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consistent patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that define us across different situations and across time


Idiographic approach to personality research

the goal is to develop a thorough understanding of the specific personality characteristics that make a person unique


Nomothetic approach to personality research

the goal is to study aspects of personality across large groups to understand what features of personality distinguish different types of people
-ultimately, nomothetic research seeks to mathematically reveal the core personality traits that will allow us to categorize diff types of ppl


Gordon allport

generated a list of thousands of words that we use to describe people in English and attempted to group them into a smaller number of personality dimensions


later, psychologist relied on ppls responses to questionnaires

such questionnaires might require ppl to rate the extent to which diff personality attributes apply to them
others might have ppl rate the extent that they agree with different statements about themselves
on problem with relying on questionnaire responses is that ppl's memory about themselves is not hundred percent accurate, so responses may not always be valid (also ppls perception of their own personality might be biased.)


the barnum effect

any personality description presented to us can seem like an accurate description of our personality, because we tend to only think of instances in our lives when the description applied to us
-words best when personality attributes are so general they could apply to anyone


Bertram forer's study

research participants completed a personality test and then the researcher presented them with a personality description, deceiving them to think that the description was based on their answers to the personality test
all of the participants received the same personality description (regardless as to their responses on the personality test.)
later, participants rated the match bw the personality description they received and their actual personality
their average rating was 4.26 on a scale of 0 to 5


raymond cattell

studied ppls responses to personality questionnaires and used the statistical technique of factor analysis to measure when people made similar responses to different personality attributes
by this method, he reduced hundreds of personality features to a smaller set of 16 categories that he viewed as the core dimension of human personality


5 factor model

in the years after cattell developed his 16, subsequent research reduced these down to a smaller set of 5 core dimensions



ppl who are high on openness are very willing to pursue new experiences and are very creative and unconstrained by the views that are most popular in their society
ppl who are very low on openness are very cautious, very respectful of traditions and routines and they are not at all interested in expanding their horizons with new experiences



ppl who are very high on this are very reliable and insist on everything being organized, structured, and well planned out
ppl who are low on this go with the flow and dont really put much thought into planning or being organized



ppl who are very high are social and love the stimulation that being around other ppl provide
low end ppl prefer to be alone or to have one or two very close friends and are uncombable in groups of ppl



high end ppl are friendly and accepting of others, they are never capable of an unkind act or saying mean or insensitive things
low end ppl are extremely selfish types who only act in order to further their own interests these are bullies who will use intimidation and aggression to get their way



high end are often emotionally unstable, experiencing happiness one moment and extreme anxiety or despair the next
low end are emotionally calm ppl who have control over their emotional reactions a healthy self esteem and don't let small problems bother them


the horrors of world war II

provided the early impetus for research into human personality


theodore adorno

suggested a personality dimension called authoritarian personality


authoritarian personality

ppl high on this dimension cling stubbornly to their personal beliefs
they also have a tendency to view themselves as belonging to an inherently superior group, which is a bias called us vs. them thinking

-used to help explain:
*nazi atrocities against jews and others, as well as their military aggression during world war II
*the racial discrimination and human rights violations committed by south Africans nation party through their policy of apartheid
*the ongoing human rights violations and discrimination experience by black americans


robert altemyer

right wing authoritarianism
1. the tendency to blindly obey the orders and rules developed by organizations of power within the society
2. a tendency to favour aggressive methods for suppressing the views and efforts of ppl who oppose authority figures
3. a belief that the existing structure of society should be maintained at all costs. as in the case of those who worked so aggressively to oppose women's efforts to gain the right to vote

to gain power, politicians have exploited the discriminatory views of ppl high on this dimension


altemeyer study

when low RWA ppl participated in a global simulation game
-the players worked peacefully together and achieved a world in which the environment was healthy, poverty was not a problem, and all citizens of the world had enough to eat
when high RWA ppl played
the players failed to cooperate and the game quickly descended into constant warfare, finally ending in a global nuclear war


Hexaco model of personality

emphasized an honesty-humility dimension
-those who rate high on this dimension are honest and engage ppl authentically without ever tying to manipulate others or deceive them
-low on this dimension are prone to lie, cheat and steal to achieve their own selfish goals they also have the tendency to brag shamelessly about and exaggerate their abilities and accomplishments


The dark triad




those rate high on this trait are very likely to use lies and to manipulate ppls emotions in pursuit of their own selfish goals



ppl who rate high on this dimension lack emotional responses that make others remorseful for causing others pain and fearful of being punished for bad behaviour



people who rate high on this dimension consider themselves better than everyone and act as though the world should revolve around them



the word that we use to describe differences in patterns of babies behaviour , on dimensions like energy level and moodiness


3 year olds calssified as ..

well adjusted: good self control, higher confidence, and greater calmness when encountering new ppl or situations
under controlled: more impulsive, more restless, and more emotionally unstable
inhibited: high level of discomfort in social situations and fearful when encountering strangers


10 yrs later under controlled children

most likely to express externalizing behaviours (fighting and disobeying) and they were somewhat more likely to engage in internalizing behaviours (expressions of anxiety and crying easily)


10 yrs later inhibited children

internalizing behaviours


young adulthood under controlled

more likely to have major conflicts in their relationships with friends and romantic partners


temperament interacts with how ppl treat us

our tendencies as babies influence the behaviour of ppl around us, which helps to influence our personality development
-scores on the five personality dimensions tend to increase somewhat throughout early life and then stabilize during early or late middle age

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