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theories of Personality Lecture 7

by: Kennedy Finister

theories of Personality Lecture 7 PSYC 3570

Marketplace > Auburn University > PSYC 3570 > theories of Personality Lecture 7
Kennedy Finister
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The Trait Approach: Theory, Application and Assessment
Theories of Personality
Elissa Hack
Class Notes
personality, Psychology, Auburn University, auburn, Lecture Notes, class, notes, assessment
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kennedy Finister on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 3570 at Auburn University taught by Elissa Hack in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views.


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Date Created: 09/22/16
Chapter 7 Lecture Notes September 20, 2016 The Trait Approach: Theory, Application and Assessment Trait Approach o Identifies personality characterisitcs that can be represented along a continuum o Trait: categorizes people according to degree to which they manifest a particular characteristic o Assumptions – personality characteristics are relatively stable over time and across situations Gordon Allport o Acknowledged the limitations of the trait concept § Behavior is influenced by a variety of environmental factors o Traits have physical components in the nervous system o Promoted the concept of self § Research Strategies • Nomothetic approach – people can be described along a single dimension according to their level of assertiveness or anxiety • Common trait – applies to everyone § Idiographic Approach • Identifies the combination of traits that best accounts for the personality of a individual • Central traits – describe an individual’s personality • Cardinal trait – single dominating trait in personality • Advantage – person determines what traits to examine Henry Murray o Personlogy § Combination of psychoanalytic and trait concepts § Needs - basic elements of personality o Focused on psychogenic needs § Readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given conditions o People can be described in terms of a personal hierarchy of needs o Press- situations that influence the activation of a need o Principal contributions to personality § Thematic Apperception Test § Stimulated extensive research on psychogenic needs Factor Analysis and the Search for the Structure of Personality o Factor analysis: technique employed by Raymond Cattell to determine the structure of human personality § Source trait- basic traits that make up the human personality Chapter 7 Lecture Notes September 20, 2016 § Limitation – procedure is confined by the type of data chosen for analysis Donald Fiske’s Personality Factors o Social Adaptability o Emotional control o Conformity o Inquiring intellect o Confident self-expression The Big Five Personality Factors o Neuroticism § Places people according to their emotional stability and personal adjustment § People with high scores are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression § Individuals with low scores tend to be calm and well adjusted o Extraversion § Places extreme extraverts at one end and extreme introverts at the other § Extraverts are very sociable people § Introverts are reserved and independent people o Openness § Involve active imagination, divergent thinking, and intellectual curiosity § People on the high end are unconventional and independent thinkers § Individuals on the low end prefer the familiar rather than the imaginative o Agreeableness § People with high scores are helpful, trusting and sympathetic § Individuals with low scores tend to be antagonistic and skeptical o Conscientiousness § People on the high end are organized, plan oriented and determined § Individuals on the low end are careless, easily distracted from tasks and undependable § Referred as will to achieve or work Ongoing Questions Relate to the Big Five Model o Debate about what the five factors mean o Disagreement about the structure of the five factor models o Researchers have looked into the stability of the five factors over time o When to use scores from Big Five measures versus scores from specific trait scales Chapter 7 Lecture Notes September 20, 2016 Criticism of Trait Approach o Trait measures do not predict behavior well because both the person and the situation are related to behavior § Person-by-situation approach: individual traits as well as situations determine behavior o There is little evidence for cross situational consistency Defense for Trait Approach o Measuring behavior § Strong links between personality traits and behavior is not established because researchers don’t measure behavior correctly o Identifying relevant traits § Single trait can predict a person’s behavior if that trait is important, or central for the person § Inclusion of secondary trait, dilutes the correlation between the trait score and the behavior o Importance of 10% of the variance § Considering the complexity of factors that influence behavior, ability to explain 10% of variance should be considered good enough Situations vs. Trait Controversy o Identifying relevant traits § Single trait can predict a person’s behavior if that trait is important or central for the person § Inclusions of secondary trait, dilutes the correlation between the trait score and the behavior Application: The Big Five in the Workplace o Employers use scores from personality tests to make hiring and promotion decisions § Critics complain that employers misinterpret test scores when making these decisions o Research provides stronger evidence for the relationship between personality and job performance o Research indicates that conscientiousness may be the best predicator of job performance § Highly conscientious people are organized hardworking, persistent and achievement oriented o People high in agreeableness are trusting cooperative and helpful § Work well in team jobs o Extraverts have an edge in business world over introverts Chapter 7 Lecture Notes September 20, 2016 o Test scores of applicants on the Big Five personality dimension are useful when making a hiring decision Assessment: Self Report Inventories o Self- report inventories – Asks people to respond to a series of questions about themselves § Widely used form of personality assessment § Have a greater face validity § Used by researcher, personnel managers and clinical psychologists o Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory § Prototypic self-report inventory used by clinical psychologists § Revised version, MMPI-2, was published in 1989 § Widely used clinical assessment tool § Psychologists debate the validity of scales0 o Problems with self report inventories § Faking • Test takers intentionally give misleading information on self report inventories • Fake good – presenting themselves as better than they really are • Fake bad- making themselves look worse than they really are • Test makers build safeguards into tests to reduce faking o MMPI contains scales designed to detect faking o Carelessness and Sabotage § Participants can get bored with long tests and select responses randomly § Test takers sometimes report incorrect information to sabotage a research project § Instruction explanation, surveillance and stressing the importance of the test can reduce the problem o Response tendencies § Social desirability: extent to which people present themselves in a favorable light § Measuring social desirability enables a tester to adjust the interpretation of other scores accordingly § Acquiescence response can be a problem on some scales § People’s tendency to agree with test items can distort the meaning of scores Strengths and Criticism of the Trait Approach o Strengths § Usage of objective measures to examine the constructs § Reduced level of the bias and subjectivity Chapter 7 Lecture Notes September 20, 2016 § Numerous practical applications § Educational psychologist and employers use trait measures in their work § Generated a large amount of research o Criticism § No explanation on how traits develop or how to help people who suffer from extreme scores § No schools of psychotherapy have originated from the trait approach § Lack of an agreed-upon framework Social desirability is faking o Impression management is faking – answering dishonest o Self Defective Enhancement is faking but you don’t realize you are actively doing it


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