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Chapter 14 - Chapter14:Personality 19:01 Personality What...

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Chapter 14: Personality 19:01 Personality: What is It and How Can We Study It? PERSONALITY: people’s typical ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving consist of TRAITS: relatively enduring predispositions that influence our behavior across many situations (ex: introversion, aggressiveness, conscientiousness) NOMOTHETIC APPROACH: approach to personality that focuses on identifying general laws that govern our behavior across many situations; most modern research Attempts to derive principles that explain the thinking, emotions and behaviors of all people Typically allows for generalization across individuals, but limited insight into the unique patterning of attributes within an individual IDIOGRAPHIC APPROACH: approach to personality that focuses on identifying the unique configuration of characteristics and life history experiences within a person; most case studies Generates hypotheses that are often difficult to falsify bc they are freq. explanations about events that have already occurred Three Influences on Personality (1) genetic factors (2) shared environmental factors – experiences that make individuals within the same family more alike (3) nonshared environmental factors – experiences that make individuals within a family less alike Investigating the Causes of Personality: Overview of Twin and Adoption Studies Reared-together twins: genes or environment? Many personality traits are influenced substantially by genetic factors, but nonshared environmental influences also play a key role in personality Reared-apart twins: shining a spotlight on genes Identical twins reared apart are MUCH more similar than fraternal reared apart Identical twins reared apart are about as similar as those reared together shared environment plays little or no role in adult personality Shared environment plays some role in childhood personality, but decreases as we age Adoption studies: further separating genes and environment
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there is more correlation between biological parents and adopted children than adoptive parents and adopted children Birth Order: Does It Matter? Birth order is a potential nonshared environmental factor Controversial Behavior-Genetic Studies: A Note of Caution Genes probably exert an indirect influence on certain personality traits – like a tendency to experience deep emotions – but the environment influences how these traits play out in our lives MOLECULAR GENETIC STUDY: investigation that allows researchers to pinpoint genes associated with specific personality traits (1) genes code for proteins that in turn often influence the functioning of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin (2) the functioning of many neurotransmitters is associated with certain personality traits at this point in research, there have been relatively few consistently replicated associations btw specific genes and personality traits Psychoanalytic Theory: The Controversial Legacy of Sigmund Freud and His Followers
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