Discuss the four research methods used to connect traits and behavior, including examples of findings from each method.
Integrity tests: often used by employers; measure responsibility, long-term job commitment, consistency, moral reasoning, etc. Less biased than “aptitude” tests: African Americans usually score lower on aptitude tests used for employee selection than whites, but this difference is not seen on tests of conscientiousness (C) and most other personality tests. Predicts job performance: supervisor ratings of job performance based on a meta-analysis = .41 Predicts absenteeism: absenteeism from another meta-analysis = .33
Predicts success in college: better than Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and high school grade point average (GPA) Might explain motivation in general: to learn about their employer and acquire skills and knowledge, to seek information before an interview; to acquire new skills; less likely to procrastinate Predicts longer life expectancy: avoid risky behaviors such as smoking and overeating and engage in health-promoting behaviors such as exercise
Self-monitoring definition: the degree to which inner and outer selves and behaviors are the same or different across situations High self-monitors: discrepant selves and behaviors, look for cues in situation that signal how to act and adjust behavior Low self-monitors: similar selves and behaviors, are more consistent across situations, more guided by inner personality It’s not necessarily better to be high or low: Both poles have positive and negative implications and correlates. Correlates with several behaviors: performance in job interviews and willingness to lie to get a date (behaviors are more likely for high self-monitors) Try For Yourself 7.1 on p. 203–test of Self-Monitoring Activity 7-1. Self-monitoring assessment and discussion
Narcissism definition: excessive self-love Manipulative, overbearing, vain, etc.: how they are described by others Many negative behaviors and attributes: based on research; aggressive when positive self-view is threatened, don’t handle failure well Why do they act like this? Attempt to defend unrealistically inflated self-concept; general failure to control impulses and delay gratification Try For Yourself 7.2 on p. 208—Narcissistic Personality Inventory
100 personality descriptions: more complex than single-word traits Example Q-Set items: is unpredictable and changeable in behavior and attitudes; is vulnerable to real or fancied threat, generally fearful; is a talkative individual Activity 7-5. California Q-Set Extreme Items
Example of the distribution for the Q-Sort
Delay of gratification definition: denying oneself immediate pleasure for long-term gain Sex similarities: correlates with planfulness, reflectiveness, reasonableness, and emotional stability Sex differences: males delay less than females; delay in girls (ages 3–11) correlates with intelligence, competence, attentiveness, and resourcefulness; in boys of the same age, with shyness, quietness, compliance, and anxiousness Ego-control: related to delay in both girls and boys Ego-resiliency: related to delay only in girls (difference may be based on societal expectations)
Activity 7-2. Assessing delay of gratification with the marshmallow test
Drug abuse: Use at age 14 can be predicted by several characteristics rated about 10 years earlier (restless, fidgety, emotionally unstable, etc.) Depression: Risk factors for women include overcontrol and being shy and reserved; risk factors for men include undercontrol and being unsocialized and aggressive. Political orientation: Conservatives were rated as children as tending to feely guilty, anxious in unpredictable environments, and unable to handle stress well; and liberals were rated as resourceful, independent, self-reliant, and confident (there are several possible interpretations of these findings and generalizability may be limited based on the sample). Authoritarianism definition: turn one’s will over to an external authority to avoid having to make personal choices; enjoy giving orders, which they expect to be followed without question
Eysenck: also theoretical because he based his model on the idea that important traits should be heritable Psychoticism: blend of aggressiveness, creativity, and impulsiveness Eysenck and Tellegen are highly similar. Cattell: 16 essential traits (friendliness, intelligence, dominance, etc.); recently, people have said this is too many.
Lexical hypothesis: Important aspects of life will be labeled with words, and if something is truly important and universal, there will be many words for it in all languages.
Can bring order to many research findings: if the findings are consistent with a particular trait Some research has identified higher-order factors: stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and low neuroticism) and plasticity (extraversion and openness) Can be divided into lower-order facets or aspects (Figure 7.4 on p. 226) Labels may be oversimplified and potentially misleading.
Mate poaching: more likely to have others attempt to steal them away from their romantic partners Highly sensitive to rewards and more likely to experience positive emotions
Activity 7-3. Big Five Inventory and Discussion
Other languages: including Japanese, German, and Hebrew
Too broad for conceptual understanding: Trying to characterize other traits (narcissism) as combinations of Big Five traits often leaves out important concepts and the essence of the trait.
Instead, sort patterns of traits into types
Activity 7-4. Personality types
Personality development definition: change in personality over time, including from infancy and childhood to adulthood Strong tendency to maintain individual differences throughout life in comparison to others: personality rated by teachers of elementary school students predicted behavior decades later
Stability increases with age: .31 in childhood, .54 during college, and .74 between ages 50 and 70 Cumulative continuity principle: Individual differences become more consistent with age. Increasing stability may also be the result of psychological maturation. Mean level change: Based on longitudinal data, people become more socially dominant, agreeable, conscientiousness, and emotionally stable. May be based on changing social roles: Life circumstances may be more important than age.
This is from cross-sectional data.
Roberts & Mroczek article from the reader—Personality Trait Change in Adulthood Mean-level change: “Gains and/or losses in specific personality traits over a prespecified period of time and age in the life course for a population of individuals” (p. 120). Individual differences in change: Some people change more or less than the mean-level change. Cross-sectional findings: Middle-aged individuals score higher than young adults on A and C and lower on E, N, and O; 60-year-olds score higher on most dimensions than 40-year-olds Longitudinal findings: similar to cross-sectional; all traits showed significant mean-level change Increases: social dominance/assertiveness (esp. in young adulthood), agreeableness (esp. in old age), conscientiousness (esp. in young adulthood and midlife), emotional stability Small increase followed by steady and then small decrease: social vitality/gregariousness, openness Most change was between ages 20 and 40 (young adulthood), but continue to change even in old age. Most change is positive (maturation). Individual differences in change: Consider personality change to be an individual difference People do change more than is expected due to chance or the unreliability of measurement. Possible reasons for change: life and work experiences; social investment in roles tied to career, family, and community
Correct answer: a
Correct answer: d – reinforce the idea that change can be looked at in different ways and the meaning of each