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Chapter 3: Personality
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- 3.1: Personality Assessment
- This module provides a basic overview to the assessment of personality. It discusses objective personality tests (based on both self-report and informant ratings), projective and implicit tests, and behavioral/performance measures. It describes the basic features of each method, as well as reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, and overall validity of each approach.
- 3.2: Personality Traits
- Personality traits reflect people’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Personality traits imply consistency and stability—someone who scores high on a specific trait like Extraversion is expected to be sociable in different situations and over time. Thus, trait psychology rests on the idea that people differ from one another in terms of where they stand on a set of basic trait dimensions that persist over time and across situations.
- 3.3: Creativity
- Psychologists who investigate creativity most often adopt one of three perspectives. First, they can ask how creators think, and thus focus on the cognitive processes behind creativity. Second, they can ask who is creative, and hence investigate the personal characteristics of highly creative people. Third, they can ask about the social context, and, thereby, examine the environments that influence creativity.
- 3.5: Self and Identity
- Psychologists have approached the study of self in many different ways, but three central metaphors for the self repeatedly emerge. First, the self may be seen as a social actor, who enacts roles and displays traits by performing behaviors in the presence of others. Second, the self is a motivated agent, who acts upon inner desires and formulates goals, values, and plans to guide behavior in the future. Third, the self eventually becomes an autobiographical author.
- 3.6: Self-Regulation and Conscientiousness
- Self-regulation means changing oneself based on standards, that is, ideas of how one should or should not be. It is a centrally important capacity that contributes to socially desirable behavior, including moral behavior. Effective self-regulation requires knowledge of standards for proper behavior, careful monitoring of one’s actions and feelings, and the ability to make desired changes.
- 3.7: Intellectual Abilities, Interests, and Mastery
- Psychologists interested in the study of human individuality have found that accomplishments in education, the world of work, and creativity are a joint function of talent, passion, and commitment — or how much effort and time one is willing to invest in personal development when the opportunity is provided. This module reviews models and measures that psychologists have designed to assess intellect, interests, and energy for personal development.
- 3.8: Self-Efficacy
- The term “self-efficacy” refers to your beliefs about your ability to effectively perform the tasks needed to attain a valued goal. Self-efficacy does not refer to your abilities but to how strongly you believe you can use your abilities to work toward goals. Self-efficacy is not a unitary construct or trait; rather, people have self-efficacy beliefs in different domains, such as academic self-efficacy, problem-solving self-efficacy, and self-regulatory self-efficacy.
- 3.9: The Psychodynamic Perspective
- Originating in the work of Sigmund Freud, the psychodynamic perspective emphasizes unconscious psychological processes (for example, wishes and fears of which we’re not fully aware), and contends that childhood experiences are crucial in shaping adult personality. The psychodynamic perspective has evolved considerably since Freud’s time, and now includes innovative new approaches such as object relations theory and neuropsychoanalysis.
- 3.10: Personality Stability and Change
- This module describes different ways to address questions about personality stability across the lifespan. Definitions of the major types of personality stability are provided, and evidence concerning the different kinds of stability and change are reviewed. The mechanisms thought to produce personality stability and personality change are identified and explained.