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CHAPTER 1

FIVE GOALS FOR THE


PERSONALITY THEORIST
1. Observation that is scientific
a) Study large and diverse groups of people
b) Ensure that observations of people are objective .
c) Use specialized tools to study thinking processes, emotional
reactions, and biological systems that contribute to
personality functioning .
2. Theory that is systematic
3. Theory that is testable
4. Theory that is comprehensive
5. Applications: from theory to practice
DEFINING
PERSONALITY
The field of personality addresses three issues:
(1) human universals
(2) individual differences
(3) individual uniqueness.

Personality to refer to psychological qualities that contribute to an


individuals enduring and distinctive patterns of feeling, thinking, and
behaving.
enduring, - somewhat consistent across time and different situations
distinctive, psychological features that differentiate people from one
another.
contribute to, - psychological factors that causally influence
By saying feeling, thinking, and behaving, - we
merely mean that the notion of personality is
comprehensive; it refers to all aspects of persons
UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURES, PROCESSES,
DEVELOPMENT, & THERAPEUTIC
CHANGE
(1) personality structure the basic units or building blocks
of personality. Refers to stable, enduring aspects of
personality.
(2) personality process the dynamic aspects of
personality, including motives
(3) growth and development how we develop into the
unique person each of us is
(4) psychopathology and behavior change how people
change and why they sometimes resist change or are unable
to change.
MAJOR CONCEPTS
Hierarchy A system in which some units are higher in order
and therefore in control of the functions of other units.
Personality Those characteristics of the person that account
for consistent patterns of experience and action.
Process In personality theory, the concept that refers to the
motivational aspects of personality.
System A collection of highly interconnected parts that
function together; in the study of personality, distinct
psychological mechanisms may function together as a system
that produces the psychological phenomena of personality.
MAJOR CONCEPTS
Temperament Biologically based emotional and behavioral
tendencies that are evident in early childhood.
Trait An enduring psychological characteristic of an individual;
or a type of psychological construct (a trait construct) that
refers to such characteristics
Type A cluster of personality traits that may constitute a
qualitatively distinct category of persons (i.e., a personality
type).
Units of analysis A concept that refers to the basic variables
of a theory; different personality theories invoke different types
of variables, or different basic units of analysis, in
conceptualizing personality structure.
CHAPTER 2
LOTS OF DATA
L-data consist of information that can be obtained from a
persons life history or life record.
O-data consist of information provided by knowledgeable
observers such as parents, friends, or teachers.
T-data consist of information obtained from experimental
procedures in which researchers measure peoples
performance on tasks
S-data is information that participants report about
themselves (the S stands for self).
PERSONALITY AND BRAIN DATA
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a method for recording
electrical activity in the brain.
electrodes record the electrical activity of the brains individual
cells, or neurons
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) , a
method for depicting (or imaging) brain activity while a
person carries out different tasks (or psychological functions)
draws upon the fact that blood blow to different areas of the
brain fluctuates as those brain areas become active during
task performance.
PERSONALITY THEORY AND
ASSESSMENT
personality assessment is any standardized procedure
that is, a procedure with a well-specified set of stepsfor
learning about an individuals personality or for measuring
differences in personality among people in a population.
Measures of personality
(1) must be replicable (if the study is run twice it should turn
out the same way both times) - RELIABLE
(2) must truly measure the theoretical concept of interest in a
given study. In the language of research - VALID
THREE GENERAL STRATEGIES OF
RESEARCH
1. CASE STUDIES
Best way to capture the complexities of human personality.
case studies inherently are idiographic methods in that the goal
is to obtain a psychological portrait of the particular individual
under study.
2. CORRELATIONAL STUDIES
Personality tests and questionnaires are used where the
intensive study of individuals is not possible to conduct laboratory
experiments.
the advantage of personality questionnaires is that a great deal
of information can be gathered on many people at one time.
THREE GENERAL STRATEGIES OF
RESEARCH
3. EXPERIMENTS
not a research finding but a research method: the
controlled experiment.
The key feature of a controlled experiment is that
participants are assigned at random to an
experimental condition.
MAJOR CONCEPTS
Correlational coeffi cient A numerical index that
summarizes the degree to which two variables are related
linearly.
Correlational research An approach to research in which
existing individual differences are measured and related to
one another, rather than being manipulated as in
experimental research.
Demand characteristics Cues that are implicit (hidden) in
the experimental setting and infl uence the subjects
behavior.
MAJOR CONCEPTS
Experimenter expectancy effects Unintended experimenter
effects involving behaviors that lead subjects to respond in
accordance with the experimenters hypothesis
Idiographic (strategies) Strategies of assessment and research
in which the primary goal is to obtain a portrait of the potentially
unique, idiosyncratic individual.
Nomothetic (strategies) Strategies of assessment and research
in which the primary goal is to identify a common set of principles
or laws that apply to all members of a population of persons.
Response style The tendency of some subjects to respond to
test items in a consistent, patterned way that has to do with the
form of the questions or answers rather than with their content.