Reading Notes A

Reading Notes A - PSY 257 Readings Chapter 1 The scientific...

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PSY 257 Readings Chapter 1 The scientific study of personality directly addresses the question of why we are the way we are. The field of personality addresses 3 issues: 1. Human Universals 2. Individual Differences 3. Individual Uniqueness Personality: refers to those characteristics of the person that account for consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. Four main areas of personality theory: 1. Structure: the basic units or building blocks of personality 2. Process: the dynamic aspects of personality, including motives 3. Growth & Development: how we develop into the unique person each of us is 4. Psychopathology & Behavior Change: how people change and why they sometimes resist change or are unable to change Units of Analysis: 1. Trait: refers to the consistency of an individual’s responses to a variety of situations 2. Type: refers to the clustering of many different traits. 3. System: where personality is viewed as a collection of highly interconnected parts that work together to produce the phenomenon we call “personality functioning” Hierarchy: some theories of personality view structures of personality as being organized hierarchically. Some structural units are seen as higher in order, and therefore as controlling the function of other units Process aspects of human behavior: There are three major categories of motivational concepts that have been employed by personality psychologists: 1. Pleasure or hedonic motives: emphasize the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance or pain 2. Growth or self-actualization motives: individuals seek to mature psychologically and realize their potential 3. Cognitive motives: emphasis is on the person’s efforts to understand and predict events in the world. The person has a need for consistency or a need to know.
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History: In the first half of the 20 th century, investigators primarily explored tension-reduction and incentive processes. In the middle of the 20 th century, researchers began to note that organisms often engage in exploratory activities in which they learn about their environment, even if they are not explicitly rewarded for doing so. Call the competence motivation, in which people are motivated to deal competently or effectively with the environment. Later in the century, the field of psychology increasingly explored thinking processes, or cognition, and this trend naturally directed the attention of personality psychologists to cognitive motives for consistency and predictability, as well as mental representations of goals that motivate behavior toward anticipated end-points. Genetic Determinants: Scientific advancements are trying to pinpoint specific paths of influence. One way to accomplish this is to identify a specific quality of personality that is thought to have a biological basis. Such qualities are often referred to as aspects of temperament, a term that refers to biologically based emotional and behavioral tendencies that are evident in early childhood. According to evolutionary psychologists, contemporary humans also possess
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Reading Notes A - PSY 257 Readings Chapter 1 The scientific...

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