∙ Franz Joseph Gall, early 19th century o Different brain areas corresponded to different aspects of mental life, such as personality and intellect o Brain areas varied from person to person o Bigger brain areas correspond to MORE of whatever trait was associated with that area o When brain grow larger, skull expands to fit brain o By looking at shape of person’s skull, you can determine personality o This ‘science’ is called phrenology. ∙ Phrenology o Impact Many people in academia fell in love with this field Many more people on the fringes of academia (and society) fell in love with it too At one time there were 28 journals on phrenology Many influential scientists attacked it unmercifully. Gall was very polarizing figure. Fled Austria with an angry mob after him. In more liberal France his life was not in danger. Many French scientists complained very loudly that he was a charlatan. Phrenology was discredited in European scientific circles by the 1840s when it was pointed out that skull bulges do not correlate with underlying brain bulges. The downfall of phrenology was damaging to proponents of fluid materialism, and it would take several decades for that group to recover credibility. o Phrenology was used to demonstrate That men were superior to women That whites were superior to blacks That middle class were as good (if not better than) upper class That upper class were better than middle class and that middle class were better than lower class Guilt in court of law IQ test criteria Hiring and promotion in corporate world o Phrenology as good science It linked the physical with the mental, and made the fluid materialists optimistic that there could be a scientific approach to the mind o Phrenology as bad science Almost all of the research involved horribly conducted case studies and could be summed up with the words “observer bias” Phrenology was taught to thousands of charlatans who used it as respectable version of palm reading. ∙ Constitutional psychology o William Sheldon insisted that there were three main body types Ectomorph: slim Mesomorph: muscular Endomorph: fat o He also insisted that each body type was strongly correlated with certain personality traits: Ectomorph: restrained, inhibited, fearful Mesomorph: adventurous, vigorous, courageous, insensitive Endomorph: love of comfort and food, relaxed, sociable, pleasant o Constitutional psychology was part of pop psychology for several decades but a continuous stream of studies debunking it resulted in the theory getting buried by the 1970s. ∙ Personality o A general and consistent style of interacting with the world o The thing about that stays the same from situation to situation. o Trait: A somewhat stable predisposition to behave in a certain way Part of the person, not environment Inferred from behavior Ex: talkative, introverted, friendly, etc.. o Trait theories: Attempt to come up with a small set of traits that can be used to summarize differences between people NOT an attempt to figure out why people have a certain personality or certain traits Trait theories ∙ Theories are built with o Specific behaviors Example: like to play games and won’t quit until you win o Surface traits Inferred from people’s behaviors Example: competitiveness o Central traits Inferred from surface traits Example: aggressiveness Big 5 ∙ Openness ∙ Conscientiousness ∙ Extraversion ∙ Agreeableness ∙ Neuroticism Description of Big 5 Traits
High scores indicate...
Low scores indicate...
Creative, artistic, curious, nonconforming
Conventional, down-to-earth, uncreative
Organized, reliable, neat
Unreliable, lazy, careless, spontaneous
What does this all mean?
∙ Why do you have the kind of personality you have?
∙ What kind of personality do you have?
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Talkative, optimistic, affectionate
Reserved, comfortable being alone, stays in background
Good-natured, trusting, helpful
Rude, uncooperative, irritable, aggressive, competitive
Worrying, insecure, anxious, temperamental
Calm, secure, relaxed, stable
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∙ Trait theories predict trait stability especially for older than 30 crowd. That is, your rating on 5 traits at age 30 will be similar to your rating on the 5 traits when you are 70. ∙ A person’s rating on the Big 5 is correlated with (but not strongly) behavior and life choices. Gender, Sex, and Personality ∙ Women tend to score higher than men on the agreeableness dimensions. These differences were big. o Differences consistent over several decades in dozens of countries. ∙ Not huge differences between gender in other categories. ∙ What kind of personality do you have?? o Answered by trait theories ∙ Why do you have the kind of personality you have? o Psychoanalytic theories o Social cognitive theories o Humanistic theories Psychodynamic Perspective ∙ Personality comes from interplay of subconscious mental forces ∙ Freud o Psychoanalysis The word refers both to an approach to psychotherapy and to a theory of personality. Right now we will consider its relation to personality. o Psychoanalysis (theory) Causes of behavior buried in unconscious mind Freud analyzed aspects of people’s behavior to draw inferences about what was going on unconsciously. Performed dream analyses. o Sex drive Sex is not socially approved It gets redirected into different thoughts and actions It is the main determinant of personality ∙ Now all psychodynamic people agreed with Freud o Karen Horney: Personality is formed based on things like feelings of security and anxiety about being abandoned. o Adler: Drive to feel competent is central Inferiority complex: act like you are inadequate Superiority complex: try to prove you are better than everyone Those who are healthy have neither complex Defense Mechanisms ∙ Methods of self-deception ∙ Reduce our consciousness of wishes and thoughts that would cause anxiety o Repression: pushing anxiety causing thoughts from conscious mind o Displacement: replace unacceptable drive with an acceptable drive o Sublimation: a good form of displacement. The displaced behavior helps society. o Reaction formation: turn frightening wish to safe opposite. Ex: want to kill your mother (subconsciously). Feel guilty about subconscious desire so treat your mother really well to alleviate your guilt. Ex: homophobic males more likely than non-homophobic males to get turned on by homosexual porn. (Adams: J Abnorm Psychol, Volume 105(3). August 1996.) o Projection: see your own unacceptable emotions in others o Rationalization: use reasoning to explain away anxiety provoking thoughts ∙ Immature mechanism: projection ∙ Intermediate mechanism: repression, reaction formation ∙ Mature mechanism: suppression (conscious avoidance of negative thinking) Traits ∙ Newcomb 1929 o Adolescent boys at a summer camp for troubled youth o Data collection: 9 different traits Collected multiple specific behavioral measures per trait o Various situations o Various times throughout summer o Camp counselors were asked to rate the consistency of the boys along the 9 traits o Results: counselor ratings of consistency of boys along 9 traits is (r= . 48). However, this correlation is ACTUALLY much lower. o Conclusions: people aren’t very consistent. We see more consistency in others then there actually is. What does this all mean? ∙ Walter MIschel and Donald Peterson both published books in 1968 on this issue o Both books reviewed studies like those about htat showed that behaviors are not consistent across situations o Claims in their books: That the definition of trait was seriously flawed. Personality psychologists need to seriously rethink their approach to the contributions of personal and situational factors All or most personality theories need to be overhauled or else completely discarded. o A large battle ensued: Seymore Epstein (1979 and 1983) Traditional trait theory and the old definition of traits ought to be salvaged. Claimed that if you look at the aggregate data you find that behavior is fairly predictable from situation to situation. This convinced many to ignore Mischel’s criticisms.