Chapter summary imageWhat characteristics make each of us unique?

WHAT IS PERSONALITY, AND HOW IS IT STUDIED?

  • Personality is the style in which one interacts with the world, particularly with other people.
  • Researchers study personality by using either the ideographic or the nomothetic approach to examine self-report data, observer-report data, specific behavioural data, life-events data, and physiological data.

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR TRAIT THEORIES, HOW ARE TRAITS ASSESSED, AND HOW DO GENES AFFECT INDIVIDUALS’ TRAITS?

  • Trait theories are sets of meaningful and distinct personality dimensions that can be used to describe how people differ from one another.
  • Research has shown that personality remains relatively stable across the lifespan, and that genetics plays a significant role in the individual differences for most traits. Genes may impact the chemical makeup of the brain, which in turn influences behavioural patterns and personality.

HOW DID FREUD CONCEPTUALIZE HUMAN PERSONALITY, AND HOW HAS PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS?

  • Freud believed that the mind comprises three interacting systems: the id, the ego, and the superego.
  • Post-Freudian theorists include Carl Jung (collective unconscious), Alfred Adler (inferiority complex), and Karen Horney (social factors).

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR TENETS OF THE HUMANISTIC APPROACH TO PERSONALITY?

  • Humanistic theories of personality emphasize people‚Äôs conscious understanding of themselves and their abilities to attain self-fulfillment.
  • Humanistic theorists include Carl Rogers (self theory) and Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs).

HOW DO SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORIES OF LEARNING AND BEHAVIOUR APPLY TO THE STUDY OF PERSONALITY, AND HOW DO CONCEPTIONS OF PERSONALITY VARY ACROSS CULTURES?

  • Social cognitive theories hold that personality is a function of beliefs and habits of thought acquired through unique social experiences.
  • People in collectivist cultures tend to have interdependent construals of self, while people in individualist cultures tend to have independent construals of self.