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Notes from lecture and book

by: Danyn Notetaker

Notes from lecture and book Psyc 3010-01

Marketplace > Tulane University > Psychlogy > Psyc 3010-01 > Notes from lecture and book
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Notes on Class material and book
Intro to Personality
Dr. Damian Murray
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This 10 page Bundle was uploaded by Danyn Notetaker on Tuesday March 22, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Psyc 3010-01 at Tulane University taught by Dr. Damian Murray in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Intro to Personality in Psychlogy at Tulane University.


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Date Created: 03/22/16
Physiological Approaches - The Stuff in the Middle - Personality traits, and behavioral dispositions lie somewhere ‘in the brain’ or in the body, but it is unclear where - Gene Environment interactions responsible for development of personality traits • Physiological mechanism are the stuff in the middle between genes, environment, and personality - Looks at extent to which physiological systems create, contributed to, or indicate differences in personality or in psychological functioning Can be measured accurately and reliably • Physiological Measures Commonly Used - Electrodermal Activity (EDA): Skin conductance • Most obtains by electrodes or sensors placed on the skin surface • Advantage: Non-invasive, no discomfort • Disadvantages: movements constrained by wires • Sympathetic nervous system: Activated during stressful situations; activates sweat glands • Electrodermal activity— due to increased sweat with arousal, skin conductance of electricity increases • Can measure response to various stimuli • Some people show EDA in the absence of stimuli - Cardiovascular Activity Blood pressure • - Measure of stress reactivity, sympathetic nervous system action • Heart Rate - Increases with anxiety, fear, arousal • Both increase during stressful situations - Brain Activity • Brain Spontaneously produces small amounts of electrical activity; can be measured by electrodes in scalp - Can assess activity in different regions during different tasks • Evoked potential technique — uses EEG but participant is given stimulation and researcher asses brain response Brain Imagining techniques — map structure and function of brain • - Position emission tomography (PET) - Functional Magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) • Personality neuroscience • Disadvantages: Expensive constrained movements Physiological Based Theories - Theories that place biological characteristics as a cause (rather than a consequence or indicator) of personality - Extraverstion-Introversion • Measured by Eyesnick’s Personality Questionnaire (most biologically based trait theory) • Eyesnick’s Theory - Introverts have higher level than extraverts of activity in the brain’s ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) - People strive ARAS activity at optimal level — introverts work to decrease and avoid stimuli; extraverts work to increase and seek stimuli - Research indicated that introverts and extraverts do not have different resting levels, but introverts are more sensitive to stimuli - Brain activity when sleeping or in quiet places is the same; different during moderate - high levels of stimulation - When given a choice, extraverts prefer a higher level of stimulation than introverts - Geen (1984): • Introverts and extraverts choose different levels f stimulations, but equivalent in arousal inner their chosen stimulation • Introverts and extraverts preform task best under their chosen stimulation, poor when preforming under one chosen by group - Sensitivity to Reward and Punishment • Personality based on two hypothesized brain systems - Behavioral Activation System (BAS) • Response to incentive and regulates approach behavior - Behavioral Activation System (BIS) • Responsive to punishment, frustration, uncertainty, and motivates ceasing, inhibiting, or avoidant behavior • According to the theory, people differ in relative strength of these two systems - Active BIS produces anxiety, active BAS produces impulsivity - Impulsive people don’t learn well from punishment because of weak BIS - Sensation seeking Tendency to seek out thrilling, exciting activities, take risks, and avoid boredom • Early sensory deprivation research: Most students would rather listen to anything rather • than nothing • Hebb: Like eyesnick, believed people seek optimal level of arousal • Zukerman: - High sensation seekers are less tolerant of sensory deprivation - Require much stimulation to get to optimal level of arousal; requested more sensory material, quit experiment early - Similar to theory of extraversion: Moderate positive correlation between extraversion and sensation seeking • Physiological basis for sensation seeking • Neurotransmitters: Chemicals in nerve cells responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses form one cell to another Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) • - Enzyme that maintains a proper feel of neurotransmitters; breaks them down after impulse passes - Too little MAO = Too much of the neurotransmitter - Too much MAO = Too little of the neurotransmitter • High sensation seekers have low levels of MAO - Neurotransmitters and Personality • Other work focuses on specific neurotransmitters themselves - Dopamine • Associated with pleasure; people and animals work for dopamine doses • Associated with the reward circuitry - Seretonin Lower circulating level associated with depression and other mood disorders • - Norepinephrine • Higher levels associated with active fight or flight response • Integration of Neurotransmitter Levels: Cloninger’s Tridimensional Personality Model Goals of Behavioral Genetics - Determine the proper of individual differences in a that that can be attributed to environmental differences - Determine the ways in which genes and environment interact to produce individual differences - Determine precisely where in the ‘environment’ environmental effects exist - Most recently: determine which specific genes, or sets, are associated with traits and behaviors Controversy About Genes and Personality - Behavioral genetics attempt to determine the degree which individual differences in personality are influences by genetic and environmental differences - In pop culture, high controversial • Ideological concerns: How might this information used politically? Can you hold someone responsible for a behavior that is partly genetic • Concerns about renewed interest in eugenics: Reproductive rights, creating ‘designer babies’ - These lines of research are grossly oversimplified in the media - Modern Behavioral geneticists are very careful about addressing implications of work, are very sensitive to ideological concerns - Knowledge is better than ignorance - Finding the personality trait has genetic component does not means the environment is powerless to modify trait The Human Genome - Definitions and clarification • Genome: the complete set of genes that an organism possesses Human genome had 30K-80K genes on 23 pairs of chromosomes • • Each gene is made up of several thousand base pairs - Humans have about 3 billion basepairs The Growth of Genetics Research - Most genes and basepairs in a human genome are the same for all humans - Small number of base pairs are different for different individuals, including genes that indirectly code for physical traits as well as personality traits • Variation in basepairs: ‘single nucleotide polymorphous’ - Only 0.1% of these basepairs differ between any two humans • but these variable regions are often the most functional .1%=3million - • Modern genetic research looks at ow SPNs and ‘repeat sequences’ in genes relate to differences in psychology and behavior - Human Genome Project: Designed to sequence the entire human genome What can current ‘Molecular Genetics’ Predict? - Monogenetic diseases - Ancestry - Other certain health risks - Don’t currently identify specific genes for most complex personality traits • Most complex traits will likely be influenced buy thousands of genes Genes and Complex Traits - DRD4 — Gene located on the start arm of chromosome II, codes for dopamine receptor - DRD4 Gene associated with several complex traits - Napolioni, Murray et al (2014) • Investigated between - person variation in disease- avoidant traits • Carries of certain forms of specific genes have increased susceptibility to acquiring infectious disease • Investigated effects of ACPI gene on cautious personality traits - A, B, C alleles. C allele associated with higher susceptibility to parasitic infection • Hypothesis: Carriers of C alleles will be lower in the big 5 extraversion and openness What is Heritability? - Proportion of observed variance in a group of individuals that can be explained or accounted for by genetic variance Or - Proportion of phenotypic variance that is attributed to genetic variance - Not equivalent to SNP variance; makes no assumption about specific genes involved Misconceptions About Heritability - In the study of personality.. • It cannot be applied to a single individual - Group based statistic; 90% of ‘my’ height isn’t determined by my genes. Rather, Genetic variance between members of a group may account for 90% variation • It does not imply constant or immutable • Heritability coefficients or percent of genetic influences are not precise as statistics Nature-Nurture Debate Clarified - No such debate on the individual level - Influence of genes and environment is only relevant for the discussion of group-level variation - In study of complex traits, never nature vs. nurture. Can’t have one without the other • Rather, Assesses relative degree of influence Classic Behavioral Genetics Methods - Selective Breeding • Can only occur if a desired trait is heritable • Selective breeding studies, and across history, of animals and plants - Farmers are the fathers of selective breeding - Family Studies • Correlates the degree of genetic overlap among family members with the degree of similarity in personality If the reroute is highly heritable, family members with greater genetic relation should be • more similar on the trait • Problems: - members of a family who share the same genes also share the same environment - confounds genetic with environment influences - Brothers and sisters share much more environment than cousins - Family studies are never definite - Twin Studies • Estimates heritability by gauging whether identical (MZ) twins, share 100%, are more or less similar than maternal (DZ) twins, 50% shared • If MZ twins are more similar than DZ twins, evidence of heritability Assumptions of the twin method • - Equal environment assumptions: Do both types of twins have the same level of shared environment - Maybe MZ twins are treated more similarly than DZ twins - Adoption Studies • Adoption studies are powerful; avoid the equal environment assumption • Can looks at correlation between adoptive parents unrelated kids; higher (positive) correlation mean more environment influence • But are adopted children and their adoptive and genetic parents representative of the general population - Questionable, but adoptives appear to be equal in IQ, SES, Big 5, • Problem of selective placement of adoptive children - Matching like with like may falsely inflate estimates of environmental influences Design that combines strengths f twin adoption studies: twins reared apart Major Findings in Behavioral Genetics Research - Personality traits • Are personality trait heritable? - Henderson (1982): Reviewed work from 25K+ pairs of twins • Extraversion: RMZ=.51 RDZ=.21 - Similar results using adoption studies by lower heritability estimates; for major personality traits of about 20-45% - Minnesota Twin Study: examined MZ twins reared apart • Compared correlations to MZ twins reared together - Very similar results - Attitudes and Preferences Stable attitudes can be considered part of personality • Wide variance in heritability of attitudes • • Some attitudes show high heritability; many of these relate to political orientation - Common belief that political attitudes arise from rational or logical thought processes, or social class • Usually believed that the other ‘side’ thinks incorrectly • Most highly heritable attitudes - ‘Traditionalism’ - Attitudes towers organized religion; death penalty - Approval of conservative sounding words - Attitudes towards sports and exercise - Occupational preferences and status striving Other Attitude show low heritability • - Liking for treats and sweets - Whether or not you believe in God - Attitudes towards separate roles for men and women • Why might the heritability of some attitudes be stronger than others? - Is there a common feature that both lists share> • Highly heritable attitudes may be psychologically ‘stronger’ • May be based on physiological processes that are difficult to change - Tesser (1993): Highly heritable attitudes reported more quickly; tend to impact interpersonal liking • Still little known about why some attitudes are more heritable than others - Drinking and smoking Can be considered life-outcome results of traits • - Behavioral manifestation of personality traits such as sensation seeking, extraversion, and neuroticism • Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are stable over time • Evidence for smoking: If you have MZ twins and one smokes, it is 16x as likely the other will too, 7x as likely with DZ twins • Drinking: mixed evidence for regular drinking habits; high heritability for alcoholism Shared Vs. Non-Shared Environmental Influences - So far, we’ve focused on genetic influence in this study - Same studies that suggest moderate heritability also provide good evidence of the large importance of environmental influences - Personality characteristics show heritability's of 30-50; hence. these studies provide great evidence showing substantial degree of environmental influences - Two key types of Environmental influences Shared: • - In family environment, feature of the environment shared by siblings • Non-shared: - In family environment, feature of environment that differs across siblings - For most personality traits, the environment has major influence, but in the form of non shared variables - For most personality traits, the shred environment has little impact • Average correlation of personality traits between adoptive siblings = 0 • But shared environment matters for many habits - The critical environmental variables that shaper personality appear to be unique experiences of each child But, do not know which of these types of experiences have the biggest impact on • personality Genes and the Environment: 2 Issues - Genotype-Environment Interaction • Differential response of individual with different genotypes to the same environment • For example, task performance of introverts vs. extraverts in loud and noisy conditions - Some people can only work/study in noisy environment • Individual differences interact with environment to affect performance • Genotype-Environment interactions likely to hold the most promise for future personalty research - Genotype-Environment Correlation • Individuals with different genotypes are more likely to be exposed to certain environments - Smart kids more likely to have smart parents, be exposed to smart stuff Three types of genotype-environment correlation • - Positive • Parents provide both genes and environment to children, yet chidden do nothing to obtain that environment • The environment that the child was ‘born into’ - Reactive • Parents respond to children different depending on the child’s genotype - Some babies are more touchy feely, some aren’t - Mather calibrates her behavior in response to child’s reaction; she hugs the feely on more - Baby’s genotype partially ‘causes’ its environment Active • - Person with particular genotype seeks out a particular environment Heating about Genetic Causes: Implications - Two main attires of implication • Perception of immutability, fatalism, uncontrollability - Implication for self-perception and control • Reading about genetic cause of obesity leads to less precooked self-control over weight - People also eat more cookies after reading article • Dar-Nimdofetal (2013): gave participants fake DNA results saying that they had the alcoholism gene - People reported less control over their drinking and were more likely to sign up for responsible drinking workshops - Implications for perception of others Reading about genetic cause go homosexuality leads to less anti-gay prejudice Summary and Evaluation - Our genes are good at some stuff, but bad at others - Most compelling evidence for heritability of personality comes from findings across multiple methods - Personality variable have moderate heritability, as do drinking and smoking • These studies also suggest strong environmental influences - Much of the environmental influence is due to non-shared variables — experiences unique to siblings - Genotype-Environmental interactions and correlations crucial for further progress - How genetic information is disseminated has real world implications Sources of Personality Data - Self-Report (S-Data) • Information provided by a person such as through a survey or interview • Individuals have access to a wealth of information about themselves that is inaccessible to anyone else • S-Data personality tests - Unstructured —open ended - Structured — Response options provided Limitations • - What elements of personality does the test not assess well? - Tendencies toward criminal and sexual behaviors; reporting of socially undesirable tendencies - Other limitations • people lie • may lack self-knowledge - Observer-Report (O-Data) • Information provided by someone else about another person • Key features - Provides access to information not attainable through other sources - Multiple observers can be used to asses a person Selecting Observers • - Professional personality assessor - People who know the target person • Often in better position to observe natural behaviors • Allows for assessment of multiple social personalities • Because of relationships to, observer may be biased • Naturalistic vs. Artificial Observation - Naturalistic • Observers witness and record events that occur in the normal course of life of the participants • Has the advantage of being able to secure information in realistic context, but at the cost of not being able to control all variables - Artificial • Occurs in artificial situations • Has the advantage of controlling variables and exciting responses but at the cost realism - Test Data (T-data) • information provided by standardized tests or testing situations • Idea is to see if different people have different responses in identical situations • Situation designed to elicit behaviors that serve as indicators of personality • Elicit behavior stored with out reliance interference • Limits - Participants might try to guess what trait is being measured and then alter to create certain impressions - Difficult to know if participants define testing situation as intended - Researcher might influence how participants behave • Mechanical recording devices are used to asses children’s behavior - Strengths • No hampered by human observer • May be used in naturalistic settings - Disadvantage • Few personality dispositions lend themselves to mechanical assessment • Physiological Data - Includes information about a person’s level of arousal, reactivity to stimuli, and potential indicators of personality - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) - Key benefit is that it is difficult to fake responses - Disadvantages • Often used in artificial settings • Accuracy of recordings hinges on whether participant The Importance of Theory - Personality research is often informed by personality theory - Theory has several purposes • Serves as a guide for researchers • Organizes known findings • Makes predictions about behavior and psychological phenomena that no one has yet documented or observed Theories vs. Beliefs - What is the difference? - Very important to distinguish scientific theories from beliefs • Beliefs are based on leaps of faith, not reliable facts and systematic observations • theories are based on observations that can be repeated by others to yield similar conclusions What makes a ‘Good’ Personality Theory - Comprehensiveness • How much ‘stuff’ can it account for? • Does it specify what motivates people and why? • Does it specify the ways in which people differ? - Testability Cant the tenets, propositions, and predictions made by the theory be tested scientifically • and empirically? • Testability requires adequately specifying the units of analysis (needs, traits, strategies) • This leaves a theory to be venerable to falsifiability (good thing) - Parsimony • Does the theory require few assumptions or many? • Simpler Theories — require fewer qualifiers and premises are usually better - Compatibility • is the theory consistent with everything else we know about people? - A personality theory that doesn’t account for substantial variation won’t be a good theory • Is it consistent with what we know about things that govern animal behaviors? - Heuristic Value How well does the theory serve as a guide for new research and new discoveries • Doesn’t hurt the theory as its own entity, but makes it more useful • - Most theories have some, but not all, of theses theories


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