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PSY 3101 Study Guide for Exam 1

All of the topics covered in this study guide are fair game for exam questions.
1. What is Personality? (Chapter 1, McAdams & Pals) (lecture 2)

How does your book define personality?

a) Personality refers to an individuals characteristic patterns of thought, emotion
and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms-hidden or not-behind
those patterns.


How do McAdams and Pals define personality?

a) Personality is an individuals unique variation on the general evolutionary design
for human nature, expressed as a developing patter of dispositional traits,
characteristic adaptations and integrative life stories complexly and differentially
situated in culture.


Know the ABCs of Psychology:

a) Affect emotion, feeling
b) Behavior doing
c) Cognition thinking


Understand the overlap with clinical psychology

a) Normal vs. extreme patterns of personality
b) Both seek to understand the whole person


Goal of Personality Psychology:

a) Explain the whole person in his or her daily environment
Why do you do, think, and feel what you do)


Know definitions of the 5 basic approaches discussed in the book and in lecture
1. Trait
a. How people differ psychologically
2. Biological/Physiological
a. Understand the mind in terms of the body
b. Genetic, evolutionary, neurobiology, neurochemistry
3. Psychoanalytic
a. Unconscious mind and internal mental conflict
4. Phenomenological
a. Humanistic psychology: how conscious awareness produces uniquely
human attributes
b. Cross-cultural psychology: how the experience of reality varies across
5. Learning & Cognitive
a. Learning: how behavior changes as a result of rewards, punishments and
life experiences
b. Social learning: learning through observation and self-evaluation

c. Cognitive personality psychology: focuses on perception, memory and


Understand that the 5 Basic Approaches are good for examining some things and
bad at understanding others.


Understand what pigeonholing is, and why it is not an accurate criticism of the
goals of personality psychology.
a) People really are different
b) Describing individual differences in typical cognition, feeling and behavior does
not force anyone into a neat little box; personality psychology acknowledges that
typical does not mean always and personality can change.

2. Research Methods I (Chapter 2 & chapter 3) (lecture 3)


Be able to define the different kinds of data and know the examples we went over.
Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of data:
a) Self Report
Definition: a persons evaluation of his or her own personality
Most frequent data source
High face validity (the degree to which an assessment instrument appears to
measure what it is intended to measure)
Usually questionnaires or surveys
1. Based on a large amount of information
a) You are always with yourself
b) People are usually their own best expert
2. Access to thoughts, feelings and intentions
3. Definitional truth
4. Causal force
a) Efficacy expectations (what you think you are capable of and the
kind of person you think you are)
5. Self-verification
6. Simple and easy data
1. Maybe people wont tell you
2. Maybe people cant tell you
a) Memory is limited and not perfect
b) Fish-and-water effect
c) Active distortion of memory
d) Lack of self-insight
3. Too simple and too easy
b) Informant
Definition: judgments by knowledgeable informants about general attributes
of the individuals personality
Acquaintances, coworkers, clinical psychologist,etc


Based on observing people in whatever context they know them from

Use frequently in daily life
1. Based on a large amount of information
a) Many behaviors in many situations
b) Judgments from multiple informants are possible
2. Based on observation of behavior in the real world
a) Not from contrived tests or constructed situations
b) More likely to be relevant to important outcomes
3. Based on common sense about what behaviors mean
a) Takes context into account
4. Definitional truth
5. Causal force
a) Reputation affects opportunities and expectances
b) Expectancy effects/behavioral confirmation
1. Limited behavioral information
a) Only one context, for example
2. Lack of access to private experience
3. Error: more likely to remember behaviors that are extreme, unusual or
emotionally arousing
4. Bias: due to personal issues or prejudices
a) E.g. sibling reports, parent reports
c) Life Outcomes
Definition: verifiable, concrete, real-life outcomes that may hold
psychological significance
Obtained from archival records or self-report
1. Advantages and disadvantages of archival records
The results or residue of personality
1. Objective and verifiable
2. Intrinsic Importance
3. Psychological relevance
1. Multidetermination
2. Access/privacy
d) Behavioral (real-world vs. lab, some types of questionnaires/tests)
Definition: The most visible indication of an individuals personality is what
she does
Natural B Data
1. Based on real life
2. Diary and experience-sampling methods
3. Reports by acquaintances
4. Naturalistic observation
5. Advantages
a) Realistic



a) Difficult and expensive
b) Desired contexts may seldomly occur
Laboratory B Data
1. Experiments
a) Make a situation happen and record behavior
b) Examine reactions to subtle aspects of situations
c) Represent real-life context that are difficult to observe directly
2. Certain Tests
a) MMPI (Minnesota Personality Inventory)
b) Blurry line between S and B
c) Rorschach
3. Physiological measures
a) E.g. Facial muscles, eye movements, plethysmographs
4. Advantages
a) Range of contexts in the lab
b) Appearance of objectivity
Buts subjective judgments must still be made
5. Disadvantage
a) Uncertain interpretation

Know that doing the best possible research involves some combination of these types
of data!

Terms to define:
1. Multideterminism
a) They have many causes, so trying to establish direct connections between
specific attributes of personality and life outcomes can be extraordinarily

a) Something that cannot be directly seen or touched but which affects and helps to
explain many different things that are visible.


Operational Definition
a) Something you can perform a mathematical operation on.


a) Content Validity
The actual measure itself
E.g. does your measure address all aspects of your construct?
b) Criterion Related Validity
How well your measure relates to something it should
1. concurrent-at the same time
2. predictive-at a later time
3. e.g. does answering a certain pattern of questions predict that you have

depression? That you will have depression?


a) 2 administrations of a test
b) A test split into two parts
c) Alternate forms of the same test
d) Multiple items within one measure
e) Two raters/observers of the same behavior


a) Aggregation

3. Research Methods II (Chapter 3) (lecture 4)


What are descriptive methods in personality psychology?

a) Measure or record ABCs in their natural state, use correlation (or similar) and
significance testing to examine associations
b) Minimize intervention by investigations


What are experimental methods in personality psychology?

a) Manipulate and measure


Descriptive Methods: know the 5 types and the strengths/weaknesses of each

a) Naturalistic Observations (L data, B data)
b) Case Studies
1. describes the whole phenomenon
2. source for ideas
3. sometimes necessary for understanding an individual
1. no control
2. findings must be confirmed by other cases, which is not usually possible
c) Archives (L data)
d) Surveys (S data, I data)
e) Psychological Tests (B data)

4. Know how to interpret the different correlation examples (for

example, which graphs represent positive vs. negative correlations)
5. Answer this: what is the range of the correlation coefficient? (its
upper and lower limits)
a) -1.0 1.0
6. Experimental methods
a) Random assignment
b) experimental manipulation

c) hold all other things equal

Terms to define:
1. Correlation
a) Extent to which two variables are associated

Correlation Coefficient
a) Mathematical index of the relation (direction and strength)


Third Variable Causality (ice cream and drowning example)

a) Changes along with IV; can also cause differences in DV.


a) The possibility that the actual size of the difference between conditions or of the
correlation is zero is called the null hypothesis.


effect size
a) The number that will reflect the size, as opposed to the likelihood, of their result.

4. Individual Differences and the Trait Approach (Chapter 4) (lecture 5)

Dispositional Approach = concerned with patterns of (subjective) experience as well as
overt behavior
Traits are stable but probabilistic. Your level of a certain trait probably describes how
much of that trait you have/exhibit on average
Traits are continuous
Why do we use continuous traits vs types?
Trait: A stable dimension (across time and situation) of personality that can be used to
characterize people.
-breadth of situations
6 basic classes of person-situation interactions
1. Different persons respond differently to the same situation
2. Situations choose the person
3. Persons choose their situation
4. Different situations prime different parts of the person
5. Persons change situations
6. Situations change persons
Terms to Define:
1. Lexical Approach


Factor Analysis (defined in chapter 5)

a) A statistical method of finding order amid seeming chaos.
a) A more accurate view is to see persons and situations as constantly interacting
with each other to produce behavior together.

****you do not need to know who Allport, Cattell, and Eysenck are or what they each
specifically did. I might use them as examples in questions ( but I wont quiz you on the
actual content of who they are or what they did ****
5. Personality Assessment I
Projective tests = try to grant insight into personality by presenting participants with
ambiguous stimuli and interpreting the participants open-ended responses. To the extent
they are validand many are notthey appear to tap into aspects of personality not
captured by questionnaire measures.
-The Rorschach test appears to have some degree of validity, but may not offer
enough information beyond what can be gained from quicker, easier tests to justify its
added expense.
-The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) appears to measure aspects of needs
(e.g., the need for achievement) that are missed by questionnaire measures.
Know the disadvantages of Projective Tests
Validity evidence is scarce.
Expensive and time-consuming.
A psychologist cannot be sure about what they mean.
Objective tests ask participants specific questions and assess personality on the basis of
the participants choices among predetermined options such as True or False, and Yes or
These tests are created using:
factor analytic
empirical methods
* the state of the art is to combine all three methods.
Know examples of Objective Tests. What kind of test is the MMPI? How was it
Rational Method
Each item must mean the same thing to the person who takes the test as it did to
the psychologist who wrote it.
The person who completes the form must be able to make an accurate selfassessment.
The person who completes the test must be willing to report his self-assessment
accurately and without distortion.

All of the items on the test must be valid indicators of what the tester is trying to
Factor Analytic Method (limitation)
Quality of the information you get from a factor analysis will be limited by the
quality of the items you put into it in the first place.
Once the computer has identified a cluster of items as being related statistically, a
human psychologist must still decide how they are related conceptually.
Sometimes the factors that emerge do not make much sense.
Personality dimensions uncovered by factor analysis to include perplexing
combinations of traits that are difficult to name precisely.
Empirical Method (basic assumption)
Certain kinds of people have distinctive ways of answering certain questions on
personality inventories.
Terms to Define:
Criterion keying vs. Empirical methods of test construction
Criterion keying: part of the process that is used to create tests that are constructed
with empirical methods.
Factor Analysis understand the example(s) discussed
A statistical method for finding order amid seeming chaos.
MMPI (you do not need to know the subscales)
Not always useful for normal personality
Some scales have low reliability
Some scales have social/racial biases
Rorschach test
6. Personality Assessment II (Chapter 6)
The Accuracy of Personality Judgment
Personality judgments- how can we tell if they are accurate
consensus (Judgments that agree with judgments from other sources (such as
other people)
predictive validity (judgments that are able to predict the target persons
behavior are more likely to be accurate than judgments that do not agree with each other
or cannot predict behavior)
Depending on how well they know you, how well do other people predict your behavior?
First Impressions: Valid information about some attributes of personality can be found in:

faces, tone of voice, mode of dress, and even the condition of someones
bedroom. Know the examples of this that we discussed in class.
Understand that such judgments are more accurate for some traits than others, and
tend to become more accurate with more extended acquaintanceship.
Know the 4 components of the Realistic Accuracy Model
Relevance, availability, detection, utilization
Accurate personality judgment is difficult.
Moderators of accuracy must be result of something that happens at one or
more of these four stage.
The model is the most important. The accuracy of personality judgment
can be improved in four different ways.
Know the Vazire (2010) Self-Other Knowledge Asymmetry
Self-other knowledge Asymmetry
Both self and others are imperfect raters
Terms to Define:
Self-fulfilling prophecy
expectancy effect
good judge
Intelligent, conscientious, sociable, open
good target
Stable, does not change much across situations
good trait
Visible, evolutionary, judgability, visible traits are easier to see, traits related to
sociosexuality are easier to see
good information
More information is generally better, strong situations vs. weak situations,
stressful/emotional situations
Interested in developing and maintaining interpersonal relationship
transparent self
If you exhibit large discrepancies between who you are inside and who you
display outside, you may feel isolated and unhappy and exhausted.
Trait observability