Personality psychology
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Personality Psychology. Brent W. Roberts University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. What is Personality?. Broadly speaking it has to do with how each of us is: Different from everyone else Similar to some people The same as all humanity Specifically…. Distal causes. Units of Analysis.

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Personality Psychology

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Personality psychology

Personality Psychology

Brent W. Roberts

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


What is personality

What is Personality?

  • Broadly speaking it has to do with how each of us is:

    • Different from everyone else

    • Similar to some people

    • The same as all humanity

  • Specifically….


Personality psychology

Distal causes

Units of Analysis

Fulcrum of assessment

Distal causes

Traits

Big Five

Positive & Negative Affect

Attachment Styles

Genes

Society/

Culture

Reputation:

Observations

Unconscious

processes

Motives & Values

Goals

Interests

Life tasks

Physio-

Logical

Mechanisms

Roles:

Status

Affiliation

Intimacy

Abilities

g

Verbal, Spatial,

Quantitative

Identity:

Self-reports

Conscious,

subjective

experience

Narratives

Stories

Significant memories

Scripts

Ideological settings


How did you get your personality

How did you get your personality?

  • Genes?

  • Experience?

  • Both?


Heritability of personality traits

Heritability of Personality Traits

  • Most personality traits have a heritability between .3 to .5

  • Personality is only weakly influenced by “shared” family environment (social class, child-rearing styles, religion, etc.)

  • Personality is more strongly affected by nonshared environment (accidents, sibling interaction, influences outside of family).

    • Effects replicate for Monozygotic twins raised apart.

    • Average personality trait correlation among adopted siblings is near zero.

    • Average personality trait correlation between parents and adoptive children is often near zero.

    • Average personality trait correlation between parents and biological offspring is very small.


Moving from behavior genetics to the genome

Moving from behavior genetics to the genome.

  • Are there specific genes that affect personality?

    • Wrong question.

  • Correct question: How do genes interact with environments to determine personality (Caspi et al., 2002 & 2003)?

  • Are you a delinquent?

    • Don’t conform to social norms

    • Break laws

    • Dishonest

    • Violent & aggressive

    • Consistent irresponsibility

    • Low agreeableness and conscientiousness


What are the genetic and environmental links

What are the genetic and environmental links?

  • MAOA gene. Encodes the MAOA enzyme which metabolizes neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.

  • Low MAOA activity is associated with elevated aggression.

  • Childhood maltreatment is associated with delinquency in adolescence.


Caspi et al 2002

Caspi et al., (2002).

  • Examined interaction between genetic variation in MAOA gene (low and high activity) and childhood maltreatment on delinquency.

    • MAOA gene was unrelated to delinquency.

    • Boys who had the low activity gene who were severely maltreated committed more delinquent acts in adolescence (violent offenses, antisocial personality disorder).

    • Boys who had high activity gene who were severely maltreated committed no more delinquent acts than boys who were not maltreated.


Percent diagnosed with conduct disorder as an adolescent

Percent diagnosed with conduct disorder as an adolescent


Why should we care

Why should we care?

  • Because who we are determines what we do….

    • Children who were rated as more conscientious when they were 8 lived longer than their counterparts (Friedman et al., 2003).

    • People who are more conscientious as adolescents experience higher levels of occupational success by age 50 (Judge et al., 1999).

    • People who are more conscientious in college have more children and fewer divorces at age 40 (Roberts & Bogg, 2004).

    • People who are more anxious at age 18 had lower relationship satisfaction across different relationships at age 21 and age 26 (Robins et al., 2002).

    • People who are more creative in college experience higher levels of success in creative occupations 30 years later (Helson, Roberts, & Agronick, 1995).


Now that you have a personality are you done developing

Now that you have a personality are you done developing?

  • No.


How much mean level change do personality traits demonstrate across the life course

How much mean-level change do personality traits demonstrate across the life course?

Roberts & Walton (under review)

  • 98 longitudinal studies that tracked mean-level changes in personality traits in 104 different samples.

  • 47,340 participants that ranged in age from 10 to 101.

  • d-scores were used to estimate change.

    • M2-M1/SDp


Meta analytic estimates of change in social vitality

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Social Vitality

*

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Meta analytic estimates of change in social dominance

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Social Dominance

*

*

*

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Meta analytic estimates of change in agreeableness

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Agreeableness

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Meta analytic estimates of change in conscientiousness

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Conscientiousness

*

*

*

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Meta analytic estimates of change in emotional stability

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Emotional Stability

*

*

*

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Meta analytic estimates of change in openness to experience

Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Openness to Experience

*

*

*

Roberts & Walton (under review)


Aggregate change in personality traits across the life course

Aggregate Change in Personality Traits Across the Life Course


Why should we care about this

Why should we care about this?

  • In a follow-up to their earlier work, Friedman et al., found that childhood conscientiousness and adult conscientiousness predicted longevity independent of one another.

  • The changes we experience in adulthood may have significant consequences for our health and well-being.


What causes us to change in adulthood

What causes us to change in adulthood?

  • Social Investment Hypothesis:

    • Personality changes arise through experiences in universal tasks of social living, such as establishing one’s social position in society through one’s work or forming long-term bonds through the creation of a family unit in young adulthood (Helson, Kwan, John, & Jones, 2002).


The social investment hypothesis

The Social Investment Hypothesis

.25*

Involvement

In work at age 26

Increases in Constraint

From 18 to 26

.18*

Percentage of

Time married

From 43 to 52

Increases in Responsibility

From 43 to 52

.34*

Smoking

Marijuana at

Age 43

Decreases in Responsibility

From 21 to 43


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Personality is an exciting, complex, and dynamic field

    • Behavior genetics

    • Genomics

    • Development

    • Health & Longevity


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