Personality Psychology

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What aspects of behavior does self-monitoring help to explain? Thoroughly describe the construct and identify interesting correlates of both high self-monitoring and low self-monitoring. Are there connections between self-monitoring and the Big Five domains?
·Self-monitoring: ability to regulate behavior to accommodate social situations. some people vary in their inner and outer selves and in how they perform in certain settings. High self monitors survey each social situation and adapt to it while low self monitors act consistent regardless of what the situation calls for.
How were the Big Five discovered? Define and describe each of the Big Five trait domains.
· Discovery: lexical hypothesis= if something is truly important and universal, many words for it will exist in all languages. Personality traits have been narrowed down from 4500 words to the Big Five because all of the words tend to fall into groups defined by the big five
· Extraversion: the act, state, or habit of being concerned with obtaining gratification from what is outside the self
· Agreeableness: manifested in behavioral characteristics that are seen as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm, and considerate
· Openness: includes active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, alertness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.
Explain why Funder believes that the basic approaches to personality are complementary and not competing explanations for understanding the psychological triad.
The psychological triad consists of the elements of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Funder makes the statement that "A theory that accounts for certain things very well will likely not do so well at explaining everything else. And a theory that tried to explain almost everything—the OBT— would probably not provide the best explanation for any 1 thing." Different aspects of personality are best viewed from different perspectives.
Consider the construct of delay of gratification. Explain how you could obtain S, I, B, and L data for measuring delay of gratification. Identify and describe one advantage and one disadvantage for each of your examples of S, I, B, and L data.
-Organize experiment which requires participants to either accept a small reward immediately, or wait for a larger reward (marshmallow experiment)
-S Data: ask the participants of the test how they felt about the delay, or how they view themselves in terms of self-discipline. ADV: can find out how a person views themselves DIS: may not receive honest answers
-I Data: ask those who are close to the participant about their tendencies to be impulsive or lacking in self-control ADV: based on past experiences of the person DIS: may only remember extreme examples of trait
-B Data: observe the behavior of the participant when presented with the small reward and being told of the option to wait to get the larger reward ADV: gives objective look into the person's true self in terms of trait DIS: may not give conclusive reason for waiting
-L Data: Consider the participant's past life events and observe the extent that they are based on quick, impulsive decisions and not thought out long-term ADV: objective evidence as to participant's tendencies DIS: past events could have happened for reasons not now present
Consider the trait of courage. Describe the advantages and limitations of obtaining informant report data for this trait.
-Informant data for the trait of courage
Advantages
Large amount of information
Definitional truth (based on observed acts of courage)
Limitations
Very little behavioral data
Error: much more likely to remember acts of courage than non-courageous acts
Why would you recommend aggregation to a researcher interested in measuring shyness? Explain why aggregation improves the reliability of psychological assessments such as measures of shyness.
I would recommend aggregation to a researcher interested in measuring shyness because it is impossible to get an accurate measurement of shyness from a single observed situation. Single behaviors could be influenced by a variety of different circumstances, leading to an inaccurate portrayal of shyness. Instead, it is better to aggregate, as aggregation implies that shyness is only one influence on behavior, and that the trait refers to the person's average level of shyness. Tests based on aggregates are more reliable because they take multiple situations and accounts into consideration.
Consider the construct of intelligence. What steps would researchers do to validate measures of this construct? Why is validity harder to establish and evaluate than reliability?
Validity is harder to establish and evaluate because it refers to how well a test measures what it is purported to measure
Reliability is only the degree to which an assessment tool produces stable and consistent results
What is generalizability? What are the facets of generalizability described in the book, and how does each one relate to the broad idea of generalizability?
Generalizability: the degree to which a measurement can be found under diverse circumstances (time, context, etc) Includes reliability and validity
Facets of generalizability
Gender Bias: leads to inaccurate conclusions on genders
Shows v. no shows: those who show up cannot represent those who do not
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity: not all cultures may be represented
Burden of Proof: theories may not be able to be generalized
Describe the theory of assessment that underlies projective tests. Do these sorts of tests have evidence of validity? What purposes might they serve beyond personality assessment?
Assessment: measurement of relatively stable attributes of people
Some evidence of validity
Rorschach: used by 82% of clinical psychologists
Valid for predicting certain outcomes (suicide)
Hiring purposes, uses in the business world
Helping people (schools, counseling)
How would a personality psychologist use the empirical method of test construction to create a measure of depression? What are the limitations of this technique? What are the strengths of this approach over alternatives?
Administer a test to participants in order to split into groups based on depressed/non-depressed
Compare answers between groups and interpret findings
Limitations: test is only as good as criteria, no face validity, items may seem contrary
Advantages: B Data as well as S Data, responses are difficult to fake, can see HOW the person responds
What are some objections to personality testing? Which of these concerns are valid, and which might be overstated or naïve?
Ethical Issues
Uses of Research (For Harmful Purposes): potential good outweighs potential harm
Truthfulness: avoid plagiarism and fabrication
Deception (for realistic research): lines unclear, harms credibility, makes participants suspicious
Personality Tests are "unfair mechanisms" to control people
Being described as a score can be degrading
Criticisms are often overstated
It is naïve to view personality testing for hiring purposes as undignified or unethical
A good way to assess whether a person will be a successful employee
Describe the three major aspects of the situationist argument. Explain how trait psychologists responded to this argument.
Predictability: there is an upper limit to how well one can use personality measurements to predict behavior (.30)
Response: use of unfair, selective literature review by Mischel (poor methodology)
Situationism: Situations are more important in determining behavior than personality
Response: Situations and personality both play key roles
Person Perceptions are Erroneous: Personality assessment is a waste, intuitions are fundamentally flawed
Response: The effects of personality on behavior are large enough to be perceived accurately, how a person acts will add up over time
What is interactionism? Explain different ways that personality attributes and situations can work together. Illustrate your arguments using examples of the associations between personality and work outcomes.
Interactionism: The effect of a personality variable may depend on the situation, or vice versa
Examples:
Personality variables may depend on the situation (introvert/extrovert test performance after caffeine... Introverts did worse, extroverts did better)
Certain kinds of people go to or find themselves in certain situations (biker bars are common places for fights, but only bikers go in the first place)
People can change and react to situations quickly (mood of the biker bar changes abruptly after the first punch is thrown)
What is the difference between a trait approach and a typological approach to personality? What are some of the common personality types identified by researchers? What are the limitations to the typological approach? What are personality types useful for?
· The trait approach: focuses on individual differences in personality and behavior, and the psychological processes behind them.
· Typological approach: research strategy that focuses on identifying types of individual. each type is characterized by a particular pattern of traits.
· Knowing a person's personality type does not predict how they will behave. Personality tests can be useful for education and theorizing.
Identify and discuss the ways in which individuals interact with their environment. Explain the difference between reactive and evocative person-environment interaction.
People tend to respond to, seek out, and create environments that are compatible with and magnify their personality traits.
· Reactive: process by which people with different personalities may react differently to the same situation
· Evocative: the process by which people may change situations they encounter through behaviors that express their personality.
Identify and describe the ways in which personality development is studied throughout psychology. What are the strengths and drawbacks of the longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches?
Cross-sectional: surveys people at different ages strengths= quick and easy weakness= cohort effect- tendency for a research finding to be limited to one group of people
· longitudinal: the same people are repeatedly measured over years weakness= difficult and takes a long time strength= more generalizable
How capable are we of changing ourselves? Are we passive or active in the process? Identify interventions and techniques used to aid in effortful personal change.
·Change is possible if the desire is there, the individual must be active in changing their personality. Psychotherapy is one way to change long-term behavior. exercises to develop self-control include meditating, and relaxing. systematic desensitization can help cure a phobia by constantly being exposed to the fear with small and then increasingly larger amounts. Another approach= change the relevant behaviors and the trait will follow
Laura has just graduated from college. She is highly motivated and very extraverted. How and why will she remain the same? How and why might her personality change? Identify and discuss the social, environmental, and physical factors that will affect her personality development.
Evidence shows that personality generally remains stable over time, but that is typically because their environment typically also stable. Since Laura is entering a completely new environment her personality could change. Research shows that while extraversion stays fairly stable after 20, contentiousness, agreeableness, and openness begin to increase.
Describe the functions of neurotransmitters. How do they seem to work in the body? Pick two neurotransmitters and describe why each is relevant to understanding personality.
Neurotransmitters are critical for communication between neurons. A biochemical impulse causes a release of neurotransmitters where they travel across a synapse to the next neuron in line, causing an inhibitory or excitatory response.
Dopamine: Motivation, reward, approach attractive people ;)
High dopamine related to trait of novelty seeking
Low dopamine Parkinson's disease
Dopamine associated with "plasticity" - extraversion and openness to experience
Serotonin: Inhibition of behavioral impulses
Low serotonin: Not necessarily depression, but a general feeling of being down. Prozac, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is a popular drug on the market that allows people to feel "better" → less worry, less stress, more cheerful, more extroverted and open to new experience
How can the study of gene-environment interactions explain some enduring puzzles in psychology? Provide specific examples of gene-environment interactions described in the book and explain why these findings are potentially important.
The gene-environment interaction can simply be described as this: the same environment that promotes good outcomes for some people can promote bad outcomes for others. Our genes lay the foundation but our environment allows those genes to either be beneficial or harmful.
Example 1: A study found that individuals with the short allele for the serotonin-related gene 5-HTT were more likely to experience depression after a stressful situation that those without this allele. However, there is no difference in outcome for those with the long vs short allele if they had not suffered any stress. So, having the short allele is more likely to be harmful in a stressful environment but might be beneficial in others. The personalities of these individuals was affected by both their genes and experiences.
Example 2: MAOA is an enzyme produced in animals that influences a wide range of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Knocking out the gene in rats causes aggression. Studies found that the high expression of the MAOA gene leads to antisocial behavior only in maltreatment environments. Adolescents who had low expression of the MAOA gene were twice as likely to develop antisocial behaviors (a precursor to violent and criminal behavior) in adverse environments. If the children were raised in a good environment with good parenting were at a low risk regardless of their genes.
What are some of the main objections to evolutionary theory as it is applied to psychology? How do evolutionary psychologists respond to these criticisms?
Methodology:
Objection: The scientific method employed by evolutionary psychologists is, simply put, speculating backwards by wondering what circumstances or goals in the past might have produced a behavior pattern we see today. This leads to few abilities to test the ideas empirically. Many alternative hypotheses can therefore be proposed. (Basically, their ideas aren't testable)
Response: For any theoretical proposal in science, alternative theories are always possible. Complex evolutionary theories of behavior are difficult to prove or disprove but empirical research can address specific predictions and encourage the explanation. (The ideas are testable by employing studies that study a specific aspect of the theory. Having a lot of evidence supporting various parts of the theory allows the theory to be (more likely) true)
Reproductive instinct:
Objection: Evolutionary psychology's assumption that everybody wants as many children as possible seems strange in a world where many people choose to limit their own reproduction (like why the hell would birth control exist if we always wanna make babies?)
Response: For the theory to be correct, it is not necessary for people to consciously try to do what the theory says their behavior tendencies are ultimately designed to do. All that is required is for people in the past who followed a certain behavioral pattern to have produced more members of the present generation than did people who did not follow the pattern (So 1. You still want to have sex (subconciously) to produce a baby, even though your conscious minds like nope don't want a baby. Only people who want babies will usually have babies so that behavior pattern will be passed on)
Describe the stages of psychological development according to Freud. Identify the physical focus and psychological theme of each stage.
Oral: Physical Focus: mouth (sucking
Psychological Theme: Dependency
Anal: Physical Focus: anus (elimination)
Psychological Theme: self-control, obedience
Phallic: Physical Focus: penis
Psychological Theme: morality
Latency
Genital: Physical Focus: genitals
Psychological Theme: maturity/creation of life
Explain how dreaming is understood from a Freudian perspective. Describe Freud's topographic model and clearly define primary and secondary process thinking. Make sure to relate your discussion of dreaming to your discussion of primary and secondary thinking.
Topographical model
Three levels of consciousness
Id: Pleasure principle, basic urges
Ego: balances out the id and superego
Superego: morality, conscience
Primary process thinking
produces a memory image of an object needed for gratification in order to reduce the frustration of not having been gratified yet.
Comes from the id, first part of mind formed (hence primary process)
Secondary process thinking
Put simply, the ego's reality testing (thinking and reasoning)
Dreams as wish fulfillment
Use of primary process through dream symbols
Comes from the id and ego
Latent emotional material made into manifest imagery
Greg is entering his senior year of high school and has successfully moved through Erikson's psychosocial stages of development to this point. Explain which of Erikson's stages Greg will confront as an adult. What will need to happen for him to continue through Erikson's stages successfully?
At this point, Greg has probably left the identity vs identity confusion stage. He has determines what is important and meaningful. As an adult now, he will move through the following stages:
Intimacy vs isolation: His task here is to find an intimate life partner to share important experiences and further development, rather than becoming isolated and lonely.
Generativity vs stagnation: He will enter this stage around middle age. Will he settle into passive comfort or begin to turn his concerns to the next generation? Here, he must avoid temptation to simply cash in his savings and go fishing (caugh caugh Andrew caugh caugh) and instead raise and nurture children.
Integrity vs despair: This occurs late in old age. Does Greg regret earlier mistakes or has he developed wisdom? Does he have anything of interest and value to say to the next generation?
How is attachment theory similar to object relations theory? Identify and describe the three different infant attachment styles mentioned in the textbook. Explain how these styles may be self-fulfilling or self-perpetuating in adulthood.
Attachment theory focuses on patterns of relationships with others that are consistently repeated with different partners throughout life. It is similar to object relations theory because they are both rooted in what happened in our childhood
avoidant - uncomfortable being close to others, difficult time relying on others
anxious-ambivalent - reluctant to get as close as you would like. Worry that people don't like you
Secure- find it relatively easy to get close to others and comfortable trusting them
These stay constant throughout your life. The relationship types you have as a child carry over to your adult relationships
What are some of the key psychological insights provided by contemporary psychoanalytic research? Which of Freud's ideas appear to have stood the test of time?
The unconscious part of the mind can perceive things without the conscious mind's awareness (support of Freud):
In order to prevent anxiety, the mind can keep a perception from emerging into consciousness → Denial
Participants were unable to perceive dirty words vs non-dirty words
The anal personality correlates well with Freud's predicted traits: stinginess, orderliness, rigidity
Psychoanalytics still use Freud's catharsis, the free expression of the issues that trouble you
Research has failed to support Freud's story of the Oedipal crisis at the phallic stage.
How did Jung and Adler differ from Freud? What ideas from Jung and Adler can be seen in modern-day psychology?
Adler: Disagreed with Freud about what the ultimate motivator to behavior is. Freud thought it was sex. Adler said it was social interest, or the desire to relate positively and productively with other people. Adler proposed that individuals are motivated to attain superiority with whatever they believed in childhood to be their weakest aspect. Masculine protest → Feeling inadequate or inferior as a child will create a desire to act and become powerful as an adult
Jung: Disagreed with Freud about spiritual and mystical matters, an inner rhythm of the universe (Freud was an atheist). His best known idea is the collective unconscious: all humans share an inborn human memories and ideas, most of which are in the unconscious. Another idea was the persona: a social mask everyone wears that is false, to a certain extent.
What does it mean to take a phenomenological perspective on personality? Explain the basic idea of phenomenology and describe the philosophical roots of this approach.
It means to believe that one's conscious experience of the world is psychologically more important than the world itself.
The only place and time in which you exist is in your consciousness, right here and right now
Began with Epictetus, a Greek stoic philosopher
Explain how a business could apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs to facilitate employee motivation and success. Provide specific recommendations for each of the needs in Maslow's hierarchy.
·Allow the workers to feel like they matter to the company, not just through pay but by allowing them to share their thought, express themselves through work and making them feel appreciated.
·Have open meetings where any employee can express their ideas. Have regular employee parties, ensure job safety.
Describe Rogerian psychotherapy. What does a Rogerian therapist attempt to do for clients? Why does Rogers think this approach should work? What might be a downside to a humanistic view of mental health?
·The goal is to help the client become a fully functioning person. Therapist develops a genuine relationship with client and provides unconditional positive regard.
·Lets the client perceive his own thoughts and feelings without the therapist to change it, and make the client feel appreciated no matter what.
·Allows incite and removal of conditions of worth.
·Down fall is it is difficult to research the results of the therapy.
Describe how classic learning theory principles can be used to explain superstitious behavior (do not consider principles of social learning theory). Explain how these learning theory ideas can also be used to understand something more pervasive such as aggressive behavior.
·Through operant conditioning. If you kiss your bat before going up to hit and end up hitting a homerun, you will be conditioned to think that kissing it made a difference and will most likely kiss your bat every time.
·If someone acts in an aggressive manner and they get what they want then they will be conditioned to think that if they are always aggressive this will get what they want
Explain what it takes to make punishment effective. What are the dangers of punishment? What are alternatives to punishment and why might these approaches be more effective than punishment?
·Availability of alternatives, Behavioral and Situational Specificity (be clear what you are punishing), Timing and consistency, Conditioning secondary punishing stimuli (pair two punishments, one strong and one not as strong. Soon you won't need the strong one), Avoid mixed messages
·Punishent arouses emotion, It is difficult to be consistent, It is difficult to gauge the severity, Teaches misus of power, Motivates concealment
·You could reward positive behavior instead. Doesn't cause hatred between punishee and punisher. Encourages good behavior.
Define reciprocal determinism and explain how it fits into Bandura's social learning theory. How does this concept apply to other concepts in personality psychology?
·Analysis of how people shape their environments. Social situations in your life change because you are there.
·This applies to personality because the environment you choice to live in has a great impact on your personality
·Sort of like the chicken in the egg. Personality affects environment and environment affects personality but environment comes first. However, both environment and your behavior have to be considered to determine personality.
Define the concept of priming and describe how this idea can explain certain aspects of personality.
Activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task.
This can explain certain aspects of personality because if you think back to certain memories where you were made fun of for saying the wring answer, you may be shyer in the classroom.
What is happiness? Why might happiness help facilitate performance in important domains of life?
Overall satisfaction with life, Satisfaction with how things are going in particular life domains, and generally high levels of positive emotion and low levels of negative emotion.
Studies show that happiness can cause good health, occupational success, and supportive relationships
What is self-esteem? What purpose does it have and what does it seem to predict? What is self-enhancement? Is there a difference between self-enhancement and self-esteem?
The degree to which a person thinks he or she is good or bad, worthy or unworthy.
The purpose of it is that is satisfies the need to feel good about yourself and gives you self-worth
Self-enhancement is the process of increasing someone's self-esteem so they feel good about themselves.
Yes self-enhancement is actively trying to increase your self-esteem and self-esteem is what you really think about yourself.
A close friend knows you are interested in psychology and comes to you for advice. She wants to improve the accuracy of her self-judgments. In other words, she wants to learn how to "know herself" better. Drawing on the textbook, what advice will you give?
Get data from a variety of sources, including family and friends. You might see yourself differently than others do
Meditation is a powerful tool that helps a lot of people know themselves better by removing a lot of unnecessary stimulus
It might be easier to know yourself by understanding what types of environments you prefer, what niches you are most likely to occupy. Your surroundings speak a lot about your personality
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