SA1 - SA1 Trait Psychology Influenced by - Alfred Binet...

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SA1 Trait Psychology Influenced by - Alfred Binet – intelligence testing movement Origins - Psychologists became interested in seeing whether the success achieved with mental measurement might be repeated if one tried to quantify social characteristics Trait theories of 1920s and 1930s friendliness, honesty, conscientiousness, aggressiveness Development of statistical methods to give dimension to these qualities systematically and to quantify them rigorously and carefully Used self-reports and ratings by others and multiple choice or true-false inventories and questionnaires (as shortcuts for the actual sampling of behavior – psychiatric interviews) Shift from performance assessment to asking what people are like (situation free) These responses were used not as samples of the respondents’ relevant behavior but as signs or indicators of their generalized dispositions Conceptual and methodological problems occur if one does not distinguish very carefully between people’s subjective judgments about themselves and an objective sampling of what they actually do Allport (1937) used dictionary to compile a list of adjectives (hundreds long) as traits “the individual is an amazing stable and self contained system that contains enduring generalized dispositions” Other psychologists used factor analysis and other methods to narrow his list down One main objectives is to find a finite and relatively small taxonomy of the basic dimensions of the field of personality and social behavior Temporal stability vs. cross-situational generality or consistency Although behavior patterns often may be stable, they usually are not highly generalized across situations lives have continuity and we perceive ourselves and others as individuals who maintain a stable identity over time, even when our specific actions change across situations
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The impact of trait psychology has been limited seriously because human consistencies and psychological equivalences are more complex and cognitively constructed than nomothetic trait theory suggests Wittgenstein – members of common everyday trait categories do not all share a single set of necessary features for category membership, but a pattern of overlapping similarities (family resemblance structure) Natural semantic categories “fuzzy sets”
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This note was uploaded on 11/19/2010 for the course PSYCH V89.-0030- taught by Professor Susan during the Fall '09 term at NYU.

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SA1 - SA1 Trait Psychology Influenced by - Alfred Binet...

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