Unformatted text preview: Using Personality Traits to Understand Behavior
(as best we can) Agenda Lesson: Using personality traits to predict behavior Single trait approach authoritarianism and self-monitoring Many trait approach Essential trait approach & Big 5 Typological approach Review Questions Instructional Objectives At the end of this lesson, students should be able to: Identify different approaches to connecting traits and behavior Discuss common features associated with authoritarianism and self-monitoring Identify the "Big Five" personality traits and behaviors and outcomes shown to be related to those traits Personality Traits: We can view them in two different ways... Traits as internal causes of behavior i.e., we behave the way we do because of our personality traits. Traits as descriptive summaries of behavior i.e., we use trait terms to simply describe observed behavior, without speculating as to what causes the behavior. Do traits matter in predicting life outcomes? Meta-analyses show that they predict: Mortality/longevity Divorce Occupational attainment The pathways by which this happens are not entirely clear The trait-behavior connection 4 approaches: Single trait Many trait Essential trait Typological The single trait approach Examines a trait of interest and asks, "what do individuals high on this trait do?" Single trait: Authoritarianism Authoritarianism: favoring strict rules and obedience to established authority Proposed by Erich Fromm to explain why some, but not all, people in Germany perpetuated Nazi atrocities May be a basis for racial and ethnic prejudice Authoritarianism "Authoritarian characters" tend to follow orders of their chosen external authority without questioning They also tend to expect the same deference from those below them in the hierarchy Features of Authoritarianism
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Conventionalism- following mainstream values without question Submissiveness to authority- find it comforting to have someone tell them what to do Authoritarian aggression- punish people that disobey authority Anti-philosophical- opposed to looking within the self Superstition and stereotyped thinking- belief that fait is determined by supernatural forces power fascination- in awe of great power Hostile attitude about human nature and about the world Sexual repression- concern with sexual issues; especially with others Authoritarianism, continued This trait term describes individual differences, not group or societal differences Offers a trait-based explanation for why certain people would blindly follow a leader like Hitler Self-monitoring Self-monitoring reflects the degree to which people regulate their behavior to fit the situations at hand more than others do Self-monitoring It refers to a type of behavior pattern or personality trait associated with: 1. high concerns with own social appropriateness 2. use of social comparison information 3. ability to monitor one's behavior to fit different situations High self-monitoring Sample high self-monitoring statements: "I can make impromptu speeches on topics about which I have almost no information." "Even if I am not enjoying myself, I often pretend to be having a good time." "I'm not always the person I appear to be." Related concept: social chameleon Low self-monitoring Sample low self-monitoring statements: "I can only argue for ideas which I already believe." "I rarely seek the advice of my friends to choose movies, books, or music." Self-monitoring May be broken into three factors: Acting ability Extraversion Other-directedness: tendency to notice and care about others' opinions Self-monitoring In judging personality, who makes a better "target" a high or a low self-monitor? Why might it be good to be a high selfmonitor?-More adaptable and sociable; most likely to lie Why might it be good to be a low selfmonitor?-Independent thinker, more genuine and
honest The many trait approach Examines a behavior of interest and asks, "what traits out of many characterize individuals who do this behavior?" E.g., California Q set contains 100 phrases describing personality The many trait approach Sample Q set items: "is critical, skeptical, not easily impressed" "is protective of those close to him or her" "has a high aspiration level for self" "initiates humor" "does not vary roles; relates to everyone in the same way" "is planful, thinks ahead" "appears to have high intellectual capacity" The many trait approach Items on the Q set have been shown to predict a variety of behavioral outcomes Q set ratings predicted delay of gratification in both young children and 11 year olds Q set items at age 6 predicted drug abuse in adolescence Q set items at age 7 predicted depression at age 18 for both males and females different items mattered for the sexes The essential trait approach Asks "which traits are most important?" Ideas: Needs (Henry Murray of TAT fame): people differ in terms of which of 20 needs they find most important Ego control and ego resiliency- being able to recover
from set backs Extraversion, neuroticism and "psychoticism" (Eysenck, 1947) Which traits are "essential"? More ideas: Cattell (1961) did a big factor analysis and came up with 16 primary factors and 5 global factors Cattell's sixteen primary factors Warmth Reasoning Emotional stability Dominance Liveliness Rule-consciousness Social boldness Sensitivity Vigilance Abstractedness Privateness Apprehension Openness to change Self-reliance Perfectionism tension Cattell's five global factors Extraversion Anxiety Tough-mindedness Independence Self-control The Big Five (McCrae & Costa) The most widely accepted model is the Big Five OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism Compare to Cattell's five primary factors Openness to experience Open-minded and willing to try different experiences Related to creativity, imagination, and cleverness Is this related to intelligence? More "open to experience" individuals are more likely to use drugs- Have to try everything once Conscientiousness Conscientious: showing great care, attention, and industriousness in carrying out a task or role Associated with better job performance and school performance Correlates with years of schooling though not with IQ Associated with longer life Extraversion Active, outgoing, dominant, friendly, with a tendency toward positive mood More likely to be popular, attractive, and ambitious Associated with longer life Agreeableness Synonyms: conformity, "friendly compliance," likability, warmth, love Females score higher on this than males do Associated with more satisfying social and dating lives, and with longer romantic relationships and marriages More agreeable people are less likely to smoke cigarettes More agreeable kids are bullied less than less agreeable kids with comparable size and physical characteristics Neuroticism Alternatively known as negative emotionality Refers to a pattern of using less effective means for dealing with life's problems Associated with stronger negative reactions Associated with problems at work and in relationships and with shorter life spans Typological approach Asks "which combinations of traits form meaningful types into which people can be classified?" E.g., the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on theory of Carl Jung, measures 4 dimensions Extraversion-Introversion (E or I) Sensing or Intuition (S or N) Thinking or Feeling (T or F) Judging or Perceiving (J or P) MBTI: Extraversion vs. Introversion This question concerns how we direct our energy Extraverts are energized by the "outer world" of people and things Social time recharges their batteries Introverts are energized by spending time alone MBTI The Sensing vs. Intuition dimension concerns the type of information we naturally notice The Thinking vs. Feeling dimension concerns how we make decisions , whether we use objective analysis of the evidence vs. personal values. MBTI The Judging vs. Perceiving dimension refers to the degree of structure vs. spontaneity we want in our lives Do you prefer decisions to be settled and done with, or prefer to leave options open? MBTI Criticism: It may not be possible to categorize people into 16 types Type descriptions run the risk of being too vague or general to be of much use Also there's not much research validation BUT The test has received a lot of personal validation: test takers tend to agree heartily with the results Review Questions John is extremely deferential to his boss. He complies immediately with orders and never questions the decisions his boss makes. In his role as plant supervisor, John enjoys giving orders to the people he supervises and he gets very angry if they question his orders. John is probably a(n): A. HIGH scorer on the California F scale B. low self-monitor C. authoritarian personality D. Both A and C Review Questions The lower your score is on measures of psychological health and well-being, the A. higher your score is on agreeableness. B. higher your score is on neuroticism. C. higher your score is on self-monitoring. D. lower your score is on authoritarianism. Review Questions Let's say you are being tested by a personality psychologist to determine which aspects of your personality stand out the most. On the test you score very high on measures of warmth, conformity, and likeability. The psychologist would probably determine that you have a high degree of: a)neuroticism. b)extraversion. c)conscientiousness. d)agreeableness. ...
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- Summer '09
- Personality Psychology, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8, single trait, trait Essential trait