Personality Psychology

Final Exam Review
Cognitive Approaches
Cognitive approaches to personality focus on differences in how people process information
Cognition refers to awareness and thinking as well as to specific mental acts such as perceiving, interpreting, remembering, and anticipating
Information Processing
1. Perception: People may perceive stimuli differently (Field Dependence)
Interpretation: Making sense of, or explaining, events in the world (LOC, Learned Helplessness, Explanatory Style)
Field dependent people see big picture rather than details
Measure used to assess field-dependence
Embedded Figures Test (EFT)
Field dependent people favor social sciences and education
Field dependent people are attentive to social cues, oriented toward other people
Field independent people have ability to focus on details despite clutter of background info

Education: Field independent people favor math, engineering;

Field independent people more interpersonally detached

Field independent people better able to screen out distracting information and focus on a task

Field independent students learn more effectively than field dependent students in multimedia-based learning environment
Locus of Control (Internal vs. External)
Locus of control describes people's interpretation of responsibility for events

External LOC: Generalized expectancies that events are outside of one's control (luck, fate); Externals

Internal LOC: Generalized expectancies that events are under one's control, and that one is responsible for major life outcomes; Internals
Generalized Expectancies
locus of control- expectations are consistent across situations
Learned Helplessness
When subjected to unpleasant and inescapable circumstances, animals (and humans) become passive and accepting of a situation, in effect learning to be helpless
Causal Attribution
Linking an instance of behavior to a cause, whether the behavior is our own or someone else's
Explanatory Style
Extension of Learned Helplessness

Explanatory Style: Tendency that some people have to use certain attributional categories when explaining causes of events

Three broad categories of attributions
External or internal
Stable or unstable
Global or specific
Achievement View of Intelligence
What people have accomplished
-GRE Subject Tests
Aptitude View of Intelligence
What can you do
-How well one can do in college
-Graduate School
General Intelligence ("g")
The idea that one general factor underlies all mental abilities.

The Wonderlic Personnel Test is a 12-minute test of intelligence that consists of 50 questions.

Used widely in organizations because it is quick, reliable, and valid

Intelligence scores often referred to as IQ scores because of the early way that Intelligence Quotient scores were calculated
Multiple Intelligences
learning theory that suggests people can be strong in one or more of eight natural intelligences: logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, body/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, verbal/linguistic, and/or naturalist
Emotional Intelligence(EI)
Goleman suggested that EI included 5 specific abilities:
1. Awareness of our own feelings
2. Ability to regulate emotions, especially negative ones
3. Ability to control one's impulses
4. Ability to decode social & emotional cues of others
5. Ability to influence and guide others without incurring anger, resentment

Goleman suggested that EI may explain why some people with a lot of academic intelligence do not appear to have practical intelligence.

Goleman defined EI very broadly and did not come up with good measure (EI is commonly measured via self-report even though it is defined as a kind of "intelligence" or "ability")

EI is also referred to EQ (parallels IQ)

EI has become quite popular among the
public and researchers

Mayer & colleagues (2000) proposed that EI involves the ability to reason with and about emotions.

They've been critical of EI tests that use self-reports, which they note is like creating an intelligence test that asks test takers, "Do you think you're smart?"

Thus, Mayer & colleagues explicitly designed EI tests in an intelligence/ability testing tradition

Total EI score, 4 branch scores: 1) Identifying Emotions, 2) Using Emotions, 3) Understanding Emotions, & 4) Managing Emotions
Class Discussion of Personality and the Lottery
Personality and the Lottery

Those with internal LOC play more than those with external LOC

Those with high extroversion and low on agreeableness and intelligence were most likely to play the lottery

Mega Million Odds:1 in 175 million

26 heads in a row on a coin toss

If you Play
Don't play the number 7
Choose beginning and ending of sets
Don't play birthdays
Situation Selection
A form of interactionism that refers to the tendency to choose or select the situations in which one finds oneself. In other words, people typically do not find themselves in random situations in their natural lives. Instead, they select or choose the situations in which they will spend their time.
Complementary Needs Theory
The complementary needs theory of attraction postulates that people are attracted to people whose personality dispositions differ from theirs. In other words, "opposites attract." This is especially true in biological sex choices, i.e., women tend to be attracted to men and vice versa. Other than biological sex choices, the complementary needs theory of attraction has not received any empirical support.
Attraction Similarity Theory
The attraction similarity theory of attraction states that individuals are attracted to those whose personalities are similar to their own. In other words, "birds of a feather flock together" or "like attracts like." As of 2003, attraction similarity has been proven to be the dominant attraction theory except in biological sex choices, i.e., women tend to be attracted to men and vice versa.
Assortative Mating
Theory stating that people find partners based on their similarity to each other
Violation of Desire
According to the violation of desire theory of conflict between the sexes, break-ups should occur more when one's desires are violated than when they are fulfilled (Buss, 1994). Following this theory, we would predict that people married to others who lack desired characteristics, such as dependability and emotional stability, will more frequently dissolve the marriage.
Tendency to feel tense, worried, and anxious during sociol interactions or even when anticipating social interactions.
Personality characteristics of others to evoke responces in us.

Our own personality character tics evoke responces in others
Aggressive people evoke hostility from others

Hostile attributional bias: Tendency to infer hostile intent on the part of others in the face of uncertain behavior from others

Because they expect others to be hostile, aggressive people treat others aggressively - people treated aggressively tend to aggress back

Thus, hostility from others is evoked by an aggressive person
Hostile Attribution Bias
The tendency to perceive ambiguous actions by others as aggressive
Expectancy Confirmation
People's belief about the characteristics of others cause them to evoke in others actions that are consistent with the initial belief, AKA self fulfilling prophecy
Personality is also linked to ways in which we try to influence or manipulate others

Manipulation includes ways in which people intentionally alter, change, or exploit others

Manipulation can be examined from 2 perspectives within personality psychology:
1) Are some individuals consistently more manipulative than others?
2) Given that all people attempt to influence others, do stable personality characteristics predict manipulation tactics that are used?

High Extraversion: Coercion, responsibility invocation

Low Extraversion: Self-abasement, hardball

High Agreeableness: Pleasure induction, reason

Low Agreeableness: Coercion, Silent Treatment

High Conscientiousness: Reason

Emotionally unstable: Use variety of tactics to manipulate others; most common is regression
Taxonomy of Eleven Tactics of Manipulation
High Machs evoke specific reactions from others, such as anger and retaliation for having been exploited

High Machs manipulate others in predictable ways, using tactics that are exploitative, self-serving, and deceptive

Who are some famous examples of Machiavellian and non-Mach leaders?
Narcissism - an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with oneself, prestige, power, and vanity

Narcissists tend to be exhibitionist, self-centered, and exploitative
Sex Differences
The study of sex differences is controversial

Some worry that findings of sex differences might be used to support the status quo

Some argue that findings of sex differences merely reflect gender stereotypes or researchers biases rather than real differences

Some advocate stopping research on sex differences because findings of sex differences might conflict with ideas of equality

But most personality psychologists argue that scientific psychology and social change will be impossible without identifying real sex differences that do exist

Prior to 1973, little attention was paid to sex differences

In 1974, Maccoby and Jacklyn published a book entitled "The Psychology of Sex Differences," which set off an avalanche of research on sex differences

Maccoby and Jacklyn presented an informal summary of research, but subsequent researchers used meta-analysis to assess sex differences across many studies
Effect Size
Effect size or d-statistic: Used to express the difference in standard deviation units

Effect size can be calculated for each study of sex differences, then averaged across studies to give an objective assessment of the difference

(d): .20 = small, .50 = medium, .80 = large

Convention: Positive d means males are higher, whereas a negative d means females are higher

It is important to note that even a large effect size for sex difference does not necessarily have implications for any 1 individual
Describe sex differences as small and inconsequential
Argue that the size of sex differences ranges from small to large, and that the differences should not be trivialized
Sex Differences in the Big 5 Personality Dimensions and Other Characteristics,
Facets of Extraversion
Females score slightly higher on gregariousness (d = -.15)
Males score slightly higher on activity level (d = .09)
Males score moderately higher on assertiveness (d = .50)

Facets of Agreeableness
Females score higher on trusting (d = -.25) and tender-mindedness (d = -.97)

Females score slightly higher on order (d = -.13)

Openness to Experience - No sex differences

Emotional Stability - Females are higher on anxiety (d = -.28)
Sex Differences in Self-Esteem
Across ages, effect size is small, with males scoring higher (d = .21), but...
Young children (ages 7-10) show slight difference (d = .16)
As children age, the gap widens: for ages 11-14, d = .23; for ages 15-18, d = .33
In adulthood, the gap closes: for ages 19 to 22, d = .18; for ages 23-59, d = .10
New measures were developed to assess the 2 dimensions (masculinity and femininity)

Those who scored high on both were labeled androgynous to reflect the notion that a person could have both masculine and feminine characteristics

Researchers who developed these measures believed androgyny was the ideal (most valuable elements of both sexes)

Androgyny measures were likely assessing personality traits of "instrumentality" and "expressiveness"
The perceived likelihood that performance will be followed by a particular outcome, in expectancy theory, a perception about the extent to which performance results in the attainment of outcomes
women embody this stereotype, passive, emotion- oriented, family- focused, give up identity for others, irrational, want love
Socialization Theory
Socialization theory:
Boys and girls become different because boys are reinforced by parents, teachers, and media for being "masculine," and girls for being "feminine"
Social Learning Theory
Bandura's social learning theory: Boys and girls learn by observing behaviors of same-sex others

Cross-cultural evidence for different treatment of boys and girls, and different gender stereotypes
Social Role Theory
Social role theory: Sex differences arise because males and females are distributed differently into different occupational and family roles

Research generally supports social role theory

It will be interesting to see if sex differences decrease as females increasingly have jobs and as males increasingly are more involved in the home
Hormonal Theories
Hormonal, physiological differences cause boys and girls to diverge over development

Following puberty, there is little overlap in the levels of circulating testosterone (with males having about 10 times more)

Sex difference in testosterone is linked with traditional sex differences in behaviors, such as aggression, dominance, and career choice

Higher testosterone is linked to impulsiveness, alcohol/drug abuse, and criminal activity

High levels of testosterone are linked to buildup of muscles in men (and women), but there are negative side effects, especially as a result of steroids
Evolutionary Psychology Theory
Sexes are predicted to differ only in those domains in which people are recurrently faced with different adaptive problems (problems must be solved to survive and reproduce)

Research supports many predicted sex differences, especially in sexuality
Class Discussion of Personality and Facebook
Is a person's "online" personality as portrayed on Facebook consistent with their actual "offline" personality?

Is Facebook use associated with certain personality characteristics? Which Big 5 personality dimensions are related to Facebook use?

Sex differences: Do males and females use Facebook for different purposes?
Health Psychology
The subfield of psychology concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention, and treatment of illness.
Most models of personality and illness include a key variable: Stress

Stress lies in part in how we interpret and respond to those events

Thus, stress lies "in between" the event and the person

Stress: subjective reaction of a person to potential stressors; in order for stress to be evoked, two cognitive events must occur (Lazarus, 1991)
Interactional Model
Objective events happen to a person, but personality determines the impact of events by influencing a person's ability to cope

Personality moderates the relation between stress and illness

Coping response influences degree, duration, and the frequency of a stressful event
Transactional Model
Personality can influence event is appraised

Appraisal suggests that it is not the event itself that causes stress, but how event is interpreted by a person

People don't just respond to situations, they also create situations through choices and actions
Health Behavior Model
Personality does not directly influence the relation between stress and illness

Instead, personality affects health indirectly, through health promoting or health degrading behaviors
Predisposition Model
Associations may exist between personality and illness because of a third variable that is causing them both

Association found between illness and personality because of some predisposition (e.g., genetic factor) that underlies them both
Illness Behavior Model
Personality influences degree to which a person perceives/attends to bodily sensations, and degree to which a person interprets sensations as illness

Personality (e.g., neuroticism) influences whether a person would seek medical attention or not
Stressors: Events/Demands that lead to stress and have several common attributes

Stressors are often perceived as uncontrollable and often produce feelings of being overwhelmed
General Adaptation Syndrome (Alarm, Resistance, & Exhaustion Stages),
Alarm Stage: Fight-or-flight response - release of hormones
If stressor continues, leads to the Resistance Stage: Body uses resources at above average rate, even though fight-or-flight response subsided
If stressor is constant, the person enters the Exhaustion Stage: More susceptible to illness, because physiological resources are depleted
Acute Stress
a temporary pattern of stressor-activated arousal with a distinct onset and limited duration
Episodic Acute Stress
refers to repeated episodes of acute stress, such as having to work at more than one job every day, having to spend time with a difficult in-law, or needing to meet a recurring monthly deadline
Traumatic Stress
Stress associated with events that involve actual or threatened severe injury or death of oneself or significant others
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A reaction to stress such as wartime suffering or rape, arising after the event is over
Chronic Stress
Unrelieved stress that continues to tax a person's resources to the point of exhaustion; stress that is damaging to health.
Additive Effects
Stress has additive effects, cumulating in a person over time
Primary Appraisal
Person perceives an event as a threat to goals
Secondary Appraisal
Person concludes they don't have resources to cope with demands of threatening event
Problem-Focused Coping
Attempting to alleviate stress directly by changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor.
Dispositional Optimism
..., The extent to which a person typically adopts an optimistic or pessimistic approach to dealing with life's challenges.
Optimistic Bias
our predisposition to expect things to turn out well overall
Type A Personality
TABP and its subcomponents:
Achievement Striving
Time Urgency
Time Urgency
a characteristic or behavior of someone who displays Type A personality, someone who is consistently time conscious
the intentional use of unfriendly or offensive behavior
Class Demonstration of the Birthday Problem
Pessimistic Explanatory Style
Emphasizes internal, stable, and global causes for negative events

Associated with feelings of helplessness and poor health

Ex:Car Accident
Internal-My Fault
Stable-Always been a bad driver
Global-Bad driver not detail oriented
Optimistic Explanatory Style
Emphasizes external, unstable, and specific causes for negative events

Associated with good health and longevity

Ex:Car Accident
External-Beyond mt control
Unstable-Very distracted"TODAY"
Specific-This specific characteristic but will not effect overall
EI Ability Tests
Mayer & colleagues (2000) proposed that EI involves the ability to reason with and about emotions.

They've been critical of EI tests that use self-reports, which they note is like creating an intelligence test that asks test takers, "Do you think you're smart?"

Thus, Mayer & colleagues explicitly designed EI tests in an intelligence/ability testing tradition
Three Mechanisms of Social Interaction
Theories of Sex Differences
Socialization and Social Roles

Hormonal Theories

Evolutionary Psychology Theory
Sex Differences in Aggressiveness
Males are more physically aggressive, as assessed on personality tests and actual behavior (.40 to .86; moderate to large effect sizes)

This difference has profound consequences:
Males commit 90 percent of homicides worldwide
Males commit more violent crimes of all sorts
Sex difference in violent crimes accompanies puberty, peaking in adolescence and the early 20s
Summary and Evaluation (Sex Differences)
The magnitude of sex differences vary greatly, depending on the domain investigated

Domains that show large sex differences include assertiveness, tender-mindedness, and aggressiveness

Traditional theories of sex differences have emphasized social factors, but hormonal and evolutionary theories suggest social factors do not tell the whole story
Stress Responce
Occurs when a person is startled... heart beats fast, blood pressure increases, sweat on palms - fight-or-flight response, which leads to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity