COURSE NOTES: Personality
Based on the following textbook, with supplements and modifications by the author:
Cloninger, S. (2004). Theories of Personality: Understanding Persons (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Prentice Hall.
Instructors who have adopted this text may obtain supplementary Powerpoint presentations from the publisher.
| denotes a term that you should know how to define, and to recognize and give examples.
denotes an important person. You should remember this person's name and what (s)he has done.
denotes an important research finding.
denotes an issue that you should be able to discuss or explain.
THE TRAIT PERSPECTIVE
- Trait approaches emphasize individual differences in characteristics that are more or less stable across time and across situations.
- Trait approaches emphasize the measurement of these traits through tests, often self-report questionnaires.
- Raymond Cattell: "All aspects of human personality which are or have been of importance, interest, or utility have already become recorded in the substance of language."
- Hans Eysenck: "In any science, taxonomy precedes causal analysis."
measurement of traits
- behavioral measures
- factor analysis
Allport: Personological Trait Theory
Allport's meeting with Freud
- "Psychologists would do well to give full recognition to manifest motives before probing the unconscious."
Major Themes in Allport's Work
- Personality Consistency
- Social Influence
- The Concept of Self
- Interaction of Personality with Social Influence
- "The same heat that melts the butter, hardens the egg."
Allport's Definition of Personality
"Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to the environment."
- Dynamic Organization
- Psychophysical Systems
- Adjustments to the Environment
Personality = f (Heredity) x (Environment)
Critics of trait concepts argue that it is circular reasoning to say a trait causes the same behavior that is the basis for inferring the trait exists.
Allport's Definition of Trait
- "a generalized and focalized neuropsychic system (peculiar to the individual), with the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent, and to initiate and guide consistent (equivalent) forms of adaptive and expressive behavior."
Can We All Be Described by the Same Traits?
- individual traits: possessed by only one person
- common traits: possessed by many people, each to a varying extent
- This allows standardized personality testing.
unique trait: a trait that only one person has (also called individual trait); the psychophysical realities in Allport's theory
- the charitable, loving trait of Mother Teresa (considered idiographically)
- the intelligence of Albert Einstein (considered idiographically)
- Inferring Traits from Language: The Dictionary Study
- Allport and Odbert's study of Webster's New International Dictionary
- 17,953 traits (4.5% of the dictionary)
- Inferring Traits from Behavior
- expressive traits (including handwriting, pace of walking, and so on)
- Inferring Traits from Documents: Letters from Jenny
- letters from Jenny Grove Masterson
- structural-dynamic analysis (content analysis)
- traits inferred from Jenny's letters:
- Inferring Traits from Personality Measurement: The Study of Values
- Allowing for Inconsistency in Making Trait Inferences
- difference between
- phenotypical (observable behavior), and
- genotypical (underlying motive)
- influence of more than one trait on a behavior
- trait may not always be active
- Allport's Attitude toward Methodology
- accepted "corrective empiricism"
- distrusted statistics
- objected to methodological excess ("methodolatry")
The Pervasiveness of Traits: Cardinal, Central, and Secondary Traits
- cardinal: most pervasive
- secondary: least pervasive
central trait: one of the half dozen or so traits that best describe a particular person
- Jenny's traits of quarrelsome-suspicious, self-centered, etc.
cardinal trait: a pervasive personality trait that dominates nearly everything that a person does
- Mother Teresa's charitableness
- The Marquis de Sade's sadism
secondary trait: a trait that influences a limited range of behaviors
- a personal preference for chocolate ice cream
Levels of Integration of Personality
- Unifying Philosophy of Life
- a trait’s independence of its developmental origins
Qualities of a Normal, Mature Adult
- Extension of the Sense of Self
- Warm Human Interaction
- Emotional Security (Self-Acceptance)
- Realistic Perception, Skills and Assignments
- Self-Objectification: Insight and Humor
- Unifying Philosophy of Life
Unity of Personality
- Unitas Multiplex: the unity of multiples
- The Proprium: includes all aspects of the personality that make for unity
Stages of Development
- Bodily Sense
- Rational Agent (rational coper)
- Propriate Striving
- The Knower (self as knower)
Continuity and Change in Personality Development
Factors Contributing to Consistency in Personality
Influence of Personality on Social Phenomena
- Allport’s classic book: The Nature of Prejudice
- individual perspective, not from social historical perspective
Religion and Prejudice
- extrinsic religious orientation: What's in it for me?
- intrinsic religious orientation: I truly believe religious teachings to love others.
Concepts Associated with Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiousness in Allport’s Writings
Religious Orientation as a Predictor of Religious Fundamentalism and Prejudice against Racial Minorities, Gays, and Lesbians [graph presented in lecture]
"Brotherhood and bigotry are intertwined in religion." -- G. W. Allport
- The Psychology of Rumor
- stereotyped perception of knife in the hand of a black/white man in a subway car (Allport & Postman, 1947)
- jackdaw eclecticism: not selective
- systematic eclecticism: selective
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