PS25A Dispositional Strategy Brief Notes

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					                                          PS25A

                       The Dispositional Strategy
                                         Brief Notes

                                  Prepared By: Patrice Reid


Resources:
  1. Theories of Personality (2004) By: D. P. Schultz and S. E. Schultz
  2. Liebert and Speigler’s Personality Strategies and Issues (1998) By: R.M Liebert
     and L.L. Liebert
  3. Personality (2004) By: J. M. Burger


Dispositions: “An enduring, relatively stable personality characteristic” (Liebert and
Liebert, 1998)

Theoretical Assumptions of the Dispositional Strategy
   1. Relative stability of dispositions
   2. Consistency and Generality of Dispositions
   3. There are clear individual differences

The Dispositional Strategy is comprised of two approaches to personality:
   1. The Trait Approach
   2. The Biological Approach



                                 The Trait Approach

      Most if not all trait theories view personality in relation to trait dimensions. They
       argue that a trait is a “dimension of personality used to categorize people
       according to the degree to which they manifest a particular characteristic”
       (Burger, 2004).
      Features of the trait approach are consistent with the theoretical assumptions of
       the dispositional strategy. Additionally, unlike other approaches, the trait
       approach seeks to predict how people who score within a certain segment on the
       trait continuum will typically behave.
      The trait approach also places little to no emphasis on identifying mechanisms
       underlying behaviour. More emphasis was however placed on identifying and
       describing traits.

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   Gordon Allport
      Took an idiographic approach to personality and believed that uniqueness of
        personality is a reflection of both heredity and the environment.
      Considered personality to be discrete or discontinuous.
      He believed that traits are the basic units of personality and asserted that 1)
        traits are a part of each person 2) traits are more generalized than habits 3)
        traits direct action 4) traits are not synonymous with moral and social
        judgements 5) traits are only relatively independent of each other 6) acts and
        habits that are not consistent with a trait does not suggest the non-existence
        of that trait 7) traits can be studied empirically and 8) an idiographic and a
        nomothetic approach to studying traits can be done and be used to
        understand the existence of traits in individuals and within populations.
      Spoke of the pervasiveness of traits as it relates to personal dispositions.
        Personal dispositions may be cardinal traits, central traits and secondary
        traits.
      Disagreed with Freud and spoke of Functional Autonomy and the Proprium
        (i.e. the self).
      Described the nature and development of the proprium over seven stages
        from infancy (bodily self) through adolescence (propriate striving).


Raymond Cattell
   Used three sources of data to uncover all the major dimensions of personality.
   He labelled these three sources as 1) L-data (i.e. information gathered from a
    person’s life records, 2) Q-data (i.e. information gathered from questionnaires
    and interviews and 3) T-data (i.e. information gathered through the use of
    objective measures or tests). Cattell believed that in order to capture and
    understand the complexity of personality, all three sources of data must be
    integrated.
   He used the statistical technique factor analysis to determine the basic number
    of personality traits.
   By using factor analytic and other procedures, Cattell conceived of 16 personality
    traits. He believed that these traits represent the major dimensions of differences
    in personality.
   Cattell considered these 16 personality traits as the building blocks of
    personality. To this end, he referred to them as source traits.
   Upon identifying these 16 basic traits, he then published the first version of the
    Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) (1949) to measure these traits.

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      Cattell’s 16 source traits are: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance,
       liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance,
       abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self-reliance,
       perfectionism, and tension.


Hans J. Eysenck
   Like other trait theorists was concerned with discovering the underlying structure
     of personality traits. Like Cattell, he used factor analysis to identify the basic
     number of what he called types, or supertraits.
   He also believed that all traits can fall within three (3) basic personality
     dimensions. He called these dimensions 1) extraversion-introversion
      2) neuroticism and 3) psychoticism.
   Eysenck contended that the units of personality can be arranged hierarchically by
     dividing its elements.
   The basic structure in this hierarchy is the specific response level; then the
     habitual response level; then the trait level; and lastly the type/supertrait
     level.


Paul Costa and Robert McCrae
   The foundation of their theory lie on the work of Warren Norman who had factor
      analyzed a large number of adult peer nomination personality ratings. From this,
      Norman extracted 5 primary factors which Costa and McCrae used and
      enhanced.
   Costa and McCrae’s 5 factors covers the OCEAN of human personality. These
      dimensions are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness,
      and Neuroticism.
   Costa and McCrae expanded the significance of the Five Factor Model (FFM) or
      the “Big Five” by demonstrating that the same five factors structure also applies
      to questionnaires, self-ratings and observer reports of personality.

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DO FURTHER READING ON THE ABOVE AS
WELL AS DO READING ON THE APPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF
THIS APPROACH AND RELATED THEORIES.




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                             The Biological Approach

      This approach states that personality cannot be separated from biological
       factors.
      Early speculations about the connection between the body and mind began with
       the work of Hippocrates who theorized that personality was a result of four body
       humors.


   Temperament
    Early work from Ernst Kretschmer explored the relationship between physiques
     and temperaments/character types.

             Psychologists refer to general behavioural dispositions as temperaments.
              Researchers also conceive of temperaments in similar terms and contend
              that temperaments are general patterns of behaviour and mood that can
              be expressed in different ways and that, depending on one’s experiences,
              develop into different personality traits. How these general dispositions
              develop into stable personality traits depends on a complex interplay of
              one’s genetic pre-dispositions and the environment that a person grows
              up in.
             Identifying these general temperaments can be numerous; however, some
              argue that temperaments can fall along dimensions.
             A. H. Buss and R. Plomin (1984, 1986) identified three temperament
              dimensions. These three dispositions are emotionality, activity and
              sociability.
             Thomas and Chess (1977, 1996) also conceived temperaments along
              dimensions. They stated that temperaments fall along nine (9)
              dimensions. These temperament dimensions are: activity level,
              rhythmicity, approach or withdrawal, adaptability, threshold of
              responsiveness, intensity of reaction, quality of mood, distractibility, and
              lastly attention span and persistence.


Theory of Evolution
    The conception of Charles Darwin who theorized that the origin of the species
     and survival was based on or is a result of natural selection.
    Thus, some members of a species possess inherited characteristics that help
     them meet and survive threats from the natural environment (adaptation). Those
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       who survive are more than likely to reproduce and pass their inherited
       characteristics to their offspring. The result over many generations is the
       evolution of species-specific features.
      Biological theorists contend that the evolution of the nervous system and the
       body’s neurochemistry (e.g. hormones) has an influence on complex human
       behaviour patterns.


Sociobiology is one area which capitalizes on the theory of evolution in exploring
personality. Specifically, sociobiology is the study of the evolutionary basis of social
behaviour.


Evolutionary Personality Psychology is based on Charles Darwin’s theory of
Evolution. According to the theory of evolution, physical features evolve because they
help the species survive the challenges of the environment and reproduce new
members of the species through natural selection. According to the evolutionary
personality theory just as the natural selection process has led to the evolution of
certain physical characteristics in humans, this process is also responsible for what
evolutionary personality theorists call psychological mechanisms.

These psychological mechanisms are characteristically human functions that allow one
to deal effectively with everyday problems and needs. A large number of psychological
mechanisms have been identified. Examples of psychological mechanisms include
Anger and Anxiety.

The Evolutionary personality theory also makes the connection between mate selection
and evolution and inherited characteristics.


Behavioural Genetics
   This is the field that operates on the notion that genes are responsible for
     behaviour. Therefore, genetic bases of behaviour are studied.
   The exploration of DNA, specifically those that reveal genetic contributions to
     personality such as studies with monozygotic twins, parent-child connections and
     other familial relatedness is also of great interest to behavioural geneticists.
   John Loehlin and his colleagues argue that variations in personality are inherited.
     Thus claiming a relationship between inheritance and behaviour.


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Additional Perspectives
Increasing evidence to support biological contributions to broad personality domains
and specific dispositions/traits has been emerging.

Theorist Hans J. Eysenck has contributed to this view as he argues that the major
personality types are largely inherited and that it is based on inheritance that individual
differences in personality can be identified.

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DO FURTHER READING ON THE ABOVE AS
WELL AS DO READING ON THE APPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF
THIS APPROACH AND RELATED THEORIES.




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