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 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 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? • Genes? • Experience? • Both?
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. • 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? • 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). • 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.
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).
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 * * Roberts & Walton (under review)
Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Social Dominance * * * * Roberts & Walton (under review)
Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Agreeableness * Roberts & Walton (under review)
Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Conscientiousness * * * * Roberts & Walton (under review)
Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Emotional Stability * * * * Roberts & Walton (under review)
Meta-Analytic Estimates of Change in Openness to Experience * * * Roberts & Walton (under review)
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? • 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 .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 • Personality is an exciting, complex, and dynamic field • Behavior genetics • Genomics • Development • Health & Longevity