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Person X Situation
Interactions
February 15, 2017
Psy 215
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Person or situation?

n  Person-situation debate
n  Both matter
n  They interact

n  Modern approaches
n  Person-situation profiles
n  If-then profiles
n  How does this work in practice? Which elements matter?
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Persons and Situa.ons

n  Interac.onism
n  The effect of a personality variable may depend on the situa.on, or vice
versa
n  Certain types of people go to or find themselves in different types of
situa.ons
n  People change the situa.ons that they are in
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Persons and Situa.ons

n  Persons, situa.ons, and values


n  Situa.onism’s view of human nature

n People are free to do whatever they want


n Everybody is equal, and differences are a
func.on of the situa.on
n “If the situa.on can really be all powerful,
then nothing we do is ever really our fault” (p.
143)
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Persons and Situa.ons

n  Persons, situa.ons, and values


n  Personality’s view of human nature

n Behavior is determined by personality


n People can develop consistent iden..es and
styles that allow them to be themselves
across situa.ons
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Persons and Situa.ons

n  Resolu.on of the person-situa.on debate


n  “People maintain their personali.es even as they adapt their behavior to
par.cular situa.ons” (p. 144).
n  People can flexibly adapt to situa.ons AND have a generally consistent
personal style.

n  Conclusion: People are psychologically different, and these


differences maTer
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Person-Situation: Research
Spotlight
n  If-then profiles

n  Situational specification

n  Personality at 7pm

n  Life in a Day
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If-Then Profiles
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Smith et al., 2009

n  Pervasiveness and stability of situation-behavior patterning

n  Salient and objective aspect of situation:


n  WINNING

n  Coaches behavior: diverse and observable


n  28 male Little League coaches
n  304 male athletes, ages 10-15
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Coaching behaviors

n  Positive reinforcement n  Ignoring mistakes

n  Non-reinforcement (response to n  Keeping control


positive beh)
n  General technical instruction
n  Mistake-contingent encouragement
n  General encouragement
n  Mistake-contingent technical
instruction n  Organization
n  Punishment n  General communication
n  Punitive technical instruction
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Smith et al., 2009

n  139 games

n  33,311 behaviors

n  28 coaches

n  M = 239.6 behaviors per game

n  M = 1189.7 behaviors per coach

n  Categorized behaviors
n  Supportive
n  Punitive
n  Instructional
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Profile stability

n  Ipsative correlations between sets of half-innings


n  M = .46
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Do profiles predict liking?
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In-class Assessment
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De Raad et al. (2008)

n  Situational specification
n  “It depends” phenomenon
n  Can we improve the accuracy of trait ratings?

n  Trait specification model


n  Traits refer to behaviors in situations
n  What situations would “cooperative” refer to?
n  What about “energetic”?
n  Does the # of possible situations vary?
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De Raad et al. (2008)
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De Raad et al. (2008)
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De Raad et al. (2008)

n  Do you think situational specification is helpful?

n  Would it be okay to specify for some traits and not others?

n  How do you think the generalizability of situational specificity


would hold up?
n  E.g., cross-cultures, cross-gender, cross-age
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Personality at 7pm
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What were you doing last night at
7pm?
n  How different are people in their situational experiences?
n  More different or more similar?
n  Within this context?
+ The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of
Situations Across 20 Countries

n  Goal: quantitatively compare everyday situational


experience around the world

n  Cross-cultural research
n  Focused on differences between people
n  Do situational experiences also differ?
n  But how do you assess situations?

n  Situations
n  Macro/Physico-biological/Environmental
n  Meso/Canonical/Consensual
n  Micro/Subjective/Functional
+ The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of
Situations Across 20 Countries

n  Situations
n  Macro/Physico-biological/Environmental
n  Climate
n  Location
n  Number of people in the room
n  Ecological, historical, socio-political
n  Meso/Canonical/Consensual
n  Psychological aspects
n  Agreed upon by multiple informants
n  Micro/Subjective/Functional
n  Perceptions
n  Individual/idiosyncratic
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Riverside Q-sort
n  89 items

n  9 categories
n  Highly uncharacteristic à Highly characteristic

n  More items in the middle category

n  Issues with cross-cultural use


n  Avoid complex constructs that may not generalize
n  Translation free of cultural idioms
n  Uniform administration across cultures

n  Items in response to the California Q-sort


n  Is critical, skeptical, not easily impressed
n  Someone is trying to convince P of something
+ The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of
Situations Across 20 Countries

n  Study goals
1. Assess people’s experiences of situations around the
world at 7pm

n  2. Assess similarities and differences


n  Which countries had greatest similarities in situations?
n  Which countries were similar to each other?

n  3. Which attributes of situations vary the most?


n  Between and within countries
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What were you doing last night at
7pm?
n  What other things might people have been doing last night at
7pm?
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Methods

n  College students (N = 5,447)

n  20 countries

Australia Austria Canada China


Czech Denmark Estonia Germany
Republic

Italy Japan Netherlands Poland


Russia Singapore Slovakia South Africa
South Korea Spain UK US
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Predictions
n  Which pair would be most similar to one another?

n  Which pair would be most distinct?

n  Which country would be most like ALL other countries?

n  Which most distinct?

Australia Austria Canada China


Czech Denmark Estonia Germany
Republic

Italy Japan Netherlands Poland


Russia Singapore Slovakia South Africa
South Korea Spain UK US
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Methods

n  Participants described, for the previous night at 7pm


n  Where they were
n  Who they were with
n  What they were doing

n  Then, described it using the Riverside Q-Sort


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Results

n  Average cross-cultural similarity of situation descriptions:


n  r = .84
n  Highest similarity: (r = .95)
n  Lowest similarity: (r = .73)

n  was most similar to all other countries

n  most distinctive

n  Situations at 7pm
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Results
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Results

n  Most homogenous culture:


n 

n  Least homogenous culture:


n 

n  Overall more evidence for cross-cultural similarities than


differences

n  Items varying the MOST across countries


n  More negative
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Results

n  Individualism was linked with situations


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Results
n  GDP was linked with situations
+ The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of
Situations Across 20 Countries

n  The world at 7pm is:


n  Highly similar
n  Largely pleasant
n  Homogeneity between countries almost as large as within
countries

n  Items that varied the most reflected more negative aspects


n  More regulated by social norms?

n  Differences need to expand beyond Individualism/


Collectivism
n  GDP; US and China
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Life in a Day

n  Crowdsourced documentary

n  80,000 clips submitted to YouTube

n  Documenting life in the day of July 24, 2010

n  “because a day is the basic temporal building block of life—


wherever you are”
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Describing situations
n  Situations
n  You at 7pm
n  Two scenes from Life in a Day

n  Situations
n  Macro/Physico-biological/Environmental
n  Meso/Canonical/Consensual
n  Micro/Subjective/Functional

n  Riverside Q-Sort
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For next time..

n  Cross-cultural approaches