Intro to Personality Theories

Basic Notes and Points in Personality Theories

  • Lay Theories vs. scientific theories
  • Scientific theories all have a hypothesis, testable, falsifiable.
  • Systematic, practical, comprehensive, application, replicate results
  • Lay: Anecdotal evidence, blanket statement, own experience, stereo type
  • Consistent pattern of behavior
  • Psychological viewpoint: different theoretical beliefs, behave, think, feel. Research and theories to back it up along with traits and characteristics,
  • Conversational Viewpoint: Value judgment, subjective, surface perceptions, no facts or study more of an opinion.
  • Behavior is more consistent than not. Best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. More likely to repeat previous behaviors.
  • Personality Characteristics tend to be more consistent than not consistent over time
  • Goals for personality theorists: Observation is that is scientific, theory that is systematic, theory that is testable, theory that is comprehensive. Applications: from theory to practice.
  • Defining Personality: Personality addresses three issues that are difficult to reconcile: Human universals, individual’s differences, and individual uniqueness. Behave, think, and feel.
  • Enduring- consistent across time. Distinctive- features that differentiate people from one another. Contribute to- factors that casually influence and thus at least partly explain, an individual’s tendencies. Feeling, thinking, and behaving- all aspects of persons.  (What causes problems??)
      • STRUCTURE:
        • Stable enduring aspects of personality
        • Qualities that endure from day to day and from year to year
        • The building blocks of personality theory
        • Comparable to concepts such as atoms and molecules in physics.
        • Units of analysis: different theories use different units of analysis to analyze personality structure.
        • Popular units of analysis: Traits/ Types
        • Hierarchy- certain parts are influenced by other parts
      • Growth and Development
        • Genetic determinants
        • Genetic factors contribute strongly to personality and individual differences.
        • Scientific advances enable the personality psychologist to pinpoint specific paths of influence.
        • “Temperament”
        • Culture, social class, family, and peers. (environmental determinants)
      • Internal and External Determinants of behavior
        • Theories differ in the level of Importance given you internal and external determinants
        • Virtually all personality psychologists today acknowledge that is necessary tot consider both external and internal of human action.
        • Skinner- External
        • Freud- internal
        • Each theory will have its own relationship with the awareness of unconsciousness and their own influence of the past, present, and future on behavior.



PSYCH/504 Class Notes 11/2012 ; University of Phoenix


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