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PSYC 3490 (60)
Chapter 10


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York University
PSYC 3490
Nadiah Habib

Chapter 10: Personality -personality in its broadest sense: the behaviors, traits, emotions, and ideas about the self that make up each unique individual -William James and Sigmund Freud believed that personality was set before -Carl Jung asserted that personality was shaped throughout our lives, aspects of personality come and go as people’s experiences and life issues change Levels of Analysis and Personality Research -McAdam’s three parallel levels of personality structure and function, each level contains a wide range of personality constructs: -Dispositional traits: consists of aspects of personality that are consistent across different contexts and can be compared across a group along a continuum representing high and low degrees of the characteristic, the level of personality most people think of first (shy, talkative, authoritarian) -Personal concerns: consist of things that are important to people, their goals, and their major concerns in life, usually described in motivational, developments, strategic terms, 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 creation of an identity is the goal Dispositional Traits Across Adulthood -three assumptions made about traits that capture definition of a trait (a trait is any distinguishable, enduring way in which one person differs from another)  Traits are based on comparisons of people because there are no absolute quantitative standards for concepts such as friendliness  The qualities or behaviors making up a particular trait must be distinctive enough to avoid confusion  The traits attributed to a specific person are assume to be stable characteristics -structure is the way traits are organized, inferred from the pattern of reated and unrelated traits and is generally expressed in terms of dimensions The Case for Stability: The Five Factor Model -proposed by Costa and McCrae, consists of five independent dimensions of personality: NEUROTICISM -Has six facets Anxiety, Hostility, Impulsiveness, Vulnerability, Depression, Self-consciousness -anxiety and hostility form underlying traits for two fundamental emotions: fear and anger -people who are high in trait anxiety are nervous, tense, worried, and pessimistic -the traits of self-conciousness and depression relate to the emotions shame and sorrow -impulsiveness and vulnerability are most often manifested as behaviors rather than emotions -people who are high in neuroticism result in violent and negative emotions that interfere with people’s ability to handle problems or get along with other people EXTROVERSION -jobs like social work, business administration, or sales -Has six facets in two groups: – Interpersonal traits: • Warmth: friendly compassionate interaction with people • Gregariousness: people that thrive on crowds, the more social interaction the better • Assertiveness: natural leaders – Temperamental (like to keep busy) traits • Activity • Excitement seeking • Positive emotions OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE -Has six areas: • Fantasy: vivid imagination • Aesthetics: appreciation of art and beauty • Action: willingness to try something new -Openness to Experience • Ideas & Values: are curious and value knowledge for the sake of knowing • Occupational choice: typically intelligent, and tend to subject themselves to stressful situations AGREEABLENESS -Agreeable people are not skeptical, mistrustful, callous, unsympathetic, stubborn, rude, skillful manipulators, aggressive, go-getters -these people tend to be overly dependent and self-effacing, traits the often prove annoying to others CONSCIENTIOUSNESS -scoring high on conscientiousness indicated the one is hard working, ambitious, energetic, scrupulous and persevering, have strong desire to achieve WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR TRAIT STABILITY -Using the Guildford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey, GZTS (n=114), Costa and McCrae found: • Over a 12-year period, 10 personality traits measured by GZTS remained stable -Other studies similar to the GZTS found equivalent results—however, in the very old, suspiciousness and sensitivity increased CRITQUES OF THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL -Block (1995) takes issue with the methodology that uses laypeople to specify personality descriptors that were used to create the terms of the Five-Factor Model, more researched needed, premature -McAdams (1996, 1999) points out that any model of dispositional traits says nothing about the core or essential aspects of human nature -A major criticism is directed to the notion of stability and change in personality -In Costa and McCrae’s most recent work they used method called hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), which creates a growth curve for each individual in a study and pieces the curves together to create an overall age trend Additional Longitudinal Studied of Dispositional Traits 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 in old age • For men: personality was the better predictor of life satisfaction in old age WOMEN’S PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT DURING ADULTHOOD -Two categories of women were studied with the following personality differences, Helson showed that women’s personality change was systematic in early and middle adulthood, yet changes were evident in the context of specific changes in social roles and transitions in social contexts – Those that followed the social clock: withdrawal from social life, suppression of impulse and spontaneity, negative self-image, decreased feelings of competence, 20% were divorced between ages of 28 and 30 -Those who did not follow the social clock less respectful of norms and self-assertive, not lower on femininity or on well-being, more independent, greater confidence and initiative, more forceful, less impulsive, more considerate of others and organized, more complex and better able to adapt Conclusions about Dispositional Traits -The idea that personality traits stop changing at age 30 does not have uniform support -A partial resolution can be found by looking at how the research was conducted -It could be that, generally speaking, personality traits tend to be stable when data are averaged over large groups of people -But looking at specific aspects of personality in specific kinds of people, there may be less stability and more change Personal Concerns and Qualitative Stages in Adulthood -many people believe strongly that middle age brings with it a normative crisis called the midlife crisis -personal concerns reflect what people want during particular times of their lives and within specific domains; they are the strategies, plans, and defences people use to get what they want and avid getting what they don’t want What’s Different about Personal Concerns -Personal concerns are explicitly contextual in contrast to dispositional traits, are narrative descriptions that rely on life circumstances, change over time -One “has” personality traits, but “does” behaviours that are important in everyday life JUNG’S THEORY -Emphasizes that each aspect of a person’s personality must be in balance with all the others, such as, introversion-extroversion and masculinity-femininity -Jung was the first theorist to discuss personality development during adulthood -He invented the notion of midlife crisis, argues that people move toward integrating these dimensions as they age, with midlife being an especially important period ERIKSON’S STAGES OF PSYCHSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT -according to him personality is determined by the interaction between an inner maturational plan and external societal demands -Erikson was the first theorist to develop a truly lifespan theory of personality development -His eight stages represent the eight great struggles that he believed people must undergo -the epigenetic principle, each struggle has a certain time of ascendancy or period of particular importance -each struggle must be resolved to continue development -Biologically fixed, the sequences of Erikson’s stages are (*Table 10.1): • Trust versus mistrust • Autonomy versus shame and doubt • Initiative versus guilt • Industry versus inferiority • Identity versus identity confusion • Intimacy versus isolation • Generativity versus stagnation • Ego versus despair Clarifications and expansions of Erikson’s Theory - Logan argues that the eight stages are really a cycle that repeats – trust/achievement/wholeness, and argues that we do not come to a single resolution because we struggle with them throughout our lives -Sl
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