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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
VU
Lesson 32
PERSONALITY II
Allports' Trait Theory
As said earlier, after skimming an unabridged dictionary, Gordon Allport identified 18000 separate
terms that could be used to describe personality. After eliminating synonyms he came up with a list
of 4500 descriptions. BUT the important question was that what were the most basic traits?
Allport's Basic Traits Categories included three classic categories of traits:
·
Cardinal traits
·
Central traits
·
Secondary traits
Cardinal Traits refer to a single personality trait directing most of the person's behaviors and
activities e.g. affection, affiliation, kindness, and greed. The person's whole life, or behavior, is
influenced by this trait. A person who served the poor and the weak all his life may have a very high
degree of " kindness" or " nurturance". Or a person who likes to hoard things, people, and wealth
may be ruled by a high degree of " greed", or perhaps " inferiority".
Central Traits refer to those major characteristics that make up the core of someone's personality.
Most people develop a group or set of traits rather than a single one, that form the core of their
personality.
·Central traits usually number from 5- 10 in a person.
·e.g., affection, love for humanity, and nurturance will form one type of personality.
·Inferiority, need for control, and greed may give a different shape to personality.
Secondary Traits, qualities or characteristics that do have an effect on our personality but are much less
influential than cardinal or central traits.
These affect fewer life situations as compared to the cardinal or central traits, for example
preferring to wear certain colors, or a liking for specific tastes or smells.
Trait Theories Based Upon Factor Analysis
A number of trait theories are based upon factor analysis.
Factor analysis: a statistical method whereby relationships between a large number of variables are
summarized into fewer patterns. These patterns are more general in nature.. The extensive list is
For example: A researcher prepares a list of traits that people may like in an ideal man then
administered to a large number of people, who are asked to choose traits that may describe an
ideal man.
Through the factor analysis, the responses are statistically combined and the traits associated with
one another in the same set (or person) are computed. Thus the most fundamental patterns are
identified. These patterns are called factors.
Psychologists Raymond B Cattell, and Hans Eysenck presented trait theories based upon factor analysis
Raymond Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factors
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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
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After using factor analysis Cattell proposed that two types of characteristics form our personality:
·
Surface traits, and
·
Source traits
Surface traits
·
Cattell's factor analysis showed that there are 46 surface traits or clusters of related behavior.
·
These traits are the characteristics that we can observe in a given situation.
·
The frequently quoted example in this regard is that of a friendly, gregarious librarian, who is so helpful that he might go
out of his way to help you; as a result of your interaction with him it can be decided that he possesses the trait of sociability.
His sociability is a surface trait in Cattell's terms.
· BUT surface traits may not necessarily represent the traits that actually underlie the personality of a
person; Surface traits are what we directly observe, and these are based upon our perceptions and
representations of personality. These may not be the true descriptions of the actual underlying
dimensions of someone's personality.
· The characteristics that form the actual roots and basis of all behavior may be different, and fewer in
number.
Source Traits
·
In order to go beyond the surface traits, Cattell carried out further factor analysis.
·
He could identify 16 traits that that represent basic dimensions of personality.
·
He called these traits, source traits.
16 Pf: Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
Cattell developed a measure that provided a score for each of the 16 source traits.
High scorer
Low scorer
Factor symbol
A
Outgoing
Reserved
B
More intelligent
Less intelligent
C
Stable
Emotional
E
Assertive
Humble
F
Happy-go-lucky
Sober
G
Conscientious
Expedient
H
Bold
Shy
I
Tender-minded
Tough-minded
L
Suspicious
Trusting
M
Imaginative
Practical
N
Shrewd
Forthright
O
Apprehensive
Placid
Q1
Experimenting
Traditional
Q2
Self-sufficient
Group-tied
Q3
Controlled
Casual
Q4
Tense
Relaxed
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Eysenck's Dimensions of Personality
According to Eysenck, personality can be understood and described in terms of just two major
dimensions:
·
Introversion-extroversion,
·
Neuroticism-stability.
On the first dimension, people can be rated ranging from introverts to extroverts: the rest of the
traits fall in between.
The second dimension is independent of the first one, and ranges from being neurotic to being
stable.
Introversion-extroversion
Introvert
Quiet, passive, and careful people.
Extroverts
Outgoing, sociable, and active people.
Neuroticism-stability
Neurotics
Moody, touchy, and anxious people.
Stable
Calm, carefree, and even-tempered people.
Eysenck evaluated a number of people along these dimensions. Using the information thus obtained, he
could accurately predict people's behavior in a variety of situations.
The Recent Approach to Understanding Personality Traits
The "Big Five":
Five broad trait factors lie at the core of personality:
1. Surgency: Extroversion and sociability
2. Neuroticism: Emotional stability
3. Intellect
4. Agreeableness
5. Conscientiousness
3. Learning Approaches to Personality
·
Approaches that focus upon the "observable" person rather than the inner dives, instincts,
motives, thoughts, or traits.
·
For the learning theorists:
Personality is the aggregate of a person's learned responses to the external environment.
·
Variables considered most important by the learning theorist are the features of a person's
environment.
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Learning approaches are primarily based upon the principles of:
·
Classical Conditioning
·
Operant Conditioning
·
Cognitive Learning
B. F. Skinner's Approach
· Personality is a collection of learned behavioral patterns.
· Patterns of reinforcement that have been received in various situations in the past cause
similarities in responses across different situations, when same or similar situations are
encountered.
·
For example a student tries to make a good presentation every time he has to present because
he has been receiving positive reinforcement for good presentations in the past...not because of
an inborn drive or a trait of being a hard working or industrious person. Similarly, a person who
is never aggressive may be so because he was always punished for aggressiveness and rewarded
for being polite.
For learning theorists
·
Consistencies in behavior across different situations are not as important as the strategies for
modifying behavior are.
Learning theorists are more optimistic in their approach, as compared to the psychodynamic
theorists; they believe in the potential for change, and do not believe in the passivity of psychic
determinism.
4. Social Cognitive Approach to Personality
·
The approaches that lay emphasis upon the role of people's cognitions in determining their
personalities.
·
Cognitions include: people's thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values.
·
These approaches consider the "inner" variables to be important in determining one's
personality.
These approaches emphasize the reciprocity between individuals and their environment.
There exists a web of reciprocity, consisting of the interaction of environment and people's behavior. Our
environment affects our behavior, and our behavior in turn influences our environment and causes
modifications in the environment. The modified environment in turn, affects our behavior.
Albert Bandura
According to him, we possess the ability to foresee the probable consequences of certain of our
behaviors in a given setting, without actually having carried out those behaviors or actually being
in those settings. This so happens primarily as a result of "observational learning" i.e., having seen
the outcomes of others (models) performing the same behaviors in same or similar situations.
For example, this is how we learn to be aggressive, sociable, or industrious.
Bandura also emphasized
·
Self-efficacy, and
·
Reciprocal determinism
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Self-efficacy
· Self-efficacy consists of learned expectations that one is capable of performing a certain
behavior, or producing a desired outcome.
·
Self-efficacy is the underlying variable in people's faith in their ability to carry out a particular
behavior.
·
The higher the sense of self-efficacy in a person the greater will be the persistence in his
behavior, and also the greater will be the likelihood of his success.
Reciprocal Determinism
· According to Bandura, the key to understanding behavior lies in reciprocal determinism.
· We can understand the personality and behavior of a person by understanding the interaction
between the environment, behavior, and the individual; and how this interaction causes people
to behave in the manner they do.
·
Environment affects behavior and the behavior in turn affects the environmental factors.
For example
·
A woman likes to make friends. She gets an opportunity to make friends at parties. She in turn
arranges parties herself and invites people she likes, or those she thinks are potential friends.
Her desire for finding friends is satisfied as a result, at the same time she becomes confident
that she can achieve what she wants by working on it. This causes persistence in her behavior.
5. Humanistic approach to Personality
·
The humanistic approach stresses that people possess a basic goodness, and have a natural
tendency to grow to higher levels of functioning.
·
They have a conscious, self-motivated ability to change and improve.
·
The basic goodness, and the natural tendency to grow, along with their unique creative
impulses form the core of personality.
Carl Rogers
·
All people require be loving and respecting. This is a universal phenomenon that is reflected in
their need for positive regard.
·
This love and regard comes to us from other people. When other people provide for this basic
need, we become dependent on them. We begin to rely on others' values and evaluate and
judge ourselves through the eyes of others.
Self-concept and conflicts
·
Our self-concept and others' opinions are related.
·
At times there may be discrepancies or conflicts between our self-concept (self-impression)
and our actual experiences.
·
Minor discrepancies lead to minor problems, whereas deeper conflicts lead to psychological
disturbances in daily functioning e.g. frequent obsessions or anxiety.
Unconditional positive regard
· A person's conflicts can be resolved if he receives unconditional positive regard from another
person.
·
Unconditional positive regard means an attitude of total acceptance and respect from another
person without any conditions. No matter what you say or do, the person accepts it.
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· As a result of this acceptance, a person gets an opportunity to evolve and grow cognitively as
well as emotionally, and to develop a more realistic self-concept.
Self-actualization
· According to the humanistic approach, self-actualization is the ultimate goal of personality
growth (see Rogers and Maslow).
·
Self-actualization is a state of self-fulfillment in which people realize their optimal potential.
·
Self-actualization occurs when our everyday life experiences and our self-concept match closely.
·
Self-actualized people accept themselves the way they are in reality. This enables them to
achieve happiness and a feeling of fulfillment.
6. Biological Approaches to Personality
·
Approaches that emphasize the significance of biological variables and inherited personality
characteristics.
·
These approaches propose that important components that constitute our personality are
inherited or genetically determined e.g. temperament.
Temperament
· Temperament is one of the main ingredients of personality.
· Temperament is the basic, innate disposition that emerges early in life.
· Even very young infants show signs of different dispositions e.g. some smile, some frown even
when otherwise at ease, some are irritable, some calm, some shy, and some restless.
·
Such behaviors persist and at an early stage in their life the children are labeled as stubborn,
shy, restless etc.
Inhibited children
· According to Jerome Kagan children who are unusually fearful of the sight of unfamiliar adults,
and fret when confronted with unfamiliar objects or new settings are the inhibited children.
·
Such children are labeled as "shy' by their parents and teachers by the age of 3-4 years.
·
They are consistently shy and emotionally restrained and noticeably quite in unfamiliar
situations.
·
The constitute around 10% of all children.
There are biological differences between the inhibited and uninhibited children:
· At age 5 muscle tension (especially in the vocal cords and the larynx) is higher in inhibited
children.
·
They differ in the heart beat pattern too. They experience more of rapid resting heartbeat. In
case of confronting a new situation their heart beat increases more.
·
Hormonal differences and variations in the excitability of the limbic system of the brain have
also been seen to be different in the two groups.
Kagan concluded that these differences can be explained in terms of an inborn characteristic of the
inhibited children i.e., their greater physiological reactivity.
Twin studies supporting the genetic argument
·
A number of studies on twins reared together and reared apart have supported the biological
approach to understanding personality.
·
Study by Auke Telegen and colleagues (1988):
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A sample of 350 pairs of twins was studied. They included 44 genetically identical twins who were
reared apart.
·
The subjects were given a battery of tests, including one that measured personality traits.
The results showed that
·
The twins were quit similar in their personality, in major respects.
·
There are certain traits that are more influenced by heredity than others.
·
Genetic component was found to be particularly strong in case of social potency and
traditionalism.
·
Genetic component was relatively weak in case of achievement and social closeness.
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Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  2. HISTORICAL ROOTS OF MODERN PSYCHOLOGY:HIPPOCRATES, PLATO
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  7. THE HUMANISTIC APPROACH AND THE COGNITIVE APPROACH:Rogers’ Approach
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  10. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT AND NATURE NURTURE ISSUE:Nature versus Nurture
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  30. THINKING, REASONING, PROBLEM- SOLVING AND CREATIVITY:Mental shortcuts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology