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Flashcards in Personality Deck (41):


those relatively stable, permanent characteristics that are unique to an individual and influence the way they think, feel and behave



a personality characteristic that endures over time and across different situations


What are the assumptions of trait theories?

1) stable and thus predictable over time
2) stable across situations
3) personality consists of different traits and you have more or less of each
4) some traits are more closely interrelated



2 main personality factors; extraversion and neuroticism based on levels of cortical arousal + testosterone levels


McCrae and Costa Big 5

openness to experience conscientiousness extraversion agreeableness neuroticism


Openness to experience

degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity, imaginative and independent. Appreciation for art, adventure and abstract concepts
HIGH: creative, open to new things, accepts abstract concepts
LOW: dislikes changes/new ideas, not imaginative



ones tendency towards self discipline, competence, thoughtfulness, how much deliberate intention/thought person puts into behaviour.
HIGH: attention to detail, set schedule, spend time preparing
LOW: dislike structure, makes messes, procrastinates important tasks



high energy/positive emotions/sociability
HIGH: centre of attention, starts convo, says before thinks, energised when around people
LOW: prefer solitude, difficulty making convo



characterised by tendency to experience unpleasant emotions (emotional ability and impulse control)
HIGH: dramatic mood shifts, experiences stress, feels anxious
LOW: emotionally stable, rarely sad/depressed, handles stress



tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic
HIGH: care about others, feels empathy and concern
LOW: little interest in others, insult and belittle others


what are the strengths of mccrae and costa?

- empirically tested and validated
- flexible descriptions of personality and its structure
- provides foundation of valid personality assessments
- environmental and biological causes
- traits relatively stable their study on adults over 6 yrs showing 0.63 correlation


what are the weaknesses of mccrae and costa?

- mask individual differences 'pigeon hole' into simple description
- underestimate socio-cultural/ contextual influences
- traits poor predictors as changes situationally
- Mischel argued doesn't explain how personality changes over time, predicting only 10% or less of behaviour can be accounted to scores on personality tests


Humanistic Theories

approach which studies the whole person and uniqueness of each individual

Is a rebellion against the limitations of behaviourist and psychodynamic psychology

believes that all people are born good and are striving to each their full potential


Assumptions of Humanistic theories

1) people have free will
2) people are good and have innate need to improve
3) people are motivated to achieve potential and self actualise
4) subjective/conscious experiences of individual is most important
5) rejects scientific methodology
6) rejects comparative psych ( to animals)


According to carl rogers, what are the three factors that influence self actualisation?

- the way others treat them
- the way they view themselves
- how they deal with negative influences


what is self concept

perceptions and beliefs people have about themselves. built up over time through interactions and the environment


3 parts of self concept

1) self worth: what we think about ourselves developed in childhood (attachment relationships) and later in significant others (POSITIVE REGARD)

2) self image: how we see ourselves; affects how we think, feel and behave and our inner personality

3) ideal self: person we like to be


Positive Regard and 2 types

how other people evaluate and judge us in social interaction

1) Unconditioned Positive Regard: parents, significant others, humanistic therapist offer love, acceptance regardless of mistakes leading to confidence/growth

2) Conditioned Positive Regard: praise, positive feedback depends on displaying appropriate behaviour


Self Actualisation + congruence

ideal self = self image, we have basic motive to self actualise and fulfil ones potential and achieve highest level of human being ness we can.

Main determinant whether reached is childhood experiences

Only occur in state of congruence, we want to feel, experience and behave in way that is consistent to our self image and ideal self ( if aligned self worth increases)

Incongruence = when some of their experience is unacceptable to them or denied in the self image = may use defence mechanisms to cope


Fully functioning person

An individual who is 'actualising' is a fully functioning person. Ideal and one that people do not ultimately achieve (ever changing)

1. Open to Experience
2: Existential Living
3. Trust feelings
4. Creativity
5. Furfilled life


Maslow's 5 needs + Summary

physiological/ safety (basic)
love and belonging/ esteem (psychological needs)
self actualisation (self fulfilment needs)

- humans motivated by hierarchy of needs
- organised in order of prepotency basic needs must me more or less met (not all or none) before higher needs
-order not rigid but flexible based on external circumstances and individual differences


Maslow on Self Actualisation

Studied 28 people he considered to be self actualised ie Einstein and Lincoln and identified 15 characteristics

- spontaneous in thought and action
- able to look at life objectively
- concerned for welfare of humanity
- accept themselves and others for what they are


Strengths of Humanistic theories

- positive
- looks at all qualities of an individual/ complete picture of development
- strong link to social influence on development
- considers psych and client relationship as paramount to successful resolution


Limitations of Humanistic theories

- romantic and simple
- focus on self fulfilment
- doesnt recognise evil
- difficult to generalise to minorities
- methodological flaws
- people can move up without meeting lower needs


Hierarchy of Needs across Culture

Tay and Diener (2011)
Participants completed 2 parts (1 on basic needs and safety needs and then indications of well being across 3 measures; life evaluation, pos and neg feelings)

Found that universal human needs appear regardless of culture but ways needs that are prioritised varies.

Well being can be achieved by meeting psycho-social needs rather than individual needs. (social element to well being/SA)


what is social cognitive theory?

learning by observation and modelling and is a way to acquire social skills and many non-social behaviours


Examples of Humanistic theories in education

Group discussions, individualised learning can, group work tasks, the right of every student to achieve success.


3 factors of SCT that contribute to personality differences

1. Behaviour - individual behaviour/response in situation
2. Environment - the context in which behaviour occurs that influence ability to succeed or perform it
3. Personal - levels of self efficacy that determine likelihood of behaviour occurring

(Reciprocal determinism)


Reciprocal determinism

Personality (behaviour, thoughts, feelings) are determined by interactions between personal, behavioural and environmental factors rather than fixed traits.


what is self efficacy + example

a belief in ones capacity to execute certain behaviours (belief you can do things)

Used for medical patients with chronic illness --> success in these conditions depends on self belief of personal agency over situation. Higher SE gives greater perception of control (internal locus of control rather than external)


what are personality signatures + study

consistency in traits can be found in distinctive but stable patterns of if then situations emphasises the importance of physical, social, and environmental forces in shaping behaviour

Mischel and Shoda 1995 --> studied individual who were similar in average levels of behaviour ie aggression differed depending on situation supporting 'if then' behaviour signatures


what does mischel's social cognitive theory suggest?

personality results from a two way interaction between a person's characteristics and the environment

Traits more consistent within situation than between different ones 'trait vs state'

- personality signatures
- self regulation
- marshmallow experiment


self regulation

the ability to set and work towards goals


Marshmallow Experiment

Aim: examined processes and mental mechanisms that enabled young child to forgo immediate gratification and wait for better , delayed reward

Method: Pre schoolers presented with marshmallow and offered choice of eating snack immediately or waiting 15 minutes to get 2.

Results: Children differ in ability of self controls Continued to follow participants and found children who showed more self regulation were more successful in high school than those who did not.


Bandura's social learning theory principles

People learn by observing others behaviour
Cognition plays an important role in learning
The same set of stimuli may provoke the same responses The world and a person’s behaviour are interlinked Personality is an interaction between three factors
People have control over their actions



4 Criteria of self efficacy

1) Mastery experience
2) social modelling
3) improving physical/ emotional states
4) verbal persuasion


what are the variables to predict behaviour?

competencies, cognitive strategies, expectancies, subject values and self regulatory systems


Strengths of SCT

- empirical evidence
- widely applicable
- explain learning and influence on the self and how these affect/ unaffected by particular situations


Limitations of SCT

- ignore effect of unconscious
- doesn't look at irrational behaviour
- clinical data


Subjective Experiences Humanistic

- argue that objective reality is less important than a person's subjective perception and understanding of the world.

- personality is studied from the point of view of the individual’s subjective experience (how they interpret events)


Free Will

- Humans have free will; not all behavior is determined.
- Personal agency refers to the choices we make in life, the paths we go down and their consequences (exercise free will)