Chapter 1: What is Personality? Flashcards Preview

🎭 PSY230H1F: Personality and Its Transformations (2016) with D. Dolderman > Chapter 1: What is Personality? > Flashcards

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personality psychology

 The scientific study of the psychological forces that make people uniquely themselves.


What are the eight key aspects of personality?

  1. Unconscious aspects, forces that are not in moment-to-moment awareness.
    • e.g. We might say or do things to others that our parents used to say or do to us, without recognizing that we are motivated by a desire to resemble our parents.
  2. Ego forces, which provide a sense of identity or “self."
    • e.g. We often strive to maintain a sense of mastery and consistency in our behavior.
  3. A person is a biological being, with a unique genetic, physical, physiological, and temperamental nature.
  4. People are conditioned and shaped by the experiences and environments that surround them. 
    • Culture is a key aspect of who we are.
  5. People have a cognitive dimension, thinking about and actively interpreting the world around them in different ways.
  6. An individual is a collection of specific traits, skills, and predispositions.
  7. People have a spiritual dimension to their lives, which ennobles them and prompts them to ponder the meaning of their existence. They seek happiness and self-fulfillment.
  8. The individual’s nature is an ongoing interaction between the person and the particular environment.



scientific inference

1.1 Personality and Science

Using systematically gathered evidence to test theories.



correlation coefficient

1.1 Personality and Science

A mathematical index of the degree of agreement (or association) between two measures.

  • e.g. Height and weight are positively correlated: in most (but not all) cases, the taller a person is, the more the person weighs.
  • Correlations tell us about associations, but not about causal relationships. 



deductive approach

1.1.1 Where Do Personality Theories Come From?

When the conclusions follow logically from the premises or assumptions. In deduction, we use our knowledge of basic psychological “laws” or principles in order to under- stand each particular person. This is one way to approach personality theories.



inductive approach

1.1.1 Where Do Personality Theories Come From?

When concepts are developed based on what carefully collected observations reveal. Induction works from the data up to the theory. This is one way to approach personality theories.


How has technology helped develop personality theories?

1.1.1 Where Do Personality Theories Come From?

The use of technologies such as fMRIs, CT scans, and PET scans allow us to understand the structure and functioning of the brain. These techniques can be used on people with abnormal brain disorders or brain damage to see which areas are impaired, in order to confirm or refute our knowledge about brain functions.


What role does anthropology play in psychology?

1.1.1 Where Do Personality Theories Come From?

Anthropologists have provided basic information both about human evolution and about differences between cultures. Some characteristics of humans, such as our social nature, exist across time and space; people tend to live together in groups—family groups and cultural groups. On the other hand, some aspects, such as the degree of emphasis on individuality, tend to vary dramatically across cultures. For example, Americans tend to celebrate individual achievement and individual freedoms, but Japanese value harmony and the avoidance of personal distinction. 


What are the key strengths of each basic approach to personality?

1.2 Preview of the Perspectives

Table 1.1 The Eight Basic Aspects of Personality




1.2.1 Overview of the Eight Perspectives

An individual’s characteristic emotional and motivational nature, which is strongly influenced by multiple biological factors. 




1.4 The Unconscious, the Self, Uniqueness, Gender, Situations, and Culture

To seek to formulate laws (from the Greek nomos, which means law, and thetic, to lay down).




1.4 The Unconscious, the Self, Uniqueness, Gender, Situations, and Culture


Involved with the study of individual cases (from idio, Greek for private, personal, distinct). 



authoritarian personality

1.5 Personality in Context

 An excessively masculine, cold, and domineering personality that tended to become a fascist and to persecute members of the out-group. 



Barnum effect

1.5 Personality in Context

The tendency to believe in the accuracy of vague generalities about one’s personality.