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Personality Psychology Chapter 1 Introduction to Personality
What do psychologists want to know about people? • Why the person is the way he/she is • What the person might do in a given situation • What drives the person’s behavior • What systems maintain the behavior • How to influence the person • What are some enduring qualities
Theories… …address these questions about personality that psychologists and others ask.
Purpose of a Theory • Explain phenomena • Predict phenomena
The Four Aspects of a “Good” Theory • Testable • Generalizable • Parsimonious • Useful
Defining Personality Theories • Purpose • To have a sense of consistency or continuity about a person • To recognize that behavior originates from within that person • To predict behavior • To summarize a person • To categorize a person
Personality Defined • Personality is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that is organized and relatively enduring and that influences his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the environment (including the intrapsychic, physical, and social environment).
3 Levels of Personality Analysis Every human being is… …like all others Human nature level …like some others Individual/Group Differences …like no others Individual Uniqueness Level
Human Nature Level • The traits and mechanisms of personality that are typical of our species and are possessed by everyone or nearly everyone
Group Differences Level • Ways in which each person is like • some other people Risk takers Worriers
Individual Uniqueness Level • Every individual has personal and unique qualities not shared by any other person in the world
A Problem in the Field… …Concerning the major theories of personality…
Grand Theories of Personality • Grand theories of personality are based upon different views of human nature • Different theorists had different assumptions, or paradigms, about human nature, resulting in many sometimes opposing theories
Paradigm • World-view • Set of assumptions that determine what kinds of theories one develops • Determines the kinds of questions one asks
Theories… • …are based on paradigms
Science is subjective • Scientists conceptualize the world based on the paradigm they live in • Interpretation of science or psychology is subjective • Different theories of psychology are based in different paradigms • As a result, we have many different perspectives, or approaches to the study of personality
Approaches to the Study of Personality • Biological • Intrapsychic • Dispositional • Social and Cultural • Adjustment/Health
How do we approach this problem? • 1. Take them apart: Look at each individually using critical thinking skills • 2. Put them together for a multifaceted view
Not everyone will agree with every theory – depends on your world-view of how human nature works • Is behavior genetically determined? • Is human nature innately good or evil? • What are the basic human needs?
Bridge the Fissure • Integrating the domains of knowledge can give us a more complete picture of personality D.O.K. D.O.K. WHOLE PERSONALITY D.O.K. D.O.K. D.O.K. D.O.K.