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Chapter 10

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York University
PSYC 3490
Laurie Mc Nelles

Chapter Ten: Personality  Levels of Analysis and Personality Research  Dispositional Traits: aspects of personality that are consistent across different contexts and can be compared across a group along a continuum  Personal Concerns: consist of things that are important to people, their goals and their major concerns in life – usually described in motivational, developmental or strategic terms, they reflect the stage of life a person is in at the time  Life Narrative: consists of the aspects of personality that pull everything together, the integrative aspects that give a person an identity or sense of self  The Case for Stability: The Five-Factor Model  5 independent dimensions of personality 1. Neuroticism – anxiety, hostility, self-consciousness, depression, impulsiveness and vulnerability 2. Extraversion – warmth. gregariousness and assertiveness (interpersonal traits); activity, excitement seeking and positive emotions (temperamental traits) 3. Openness to experience – fantasy, aesthetics, action, ideas, values and occupational choice 4. Agreeableness – people are not skeptical, mistrustful, callous, unsympathetic, stubborn, rude 5. Conscientiousness – hard working, ambitious, energetic, scrupulous, preserving, desirous to make something of self  Evidence for trait stability - Using the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey (GZTS) (n=114), Costa andMcCrae found: - Over a 12-year period, 10personality traits measured byGZTS remained stable - Other studies similar to the GZTSfound equivalentresults—however, in the very old,suspiciousness and sensitivityincreased  Critiques of the Five-Factor Model - Block (1995) takes issue with the methodologythat uses laypeople to specify personalitydescriptors that were used to create the terms ofthe Five-Factor Model - McAdams (1996, 1999) points out that anymodel of dispositional traits says nothing aboutthe core or essential aspects of human nature - A major criticism is directed to the notion ofstability and change in personality  The Berkeley Studies  Participants were followed for 30 years between ages 40 to 70 - Gender differences were identified  For women - Lifestyle in young adulthood was best predictor of life satisfaction inold age  For men - Personality was the better predictorof life satisfaction in old age  Women’s Personality Development During Adulthood – two categories of women were studied 1. Those who followed the social clock - Withdrawal from social live; Suppression of impulse andspontaneity; Negative self- image; Decreased feelings of competence; 20% were divorced between ages of28 and 30 2. Those who did not follow the social clock - Less respectful of norms and self-assertive; Not lower on femininity or on wellbeing; More independent; Greater confidence and initiative; More forceful, less impulsive; More considerate of others andorganized; More complex and better able toadapt  Conclusions about Dispositional Traits: - The idea that personality traits stop changing atage 30 does not have uniform support - A partial resolution can be found by looking athow the research was conducted - It could be that, generally speaking, personalitytraits tend to be stable when data are averagedover large groups of people - But looking at specific aspects of personality inspecific kinds of people, there may be lessstability and more change  Personal Concerns – are contextual in contrast to dispositional traits; are narrative descriptions that rely on life circumstances; change over time  Jung’s Theory – emphasizes that each aspect of a person’s personality must be in balance with all the others; Jung was the first theorist to discuss personality development – inventor of midlife crisis – people move forward integrating these dimensions as they age, midlife is an especially important period  Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development – Erikson’s eight stages represents the eight great struggles that he believed people must undergo – each has a certain time of ascendancy 1. Trust versus Mistrust 2. Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt 3. Initiative versus Guilt 4. Industry versus Inferiority 5. Identity versus Identity Confusion 6. Intimacy versus isolation 7. Generativity versus Stagnation 8. Ego versus Despair  Epigenetic Principle: each struggle must be resolved to continue development  Logan argues that the 8 stages are a cycle that repeats (trust  achievement  wholeness)  Slater (2003) expands on Logan’s reasoning on the central crisis of generativity versus stagnations – he includes struggles between pride and embarrassment, responsibility and ambivale
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