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Psychology of Personality - Lecture Notes

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Psychology Of Personality - Lecture notes - psych jan 12

January 12 - Class 2 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2:24 PM 

Chapter 1: The study of the person

Persona: Latin for "mask"

Book: An individuals characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms - hidden or not - behind these patterns 


Better definition: "Set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individuals that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the environment." 


Strong situation: lots of pressure for you to act in a particular way

Unlikely to see personality  


Psychology triad: How people

  1. Think 
  2. Feel 
  3. behave 
  • Sub disciplines intersect, but the greatest overlap is with clinical psychology 
  • Personality disorders 
  • Personality psychology: Normal personality or normal individual difference - Clinical :

extreme manifestation of personality psychology 

  • Personality is a risk factor for psychopathology 


3 levels of personality analysis : most are studied in Human Nature, and Individual and Group



  1. Human Nature
  • How we are "like all others" 
  • Focus on identifying traits and mechanisms
  1. Individual and Group Differences 
  • How we are "like some others"
  • Ex) Sex, gender, social class
  1. Individual Uniqueness 
  • How we are like "no others"  


Idiographic Approach

Really good ways to do it, and may be very useful to use across radars

Person Centered: Goal is to understand one person, what makes people unique PROS:

  • Complete understanding of a single individual 
  • Great for important people CONS:
  • Subjective, not easily falsifiable
  • Need to be able to get a lot of information about the person 
  • Not generalized
  • Need a biographer

Example: Dodge Morgan: First American to sail to nonstop around he world, a feat in which he cut the prior time in half

  • Completed battery of psychology tests on an almost daily basis 
  • Results correlated with content analysis from Morgan's log; biographical, historical information 
  • Goal: To learn about what kind of person can persevere to successfully  


Nomothetic Approach:

Variable-centered approach: Focus on the relation between variables

Example: Self-esteem and life satisfaction PROS:

  • Objective, can be tested 
  • More complete understanding of more people 
  • Great for everyday people like you and me


  • Boring 
  • Difficult, need to understand stats 


"Mission Impossible" Requires a basic paradigm

  • Understanding everything about a person/people at once is impossible

Think of  an important behavior that you performed recently and ALL of the reasons for the behavior 

  • The basic paradigm (approach) involved limiting the focus at any one time so the task is do-able
  • Focus on one things at a time

[pic 1]

[pic 2]

[pic 3]

Conceptualization of individual differences Measurements of individual differences [pic 4]

[pic 5]





 most associated with






[pic 6]

What is unique about being human 




Humanistic psychology  

Cross-cultural psychology

Conscious awareness and experience

 [pic 7]

Behaviorism - Skinner (you are the way you are because of awards  

and punishments that have happened In your life  

Social Learning Theory

Cognitive personality psychology

Basic Approaches: Not mutually exclusive

  • Difference approaches address different questions

Each ignores many key concerns

  • Not one big theory that works because every theory has something wrong with them

Interested in "Why" people do something - psychoanalyst

"who" should you hire - Trait approach 


Characteristics of Personality Psychology



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