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PSY100 – Personality Approaches to the Scientific Study of Personality Describing and Measuring Individual Differences Validating Individual Difference Measures Important Consequences of Individual Differences Causes of Individual Differences.
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How does Personality Psychology differ from Other Disciplines in Psychology?
Idiographic versus Nomothetic Approach
The idiographic (person-centered) approach:
A focus on one individual at a time, and it tries to understand this individuals’ actions from the individuals’ characteristics.
The nomothetic (variable-centered) approach
A focus on the relation between a certain outcome such as academic achievement (getting an A in this class) to a variable like organized-disorganized.
Traditional ModernGrand Theories Small TheoriesOne individual at a time Large samplesQualitative QuantitativeFreud Eysenck Idiographic question: Why did Mariah Carey have a nervous breakdown?
Nomothetic question: Are young stars in the music industry more likely to suffer a nervous breakdown than normal people?
Freud & Rogers – It is impossible to test scientific theories with case studies.
If you want to learn more about psychodynamic theories (Freud, Adler, Jung), DO NOT take PSY230
However, I hope to convince you in the rest of today’s lecture that the nomothetic approach examines interesting questions and provides answers that are relevant to the understanding of yourself and others.
The Scientific (Nomothetic) Study of Personality and Individual Differences
Experience sampling: ask participants to keep a diary or momentary records of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Time-consuming, requires high motivation and honesty of participants.
I tend to be relaxed and handle stress well. I tend to worry a lot.I tend to be quiet. I tend to be outgoing and sociable.I tend to be original and come up with ideas. I tend to like to reflect and to play with ideas. I tend to be considerate and kind to almost everyone. I tend to be rude to others. I tend to do a thorough job. I tend to do things efficiently.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7Strongly disagree strongly agree
N 1+2 8.60 3.00
E 3+4 9.01 3.00
O 5+6 9.73 2.35
A 7+8 11.39 2.00
C 9+10 10.53 2.09
Numerous studies have demonstrated greater similarity (higher correlations) for MZ twins than for DZ twins for personality traits including the Big Five.
Neuroticism has been linked to a gene that influences the reuptake of serotonin in the brain.