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1 Personality Theory & Research: Gordon L. Flett Personality Theory & Research: An International Perspective Gordon L. Flett Prepared by Brenda Baird,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Personality Theory & Research: Gordon L. Flett Personality Theory & Research: An International Perspective Gordon L. Flett Prepared by Brenda Baird,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Personality Theory & Research: Gordon L. Flett Personality Theory & Research: An International Perspective Gordon L. Flett Prepared by Brenda Baird, University of Ottawa

2 2 Chapter 3 Overview The Development of Personality Personality Differences in ChildrenPersonality Differences in Children Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic or Both?Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic or Both? Personality DevelopmentPersonality Development External Influences on Personality DevelopmentExternal Influences on Personality Development The Role of Culture in Personality DevelopmentThe Role of Culture in Personality Development Type A Behaviour in Children: An Illustration of Multiple Development InfluencesType A Behaviour in Children: An Illustration of Multiple Development Influences

3 3 Personality Differences in Children Imposter phenomenon results when people are encouraged by family to act in ways that are inconsistent with their true selvesImposter phenomenon results when people are encouraged by family to act in ways that are inconsistent with their true selves People also feel like imposters when they construct perfectionistic standardsPeople also feel like imposters when they construct perfectionistic standards Personality development reflects multiple influences throughout the lifespanPersonality development reflects multiple influences throughout the lifespan

4 4 Personality Differences In Children Supertraits in Children: The Five-Factor Model Some individual differences are detected shortly after birthSome individual differences are detected shortly after birth Type A behaviours are detected among 3-and 4- years oldsType A behaviours are detected among 3-and 4- years olds Evidence for the five factors can be seen in young people; referred to as the ‘Little Five’Evidence for the five factors can be seen in young people; referred to as the ‘Little Five’ Studies using The California Child Q-Set have revealed the five factors plus two others: irritability and activity (John et al., 1994)Studies using The California Child Q-Set have revealed the five factors plus two others: irritability and activity (John et al., 1994) Lamb et al. (2002) suggested openness was not a meaningful factor until adolescenceLamb et al. (2002) suggested openness was not a meaningful factor until adolescence

5 5 Supertraits in Children: The Five-Factor Model Parents’ spontaneous description of their children has revealed only four factorsParents’ spontaneous description of their children has revealed only four factors Mervielde and De Fruyt (2000) revealed three factors using a peer nomination procedureMervielde and De Fruyt (2000) revealed three factors using a peer nomination procedure Cross-cultural studies report five factors, but suggest cultural differences in the salience of certain traitsCross-cultural studies report five factors, but suggest cultural differences in the salience of certain traits Personality Differences In Children

6 6 Eysenck’s Big Three in Children Eysenck’s three dimensions have been assessed in children using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Junior (EPQ-J)Eysenck’s three dimensions have been assessed in children using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Junior (EPQ-J) The scale was supported, with individual differences on all three dimensions, but low reliability on psychoticismThe scale was supported, with individual differences on all three dimensions, but low reliability on psychoticism Existing data shows limited support for the openness factorExisting data shows limited support for the openness factor Personality Differences In Children

7 7 James formulated two hypotheses to address the issue of personality as stable or changing:James formulated two hypotheses to address the issue of personality as stable or changing: – Plasticity Hypothesis – Personality is changeable, like plastic – Plaster Hypothesis – Personality is enduring, like plaster James supported the plaster hypothesis, stating that personality is set by age 20–30.James supported the plaster hypothesis, stating that personality is set by age 20–30. Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

8 8 Factors that Promote Personality Stability Life ExperiencesLife Experiences Genetic factorsGenetic factors Caspi & Ben (1990) named three sources of stability:Caspi & Ben (1990) named three sources of stability: – People are proactive – People are reactive – People are evocative

9 9 Methods of Evaluating the Consistency of Personality Traits Mean-level stabilityMean-level stability Test-retest correlationTest-retest correlation Rank-order stabilityRank-order stability Meta analysis shows a step-like increase in rank-order stability until traits peak at 50–70 years-old Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

10 10 Methods of Evaluating the Consistency of Personality Traits Ipsative stability focuses on comparing one variable with anotherIpsative stability focuses on comparing one variable with another Ipsative scoring occurs when a measure on one score influences or restricts the score on another measureIpsative scoring occurs when a measure on one score influences or restricts the score on another measure Moskowitz (1998) examined dynamic stability: the “regularity” of fluctuations over time in peopleMoskowitz (1998) examined dynamic stability: the “regularity” of fluctuations over time in people Moskowitz and Zuroff (2004) introduced the concepts of flux, pulse, and spin to describe intra- individual variability in interpersonal behaviourMoskowitz and Zuroff (2004) introduced the concepts of flux, pulse, and spin to describe intra- individual variability in interpersonal behaviour Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

11 11 Is Personality Set by Age 30? Most dramatic changes occur in early adulthood but substantial personality change occurs after age 30 Social dominance increases with ageSocial dominance increases with age Social vitality decreases with ageSocial vitality decreases with age Agreeableness and conscientiousness increase with ageAgreeableness and conscientiousness increase with age Neuroticism decreases with ageNeuroticism decreases with age Overall, evidence suggests both stability and changeOverall, evidence suggests both stability and change Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

12 12 Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

13 13 Another Way of Examining Stability: The Stability of Character Vaillant (2002) defined personality as the sum ofVaillant (2002) defined personality as the sum of individual differences in temperament and character individual differences in temperament and character According to Vaillant, character can change due to environmental influences, but temperament is stableAccording to Vaillant, character can change due to environmental influences, but temperament is stable Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

14 14 Personality Stability and Change in Older People Elder and Caspi (1988) believe life stressors increase personality stability as outlined in their accentuation principle:Elder and Caspi (1988) believe life stressors increase personality stability as outlined in their accentuation principle: – People respond to stress by returning to familiar ways that serve to accentuate existing traits However, stress can produce change if the stress is incongruent with the existing personalityHowever, stress can produce change if the stress is incongruent with the existing personality Personality Stability: Plaster, Plastic, Or Both?

15 15 Genetic versus Environmental Factors Genotype refers to our inherited, genetic potential (unobservable)Genotype refers to our inherited, genetic potential (unobservable) Phenotype refers to the behavioural expression of the genotype in the environment (observable)Phenotype refers to the behavioural expression of the genotype in the environment (observable) Heritability refers to the proportion of phenotypic variance in a sample explained by genetic factorsHeritability refers to the proportion of phenotypic variance in a sample explained by genetic factors Personality Development

16 16 Genetic versus Environmental Factors The role of genetic vs. environmental influences is assessed using twin studies and the adoptee methodThe role of genetic vs. environmental influences is assessed using twin studies and the adoptee method – Twin studies compare concordance rates between monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins – Adoptee method determines the degree of shared characteristics between adopted children and their biological vs. adoptive parents Personality Development

17 17 Genetic versus Environmental Factors Equal environment assumption: the implicit assumption that MZ and DZ twins are treated equally by othersEqual environment assumption: the implicit assumption that MZ and DZ twins are treated equally by others It is important in behavioural genetic studies to determine the role of shared (common) versus nonshared (unique) environmentsIt is important in behavioural genetic studies to determine the role of shared (common) versus nonshared (unique) environments Nonadditive genetic effects are clusters of genes that coexist in one personNonadditive genetic effects are clusters of genes that coexist in one person Personality Development

18 18 Genetic versus Environmental Factors Some identical twins have similarities despite being raised apartSome identical twins have similarities despite being raised apart The two Jims showed remarkable similarities in behaviour and life choicesThe two Jims showed remarkable similarities in behaviour and life choices The Germain quadruplets all developed schizophrenia by age 24The Germain quadruplets all developed schizophrenia by age 24 Personality Development

19 19 Genetic versus Environmental Factors Research findings using data obtained from twin registries have provided evidence for the role of genetic factors in personalityResearch findings using data obtained from twin registries have provided evidence for the role of genetic factors in personality Heritability estimates for the five-factor model show 50% of the variance in most personality traits can be attributed to genetic factorsHeritability estimates for the five-factor model show 50% of the variance in most personality traits can be attributed to genetic factors This conclusion is supported cross- culturallyThis conclusion is supported cross- culturally Personality Development

20 20 Temperament Temperament refers to the style of expressing behaviourTemperament refers to the style of expressing behaviour Most researchers view individual differences in temperament as biologically basedMost researchers view individual differences in temperament as biologically based Research has identified dimensions of temperament that reflect three types of children: easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm- upResearch has identified dimensions of temperament that reflect three types of children: easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm- up Personality Development

21 21 Temperament Dimensions Theorists differ on the number and type of temperament dimensionsTheorists differ on the number and type of temperament dimensions Karp, Serbin, Stack, & Schwartzman (2004) identified six dimensions using the Behavioural Style Observation System (BSOS)Karp, Serbin, Stack, & Schwartzman (2004) identified six dimensions using the Behavioural Style Observation System (BSOS) Karp et al. support a strong relation between observation and maternal report of temperamentKarp et al. support a strong relation between observation and maternal report of temperament Personality Development

22 22 The Stability of Temperament Research shows temperament is stable over time, but research findings also indicate that traits have more longitudinal stabilityResearch shows temperament is stable over time, but research findings also indicate that traits have more longitudinal stability Roberts and DelVecchio (2003) report more stability for traits than temperament in their meta-analysisRoberts and DelVecchio (2003) report more stability for traits than temperament in their meta-analysis Dimensions do seem to generalize cross- culturally, with effortful control gaining empirical noticeDimensions do seem to generalize cross- culturally, with effortful control gaining empirical notice Personality Development

23 23 The Stability of Temperament According to Strelau, temperament involves several trait factors that can modify stress-related situationsAccording to Strelau, temperament involves several trait factors that can modify stress-related situations Strelau (1998) studied the link between temperament and stress reactivity, and the interplay with situational, psychological, and physiological factorsStrelau (1998) studied the link between temperament and stress reactivity, and the interplay with situational, psychological, and physiological factors Personality Development

24 24 Personality Development

25 25 Parenting Styles Baumrind (1971) identified three parenting styles: Baumrind (1971) identified three parenting styles: – Authoritarian (over controlling) – Permissive ( uninvolved) – Authoritative (discipline using reason) Colorosso (1994) identified three dimensions in terms of family types: Colorosso (1994) identified three dimensions in terms of family types: – Brick wall family: authoritarian – Jelly fish family: permissive – Backbone family: authoritative External Influences on Personality Development

26 26 Parenting Styles Metsapelto and Pulkkinen (2002) identified three parenting types:Metsapelto and Pulkkinen (2002) identified three parenting types: – Engaged – Emotionally involved – Emotionally detached Metsapelto and Pulkkinen (2002) found that parents’ personalities were linked to parental tendenciesMetsapelto and Pulkkinen (2002) found that parents’ personalities were linked to parental tendencies External Influences on Personality Development

27 27 External Influences on Personality Development

28 28 The Personality of Parents Traits in the five-factor model identified as best predictors of maladaptive parenting are high neuroticism, low extroversion, and agreeablenessTraits in the five-factor model identified as best predictors of maladaptive parenting are high neuroticism, low extroversion, and agreeableness Personality factors that predict parenting behaviour may differ for mothers and fathersPersonality factors that predict parenting behaviour may differ for mothers and fathers Cross-cultural research in parenting behaviour is presently limitedCross-cultural research in parenting behaviour is presently limited External Influences on Personality Development

29 29 Parenting Styles and Child Outcomes across Cultures Scott, Scott, and McCabe (1991) explored the relation between the parent’s characteristics and the child’s personalityScott, Scott, and McCabe (1991) explored the relation between the parent’s characteristics and the child’s personality Self-reports from children indicated that parental nurturance was related to a child’s level of self-esteem and anxietySelf-reports from children indicated that parental nurturance was related to a child’s level of self-esteem and anxiety External Influences on Personality Development

30 30 The Directionality Issue The directionality issue refers to the impact of a child on the parent in shaping behaviours and experiencesThe directionality issue refers to the impact of a child on the parent in shaping behaviours and experiences A developing child makes choices and influences others’ feedback through an active process termed self-socializationA developing child makes choices and influences others’ feedback through an active process termed self-socialization This interplay of child and parent both impacting on each other is referred to as a transactional modelThis interplay of child and parent both impacting on each other is referred to as a transactional model External Influences on Personality Development

31 31 The Unimportance of Parents? Harris (1998) suggests that temperament plays a larger role than parenting in the development of a child’s personalityHarris (1998) suggests that temperament plays a larger role than parenting in the development of a child’s personality Parents may impact on self-concept, and attitudes toward gender schemasParents may impact on self-concept, and attitudes toward gender schemas Overcontrolling parental practices predict anxiety in childrenOvercontrolling parental practices predict anxiety in children External Influences on Personality Development

32 32 Cultures can differ in mean levels of personality variables or in the amount of heterogeneity within the cultureCultures can differ in mean levels of personality variables or in the amount of heterogeneity within the culture Cultures can also differ in the importance placed on specific dimensions of personalityCultures can also differ in the importance placed on specific dimensions of personality Individualism refers to an emphasis on personal goals; Collectivism refers to an emphasis on group cohesionIndividualism refers to an emphasis on personal goals; Collectivism refers to an emphasis on group cohesion The Role of Culture in Personality Development

33 33 It is important to be aware of stereotypes when describing the characteristics of a culture; characteristics should be regularly assessedIt is important to be aware of stereotypes when describing the characteristics of a culture; characteristics should be regularly assessed It is also important to be aware of heterogeneity within a cultureIt is also important to be aware of heterogeneity within a culture Holloway and Behrens (2002) found much variability in parenting styleHolloway and Behrens (2002) found much variability in parenting style Holloway and Behrens also found differences between cultures in parenting self-efficacy (viewing the self as a competent parent)Holloway and Behrens also found differences between cultures in parenting self-efficacy (viewing the self as a competent parent) The Role of Culture in Personality Development

34 34 Research in Type A behaviour has reported individual differences at a very early ageResearch in Type A behaviour has reported individual differences at a very early age The main characteristics of Type A behaviour are competitiveness, time urgency, impatience, and hostilityThe main characteristics of Type A behaviour are competitiveness, time urgency, impatience, and hostility Type A characteristics in children interact with the situationType A characteristics in children interact with the situation Type A Behaviour in Children: Multiple Developmental Influences

35 35 Familial Factors Type A behaviour in children may be attempts to gain approval from significant othersType A behaviour in children may be attempts to gain approval from significant others There is a positive relation between Type A behaviour in children and their parents, but this relation is moderate and varies with the Type A component being assessedThere is a positive relation between Type A behaviour in children and their parents, but this relation is moderate and varies with the Type A component being assessed Type A Behaviour in Children: Multiple Developmental Influences

36 36 Genetic Factors Research suggests an inherited biological component for Type a behaviourResearch suggests an inherited biological component for Type a behaviour Genetic factors may vary with the component being assessed, with the role of genetics most evident in cynical hostilityGenetic factors may vary with the component being assessed, with the role of genetics most evident in cynical hostility Research showing that Type A behaviour may be a learned response to stressors is evidence of environment factorsResearch showing that Type A behaviour may be a learned response to stressors is evidence of environment factors Type A Behaviour in Children: Multiple Developmental Influences

37 37 A Role for Culture? Cross-cultural research on Type A behaviour in children is limited, but studies with adults do suggest a role of cultureCross-cultural research on Type A behaviour in children is limited, but studies with adults do suggest a role of culture Different cultures may have different forms of Type A behaviour that reflect a collective rather than an individualistic view (e. g., perfectionism vs. competitiveness in Japan)Different cultures may have different forms of Type A behaviour that reflect a collective rather than an individualistic view (e. g., perfectionism vs. competitiveness in Japan) Type A Behaviour in Children: Multiple Developmental Influences

38 38 Copyright Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation of this work beyond that permitted by Access Copyright (the Canadian copyright licensing agency) is unlawful. Requests for further information should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. The purchaser may make back-up copies for his or her own use only and not for distribution or resale. The author and the publisher assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages caused by the use of these files or programs or from the use of the information contained herein.


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