Personality: Personality Personality: Personality What is it?
All that a person is—past, present, & future? Personality: Personality A person’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting that is consistent across time and situations
Relatively enduring underlying dispositions that influence behavior across situations Personality: Personality Esp. interesting variable because contributes to heritability of many behaviors
For example, divorce is heritable, but why?
1/3 of h2 of divorce due to personality traits
Personality is heritable, personality relates to divorce, making divorce heritable
Crime, violence, altruism, etc. Current Personality Research: Current Personality Research Focus on measurement and quantification of differences among people
Diminished focus on person as a whole
Focus on constructs rather than persons
Trait the fundamental construct unit Personality Trait Theory: Personality Trait Theory Traits—tendencies to behave, think, or feel in certain ways in certain situations
collections of similar thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
traits are the constructs of personality
Traits are dimensional—a structure that recurs in the same qualitative form in different people, but at different quantitative levels (e.g., high or low on a trait) Analogy of a Trait Dimension: Analogy of a Trait Dimension People have different “amounts” or “levels” of a trait
Across the composite of the population these different “levels” constitute a “trait dimension”
Each person has a specific level of a physical characteristic of height
The dimension of Tallness emerges as a population concept Personality vs. Intelligence: Personality vs. Intelligence The domain of Personality focuses on stable non-cognitive differences among people
Domains of personality are distinguished from abilities or talents
Can also distinguish personality from interests and to some degree from attitudes Domain of Personality: Domain of Personality Temperament
Affective (i.e., emotional) differences
Reactivity and Expressivity
Positive and Negative Emotions
Closeness vs. Distance
Agreeable vs. Hostile/Aggressive
Domain of Personality (cont.): Domain of Personality (cont.) Behavioral Inhibition
Careful and planful vs. impulsive
Conscientious vs. irresponsible
Tendency to withhold control behavioral response to emotional state Is Personality Real?Animal Studies of Personality: Is Personality Real? Animal Studies of Personality
So in regard to mental qualities, their transmission is manifest in our dogs, horses, and other domestic animals. Besides special tastes and habits, general intelligence, courage, bad and good tempers, etc. are certainly transmitted. Is Personality Real?Animal Studies of Personality: Is Personality Real? Animal Studies of Personality With man we see similar facts in almost every family; and we know through the admirable labours of Mr. Galton that genius, which implies a wonderfully complex combination of higher faculties, tends to be inherited; and on the other hand, it is too certain that insanity and deteriorated mental powers likewise run in the same families. Charles Darwin, 1871 Dog “personalities”: Dog “personalities” St. Bernard – gentle, loyal, wise
Chesapeake Bay Retriever – bright and happy
Irish Setter – happy-go-lucky, strong willed, willing to work
Cairn Terrier - merry, hardy, quizzical
Toy Poodle – proud, intelligent
Welsh Corgi – alert, energetic, quick-footed
English Toy Spaniel – perky, of grand disposition
Pekingese – independent, dignified, regal, amiable Four Humors (Hippocrates): Four Humors (Hippocrates) Blood – sanguine (hopeful)
Black bile – melancholic (sad)
Yellow bile – choleric (easily angered)
Phlegm – phlegmatic (apathetic)
Major Players: Major Players Gordon Allport (1897-1967) believed that personality traits are real, stable, and have a biological basis.
Hartshorne and May concluded from their research that personality traits do not exist; situations determine behavior.
Walter Mischel (1930- ) propounds the idea that personality traits are merely “convenient fictions; situations determine behavior. Challenge to Trait Theory: Challenge to Trait Theory Hartshorne and May
Studying the stability honesty (honest behavior) in children
Cheating in classroom
Cheating on take-home exam
Cheating during a game
Exaggerating athletic performance
Challenge to Trait Theory: Challenge to Trait Theory Average correlation across behaviors was only r = .23
Concluded honesty in any one situation was a poor predictor in any other situation
Personality doesn’t exist
Situations determine behavior Person-Situation Debate: Person-Situation Debate Mischel’s review (1968)
Selective review of studies of stability of personality/behavior
There does tend to be consistency in self-reports of personality
Found that the correlation between behavior in one situation was behavior in another situation is low—usually less than r = .30 Person-Situation Debate: Person-Situation Debate Mischel
Traits are not frequently generalizable across situations
Traits are impractical as psychological constructs due to low predictive validity
“Assumption” of traits
Consistency in self-reports of personality because people believe that they and others act consistently Person-Situation Debate: Person-Situation Debate Person X Situation Interaction
Mischel proposed a “specificity theory” of behavior
Must consider both the person and situation
Interactionism: Interactionism Traits and situations interact to produce behavior
The stronger the situational factors the less traits contribute to behavior
Restrictive environments restrict behavior
If everyone lived in a closet there would be very few differences in behavior
Unstructured environments allow for differences among people
Compare what people do when they travel alone to a country in which they don’t speak the language Interactionism: Interactionism Certain situations allow for the expression of certain traits
Classroom – extraversion and conscientiousness
War – aggression, fearfulness, courage, leadership
Jobs – different jobs call on different traits
Consistency of Personality revisited: Consistency of Personality revisited Interactionism is fine, but let’s get back to Mischel
Is personality/behavior really so inconsistent?
Is there another way of looking at the problem? Situational Specificity : Situational Specificity Studies of behavioral consistency almost always correlated a single situation
It’s very difficult to predict behavior in any given situation
Factors unique to that situation
Very hard to generalize from a single observation of behavior Aggregation: Aggregation Same issues in measurement of intelligence
Any single item is a poor measure of g
Weak correlation with other variables
How to deal with this problem?
Aggregate responses for several items Aggregation: Aggregation Items are summed to form scales
Less error & less specific variance, more general trait variance
Scales are summed to form composites
Less error & less specific variance, more g variance
Can you apply the same concepts to behavior? Psychometric View: Psychometric View Single responses or single behavioral samples do not measure accurately.
Each situation is analogous to one item on a test.
One item might not predict well, but the entire test score might.
Need to measure behavior in a number of different situations. Predicting Most of the People Much of the Time: Predicting Most of the People Much of the Time Epstein
Studies of stability in personality/behavior using aggregation
Each day for about 1 month people were asked to
Record most Pleasant and Unpleasant experience each day
90-item Checklist of emotions
66-item Checklist of response tendencies (impulses)
Behavior carried out
Stability of Personality: Stability of Personality Items were aggregated to form scales
Scale scores were then correlated
1 day: day 1 with day 2
2 day: mean day 1+3 with mean day 2+4
3 day: mean day 1+3+5 with mean day 2+4+6
14 day: mean all odd with mean all even days Epstein Tables & Figures: Epstein Tables & Figures Tables 1 & 2: Pleasant & Unpleasant Emotions
Figure 1: Between-subjects reliability
Figure 2: Standard deviations
Figure 3: Within-subjects reliability
Table 3: Most & least reliable participants
Figure 4: Reliability of observer ratings
Figure 5: Reliability of self-report, other-report, and objective behavior Single Person Stability: Single Person Stability How stable is an individual?
How stable is the organization of personality variables for a given individual?
How stable is a person’s profile of scores? Observer Ratings: Observer Ratings How stable are observer ratings?
Same procedure for behaviors that relate to traits such as sociability and impulsivity
Personality in the Aggregate: Personality in the Aggregate Epstein demonstrated that personality is basically a person’s average behavior across time and situations
High stability of personality can be found self-reports, observer reports, or objective behaviors
IF it is sampled and averaged over a sufficient number of occurrences Structure of Personality: Structure of Personality traits are based on the idea that certain behaviors/thoughts/feelings will covary (correlate or co-occur)
Structure: meaningful covariation, i.e, some traits go together, some do not
The Structure of Personality is Hierarchical:
correlated behaviors/thoughts/feelings traits Slide43: Feels betrayed,
mistreated Believes others
wish to him to fail Feels betrayed,
deceived Sees self as target
of false rumors Feels
unlucky Alienation Hierarchical Structure of Personality: Hierarchical Structure of Personality correlated behaviors/thoughts/feelings traits
the different behaviors/thoughts/feelings are different expressions, indicators, or measurements of the same trait or process
correlated traits higher-order traits (or factors) Slide45: Alienation
out to get me Stress Reaction
tense, nervous, worry,
break down under stress Aggression
others to get ahead Negative
Emotionality Hierarchical Structure of Personality: Hierarchical Structure of Personality correlated behaviors/thoughts/feelings traits
correlated traits higher-order traits
Goal: Identify all the Uncorrelated higher-order traits
basic structure of personality
All lower order traits due to higher-order traits
Higher-order traits represent the basic causal processes that underlie trait covariation
Structure of Personality: Structure of Personality Once we’ve identified the basic processes we can:
organize and describe other constructs in terms of personality
make novel predictions
General consensus 3 to 5 “super-traits” or general personality factors
How do we know? Lexical Hypothesis: Lexical Hypothesis Traits are basically adjectives
All important personality variables should be imbedded in the natural language
List all the adjective in the dictionary that describe people
Have people make ratings on the adjectives
Factor analyze the ratings “Big Five” or Five Factor Model (FFM): “Big Five” or Five Factor Model (FFM) Five factors emerge from lexical studies
Necessary and sufficient for describing personality at the broadest level
Hierarchical structure with these 5 factors on top
The Big Five (spell OCEAN): The Big Five (spell OCEAN) Openness – creative, independent, seeks new experiences
Conscientiousness – reliable, hardworking, persistent
Extroversion – sociable, outgoing, cheerful
Agreeableness – cooperative, trusting, conciliatory
Neuroticism – nervous, worrying, subject to negative emotions Critiques of the FFM model: Critiques of the FFM model Factors aren’t independent
Are really at the top of the hierarchy?
Does the structure apply to all languages? What if there are differences?
“folk” concepts not scientific constructs
What are the mechanisms to trait covariation?
Development of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ): Development of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) Self-report inventory that attempts to measure all the important trait constructs of personality
Provides a general framework (i.e., theory) to reference other constructs
Development of MPQ: Development of MPQ Began in 1970’s by Auke Tellegen
Trying to develop a scale to measure individual differences in hypnotic susceptibility (Absorption scale)
Also includes measures of Extraversion and Neuroticism
Undertook iterative rounds of data collection and scale revision Development of MPQ: Development of MPQ Kept identifying new traits
Eventually wanted to cover all of normal personality (bandwidth)
Try to construct scales that were relatively “pure” measures of their trait construct, e.g., no overlapping items, low correlations among scales (fidelity) Development of MPQ: Development of MPQ Ended up with 11 primary or lower order scales
correlations among 11 scales suggest 3 higher-order traits:
Behavioral Constraint Factor Analysis of Primary Scales: Factor Analysis of Primary Scales Scales were constructed to maximize their homogeneity
However, an interpretable pattern correlations was still present
Therefore, this structure is a discovery of human variation not an artifact of the measurement Slide62: Once factors have been identified have to give a
psychological interpretation of their meaning Big 5 and MPQ : Big 5 and MPQ MPQ factors are broader constructs than the Big 5 factors
Extraversion relates to Communal-PEM
Neuroticism to NEM esp. Stress Reaction
Conscientiousness to CON & Achievement
Agreeableness to Aggression, Alienation, & Social Potency
Openness modestly related to Absorption Validity Scales : Validity Scales Unlikely Virtues
Index of social desirability, i.e., people try to present themselves an unrealistic favorable way (impression management)
Tendency to claim uncommon virtuousness or deny common frailties
Some people will endorse some items
Should exclude very high scorers
Unlikely their other responses are valid Unlikely Virtues Scale: Unlikely Virtues Scale Example items:
At times I have been envious of someone.
Never in my whole life have I wished for things that I was not entitled to.
My opinions are always completely reasonable.
At times I have eaten too much.
I have always been completely fair to others.
I have occasionally felt discouraged about something.
I have at times been angry with someone.
Response Inconsistency Indices: Response Inconsistency Indices An index of response consistency devoid of any psychological characteristics
Detect invalid response patterns
True Response Inventory (TRIN)
Variable Response Inventory (VRIN) TRIN: TRIN “Yea-saying” or “Nay-saying” scale
Composed of pairs of correlated items that are keyed in the opposite direction
Very high or low scores indicate stereotypic true or false responding TRIN: TRIN Example of TRIN item pairs:
1) Most of the time I feel blue.
I am happy most of the time.
2) I am usually happier when I am alone.
I am happiest when I am with people.
3) When someone hurts me, I try to get even.
I would rather turn the other cheek than get even when someone treats me badly. VRIN: VRIN Detect random responding
Composed of pairs of items that are keyed in the same direction
Extremely high scores indicate haphazard responding or lack of understanding VRIN: VRIN Example of VRIN item pairs:
1) When someone hurts me, I try to get even.
When people insult me, I try to get even.
2) I am quite effective at talking people into things.
I am quite good at convincing others to see things my way.
3) I usually do not like be a “follower.”
When I work with others I like to take charge. Heritability of Personality: Heritability of Personality Like everything else, personality has a genetic component
What about environmental contributions?
Most earlier theories of personality (e.g., Freud) implicate early childhood experiences in personality development A Summary of the Broad Heritability of the Big Five Based on Recent Twin Studies: A Summary of the Broad Heritability of the Big Five Based on Recent Twin Studies Combined Model Fitting by Finkel & McGue - 12 Kinships (N=4,298 pairs): Combined Model Fitting by Finkel & McGue - 12 Kinships (N=4,298 pairs)
MZ - Males
MZ - Females
DZ - Males
DZ - Females
DZ - Opposite Sex
Siblings - Males
Siblings - Females
Siblings - Opposite Sex
Father - Sons
Father - Daughters
Mother - Sons
Mother - Daughters Heritability of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Scores Based on the Minnesota Twin Family Study - (12 Kinships 4,300 pairs): Heritability of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Scores Based on the Minnesota Twin Family Study - (12 Kinships 4,300 pairs) Heritability of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Scores Based on the Minnesota Twin Family Study vs. MISTRA: Heritability of Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Scores Based on the Minnesota Twin Family Study vs. MISTRA Heritability Estimates Based on 12 Kinships (4300 pairs), MZA Twins (74 pairs) and MZT Twins (626 pairs): Heritability Estimates Based on 12 Kinships (4300 pairs), MZA Twins (74 pairs) and MZT Twins (626 pairs) Heritability of Personality: Heritability of Personality h2: 30 to 50%
c2: 5% or less
e2: 50-70%, of which 15-30% is measurement error
What if we got rid of measurement error? Slide79: Aggression
At Time 1 Aggression
At Time 2 Stable component
Of Aggression Unique to
Time 1 Unique to
Time 2 Personality & Genetics: Personality & Genetics The stable part of personality is mostly due to genetics
Environments have effects on personality, but seems to be of limited duration
No matter what situation you’re in you always carry your genes
Genes are what is constant across time and situations