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PSY246: Personality Psychology Dr. Len Lecci
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PSY246: Personality Psychology Dr. Len Lecci

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  1. 0 PSY246: Personality Psychology Dr. Len Lecci

  2. What must we know to know a person well? • Internal, unknown, & uncontrollable processes (psychodynamic) – See the last slide? Influence on you? • Overt influences from the environment • Biological influences (genetics, physiological differences) • Unique ways of thinking about events (idiosyncratic cognitive interpretations) • Social-Cultural influences • Combinations of the above (e.g., gender, family structure, evolutionary pressures, individual motivation) • Multiple perspectives will be represented in this course. Although each contributes, the important question is the conditions that cause the amount of contribution to vary • i.e., it’s not a question of nature or nurture, but rather when and why.

  3. Scientific research methods used in studying personality 0 • Opinion vs. science (i.e., How do we know if something is accurate?) • Science = the accumulation of knowledge • Knowledge is accrued in the area of personality psychology in a variety of ways, but not all are equally rigorous 5 common methods: 1. Introspection – one person is both subject and researcher 2. Case study – in depth analysis of a small number of individuals 3. *Survey - broad, cross-sectional analysis of a large number of individuals 4. Longitudinal survey – surveys administered at different points in time 5. Experiment–manipulation of variables/random assignment * Description (1 & 2), Explanation (1, 2), Prediction (3 & 4), Control (5)

  4. Why do we need theories? • To establish sound methodology • “Anybody in science, if there are enough anybodies, can find the answer – it’s an Easter egg hunt. That isn’t the idea. The idea is: Can you ask the question in such a way as to facilitate the answer?” • Gerald Edelman

  5. The tools of science - theories 0 • To provide a rationale for research (i.e., why the study is being conducted) vs. a series of random experiments • Allow for different experiments to be considered in conjunction (how the findings of various studies relate to one another) • * Allow for a priori & specific predictions (strong inference). Theories must be falsifiable (do not rely on post hoc explanations)

  6. Assessment & classification “There once was an entomologist who found a bug he couldn’t classify – so he stepped on it.” - Ernest R. Hilgard • A means to better understanding a construct

  7. Assessment 0 • A wide variety of tests are used to assess personality (questionnaires completed by the target or others who know them, behavioral observations, interviews, biological measures, etc.) • Properties of a test • There are sources of error in every test (social desirability bias, acquiescence bias, assuming additive effects, etc.) minimized with standardization • Reliability (consistency) – over time, between raters, and within the measure itself • Construct validity (demonstrated through criterion, convergent & discriminant validity)

  8. Note taking 101 0 • If you just wrote the above heading down (or this statement), then you are writing too much. • Take notes on concepts, and experiments (general method, findings, and critique) • Do not write down my questions • Fill in notes with lecture and/or text material (if you just copied the last slide, you will struggle on the exams) • Did you define discriminant and convergent validity?) • What have you written so far in your notes?

  9. Psychology is replete with terminology. Here are some that didn’t make it. 0 • Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly. • Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of later getting sex. • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. • Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer. • Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a--hole. • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it. ******************************* • Personality: a stable pattern (over time and across situations) of affect, cognitions and behavior.

  10. Thematic Apperception Test-TAT 0 • On a blank piece of paper, write a pseudonym and the last 4 digits of your ID • After looking at the picture provided on the overhead, please write a story that: • Indicates what is happening in the picture • Describes the thoughts and feelings of the character(s) • Describes what led up to the events depicted • Describes what is the most likely outcome

  11. Explaining all behavior (Freud) 0 • Determinism - driven by energy (libido) of a sexual and aggressive nature • Explain all behavior using these two basic motives? • Conflict – within (id and superego), and between the individual and society • Unconscious - aspects of ourselves that are unknown • What information is contained in the unconscious?

  12. Self-awareness 0 • What did Freud think was contained in the unconscious? • According to Freud, we are not aware of most of our motives (these are unconscious) • Conscious – limited aspects of the self that are known • Preconscious – Information that moves from the unconscious to the conscious passes through the preconscious (material you can be made aware of by directing attention to it) • Now referred to as the “cognitive unconscious”

  13. Evidence for the unconscious? 0 • A large number of studies to address the issue “Is there an unconscious” • Two key questions: • Do we have the ability to cognitively take-in information without knowing it? • If so, does this information influence our subsequent actions? i.e., Was Freud correct?

  14. Can you remember these numbers after a 500ms exposure? 0

  15. Recall of visual or auditory information 0 • Short-term memory (also known as “working memory”) can hold a limited amount of information, but only if it is rehearsed. • Otherwise, most of the information we are exposed to stays in the sensory register • Unlimited capacity, but very short duration • Approximately 2-3 seconds for both iconic (visual) and echoic (auditory) memory • about 5 numbers can be recalled from the 25 • Therefore, most info. is lost (this is adaptive)

  16. What if you are asked to recall a specific number after seeing the list? (500ms expos.) 0

  17. - Recall the number where the “X” appears 0

  18. Summary of visual recall experiment 0 • All of the information is in your sensory register so you can recall any one of the 25 numbers within 2-3 seconds. • e.g., X = 6 • A simple memory experiment demonstrates we are not fully aware of all information in memory. • But does this info influence our behavior?

  19. Unconscious primingKlinger & Greenwald, 1995 0 • 80 college students (40 males & 40 female) recruited from introductory psychology class • all participants took part in a computerized task in which they had to indicate whether pairs of words presented several seconds apart were associated (yes/no response with RT recorded) • Between the presentation of the two words, a picture was flashed briefly on the screen and in half of the trials the picture was related to the words while for the remaining trials the picture was unrelated e.g., Related: “duck” Picture of birds “Sparrow” Unrelated: “duck” Picture of cars “Sparrow”

  20. Unconscious priming - cont • All pictures were masked (50ms) or legible (500ms) • Reaction times (RTs) for correct responses were used to quantify speed of judgments • Results indicate that RTs were faster for related pictures vs. unrelated pictures • RTs were faster for masked (unconscious) vs. legible (conscious) pictures - Why? • The priming effect for the pictures only exists if the prime occurs within a short period of time (approx. 3s) of the first word, and the second word occurs immediately after • Could salience of stimulus increase effect duration? Some clinical data on long term unconscious effects…

  21. Childhood experiences and adult functioning • Can childhood trauma serve as the stimulus that later influences adult behavior? • Theory for Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly MPD) – child is physically or sexually traumatized and they depersonalize the event and develop other identities to protect themselves (an unconscious event). • This example would (in theory) involve a long term effect of the unconscious • Clinical data (retrospective accounts) indicate that 96% have been sexually or physically abused (repressed) • Research?

  22. Recovery of repressed memories vs. false memory syndrome • Prospective research suggests that the incidence of DID is 1-4% for those children having been abused (no greater than that observed in the general pop.). Why? • Memories are inaccurate (more so as time passes and info. is imputed from other experiences) & the method of recovery can enhance the inaccuracies (e.g., witness a car wreck; attack of a professor) • Iatrogenic effect vs. longitudinal studies • Loftus – research shows that recovered memories are very inaccurate; especially details, but also their occurrence

  23. More on Freud: Theoretical structures • Id – pleasure principle, initial focus of libido, primary process thinking, no contact with reality (completely unconscious) • Superego – last of these three structures to develop, internalized morality, no contact with reality (completely unconscious) • Given the characteristics of the above two structures, how can they be satisfied? • Ego – reality principle, secondary process thinking, exists at the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious levels, employs defense mechanisms to mediate between the id and superego and reality

  24. Some defense mechanisms • Denial – repression of material into the unconscious (it is the most basic defense and is at the heart of all other defenses) • Projection – attribute to others what is denied in the self • Reaction formation – expressing the opposite feeling of what is being experienced • Displacement – expression towards a safer object • Intellectualization - rationalizing so as to minimize the affective experience • Sublimation – higher level of defense whereby one redirects anxiety towards something productive • Research on the defenses?

  25. Adams, Wright, & Lohr, 1996 • Much research focuses on defense against libidinal wishes (sex and/or aggression). • Using the Index of Homophobia (a standardized measure), they identified male students who scored either high (n=35) or low (n=29) • All reported a history of exclusive heterosexual arousal • Exposed everyone to erotic videos depicting heterosexual, male homosexual and lesbian interactions • Arousal measured via a self report questionnaire & plythysmograph (blood volume)

  26. Adams, Wright, & Lohr, ’96 - continued • Both groups of males were aroused by heterosexual and lesbian erotic videos (both physiological and self-report) • Neither group self-reported arousal to homosexual male video • There was, however, a physiological response to the male homosexual video but only for homophobic males • The two groups of men did not differ on a standardized measure of aggressiveness • Individuals could be unaware (denial?) and/or expressing the opposite feelings (reaction formation?)

  27. ROM 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

  28. Adams, Wright, & Lohr, ’96 - continued 2 • Confounds in the study? • Unknown if this generalizes to females? • Small N, college students only, limited range of ages, all Caucasians from the U.S.A., etc. • Missing any control groups? • Strengths: both physiological and self-report measures; manipulated variables

  29. Arousal itself = confound? • A confound with other types of arousal such as anxiety? See “misattribution of arousal” effect • Dutton & Aron, 1974: Female RA, male Ss • 2 bridges over the Capilano River, in BC, Canada • 230ft drop, unstable rope, with low hand supports • 10ft drop, stable, with high wood hand rails • Ss completed questionnaire, wrote a story about a female (graded for sexual content), & given phone # of RA • Note: Ss were NOT randomly assigned to bridge conditions (Why? Consequence of this?)

  30. Psychosexual stages of development • Also referred to as “erogenous zones” as they denote the changing focus of libido throughout the lifespan • 1. Oral – “I want”; experience the world through the mouth by biting, licking, tasting (most sensitive) • oral aggressive vs. oral dependent (timing of the weaning) • 2. Anal – “I control”; experience/learn to control • anal expulsive vs anal retentive (extreme approaches re: control) Article: Character and anal eroticism (gold & feces) • Meaning of expressions: “Brown noser” and “Kiss my ass” • Orderly – clean (why?), conscientious, trustworthy • Parsimony – avarice (greed) – why connect it with money? • Obstinacy – defiance, rage, vengefulness

  31. Psychosexual stages of development - cont • 3. Phallic– Gender identity; incestuous feelings that should eventually result in identification with same sex parent • Heterosexual vs. “homosexual impulse” • See complexes (next slide) • 4. Latency – sublimation of development to activities • 5. Genital – mature adult relationships (ideally the superego is fully developed, and this leads one to pursue appropriate relationships)

  32. Oedipus/Electra Complex • Phallic– Gender identity; incestuous feelings that should eventually result in identification with same sex parent • Heterosexual vs. “homosexual impulse” • Males • desire mommy & see daddy as competition/threat • Experience castration anxiety • identify with daddy to resolve the complex • Females • desire mommy, but switch to daddy due to “penis envy” • How can this complex be resolved? • Research?

  33. Subliminal Psychodynamic Activation (SPA) • Research to examine the Oedipus complex • Assumes: subliminal information activates Oedipal conflicts • Subliminal = stimuli detected less than 50% of the time • Given the results of the previous research on the unconscious, it is clear that subliminal information exists • Can it influence our behavior over extended periods of time? • Advertisers seem to think so… (overheads & slide)

  34. SPA research – Silverman et al., 1978 • SPA research attempts to activate the Oedipal conflict in males (e.g., competition between fathers and sons) • Theory: All adult competition is interpreted as reflecting a re-experience of this event • Recruited 90 male college students • All threw darts to get a baseline score • Then they were randomly assigned to view one of three messages using a tachistoscope (flashes messages) • “Beating daddy is wrong” • “Beating daddy is OK” • “People are walking”

  35. Silverman et al., 1978 – continued • All participants then threw darts a second time (advantage of having all throw darts twice?) SCORE Condition Pre Post Difference “walking” 439.0 442.3 + 3.3 “ok” 443.3 533.3 +90.0 “wrong” 443.7 349.0 -94.7 • Problems with the research? Confounds?

  36. Does the Silverman study support Freud’s theory? • Not directly. • It does demonstrate that the subliminal message improved performance, but this does not demonstrate the role of the Oedipus complex (nor that it exists) • e.g., the messages themselves may differ in their affective tone (pleasant vs. unpleasant vs. neutral) and that alone may have influenced performance (e.g., research on sports and colors) • Research using the phrase “Mommy and I are one.” • Same limitations as above • e.g., patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who are assigned to this condition are more likely to show some remission of symptoms; also in females with eating disorders

  37. Concluding remarks on Freud • No body of research has (or ever will) prove or disprove all of Freud’s theories (too complex to test) • All behaviors can be explained by referring to either conscious motivation or unconscious (undetected) motivation • Science requires that a theory be falsifiable (Popper) • However, specific aspects of Freud’s theories can and have been tested, and the findings indicate that some of his work merits consideration. • Freud’s views are still espoused by approximately 4% of modern day psychologists • His theories sparked a variety of responses

  38. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – Examining “projection” • Developed by Murray in 1938 • Follows from other projective tests such as the word association task (Jung) and the Rorschach Ink Blot test, & all are commonly used in clinical settings • Assumption that vague stimuli will require you to add material in order to complete the task (e.g., write a story) • This process will require that you draw from your own personal experiences, biases, etc. • Projection is also assumed to occur because the context is safer (appears less self-relevant), thus the client should be less defensive

  39. Scoring the TAT • All projective tests assume that you are employing the defense mechanism of projection • Identify the main character in each story (write down who the person is identifying with – usually the most detail or 1st person) • Identify the needs/wants of the main character (e.g., achievement, affiliation, power, recognition) • Identify environmental press, (e.g., pos or neg things affecting the main character) such as demands from others, responsibilities, stressors, surprises, etc. • Look for congruence between the 2 stories • Implications for optimism? socialization? etc.

  40. Scoring of Projective tests • Projective tests allow for a broader range of responses (e.g., as opposed to a T/F format) • Impossible to anticipate the variety of responses • Subtle (qualitative) differences between responses are difficult to detect and quantify • Typically results in lower reliability (consistency) • test-retest and inter-rater • Lower reliability limits validity • Tests vs. Techniques? • Tests require standardized administration, scoring, and interpretation (reliability and validity)

  41. Jung’s personality types Two attitudes: 1) Introversion – express libido towards inner experiences (collective unconscious) 2) Extraversion - express libido towards external experiences Four functions: sensing, intuiting, feeling, thinking • Results in 8 “types” • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) • Express our personality in conscious daily experience and in the collective unconscious

  42. Carl Jung – structures of consciousness • Ego - conscious awareness • Personal Unconscious - small portion of the unconscious • Collective Unconscious - shared unconscious represented in recurrent themes (dreams, art, literature, etc.) • Archetypes – powerful emotional symbols that reoccur in life (e.g., anima/animus, hero/demon, mother/wise old man, etc.

  43. Why do we dream? Jung’s views on dreaming: • Creative outlet (principle of equivalence) • Release of unconscious conflicts • Paranormal experiences accounted for through dreams? Modern day views on why we dream: • Cognitive consolidation (creation of or strengthening of neural pathways) • Random neural activity of the brain that is reinterpreted (after the fact) to be more cohesive • A purely restorative function (REM sleep)

  44. Psychodynamic Interpretation of Dreams Most commonly occurring dream themes for college students: • falling, being chased, sex, and a being late Psychodynamic interpretations: • Manifest (Jung) vs. Latent (Freud) content • running = escape wish (someone/something) • climbing = attempts to achieve something • falling = insecurity • body parts = fixations (e.g., teeth = aggress) • persons of same sex and demo is you

  45. Significance of Dream Content • Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep • Bizarre dreams are more likely to occur during REM dreaming • Jung believed that dreaming reflected our ability to connect with the collective unconscious. • This would be reflected in traits like creativity.

  46. Research on dreaming and creativity • Klueger (1977) collected 2-week dream diaries from 40 college students. Subjects also completed a standardized measure of creativity (questionnaire) • Judges, blind to the creativity scores of the subjects, scored each dream report for its archetypal content • The frequency of archetypal images in dreams was shown to correlate positively with scores on the measure of creativity • Confounds? • No control for the dreamers tendency to embellish their dream content (creative people are more likely to provide a creative recall of their dream) – when controlled, the relation no longer exists • How can we explain other paranormal experiences as they relate to dreams? e.g., reports of precognition? • Do such outcomes occur at rate greater than chance?

  47. Paranormal experiences from dreams? • Numerous studies have tested for the presence of ESP in dreaming with mixed results (i.e., a small number of researchers have concluded that there are significant findings, but these are not replicated by others) • Blackmore (1995) evaluated the psychic abilities of a well-known English psychic (Chris Robinson) who claims to have precognitive dreams. • An object was placed in a box in the subject’s home for a week. The subject recorded his dreams and then guessed which object from a list was in the box based on the dreams • Hit rate was 2 out of 12 (approx. 17%). Because there were 6 options to choose from, this did not differ significantly from the “hit” rate expected by chance (1 in 6 = 17%). • Numerous other studies have likewise failed to show a significant effect in controlled experimental settings.

  48. Alfred Adler • Social interest - gemeinschaftsgefuhl • transcending our own needs to identify with the needs and concerns of others • fundamental need to interact with others • Used trait terms from humoral theory • Compensatory strivings to offset “organ inferiority” (a perceived rather than a real weakness) • Emphasized perception of reality (recall bias obscures the direction of causality from childhood events to present) • Emphasis on conscious awareness, but still highlights the importance of childhood • Key is sibling relationships (vs. parental) • First borns as more likely to achieve (see research on intelligence, success, etc.), more likely to be conservative & authoritarian.

  49. Born to Rebel: Birth order (Sullaway, 1996) • Can historical events be determined by intra-familial relationships? • Thesis: Older children (1st borns) are likely to more closely identify with parents and adopt a conservative approach while latter borns will rebel • Examine historical events to conform this pattern (N = 6,000)