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  • 1. GCSE Psychology Unit 1: Personality Revision Sheet Personality A relatively stable and enduring set of behaviours, thoughts and feeligns that distinguish an individual from other people. Temperament An individual’s natural disposition or inborn personality traits such as introversion or extroversion and are often regarded as innate rather than learned. Studies of temperament Research conducted into temperament usually focuses on factors that are easily measurable and testable early in childhood. These factors include irritability, activity, frequency of smiling and whether the child is happy or uneasy with unfamiliar adults. Thomas (1977) Conducted a longitudinal study to find out whether people respond in a similar way throughout life. Babies aged between 2 and 3 months at the start of the study were assessed at various intervals between infancy and adulthood. Parental ratings were used at first but as the children got older teacher interviews and school observations were collected. The results showed that most could be put into one of three distinct groups: easy difficult or slow to warm up. Conclusions: as traits remained stable over time temperament is innate. : There were several measures of temperament so the results were reliable.  It was a longitudinal study so data was collected over time. Although temperament was stable over time it may be that the environment was also stable so temperament may not be innate. Buss &Plomin (1984), Examined similarities in twin temperament. Identical (monozygotic) and non-identical (dizygotic) twins were used and three measures of personality (emotional, active and sociable) The results showed correlations between monozygotic twins were higher than those for dizygotic twins. Conclusions: temperament is largely genetic as monozygotic twins were very similar on all measures of personality.  A large sample of twins were used which makes it reliable The research was correlational which just shows a relationship but does not show cause and effect. Kagan (1991). Kagan watched the reaction of babies at four months old to a stimulus toy. Those infants with high levels of motor activity and crying were more fearful of the stimulus toy. These children, when tested again at 14 months were found to be shy and reserved. In contrast the children that showed little or no reaction to the new stimulus were more sociable at age 14 months. The results showed that a child’s temperament could be determined at four months old.  There was a large sample size which makes it easier to generalise to the wider population.  The children were tested in a lab and therefore may not be like real life. Eysenck's type theory Eysenck believed that personality is innate (inborn) and therefore personality was made up of permanent traits or characteristics. He suggested that there are three important traits to personality: Extraversion– an outgoing nature, being interested in things outside of the self. Introversion– more reserved and solitary in nature Neuroticism- characterized by anxiety, moodiness, worry, envy, and jealousy Personality scales Eysenck created two questionnaires, the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) The personality scales were designed to measure the personality types of people using yes/no questionnaires and then people could be given a score to show the level of extraversion, introversion and neuroticism. The EPI measured extraversion and neuroticism and the EPQ added a third dimension: psychoticism (had traits such as aggressive, unsympathetic, achievement oriented.)  There is some support for a genetic (inborn) element of personality.  There are other competing theories that could explain personality traits. Antisocial Personality Disorder The characteristics of this disorder according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manualnumber 4 (DSM IV) are shown in a total disregard for the rights of others that has been ongoing since the person was 15 or younger. Only people over the age of 18 can be diagnosed with this disorder. The DSM IV states that for a person to be diagnosed with this disorder they must be the showing the following symptoms:
  • 2. GCSE Psychology Unit 1: Personality Revision Sheet Taking no notice of rules and breaking the law Telling lies and being deceitful Acting on impulse and not planning ahead Aggressive to others Not taking responsibility for own actions Not being sorry if they hurt people Causes of APD There is some doubt as to the cause of APD. Some studies have shown that it could be biological (e.g. brain dysfunction), while other studies have shown that it could be situational factors (e.g. the way they were brought up). Raine (2000) Raine conducted research to see if criminal’s brains were different in people with APD. Brain scans of people with APD who had a history or violent crimes were compared to men who had no history of violence. The results showed that the APD group had less activity in the pre-frontal cortex and abnormality in the amygdala. Conclusion: APD may be caused by the problems in the pre-frontal cortex which is the part of the brain that is responsible for feeling remorse and empathy.  The study used brain scans which are objective and gives evidence for APD to have a biological cause.  The study only used males, therefore it cannot be generalised to females. Farrington (1995), In contrast to the biological approach of Raine, Farrington looked at the situational factors and investigated whether the behaviour of children could predict behaviour later in life. A longitudinal study was conducted starting when participants (all males) were 8 years old and followed them until they were 32. The characteristics investigated included how parents treated the participants and any anti-social behaviour exhibited. The participants also were given IQ tests and school performance was measured. The results showed that APD could be predicted by antisocial behaviour, low IQ and school attainment, poor childrearing by the parents, impulsive behaviour and criminal activity in the family. Conclusions were that APD can be traced to childhood behaviour.  A large sample was used (411 males)  The risk factors were good predictors of APD  Not all people with these characteristics go on to develop APD  Only males were used in the sample therefore the findings cannot be generalised to females. Elander (2000). Investigated childhood risk factors for APD in twins who had been diagnosed with childhood disorders. The twins were followed up 10 – 25 years after diagnosis. Results showed that criminal behaviour and APD could be predicted from childhood disorders, mainly hyperactivity, conduct disorders and low IQ. Conclusions were that APD can be predicted from certain childhood disorders.  There is evidence to suggest that childhood disorders can predict APD, this gives the opportunity to intervene and prevent the disorder.  A very small sample (13 men) was used and it is hard to generalise from such a small sample. Implications of research into APD. Research has shown that APD can be predicted from childhood and if families with a lot of risk factors are identified and helped when the children are quite young, then it may be possible to reduce the incidence of APD in later life. However, it is important to identify the children when they are quite young as Raine argues that it may be too late once they are old enough to be diagnosed with APD.