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Studying Personality. Lecture contents. Methods used to study personality Characteristics of each Relative strengths and weaknesses Examples and demonstrations of each. Concerns of personality researchers. Human nature Individual differences

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Presentation Transcript
lecture contents
Lecture contents
  • Methods used to study personality
  • Characteristics of each
  • Relative strengths and weaknesses
  • Examples and demonstrations of each
concerns of personality researchers
Concerns of personality researchers
  • Human nature
  • Individual differences
  • The organisation of ‘bits’ of people (e.g., goals, moods, actions, thoughts) “that gives direction and pattern (coherence) to” those people’s (common and unique) existences (Pervin, 2002, p. 447)
  • Psychology (I.e., anything to do with individuals’ psyches)
3 approaches to studying personality
3 approaches to studying personality
  • Clinical
  • Correlational
  • Experimental
the clinical approach
The clinical approach
  • Essential feature: Ideographic
    • Understanding individuals uniquely and holistically.
  • Key question: “What is this person like?”
    • Individual differences: “To what extent are other people like this?”
    • Human nature: “Does this person have any characteristics in common with all humans?”
the clinical approach7
The clinical approach
  • Common characteristics
    • Secondary to a non-research purpose (e.g., therapy, selection)
    • Conducted by researchers aligned with therapeutic schools
    • Small sample
    • Socially interactive
    • Open-ended (verbal) data
    • Multivariate
    • Negotiated focus
    • Non-consensual conventions of analysis
the clinical approach8
The clinical approach
  • + Breadth and depth of data
  • + Naturalistic
  • + Structure and process
  • + Discovery
  • + Justice to concept of “person”
  • - Idiosyncratic situation and social effects
  • - Researcher errors and biases
  • - Evaluation by others
the correlational approach10
The correlational approach
  • Essential feature: Attribute covariance
    • (i) Finding within-sample patterns of similarities and differences among lots of personality variables, and then (ii) seeing how reliably these patterns are obtained across samples, and (iii) seeing how individuals vary within samples in the extent to which they manifest each pattern
  • Key question: “On what personality dimensions may all individuals be compared?”
    • Individual differences: “Does this individual have more or less of this personality attribute than other people?”
    • Human nature: “Have we parsimoniously identified each set of attributes that all people have?”
the correlational approach11
The correlational approach
  • Common characteristics
    • Normative
    • Large samples
    • Questionnaire measures
    • Self-completion
    • Fixed-response alternatives
    • Highly intelligent and educated participants
    • Factor analytic methods
    • Established items from previous research
    • Reliability focus
factor analysis
Factor Analysis
  • Principle statistical method of ‘correlation approach.’
  • It clusters lower-level items according to ‘redundancy’.
  • Two crucial skills:
    • Factor labeling
    • Input variable selection
steps in developing a correlational personality measure
Steps in developing a correlational personality measure
  • Develop a pool of face-valid items
  • Factor analyse
  • Pick or develop questions that have high and unique loadings on the factor of interest
  • Establish scale reliability
  • Establish scale validity
  • Establish scale utility
swls how are you doing
SWLS: How are you doing?
  • A. ___ In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
  • B. ___ The conditions of my life are excellent.
  • C. ___ I am satisfied with my life.
  • D. ___ So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
  • E. ___ If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.
  • **********************************************
  • 1 - Strongly disgree 2 - Disgree 3 - Slightly disagree
  • 4 - Neither agree nor disgree
  • 5 - Slightly agree 6 - Agree 7 - Strongly agree
the correlational approach15
The correlational approach
  • + Large samples
  • + Considerable replication
  • + Semi-complex
  • - Largely self-report
  • - Descriptive
  • - Procrustean
  • - Risk of triviality
the experimental approach17
The experimental approach
  • Essential feature: Identifying causes
    • Experimental demonstration of a causal relationship between a personality variable and another variable.
  • Key questions: “What causes personality and what does personality cause?”
    • Individual differences: “Can stable dispositional differences be predicted/controlled?”
    • Human nature: “Are any aspects of personality unresponsive to situational changes?”
the experimental approach18
The experimental approach
  • Common characteristics
    • Normative
    • Large samples
    • Objective measures
    • Few variables
the experimental approach20
The experimental approach
  • + Causal identification
  • + Low interpretation
  • - Restricted to observable phenomena
  • - Artificiality
  • - Focus on testing rather than discovering or importance
  • - Relevance to “personality”
  • - Risk of triviality
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