McAdams article from the reader: What Do We Know When We Know a Person?
Use this as a class discussion or writing exercise to get students thinking about the different types of information they would want and how they might access them. Activity 2-1: Handshake analysis
Look at all parts of the triad because personality is complicated. Clues are ambiguous: You can’t see personality directly. A psychologist’s job is to put all of the clues together and interpret them correctly to understand personality. Activity 2-2: The millionaire’s dilemma
Oftentimes, we want more than just self-report data to believe what someone is telling us. Class discussion question: What other kind of data could be used to verify the possible complaints of this man?
Questionnaires or surveys can have rating scales or open-ended response options. Class activity: Create a scale for the construct of your choice and share.
You are always with yourself, so you have a unique perspective on your general nature. Definitional truth: The data are true by definition if one is assessing what people think about themselves (self-esteem, self-efficacy).
Causal force: Self-perceptions can create their own reality or truth and influence the goals people set for themselves. Self-verification: People work to convince others to treat them in a manner that confirms their self-conceptions. Simple and easy data: cost-effective
Maybe people won’t tell you: People can’t be forced to provide accurate information about themselves; they don’t want to brag; they want to make themselves look better than they really think they are (job interview); they are ashamed of personality. Memory: Exceptional events and experiences tend to be remembered more easily and may make self-perceptions inaccurate; the kind person remembers the times she was rude because they stand out to her. Fish-and-water effect: People do not notice their most obvious characteristics because they are always that way. Active distortion of memory: repression Lack of self-insight: narcissists, nervous habits, alcoholism scale completed by someone in denial Too simple and too easy: leads to overuse
Used frequently in daily life: letters of recommendation, gossip
Based on observation of behavior in the real world; for example, obedience to authority, following traffic laws vs. Milgram’s experiment
Takes context of the person into account: of the immediate situation and other behaviors Definitional truth: Some aspects of personality are based on what others see you do or how they react to you (charm, likeability). Expectancy effects/behavioral confirmation: To some degree, people become what others expect them to be.
Limited behavioral information: Acquaintances often see each other in only one context, and people might be different in different contexts. Lack of access to private experience: People do not share all of their private thoughts and feelings. Bias: due to personal issues (secretly loving or hating the person, being in competition) or prejudices (racism, sexism) Try For Yourself 2.1 on p. 32: S Versus I data Vazire & Mehl article from the reader: Knowing Me, Knowing You From reader: Vazire & Mehl in part I: discusses the similarities and differences of S and I data
Definition: verifiable, concrete, real-life outcomes that may hold psychological significance Advantages of archival records: usually accurate; not prone to biases like S and I data Disadvantages of archival records: may be difficult to access and their use may violate privacy
Intrinsic importance: This is what the psychologist wants to know (GPA, visits to health center, criminal record, marital status) or what people are trying to affect (parole officer and arrest record, doctor and number of hospitalizations). Psychological relevance: L data are usually affected by personality and uniquely informative about personality; e.g., people who are conscientious are likely to live longer. Multidetermination: L data can be influenced by much more than personality (genetic illnesses, parental attention, environmental toxins) Try For Yourself 2.2 on p. 44: What L data reveals about you
Definition: information that is carefully and systematically recorded from direct observation
Diary and experience-sampling are compromises to following a person around all day, and the subject makes observations of herself rather than a psychologist or trained observer. Reports by acquaintances: Experience-sampling and acquaintance reports may include socially desirable responses. Naturalistic observation: electronically activated recorder (EAR)
To see how a person responds: not what the person says about himself; no assumption that the answer given is true More on the specific tests in Chapter 5
Range of contexts: no need to wait for the situation of interest to happen if it is created in the lab Appearance of objectivity: less distortion and exaggeration; high reliability and precision Subjective judgments: deciding which behaviors to observe and how to rate them Uncertain interpretation: behaviors may not mean what we think they do (delay time vs. delay of gratification vs. cooperation with adults; duration of smiling and laughing vs. happiness)
It is important to collect more than one type: makes it possible for advantages of one type to compensate for disadvantages of another