Psych 3 week 1


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Introduction to Personality Lecture

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Psych 3 week 1

  1. 1. Week 1: Introduction to Personality Theory (Aug 27)<br />  Introduction to Personality Theory<br />During Week 1, we will examine components of a good psychological theory and highlight the value of empirical research in theory development. Through our discussions, we will evaluate various approaches to personality research, including an exploration of the strengths and limitations of clinical, correlational, and experimental research methodologies. The summary below provides a preview of all the activities for the week. When you are ready to get started, please proceed to the Lecture for more detailed information on assignments and expectations.<br />Summary of Week 1 Activities:TopicReadingsActivitiesIntro. to Personality Theory Chapter 1 Introduction and discussion of the syllabus, assignment schedule, and on-line conference classroom.  Browse the following websites (you do not have to read all the information or follow every link; just skim around to see what isinteresting or unique) Visit the Personality Project website to learn more information about the field of Personality Psychology.Visit the American Psychological Association (APA) style website that explains what it means to write in "APA style."Begin looking for an empirical research articles for your reaction papers & Journals. After browsing that site, visit the APA’s on-line Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Explore your own personality. There are a variety of online tests designed to measure aspects of your personality. Learning Objectives: After studying Chapter 1 - Introduction to Personality Theory, students should be able to:Express their own definition of personality.Differentiate theory from (a) philosophy, (b) speculation, (c) hypothesis, and (d) taxonomy.Explain the relationship between theory and observations.List and explain the criteria of a useful theory.Explain why falsifiability is a positive characteristic of a theory.Discuss various components for a concept of humanity.Define reliability and validity and explain why both concepts are important in personality research.<br />Week 1: Introduction to Personality Theory - Lecture<br />Introduction to Personality Theory<br />Personality psychology emphasizes the scientific investigation of the motivation, structure and dynamics of personality. As such, personality theorists utilize the scientific process to answer questions such as:Why do people behave the way they do? Does personality change over time? What factors are most influential in shaping our personality? In answering questions such as these, different theorists have employed a variety of research strategies that allow them to gain understand and insight into the human psyche. The one thing in common with all personality theorists is the utilization of scientific principles. This base of empirical support means that theories of personality do not rely on common sense, intuition, or personal ideology. Rather, the ideas and theories we will be discussing in this course are grounded in a growing body of research.The focus this week is on research and theory; the purpose of this introduction is to help you gain a thorough understanding of the basic terminology relevant to personality research and psychological theory. The knowledge you gain this week will form a base of knowledge from which you can critically analyze the individual theories that we will be covering throughout the course. To get started, read Chapter 1 - Introduction to Personality Theory. <br />Personality<br />Personality refers to a pattern of relatively consistent pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving. It accounts for the general consistency of human behavior and allows us to make accurate predictions about the way a person is likely to react in a given situation. Throughout this course, we are going to examine a variety of different personality theories. Each theory has a very unique way of describing personality development, structure, growth, motivation and change. With all the differences between theories, you may begin to wonder "which theory is right?" and "why are there so many different theories?". The truth is that each theory provides valuable insight into the complex processes that make up our personality and each examines personality from a different angle or perspective.  <br />Different theories of personality propose different ways of understanding human nature. As such, personality theories can best be understood by comparing their positions on a similar set of basic dimensions:<br />Basic DimensionsApplication to Personality Theorydeterminism versus free choiceExamines the extent to which individuals have control over their lives and their destiny. On one extreme, deterministic theorists believe that humans are driven by powers and circumstances completely beyond their control. On the other extreme, free choice theories believe that humans are fully responsible for all aspects of their lives and their personality.pessimism versus optimismExamines the theoretical outlook on human nature. Pessimistic theories support a negative view of human nature in which people are doomed for difficulty and despair. In contrast, optimistic theories believe that humans are generally growth oriented and have the capacity for positive change. causality versus teleologyExamines the influences and motivations for behavior. Theories that are causality-driven believe that we are driven by events that happen in our past; causality theories are often referred to as "push perspectives." Teleological theories believe that we are driven by goals and a futuristic orientation; teleological theories are referred to as "pull perspectives."conscious versus unconsciousExamines the determinants of behavior. The conscious side of the continuum supports that we are conscious and aware of the factors that motivate personality, while the other side of the continuum supports an unconscious interpretation in which personality is motivated by factors outside of our awareness. biological versus social influencesExamines the origin of personality. Biological theories believe that personality is innate and tied to an individual's genetic legacy. Social influence theories believe that personality is shaped over time as a result of external, environmental influences. In essence, this is the heart of the nature-nurture debate in personality research. uniqueness versus similaritiesExamines the comparison between people. The unique side of the debate argues that each individual possesses a unique personality structure. The similar side of the debate argues that all people share a similar set of personality traits and that individual differences are simply a result of the individualized combination of the same basic traits.<br />Research<br />Research in psychology relies upon an ongoing, systematic process known as the scientific method. The following chart describes the process by which personality theorists discover information about the human psyche.  <br />  <br />As described above, theories are general concepts that explain the relationship between phenomenon; they often emerge from repeated observations of naturally occuring behaviors. Throughout this course, we are going to study a range of theories that explain the structure, motivation and dynamics of personality. Each personality theory has strengths and weaknesses. In order to effectively evaluate each theory, it is important be a critical consumer of information. <br />Theories of personality are more than thoughts, opinions, and personal insights of an individual theorist; personality theories are grounded in empirical research. Psychological research generally falls into three categories: descriptive, correlational, and experimental. Descriptive research aims at providing a complete and thorough description of a target phenomenon. Correlational research uses statistics to find the relationship between existing variables; the goal of correlational studies is to predict. The cornerstone of personality research is the experiment; experiments are uniquely valuable as they are the only means of establishing cause-and-effect. There are a range of personality experiments available on the Internet. If you would like to participate in one of these studies, go to Psychological Research on the Net. There are a variety of studies listed; you can click on any link to get more information or participate.<br />