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Psychology 001 Introduction to Psychology Christopher Gade, PhD Office: 621 Heafey Office hours: F 3-6 and by apt. Email: [email protected] Class WF 7:00-8:30 Heafey 650

The State/Trait Approach to Personality

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Psychology 001 Introduction to Psychology Christopher Gade , PhD Office: 621 Heafey Office hours: F 3-6 and by apt. Email: [email protected] Class WF 7:00-8:30 Heafey 650. The State/Trait Approach to Personality. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Psychology 001

Introduction to Psychology

Christopher Gade, PhDOffice: 621 HeafeyOffice hours: F 3-6 and by apt. Email: [email protected]

Class WF 7:00-8:30 Heafey 650

1The State/Trait Approach to PersonalityWhen defining personality, current psychologists often turn to traits. When they do this, they attempt to maintain a clear cut distinction between traits and states when describing people and behaviors.Traits a consistent, long-lasting tendency in behaviorMuch more consistent over timeLess influenced by social cues (supposedly)e.g. kindness, shyness, hostility, lazinessStates a temporary activation of a particular behaviorThe result of social cuesShort-lived and slightly more influential while they are experiencede.g. fear, excitation, sorrow, surpriseHow many traits do we have?The best answer for that question is It dependsWhen defining a large group of individuals, the amount of personality traits that can be used to describe these people can range anywhere from 2 ??? traitsWhen looking to predict a specific behavior, only one or two defining traits might be necessary to describe an individual

The Big 5 Model of PersonalityWhen looking to determine the number of traits needed to define a persons overall personality, past psychologists attempt to do this based on the premise of parsimonyParsimony (AKA Occams Razor): Results should be explained through the most consistent and simplest conclusion that can be drawn in the context of the situation.To do this, psychologists began looking for ways to describe personality in the most parsimonious fashion possibleHow did they do it?

The Big 5 Model of Personality (cont.)The dictionaryLooked in dictionaries to find every word in the English language that related to personality18,000 words were found

Comparing words for synonyms and antonymsSimilar to each other (e.g. nice and friendly)Opposite of each other (e.g. nice and mean)This search reduced the list down to 35 traits

Conducting factor analyses to see which remaining words/traits emergedFound the ones that overlapped with each other in response frequencyThis reduction left us with a total of 5 personality traits the big 5What are the big 5?(O)penness to experience a tendency to enjoy new intellectual experiences and new ideas

(C)onscientiousness a tendency to show self-discipline, to be dutiful, and to strive for achievement and competence

(E)xtraversion a tendency to seek stimulation and to enjoy the company of others

(A)greeableness a tendency to be compassionate toward others

(N)euroticism a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions relatively easilyWhat are some shortcomings of the big 5?Not always a good predictor of other culturesRemember, this grouping was based on the English languageModest supportive evidence has shown that the big five has some value in other culturesMight have too few variablesReligiosity, to name one variable, might also be an important aspect of personality not covered in the big 5Might have too many variablesSome variables are modestly positively correlated (E with O), others are negatively correlated (both E and O with N)Might not be a good predictor of specific behaviorsSome behaviors might not be predicted by big 5 measures, others might just be better predicted by different, more specific personality traitsWhere Do The Big 5 and Other Personality Characteristics Come From?Weve looked at Freud, Jung, and some other theorists who presented less scientific ideas about personality.

What research based theories have we formed about where personality comes from?Other Determinants of PersonalityGenes!!!Twin studies have shown us that genes have a large impact on our personality

However, specific genes have not been linked to specific personality characteristics (at least they havent been linked yet)George Alexander KellyLike Freud, Rogers, Jung, etc, examined the whole person (through clinical experiences)After clinical interactions, and observations of teacher biases in reports of student laziness, began to believe that constructs were the basis of personalityConstructs personality structures, perceptions of behaviors and events, and other concepts of the environment that come from experience and are used to interpret/interact with the worldNote: he admitted that some things were less ambiguous (a tree is a tree) than others (attributions of human behaviors)Argued that we are all scientists at heart, testing our environment in an attempt to try to understand, interpret, and predict the world around us

Applying Kellys ConstructsConstructs are used more when theyare convenient to the situationRange of convenienceExample, youd consider your construct of extravert/introvert when youre at a party, but you probably wouldnt consider your construct of republican/democrat when youre at the grocery store looking for a check out clerkCore constructs constructs that are often accessed and are difficult to changePeripheral constructs constructs that can easily be altered, and are not often accessed

Another Assessment: Theyre all wrong!Psychoanalysis and positive psychologists were too abstract and overemphasized unconsciousContinued developmentLess unconscious reactionsTrait theorists are limited in their scope of applicabilityWhat you do differently in situation A1 is as important as what you do across similar situations (A1, A2, A3, etc.)Behaviorists dont address the internal learning and thoughts that shape personalityInterpretation and planningKelly was close, but forgot to look at the impact of social factors on the individualRoles, socially derived constructsSocial Cognition: Adding to KellyIndividuals are still active engagers in their environment, trying to predict outcomesHowever, in social-cognition were also modeling behavior based on our interpretations of the social environmentSocial learning and social cognitionIn essence, were interacting with our environment to obtain things that we learn to want, through techniques that we learn to use

Introducing the TheoristsAlbert BanduraEarly work was in clinical side, focused on how learning was importantWe learn from the environment to develop our personality (modeling)Bobo doll experimentsAnd our interpretation of the situation by the individual

Introducing the TheoristsWalter MischelStudent of George Kelly (cognitive approach)Stressed the dynamics of the situation in personalityExpectations of results from behaviorsInterpretations of the situationBandura and Mischel focused on empirical research to guide their theories and explanations for behaviorBoth played critical roles in the development of our focus in personality over the past few decadesEmbraced other fields of psychology to address questions about personality

The Basic Components of Personality in the Social-Cognitive ApproachCompetencies the skill sets available to deal with social situationsExample: Introverts react shyly because of their set of skills that they possess to deal with social interactionsContext specificity the notion that competencies are only appropriate for or applied in specific situationsNote how learning can change our competencies, and thus change our personality

More on CompetenciesResponses can be learned through personal experience or vicarious experiencesBanduras monkey phobia experimentCompetencies can also be related to skills of inactivity and carry overMischels delay of gratification findings

Ways to Determine PersonalityObservationsDelay of gratification videoBehavioral reports

Questionnaires/InterviewsBig Five InventoryPeer/family ratingsSurveysTherapy Sessions

Projective measuresRorschach InkblotsThematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Rorschach Inkblot Test