Flashcards in Personality: Trait Approach Deck (23):
Defining personality- some common themes
Individuality and distinctiveness
Structure and organisation
Life history- how personality develops
Consistent patterns of behaviour
Theories of personality
Several different and often conflicting theoretical perspectives
What are traits?
Relatively stable patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour that characterise an individual
What are states?
Are temporary patterns of thought, feeling or behaviour
Early trait taxonomies: Allport & Odbert (1936) listed 18,000 English words that could be used to describe people
Anxious, emotional, secure, fun-loving, cautious, withdrawn, courteous, good-natured, irritable, etc.
If you throw out synonyms, slang, and uncommon words, 171 are left
More early trait taxonomies are
Cattell's 16 personality factors
And method-factor analysis- objective, scientifically derived taxonomy
What is the big five?
Openness to experience
Do traits exist? The consistency controversy. Assumption-
Traits are stable and enduring
Mischel (1968) argued instead for situationalism
Traits are not consistent across situations therefore traits are not predictive of behaviour
After a long debate, scientists agree that traits do exist, but with two caveats
-traits predict average behaviour, not every relevant behaviour in every situation
-traits are just one of multiple causes for any single behaviour
The consistency controversy resolved: interactionism (person-by-situation)
Trait relevant behaviour may emerge in some situations, but not others
Traits and biology,
Given that people do differ in their personalities, how do these differences arise?
Genetics and personality: twin method- compares the degree of similarity between twins
Monozygotic twins (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins
Results of twin studies: Loehlin and Nichols (1976) heredity environment and personality: a study of 850 sets of twins
Resemblance of identical and fraternal twin pairs: typical correlations within pairs
.50 in identical twins
.28 in fraternal twins
What is temperament?
Biological, inborn dimension of personality; appears early, remains stable
Research on temperament 1:
Inhibited and uninhibited children (kagan 1994, 2003)
20% high reactive (over aroused, inhibited
40% low reactive (under aroused, uninhibited)
Temperamental patterns-first 4 months and persist
Research on temperament 2
Which regions of the brain contribute to inhibited tendencies?
Research on temperament 3
Schwartz et al. (2003)- examined a group of young adults (inhibited vs uninhibited)
Reactions to familiar faces vs novel faces
Measurement techniques- brain imaging (fMRI)
Which brain areas activate familiar and novel faces?
Traits and environment: what impact does family have on personality?
Studies with adopted children: personality measures taken from adopted children and adoptive siblings
Average correlation .04 (plomin and Daniels, 1987)
Traits and environment: studies with twins reared apart
Personality measures taken from:
Twins reared in same family:
- identical twins .51
- fraternal twins .23
Twins reared apart:
- identical twins .50
- fraternal twins .21
Being reared apart did not alter scores
Family plays little role in shaping personality? (E.g. Harris, 1998)
Impact of family on personality?
Shared environments (between-family effects)
Non shared environments (within family effects)
Q. Why are all children from the same family so different? (Plomin and Daniels, 1987)
A. Non shared environments