CHAPTER 12: WHAT DOES PERSONALITY LOOK LIKE?• Theory of psychosexual development• Personality assessment• Trait approach to personality• Social cognitive theory
What is Personality?• Child (1968, p. 83): • “the more or less stable, internal factors that make one person’s behavior consistent from one time to another, and different from the behavior of other people would manifest in comparable situations.” • Personality is: • Stable • Internal • Consistent • Different
• Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns of an individual. Different personality theorists present their own definitions of the word based on their theoretical positions• Personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique, arising from within the individual and remaining fairly consistent throughout life.
What is Personality?• It is generally assumed that personality consists of various traits, which are “broad, enduring, relatively stable characteristics used to assess and explain behavior” (Hirschberg, 1978, p. 45).• The most popular answer to the question of how many personality traits humans possess is five.• Why do individual differences in personality traits exist? • Perhaps the most obvious answer is that they depend on each individual’s experiences in life.
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)• Theory of Psychosexual Development: • Experiences children have during the first 5 years of life are very important. • Personalities develop during this period.• According this theory, children pass through five stages: • Oral stage • Anal stage • Phallic stage • Latency stage • Genital stage
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)• There can be serious consequences if a child is frustrated by receiving insufficient gratification or excessive gratification at a given stage.• Either could lead to fixation, in which basic sexual energy remains attached to that stage during adulthood.• When adults experience major problems, they will show regression, with their behavior resembling how they behaved when they were a child.
Evaluation• Freud put forward the first systematic theory of personality.• Adult personality depends in part on the experiences of early childhood.• At least some of the personality types suggested by Freud do seem to exist.• The notion that individuals with certain types of personality are more vulnerable than others to the development of mental disorders is both powerful and convincing.
Personality Assessment• Four major kinds of personality tests have been developed: • Self-report questionnaires • Ratings • Objective tests • Projective tests
Personality Tests• Reliability: the test produces consistent results.• Validity: the test measures what it is supposed to be measuring. • Concurrent validity: the test scores are correlated with a relevant external criterion or measure of the underlying construct the test is supposed to be measuring.• Standardization: giving the test to large, representative samples of people so the significance of an individual’s score can be evaluated.
Questionnaires• Most popular way of assessing personality. • Easy to use. • Individuals know more about themselves than do other people.• Problem: individuals may fake their responses. • Social desirability bias. • Lie scale.• Consensual validity involves comparing two kinds of information: • Self-report questionnaire scores obtained from participants. • Ratings of those participants by those who know them well for the same aspects of personality.
Ratings• Observers provide information about other people’s behavior. • Rate different types of behaviors. • The problem of interpretation. • Observation takes place in one context. • This method typically possesses good reliability.
Objective Tests• Measuring behavior under laboratory conditions with the participants not knowing what the experimenter is looking for.• Example: • Ask participant to blow up a balloon until it bursts as a measure of timidity. • The extent to which people sway when standing on tiptoe as a measure of anxiety.• Free from deliberate distortion.• Have low reliability and validity.
Projective Tests• Participants are given an unstructured task to perform: • Devising a story to fit a picture. • Describing what can be seen in an inkblot.• Rorschach Inkblot Test (see next slide).• The Thematic Apperception Test.• Such tests are generally low in both reliability and validity.
Trait Approach• For many years, there was a major controversy between two groups of personality researchers. • In one group (Cattell), it was assumed that many personality traits resemble each other, because there is no reason to assume that personality is tidily organized into unrelated traits. • In the other group (H.J. Eysenck), it was assumed that major personality traits are unrelated or independent of each other. In more technical terms, traits should NOT correlate or be associated with each other.
Cattell’s Trait Theory• Fundamental lexical hypothesis: • Each language contains words describing all of the main personality traits. • Allport and Odbert (1936): • Identified 4500 words used to describe personality, which were reduced to 160 trait words. • Cattell (1946): • Added 11 traits from the personality literature in psychology, producing a total of 171 trait names, which were claimed to cover almost everything of importance in the area of personality.
Cattell’s Trait Theory• Cattell still found himself with an unwieldy number of personality traits.• He used findings previous studies to identify traits that resembled each other.• He eliminated more traits, leaving him with 35 traits.• These were called surface traits, because they were easily observable.• Cattell carried out rating studies in which raters assessed people they knew well.• These studies suggested that there are about 16 source traits, which are basic traits underlying the surface traits.
Cattell’s Trait Theory• Cattell 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF).• Based on Cattell’s assumption that personality traits are often associated or correlated with each other, so many of his 16 factors are closely related.• In spite of its massive popularity, it provides an inadequate assessment of personality. • All systematic factor analyses of this test have shown that it doesn’t measure anything like 16 different personality traits. • Key problem is that several factors are very similar.
Evaluation• Cattell’s notion of using the fundamental lexical hypothesis to assist in uncovering all the main personality traits is a valuable one.• Cattell’s attempt to combine information from several methods (questionnaires, ratings, objective tests) was thorough and systematic.• There are only about eight different personality traits in the 16PF, and so Cattell’s main questionnaire is badly flawed.• Cattell’s approach was not very theoretical or explanatory.
H.J. Eysenck’s Trait Theory• H.J. Eysenck (1944) argued that the best strategy is to focus on a small number of independent personality traits or factors, all of which are entirely separate from each other. • Extraversion: Those scoring high on extraversion (extraverts) are more sociable and impulsive than those scoring low (introverts). • Neuroticism: Those scoring high on neuroticism are more anxious and depressed than those scoring low. • Psychoticism: Those scoring high on psychoticism are aggressive, hostile, and uncaring.• According to H.J. Eysenck (1982, p. 28), “genetic factors contribute something like two-thirds of the variance in major personality dimensions.”
Evaluation• It has proved more useful to identify a small number of unrelated or uncorrelated personality traits than a larger number of correlated ones.• Extraversion and neuroticism are major personality traits or factors.• H.J. Eysenck made a thorough attempt to explain the mechanisms underlying individual differences in his three personality factors.
Five Factor Theory• The Big Five• McCrae and Costa (1985) identified the following five factors: • Openness (curious, imaginative, creative). • Conscientiousness (hard-working, ambitious, persistent). • Extraversion (sociable, optimistic, talkative). • Agreeableness (good-natured, cooperative, helpful). • Neuroticism (anxious, insecure, emotional).
Evidence• The assumption that the Big Five are all independent of each other and so are uncorrelated has been tested.• The evidence indicates that this assumption is incorrect.• Costa and McCrae (1992) reported that the factors of neuroticism and conscientiousness correlated −.53 with each other, and that extraversion and openness correlated +.40.
Evaluation• The Big Five personality traits have been obtained repeatedly in self-report and rating data making it dominant in personality research.• Genetic factors are of importance in determining individual differences in all of the Big Five factors.• Each of the Big Five factors predicts important real- world behavior.• Some of the Big Five factors correlate with each other, and thus are not independent.
Cross-Cultural Perspectives• Studies have focused on Western cultures. • Detailed analyses of scores on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire in 34 countries suggested that the same three personality factors were clearly present in all of them (Barrett et al., 1998). • McCrae et al. (2005) collected rating data for the Big Five personality factors in 50 cultures. The same five factors within the same overall structure were found in nearly all of the cultures studied.
Cross-Cultural Perspectives• The new approach involves using indigenous personality measures as well as standard Western measures. • Cheung and Leung (1998) Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory.• It has often claimed that we should distinguish between individualistic (personal responsibility) and collectivistic cultures (group obligations).• Norenzayan, Choi, and Nisbett (1999): • Western cultures regard personality traits as stable. • East Asians regard traits as much more flexible and changeable.
Social Cognitive Theory• Albert Bandura argued that we need to consider personal factors, environmental factors, and the individual’s own behavior.• Triadic reciprocal causation: personal factors, the environment, and behavior all influence each other.
Self-Efficacy• Bandura (1977): • The ability to cope with a particular task or situation and achieve the desired outcome. • An individual’s sense of self-efficacy in any given situation is determined by four factors: • The individual’s previous experiences in that situation. • Relevant vicarious experiences. • Verbal or social persuasion. • Emotional arousal.
Evidence• Dzewaltowski (1989): • Self-efficacy measures predicted success in an exercise program.• Stajkovic and Luthans (1998): • Self-efficacy strongly associated with work-related performance.• Caprara, Barbaranelli, and Pastorelli (1998): • The amount of self-efficacy predicted academic achievement, but the Big Five factors did not.
Self-Regulation• Bandura (1986): • The use of one’s cognitive processes to regulate and control one’s own behavior. • The use of self award if a given standard is achieved. • Processes involved: • Self-observation • Judgmental processes • Self-reaction
Evidence• Kitsantas (2000): • People using self-regulation strategies generally perform better than those who make less use of them. • Overweight students who didn’t lose weight used fewer self-regulation strategies. • Overweight students who didn’t lose weight also had lower levels of self efficacy. • See next slide.
Evaluation• Much human behavior is motivated by self- reinforcement• Previous theories de-emphasized the role of internal factors.• Numerous factors influence self-regulation.• Theoretically, how does one decide when external reinforcement is needed and when it is not?