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Personality Psychology

Personality Psychology - 1/28 I Person-Situation Debate A...

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1/28 I) Person-Situation Debate A) Personality is “shut down”: Walter Mischel’s (1968) critique of the field 1) “It was a bombshell” (Winter and Barenbaum, 1998) 2) He claimed there were low correlations (rs < .40) between personality variables and behaviors). 3) Personality assessment is a waste of time 4) Behavior was too inconsistent across situations; cannot characterize people according to traits a) If situations are so important than what do personality traits do? II) Responses… A) Block (1977): Unfair literature review 1) Mischel’s review of the literature is selective and partial 2) Weighed heavily towards unsuccessful findings B) Small correlations suggest room for improvement… 1) Look at real world behaviors, aggregate across time 2) Traits should predict trends across time and situations C) We can do better! 1) Epstein (1979): We need to aggregate behaviors over time 2) Brackett (2004): We need to aggregate across the Life Space “Situations turn out to be powerful in the same sense as scud missiles are powerful; They may have huge effects, or no effects, and such effects may occur virtually anywhere, all over the map.” (Goldberg 1992) III) Do situations explain more variance? A) Funder and Ozer (1983) showed that social psychology experiments did not produce higher rs than personality 1) Festinger and Carlsmith Studies on forced Compliance a) Cognitive dissonance (r=.36) 2) Darley and colleagues (1960’s): Bystander Intervention a) Others present (r= .38) 3) Milgram (1975) Obedience a) Isolation of “victim” (r=.42) B) A truly comprehensive understanding of behavior demands attention to both stable individual differences and the situation IV)Central lesson of the debate V) Social Cognitive Approach: Mischel A) Behaviors depend on both situational features and on the organization of the network of cognitions and affects that become involved 1) We differ in how we encode things, our expectancies, feelings, goals, ability to self- regulate B) A lot of process…? C) “If…then” interactions – we behave differently in different circumstances and the pattern of the situations makes the person VI)Triadic reciprocal causation: Bandura A) Self-system as a chicken-egg problem
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1) The environment affects the self, which affects the environment, which affects the self… a) But which came first? 2) Requires tapping into what people are thinking as they perform actions and experience their effects 3) Whether people behave uniformly or variably depends heavily upon the functional equivalence of the environments 4) Aggressive children although immediately punished, will continue or even escalate their coercive behavior when they expect persistence eventually to gain them what they seek. But if the child expects nothing, the behavior will stop 5) Joking in class VII) Cultural Perspective A) Focuses on how enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a large group of people are transmitted from on generation to the next B) Some personality asepects are general across cultures. Others differ tremendously 1)
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Personality Psychology - 1/28 I Person-Situation Debate A...

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