PSYC 331 Chapter 1: An Introduction

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8 Feb 2017
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I. What is Personality Psychology
A. Defining Personality
1. Why use personality as a concept?
a) Used to convey a sense of consistency or continuity about a
person
(1) Consistency - sense that a way a person behaves is
undeniably the same person from one instance to another
(a) The person acts (talks, thinks, feels) in consistent
ways from time to time and from setting to setting
b) Convey the sense of whatever the person is doing (thinking,
feeling) originates with them
(1) Behavior comes inside the person amy seem so obvious
that it is hardly deserves mention
(a) Causal force within that dictates how the person
acts
c) Conveys sense that a few qualities can summarize what a person
is like because they’re so prominent in that person’s behavior
(1) Example, saying someone is a sociable person implies that
sociability stands out in their actions
2. A working definition
a) A dynamic or organization, inside the person, of psychophysical
systems that create the person’s characteristic patterns of
behavior, thoughts and feelings
b) Points
(1) Personality isn’t an accumulation of bits and pieces; it has
organization
(2) Doesn’t just lie there; it has processes of some sort
(3) Psychological concept, but it’s inextricably tied to the
physical body
(4) Causal force that helps determine how the person relates
to the world
(5) Shows up in individualized patterns - recurrences and
consistencies
(6) Displayed not just in one way but in many ways - in
behaviors, thoughts and feelings
3. Two fundamental themes in psychology
a) Individual differences
(1) Each person who ever lived is different from everyone else
(2) No two personalities are alike
(a) Not even for identical twins
(3) Stresses the importance of differences; where the
differences come from, why it matters, and why it changes
the central features of a person
b) Intrapersonal functioning
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(1) Processes within a person
(a) Dynamic organization of systems
(2) Personality isn’t like a rubber stamp that you point onto
each situation you enter
(a) Process that go on inside you, leading you to act
the way you do
(b) Create a sense of continuity within the person,
even if the persona acts differently in different
circumstances
B. Theory in Personality Psychology
1. What do theories do
a) Theory
(1) Summary statement, a general principle or set of principles
about a class of events
(a) A set of ideas about how to think about a class of
even
(b) Can apply to a very specific class of events or it
can be broader
(c) Two purposes
(i) Explain the phenomena it addresses
(a) Always provides a way to explain
some things that are known to be
true
(i) Example; some biological
personality theories hold that
heredity influences
personality
(ii) Explains why child act like
their parents in certain ways
(ii) Suggest possibilities you don't know yet for
sure
(a) Theory show allow you to predict
new information
(b) Should let you predict things you
haven’t thought to look for yeet
(c) Difficulties lies partly in the fact that
most theories have a little ambiguity
(i) Makes it unclear exactly what
the prediction should be
2. Evaluating theories: the role of research
a) Should be testable, and they should be tests
(1) Things need to be tested before it is trusted
(2) Until you test them you never know which ideas are
brilliant and right and which are brilliant but wrong
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