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What was Theophrastus' way to characterize people?

wrote about different characters to try and describe individual differences (personality)


What is personality?

distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person's response to situations

made up of a collection of traits


What is the purpose and drawbacks of an interview?

- structured set of standardized questions
- note other behaviours (appearance, speech)

- characteristics of interview affects answer
- honesty of interviewee


What are personality scales?

objective measures, use standard questions and agreed upon scoring key

advantage - collect large amounts of data

disadvantage - validity of answers and scales


Where do traits come from?

- from within
- may be genetic/environmental influences


What is the difference between a trait and a state?

trait - underlying
state - the way you are at any given time


Are traits stable?

dependant on the situation


What are the 5 big personality traits in the five factor model?

extroversion/introversion, agreeableness/disagreeableness, conscientiousness/irresponsibility, neuroticism/stability, openness to experience/unimaginativeness


What is neurosis?

abnormal behaviour pattern caused by unresolved conflict between id, ego, and superego


What are some general aspects of Freud's theory that remains relevant today? (psychoanalytic)

- our relationships with our parents can influence how we form intimate emotional relationships in adulthood
- spurred first inquiries into functioning of conscious and unconscious aspects of the mind


What did Alfred Adler believe? (psychoanalytic)

social needs and conscious thoughts are more important to human behaviour than sexuality needs or other unconscious motivations

feelings of inferiority motivate behaviour, people make special efforts to compensate for or mask painful feelings


What did Carl Jung believe? (psychoanalytic)

unconscious has 2 parts
- personal - formed from experience
- collective - storehouse of inherited memories shared by all human kind (archetypes)

each of us seeks to integrate the mind's various conscious/unconscious elements into a coherent whole, the self


What did Karen Horney believe? (psychoanalytic)

basic anxiety which develops in children sets the stage for later neuroses

cultural differences play a more important role in development than traditional psychoanalytic theory


What did Abraham Maslow believe? (humanistic)

see other theorist's models as deficit based

in each of us is an urge to grow and fulfill our potential, personality arises from people striving to meet their needs

more can be learned from individuals who were healthy rather than experiencing psychological issues

peak experiences - moments in which people experience intense clarity of perception, feelings of joy and excitement, and a suspended sense of time and reality


What is self-actualization?

the need of humans to fulfill their full and special potential; the highest level of need in Maslow's hierarchy of needs


What is positive psychology?

an area of psychology focusing on positive experiences and healthy mental functioning


What did Carl Rogers believe? (humanistic)

personality around a concept of the self rather than around a hierarchy of needs

as children we need unconditional positive regard from parents to avoid forming conditions of worth

client centred therapy - worked with clients to create atmosphere of openness, honesty, and absence of judgement


What is unconditional positive regard?

acceptance without terms or conditions


Why do many critics fault the humanistic theories?

overly positive focus, ignore role of psychological dysfunction in society


What are personality traits?

tendencies to behave in certain ways that remain relatively consistent across situations

describe our dispositions, dispositions lead to our behaviours


What is functional attribution error?

likelihood to explain our own behaviour in situational terms and other's behaviour in terms of personality traits


What are 3 assumptions trait theorists make?

- people have innate tendencies to respond to situations in certain ways (traits)
- these tendencies can be linked together to form broad habits (central traits)
- such principles can be used to form the foundation of a scientifically testable theory


Describe Hans Eysenck and Factor Analysis.

factor analysis - statistical method for analyzing correlations among variables

3 basic superfactors
- extroversion - the degree to which a person is outgoing and enjoys interacting with others (introvert vs extrovert)
- neuroticism - the degree to which a person tends to experience negative emotions
- psychoticism - the degree to which a person is vulnerable to developing the serious disorders in which contact with reality is lost (psychoses)


What did the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire show?

superfactors correspond to basic personality types in similar ways across many cultures


What is situationism?

the view that behaviour is governed primarily by the variables in a given situation rather than by internal traits


What did B.F Skinner believe?

we approach life in a certain way because some of our behaviours have been rewarding to us in the past while others have not


What is interactionism?

a view emphasizing the relationships between underlying personality traits and reinforcing aspects of the situations in which they choose to put themselves in


What is socially desirable responding?

tailoring answers on personality inventories to try and create a good impression


What are validity items?

questions placed on personality inventories designed to assess the likelihood that the respondent would purposely give a socially desirable answer


What are projective tests?

a personality assessment device intended to tap a person's unconscious by presenting the person with an ambiguous stimulus and asking the person to interpret what the stimulus means (ex. inkblot test)