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Personality. September 29, 2008. Costa & McCrae. The “Big Five” Extraversion Neuroticism Conscientiousness Agreeableness Openness to experience Is this all there is to personality? Is this all we should be studying?.

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September 29, 2008

costa mccrae
Costa & McCrae
  • The “Big Five”
    • Extraversion
    • Neuroticism
    • Conscientiousness
    • Agreeableness
    • Openness to experience
  • Is this all there is to personality? Is this all we should be studying?
McAdams and Pals want an “integrative framework for understanding the whole person”
  • Kluckhohn and Murray (1953): every person is like all other persons, like some other persons, and like no other person
    • What does this mean? What areas of personality does this suggest should be studied further?
Problems with personality texts?
    • Either theory-by-theory texts
    • Or collection of research topics with no overarching links/conclusions drawn
      • Why is this a problem?
        • Personality is divided up into autonomous spheres that appear to not integrate with each other; study each seperately
McAdams and Pals constructed their own “five big principles” for studying personality in an integrative fashion
    • Includes the “Big Five” expanded to a broader framework
principle 1
Principle 1
  • Begin with human nature and how every person is like every other person
  • What 20th century theories attempted to address human nature? How do the authors argue they were flawed?
    • Freud, Rogers/Maslow, Skinner/Bandura
    • All require a “leap of faith;” can’t test them
  • What do McAdams/Pals propose instead?
    • Human evolution
    • Explain…
      • Natural selection for behaviors that allow survival and reproduction; everyone has this general design – core set of dispositional traits
  • What do you think? Are we all fundamentally the same at our core?
principle 2
Principle 2
  • Variations on dispositional traits (Costa and McCrae’s Big Five)
    • Personality traits provide “a rough outline of human individuality”
  • How did some psychologists try to do away with “traits” in the 1970s? (What is the person-situation debate?)
    • Proposed human behavior is more situationally specific (contingent) than cross-situationally consistent (trait-like)
  • What was the outcome of the person-situation debate?
principle 210
Principle 2
  • Traits research stemming from person-situation debate (Traits are here to stay)
  • Traits
    • Often predict behavioral trends across situations and time
    • Show long-term stability in individual differences (for personality traits)
    • Appear heritable (~50% for twins)
    • Are linked to functioning of the brain in new research (ex. extraversion and the behavioral approach system – BAS)
    • Are summarized well by the Big Five model both in repeated English studies and studies in other countries
  • Can you conceptualize personality without traits?
principle 3
Principle 3
  • Humans vary on motivational, social-cognitive, and developmental adaptations (situational variables) – these may effect personality
  • How do you reconcile the debate for roots of human individuality: motivation/cognition or traits?
    • Costa and McCrae’s characteristic adaptation – behavior influenced by both traits and situational variables
principle 312
Principle 3
  • McAdams/Pals disagree
    • Characteristic adaptations aren’t just byproducts of an interaction between traits and environment
    • Characteristic adaptations function differently than traits
      • Traits address: What kind of person is this?
      • C.A.s address: Who is the person? (more existential)
principle 4
Principle 4
  • Individuals differ by their life narratives – integrative stories that give meaning and identity in the world
  • Our lives as ongoing stories – our narrative identity
    • Clinical applications???
brief recap
Brief Recap
  • Dispositional traits -> outline of personality
    • Characteristic adaptations -> fill in some details of individuality
      • Narrative identities -> give lives unique, culturally anchored meanings
  • Every person’s like every other person
    • Every person is like some other persons
      • Every person is different from all other persons
principle 415
Principle 4
  • Narrative identity shows how every person is different from every other person. How?
    • Unique life stories
    • Individual differences in narrative identity can’t be reduced to differences in dispositional traits or characteristic adaptations
principle 5
Principle 5
  • Culture’s effects on different levels of personality
    • What are its effects on:
      • Traits
      • Characteristic adaptations
      • Individual narratives
    • Let’s examine each
principle 5 culture traits
Principle 5 – Culture/Traits
  • McAdams/Pals state that environment subtly influences traits. What two supporting evidences do they provide?
    • Even if ~50% of traits are accounted for by genetic heritability, there’s still an interplay between environment and genetics that shapes trait expression throughout development
    • Cultural forces likely shape phenotypic expression of traits
      • An example from the article, or another that you can think of???
principle 5 culture c a s
Principle 5 – Culture/C.A.s
  • How do McAdams/Pals explain culture’s effect on characteristic adaptation?
    • C.A.s are situated in social, cultural, and developmental contexts; C.A.s are shaped by social class, ethnicity, gender, historical events
      • Goals based on life trajectories society makes available to the individual
      • Values based on ideals passed down through families
      • Other examples???
principle 5 culture narritive identity
Principle 5 – Culture/Narritive Identity
  • How do McAdams/Pals explain culture’s effect on narrative identity?
    • Culture provides themes/images/plots for psychosocial construction of narrative identity
    • Life stories are at the center of culture
why personality in a psychopathology class
Why Personality in a Psychopathology Class?
  • What do you think?
  • Clinical applications
    • Framework proposed by McAdams/Pals may be used to identify aspects of personality for change in treatment
    • Therapy exerts changes in personality – if you’re gonna mess with it, you need to know the mechanics of what’s “under the hood”
    • Narrative therapy approaches to treatment
    • Conceptualize psychopathology in respect to different levels of personality
      • Ex. Depression
        • Trait-like expressions of depression
        • Characteristic adaptation: thoughts/motivation pertaining to certain social roles and/or developmental periods
        • Depressed life story, perhaps themes of loss