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CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY / Psychology / PSYC 321 / How do we measure personality?

How do we measure personality?

How do we measure personality?


School: Concordia University
Department: Psychology
Course: Psychology of Personality
Term: Fall 2017
Tags: Psychology, personality, and midterm
Cost: 50
Name: Study Guide Psyc 321 Personality
Description: chapter 1-4 study guide for psyc 321 midterm 1
Uploaded: 09/29/2017
23 Pages 300 Views 2 Unlocks


How do we measure personality?

Chapter 1—What is personality psychology? 


- How to know someone’s personality is based on continuity and consistency (validity)  - There are different qualities attributed to each person to create who they are  (characteristics)  

- There are two main fundamental themes in the arena of personality: o How everyone is different among others (differences)???? externalized, how they  act

o Having continuity within many different situations however maintaining the  same qualities; ability to predict how one is act in any given situation

- Theories are principles that come from what we observe; there are two purposes to  theories:

What are the two main fundamental themes in the arena of personality?

o Explain the known

▪ Does my theory support my predictions based on research and studies? o To be able to predict what has not occurred  

▪ As theories are tested, get tested again to be modifies to receive the best  results  

- Theories can be evaluated ways not just in research: it’s not just based on one  information

o People tend to choose theories that fit with ones’ instincts and personal  understandings  

Key Terms: 

- Individual differences: differences in personalities from everyone (look at indiv.  uniqueness they may have as a characteristic, personalities need to address no one is  alike_

An example of research participants, what will happen if only university students were tested?

Don't forget about the age old question of What the term diaspora stands for?

- Intrapersonal functioning: psychological process that takes place within the person  (how do they communicate, verbal, non-verbal, action, how they think) ???? description

- Parsimony: simple, quality of wanting few expectations (simple, direct, few concepts,  theory of relativity, revolution (big bang)

o Few assumptions (concepts)

o Simple  

o Advancement of science and how theories evolve/change, linked in the advances  of technology

o Technology and theory go together  

o Need ways of measuring them

- Personality: psychophysical system that creates individuals’ characteristics; involves  patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings  

o It's the summarization of each person

o It describes who they are  

o Collection of adjectives

o Based on Allport’s definition, there are several elements to what personality is: ▪ Organization (collection of pieces)

▪ Process (active)

▪ Psychological concept (psychical body) We also discuss several other topics like What is the naturalistic fallacy?

▪ Causal force (determines how we relate to world)

▪ Patterns, recurrences, consistencies

▪ Displayed in many ways (thoughts, feelings, behaviours)  

- Theory: statement set on principals, need to be tested in the reality (up/down process)  o From what we observe is how we create a theory  

o Theory = concept, principle  

o Needs to be tested to become a theory: in what conditions is this theory show  consistency and patterns

o Theories will be revised: creates different predictions  

o Ex. Of theory: Ericson ???? children develop in stages, there is a crisis, they  overcome or they don't ???? developmental theory of children Don't forget about the age old question of What are the building blocks of dna found within the nucleus passed down from generation to generation?
If you want to learn more check out What does the constitution says about supreme court?

▪ if there is an attachment (positive) = secure attachment, leads to  

psychological adaptation later, then test it. (group of this population see  later (longitudinal???? very strong correlation);  

▪ if disruptive child parent bonding (no positive attachment) there will be  some sort of outcome, psychological maladaptation,  

▪ in first year of life interruptions, addictions, mental health???? into  

relationship of parent and child ???? predict that there will be a  

difficult/insecure/avoidant attachment ???? leads to disruptive lives  We also discuss several other topics like What is the meaning of working?

(borderline personalities, depression…)  

▪ Earlier intervene???? earlier avoid severe problems  

Q. why could personality disorder be found much later? As get older more solid personality  (throughout stages)  

******* TWO BASIC PURPOSES ********  

1. Explain phenomena the theory addresses 

2. Predict new information  

Broad perspectives: 

1. Trait perspective:  

a. Stable characteristics, displayed across different situations  

i. they are a spectrum (have some signs, traits, disorders) have some  

symptoms (borderline personality) group of symptoms that cluster  

together (state ???? last week feel anxious (exam) vs trait similar signs  If you want to learn more check out What is the gram-negatives outer membrane?

across dif. situation (any situation)) how much and the quality (where)  

2. Motive perspective:

a. Reasons to do something is a key element  

i. explanation at the core of personality), whole life is to prove better than  others, core of the personality  

3. Inheritance and evolution perspective:  

a. Human nature rooted in our genes

4. Biological process perspective:

a. how the brain and body works  

5. Psychoanalytic perspective:

a. Dynamics of competing internal forces  

i. Freud, internal psychic forces, ego, super ego; metaphorical aspects  within ourselves

6. Psychosocial perspective:  

a. Relationships with others, the way they play out

7. Cognitive perspective:  

a. We create meaning from experiences  

i. what we learnt is how we adopted our personality

ii. we can learn/unlearn,  

iii. ex. Alcoholic families (patterns based on systems theory, one parent  alcoholic not psychological there- grow fast, eldest become a hero, adopt  a coat, next protects from withdrawing afraid of people, another  

personality develop muskets (everything is a joke) distorting reality) how  children adopt/learn these traits and later have difficulties in  

relationships/ trusting, social learning  

8. Self-regulation perspective:  

a. People are complex

Chapter 2 – Methods in the study of personality  


- Our observations are needed in both ourselves and others when researching personality o Introspective (observing self):  

▪ Own experience

▪ Own perspective  

▪ Explain how one looks at the world  

o Observing others  

▪ One major problem: cannot get into others person head

▪ Can lead to misinterpretations of thoughts and feelings  

- To understand how a person is who they are is understood by creating case studies (detailed examinations of specific people)  

- To create a general theory, conclusions need to be applied to a large sample of people  rather than just a few  

- The first step to examining relationships between variables, that could be examined in  two ways:

o Correlation research: 

▪ This depends on to what degree do two variables relate (predict one  another)  

▪ They can be measured upon different levels  

▪ This results in the strength and direction (positive/negative) relationship ▪ The cause and effect relationship cannot be determined with this study  o Experimental method: 

▪ This is for the cause and effect relationships  

▪ When the IV (independent variable) is manipulated, the effect will be  shown in the DV (dependent variable)  

• There could be other variables however they are remained  

constant (controlled)  

▪ The results caused shows the correlation

o Multifactor studies:

▪ Combination of both experimental & correlation methods  

▪ This allows there to be an interaction  

▪ Two (or more) predictor variables  

- To gather information there are case studies which use Personology & case study:  o A case study is an in-depth view on one person:

▪ Need to study the person as a coherent entity (looking how an anxious  person functions), continuity, how did we get to this part  

▪ Past, development, to the present, to predict the future

▪ Ideas about anxious person, examination of individuals, history and  


▪ Illustrates broader themes  

▪ Process of theory development (data, testing, up and down)  

▪ During a long period of time, retrospectively look back at childhood,  trauma? Is the events related (accurate memories, self-report)  

▪ Advantages and disadvantages  

▪ Psychologist can observe over time, have access to info over time, makes  stronger, no need to rely on memory  

▪ Rich in details  

o Personology means:

▪ Considering individuals  

▪ To examine case studies (history and development)

▪ The whole person is being studies (not just one aspect)  

Key terms 

- Case study: in depth study of one individual  

- Causality (Causal relationship): relationship that the differences in one factor forms  differences in another

- Clinically significant: to have a large connection to have an importance  - Correlation coefficient: the degree of the correlation of the two variables

- Dependent variable: what is being measures, the effect, what happens when the IV is  manipulated  

- Independent variable: what is being manipulated to test the outcome of the  relationship (this is what causes the effect)  

- Descriptive statistics: stats to describe a group  

- Experience sampling: during individuals’ experiences, it is one method used to report  - Experimental control: making sure that these extra variables are not being manipulated  so they are in control and constant (will not influence the DV)  

- Generality: to a certain degree that this conclusion applied to many people  - Idiographic: across different situations a particular person will obtain the same approach  - Main effect: when one predictor is independent of other variables

o When a predictor variable is linked to the outcome in a systematic way, separate  from the other predictor

o More helpful ways to explain issues in science

o Function (outcome) of three or 4 different thing (ex. High IQ, many  

opportunities, high self esteem ???? high academic performance) ???? reactions o Measure the weight of each variables  

- Interaction: When the effect of one predictor variable differs across the levels of the  other predictor variable

o Necessary to study more than one factor at a time

o Can take many forms

- Random assignment: putting participants in groups randomly by their characteristics to  balance out each overserved group  

- extraneous: third variable that could impact the results of a correlation (cause and  effect)  


- degree/ strength:

o perfect, moderate, weak  

o 1= perfect, 0.6-0.8 = strong, 0.3-0.5= moderate, 0.2- weak, 0= none

o +/-

o r= -1.0 to r=+1.0

- direction:

o positive: if DV increases, IV increases; DV decreases, IV decreases


o negative: if DV increases, IV decreases; DV decreases, IV increases  o

o positive low goes with low value of other; vise versa  

Experience sampling studies vs. case studies; similarities/differences 

- similar:  

o provide depth

o conducted across period of time

- different:  

o rely on self reports from the person (experience sampling)

o external observers (case studies)


- what will happen if only university students were tested?

o Lack of generality  

o Doesn't include children

o Adults

o Not as mature  

**** Must need two levels****** 


Need two levels to compare, ex. Low self-esteem compared to ?? needs to compare to  something such as high self esteem  

What is statistical significance?  

Probability that this event will occur; such as 5% or less; not likely to be a chance, it will most  likely occur  

Correlation method vs. Experimental adv and dis:


- Correlation:  

o Examine over long time

o Gain info about events (where can be unethical) - Experimental:  

o Cause and effect  


- Correlation:

o Can say nothing about causal relationships

- Experimental:  

o Hesitation in which manipulation was important o Short duration of testing

o Does not deal with central issues in personalities

Chapter 3—Issues in personality assessment  


- Psychologist formed an assessed (measurement of personality) that is divided into many  techniques

- An observer rating is basically anyone who isn’t being tested (interviewer, people who  watch, people who knows this person who they truly are and know what they are like)  o They are subjective

o Interpretations  

- Self-reports: are reports that the person being tested does about themselves  o Single scaled

o multiscale  

- implicit assessment: measuring patterns  

o subjective  

▪ need interpretations  

o objective

▪ no interpretations needed  

- Different issues:

o Reliability  

▪ Who reproducible the outcomes are

▪ Checking one measurement among many  

▪ Self-reports???? internal reliability or internal consistency  

▪ Judgement: inter rater reliability  

▪ Test retest ???? main way to test over time

▪ If there are high correlation results, then should be good reliability

o Validity : measures what intended to measure

▪ Construct validity: if theory matches what the outcome was

• Criterion

• Convergent • Discriminant  

Will be explained in key terms!

▪ Face validity: degree in which assessment is effective  

▪ Discriminant: measure does not correlate with what it should measure  - Assessment devices: (2 paths)

o Rational path:

▪ Theory to decide what should be measured

▪ what the best way is to measure it  

o empirical path:

▪ using data

How do we measure personality? 

- Open ended questions

- Two ways:

- Two general methods (3 tests)  

o 1. Projective testing:  

▪ inlock testing

▪ less reliable/less valid (less and less used)  

o 2. Formal psychometric tests:  

▪ norms

▪ standardized

▪ measure specific things

▪ highly amendable to reliability and validity questions

** although assessment using both may be stronger than uses them alone; projective  (general)/psychometric (in depth)  

o to add, psychologist/clinical needs to use their professional judgement ???? addition to coming up with the assessment results  

- formal vs informal:

o formal:

▪ needs to be written in the same format

▪ what is the question? what is the presenting problem?

▪ the information gathered, followed by the tests used,

▪ make up the interpretations of the test

▪ leads to a summary and recommendations  

o informal:  

▪ less structures

▪ basically, do a clinical interview

▪ rely on other information (from family members)

▪ use a quick details and profile plan

▪ doesn't require a lot of testing

- There a system assessment checklist (Sa-45) ???? 45 questions

o Comes from a bunch of questions that narrows down to 45 (not disorders, but  problems) ???? 9 categories with 4 questions each  

Key terms: 

- Acquiescence: always saying “yes”, agreeing, a people pleaser to any question (see  response sets)  

o like to accommodate

o people pleasure

o like to agree

o smile, nod head with everything

o doesn't fit with reality;  

o want to measure (acquiescence ???? say yes or to agree with everything) - assessment: used to measure personality  

- construct validity: accuracy

o All-inclusive validity

o Whether a measure reflects planned concept  

- Convergent validity: degree in which measure is similar to what it should measure  o Relates to characters of what it is supposed to measure (all statistical methods of  how a test pans out how it is supposed to measure)

- Criterion validity: can predict

o it can tell us the difference between two groups

o can also be called predictive validity  

- Discriminant: Measure does not correlate with what it’s supposed to measure  - Face validity: “looks” right… looks like it should measure that  

- Empirical approach: to use data instead of a theory  

o start from the ground,

▪ EXAMPLE: ask 10000 people, all different questions then look at a factor  analysis (do a factor analysis) ???? jumps into another area of statistics then  try to figure what type of questions fit together r(which are highly  

correlated amount themselves)???? then call it …  

▪ either goes from ground up or ground down  

o SASSI ???? exactly 74 questions for the adult version (how they choose them ???? empirical questionnaire) they use parts of MMPI,  

▪ took questions from everywhere then say ok here is one group of people  substance dependent (been through treatment);  

▪ another group do not have substance abuse

▪ then do an analysis all these 100 questions

▪ decide which questions can separate the two groups (no theory about  what will belong to another, once do this and pick out items what will  separate then can separate addiction vs non-addiction)  

- rational approach:  

o use of a theory to decide what will be measured  

▪ this is what I think … is, ask a bunch of people gets ideas and discuss a  theory created

▪ then want to measure, set up logical step wise questions then test it out,  theoretical approach (starts with an idea/concept

▪ then create tools or measurement that will test with that  

- sources of information:

o observer ratings: someone else produces information of the person being  assessed

▪ Measures come from someone other than person being assessed ▪ Involve interviews

▪ Judgement based on another action  

▪ Watched through mirror/window  

o self-reports: individuals make notes about themselves  

▪ People themselves, indicate how they think, feel and act

▪ Pre-written items (sets) ???? example of SA-45 test

o implicit assessment: personalities that are understood, associate between self  and what we know  

▪ Asses variable indirectly

▪ Person produces sample of behaviour

▪ Behaviour sample used as guide to person’s personality

o subjective: personal interpretations  

o objective: does not involve interpretations  

- reliability of measurement:  

o internal consistency (reliability):  

i. Internal reliability

• Reliability within single set of observations of single aspect of  


• Using many items balances out error

ii. Investigating internal reliability

• Average correlation for each pair of items

iii. Split half reliability

• Correlate responses to two halves of item set

• High correlation indicates high reliability

o inter-rater: agreement between observer in same events

▪ Agreement between ratings from observers

▪ want to know if this one person can obtain the same results as number 9,  interveners (compare results) ???? internal consistency are they reliable  

(reliability over time?) may get different results over time

▪ However, traits are patterns are characteristics that we see over time  (should not change too much)  

o stability:  

▪ Test retest reliability

• Repeatedly across time

**** IMPORTANT ****  

- RESPONSE SETS : biased orientation to answering  

o Involves attitude, metal state, background (not easy to measure) very subtle  o Going in with a specific attitude may affect how you answer especially self reported types of test  

- Brings out factor phenomena about acquiesces???? always saying yes (see above)  o Amendment of measurement tests acquiesces  

- ***Malingering*** ???? responding with an ulterior motive (faking good vs faking bad) ;  need to look good!

o faking good or concrete denying who has problems ???? its when they say they  don’t have any problems when they try to avoid responsibility

o faking bad: I have all these problems (no one has all these problems,  exaggerating); who would hide that?? People trying to get medication  

(addiction) chronic pain syndrome  


1. Differences between subjective and objective:  

- Subjective: takes place before recording, deciding nervous before told - Objective: recorded directly, self report  

2. Three types of reliability:

a. Internal: consistency within the test

b. Test retest: consist across time

c. Inter rater: agreement between raters  

3. 5 dif. Types of validity:

a. Construct: accurately measures the theory studied  

b. Criterion: relates to expressions of personality quality; observer judgement,  compare and correlation

c. Convergent: characterises are like but not same

d. Discriminant: does not measure qualities, does not fit with intentions e. Face: looks decent  

i. Useful when people refuse to admit, just looks like someone is an  alcohol so therefore is one  

4. Cultural difference vs. validity:  

a. Constructs may be different

b. Interpretations are different

5. Two response sets:

a. Acquiescence: always being positive and answering yes (in denial) b. Social desirability: faking good/ faking bad  

6. Two approaches in development plus examples:

a. Rational: theoretical! First studies then creates the test logically b. Empirical: data based: first collects data then forms questions to different  groups to be studied

Chapter 4—The Trait Perspective 


- A trait is a stable characteristic which reflect individuals’ behaviours. Traits are  continuous.  

o Thoughts, feelings, behaviours  

o Over time  

o Different situations

o Traits are qualities that people carry around with them, belong to them, part of  them

- There are different trait approaches: idiographic & nomothetic:

o Idiographic:

▪ Uniqueness for each person

o Nomothetic:

▪ How people are different but if dimensions of the traits are same for  everyone

- One tool is a factor analysis: which explains what substances go together - Factor analysis: observations do and don't reflect well  

- Important!! What traits are basic and important?  

o Many theoretical views are developed because they think we need to start with  a theory, however there are others who believe that actuality tells the structure o One theory: Extraversion & neuroticism???? long history about personality o Another theory: interpersonal circle ???? social interaction traits

- There are the ideas of the 5 major factors in personality:

o Neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness o Relates to behaviours and experiences across lives

- There is an idea called situations where different situations are what influences  behaviour but???? it was proved wrong

- Interactionism, the idea that personality and situations determine behaviour  - The nature of each trait is what provides logic for trait models

- Each profile per person is where everyone’s uniqueness stands

- Psychoticism or neuroticism???? traits that are problematic

- The term diathesis-stress model: only under certain conditions there could be some  problem, could be involving other emotions but mostly stress

Key terms: 

- Behavioural signature: pattern in situations that link to different experiences - Diathesis-stress model: vulnerability and stress creates problems in behaviour  - Extravert: outgoing, social, leader

- Introvert: calmer, rather be a follower, not loud  

- Factor: interrelated measures (self-reports)  

- Factor analysis: statistical procedure to find meaning to measures

o Statistical technique:  

▪ Look for correlation between multiple items to find basic underlying  dimensions

o Patterns of commonality

o Reduce large number of items/measures of personality to smaller number of  factors/dimensions/traits  

▪ How do we arrive at common elements from most people?  

o Intuition: of two qualities correlate when assessed across many people, they  reflect a trait that contributes to both  

o Steps in factor analysis:

▪ Collect measurement  

• Self-report

• Observations  

▪ Make correlations for each pair  

• extract factor & compute factor loadings

o reduces all correlation to a small number  

▪ get rid of low correlations and make strong ones stronger

o loading: how much an item is linked to that dimension

o small: not related

o large: closely linked to that dimension (>.40)  

▪ label factors:

• take the highest correlated ones

- Factor loading: correlation to a single measure (relationship)

- Interactionism: situations and personality create behaviour  

- Interpersonal circle: patterns (dominance/love)

- Lexical criterion: importance of the traits  

- Second order factor: already founded factors (factor analysis) which creates a new  factor

- Situationism: situations are what chooses our behaviour

- Traits: continuous measurement of personality that vary within people o Continuous dimensions on which people vary

o Represent quantitative differences

o Individual differences reflect different in amount of traits

▪ There is a spectrum (how much in-between extravert and introvert)  o Nomothetic: norms and differences of a person  

▪ Looking at large groups

▪ Traits are universal

▪ Everyone stand somewhere

▪ Everyone can be compared to one another

o Idiographic: individual’s uniqueness

▪ Each person is unique

• Sees traits as idiosyncratic (not universal)  

▪ Individualised (not shared)  

• (may only exist for one person)

▪ traits may differ in connotation and importance among people (all port) ▪ comparisons may not be possible

- Types: distinct/ discontinuous categories  

o Four categories of people:???? Eysenck  

▪ Choleric (irritable; yellow bile)

• moody

▪ Melancholic (depressed; black bile)

• Depression, sadness  

▪ Sanguine (optimistic; blood)

• Very extroverted, aggressive, assertive, provocative

▪ Phlegmatic (calm; phlegm)

• Calm

o Distinct/ Discontinuous

▪ One or the other (category)???? Extravert or introvert  

o Qualitative differences in people

o Labelling convinces

o Trying to describe indiv differences

- Test called NEO-AC: it's a personality inventory created by: McCrae & Costa (1997) o It is the big 5 ???? can also be remembered as OCEAN  

- There are two approaches possible for traits:

o Inductive: Raymond catell

▪ Starts with 4500 trait names

▪ Removed all synonyms which creates 171 trait names

• It's a word scale ex. Question how kind are you, very ,yes, neutral,  no, not at all…  

▪ Factor analysis: lower important factors

▪ Set of 16 dimensions in personality

▪ Its 184 MCQ and three points per answer???? standardized in 35+languages o Deductive: Hans Eysenck

▪ Starts with well-developed qualities of personality (from a theory)

• There is a four level hierarchy of behaviours that's organized  

around 2 supertraits

o Extraversion:  

▪ sociability, liveliness, dominance, impulsivity

o Neuroticism:  

▪ Easily distressed/ upset, anxious, fearful

▪ two supertraits” character traits “

▪ traits: what goes with super traits

▪ habitual act: responses???? what they act/do

▪ specific act: what happened on dif. Occasions

- Comparing Eysenck and Catell





FA to refine scales

2 supertraits (+psychoticism)

Self-report & Observational  

Fa to find out what dimensions exist 16 traits and 5 second-order factors


Both used factor analysis techniques

supertraits are very similar: two of 16 PF traits

Cattell’s second order factors include extraversions and neuroticism

• Old history there was the feeling that behaviour and traits are from nature/nurture  approach  

• NOW: personality comes from the sculpting of environment and heritage ???? where  personality emerges


1. Differences between types and traits: 

a. Types: distinct or irregular

b. Traits: continuous. Fluctuate in various qualities

2. Differences between nomothetic and idiographic approach:

a. Nomothetic: assumptions that traits exist and have psychological meaning  b. Idiographic: each person uniqueness  

i. Some traits only one person may have

ii. Difficult to compare people???? can be on different scales

3. Steps in factor analysis:

a. Collect data

b. Find the correlation  

c. Factor extraction: reduce matrix into smaller measurements  

d. Factor loadings: correlations between indiv. And factor

e. Label factors

4. Differences in cattell and Eysenck: 

a. Catell: empirical  

i. Dif types of data

1. Lexical

2. Self report

3. Observer

4. Objective behavioural  

ii. Found 16 dimensions after creating a factor analysis

b. Eysenck: deductive

i. Start with idea from most important  

ii. Four types

1. Supertraits:

a. Introversion—extraversion

b. Emotionality—stability

5. The big 5 

a. Extraversion:

i. assertive

ii. open expressions

iii. dominance

iv. confidant

v. social  

b. agreeableness:

i. warm

ii. likeable

iii. nurture

iv. emotional supportive

c. conscientiousness:

i. will to achieve  

d. neuroticism:  

i. anxiety

ii. disorganization

e. openness:  

i. intellect

ii. culture

iii. experience  

6. differences in situationsm and interactionist view:

a. Situationism: situations matter more to make conclusions how people act b. interactionist: traits and situations influence behaviour  

7. Major criticism of trait approach:  

a. Little to say how personality works  

b. Deal with causality

c. Random about what is important to measure

d. Behaviour is not always consistent

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