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Dispositional traits 

  • consist of aspects of personality consistent across different contexts and can be compared across a group along a continuum representing high and low degrees of the characteristic.
  • 5 traits
  • longitudinal studies show long term stability thought some change happens through old age 
  • change relates to adjustment and growth 


State processes 

  • act with dispositional traits to create transient, short term changes in emotion, mood, hunger, anxiety


Personal concerns 

  • concerns things important to people, their goals, their major concerns in life
  • Usually described in motivational, developmental, strategic terms
  • Reflect the stage of life a person is at
  • Personal concerns act in tandem with self-regulatory processes that include processes as primary and secondary control


Life narrative 

  • consists of aspects of personality pulling everything together, those integrative aspects that give a person identity or sense of self


Cognitive processes

  • act jointly with life narratives to create natural interaction that occur between a storyteller and listener, processes central in organizing life stories


3 tenets of traits:

  • Based on comparison of people
  • Trait must be distinctive enough to avoid confusion
  • Traits are assumed to be stable


Trait is

  • any distinguishable, relatively enduring way that one individual differs from others
  • The 5 factor model is based on cross-sectional, longitudinal and sequential research


criticisms of trait theory:

research methodological problems

do not describe core aspects of human nature

not good predictors of human behavior 

do not consider contextual aspects 


The 5 factor model 

  • consists of 5 independent dimensions of personality: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness


6 facets of neuroticism

  • Anxiety
  • Hostility
  • Self-consciousness
  • Depression
  • Impulsiveness
  • Vulnerability


6 facets of extraversion (zest, delight and fun people) are:

  • warmth
  • Gregariousness/sociability
  • Assertiveness
  • Activity
  • Excitement seeking
  • Positive emotions


6 facets of openness to experience 

Typically intelligent and subject themselves to stress, jobs with less emphasis on economic value 

  • Vivid imagination and active dream life
  • Appreciation of art and beauty
  • Willingness to try something new (travel, cuisine, drugs)
  • Curious and value knowledge for the sake of itself
  • Open minded in values



  • The opposite of antagonism
  • It's not always a good thing as they can be self-effacing and overly dependent, traits that are annoying to others



  • Hardworking
  • Ambitious
  • Energetic
  • Scrupulous
  • Persevering
  • Strong desire to make something of themselves
  • Opposite end of scale: lazy, disorganized late, aimless, not persistent



Effect of traits across adulthood

  • According to costa: traits stop changing by 30 then are set in plaster
  • BUT there is mounting evidence that stability and change can be detected in personality trait development across an adult life-span
  • The way people differ gets more pronounced in older age Based on increasing in adjustment aspects of personality Extraversion and openness to experience decrease
  • Agreeableness increases
  • Conscientiousness peaks in middle age
  • Neuroticism often disappears or is less apparent in later life
  • For the last two, allow older adults to maintain and regain levels of well-being in the face of loss, threats and challenges; common occurrences later in life


personal concerns as opposed to traits

take into account a person's developmental context and distinguish between having traits and doing everyday behaviors 

descriptions of what people are trying to accomplish 


Personality adjustment

  • involves developmental changes in terms of their adaptive value and functionality, such as functioning effectively within society and how personality contributes to everyday running smoothly


Personality growth

  • refers to ideal end states such as increased self-transcendence, wisdom and integrity
  • General conclusion is that personality growth doesn't change across adulthood unless there are special circumstances with environmental push for it
  • E.g.: marriage, family, career
  • That said, there are specific aspects of personality that do budge without big life changes


Describe the personal concerns level of personality, and explain how it differs from the dispositional traits level

  • Person centered approach that focuses on personal control and social relationship quality is better than dispositional traits in understanding life satisfaction
  • Not reducible to traits
  • Conscious descriptions of what a person is trying to accomplish during a given period of life and what goals or goal-based concerns the person has
  • The self-regulating of primary and secondary control are at the heart of changes to maintain meaning and satisfaction


Jung's theory of mid-life

  • Believed in personality development in adulthood as opposed to Freud who believed it ended in adolescence
  • All parts need to be in balance
  • Extroversion and intro
  • AGE Related theories

  • Younger adults tend to be more extraverted so that they can focus on career, find a mate
  • Later in life the focus on introversion to reckon with feelings of aging, mortality
  • We all have masculine and feminine inside of us but
  • Earlier in life we associate with our birth gender more
  • Later in life we allow the other sides to come through, so men adopt more feminine energy later in life and vice versa
  • Research points that these developments tend to only happen in advanced or exceptional development


Describe Erikson's theory of psychosocial development

  • Personality is determined by inner maturational plan and external societal demands


Epigenetic principle 

each psychosocial strength has its own special time of ascendency or period of particular importance; later stages build on the foundation laid in previous stages 





  • as a cycle that repeats and develops, so he says first we establish that we can trust others and ourselves then that leads us to being able to trust another within an intimate relationship. So trust/mistrust relates to intimacy/isolation
  • Another example of cycles that repeat/develop are
  • industry/inferiority leads/relates to generativity/stagnation
  • Identity/identity confusion relates to integrity/despair
  • Logan Points out that these are ongoing struggles, we never fully resolve them 


LOGAN: In emerging adulthood another phase is suggested between adolescence and young adulthood

Incarnation versus impudence resolved through

  • Experimental sexuality
  • Temporal and spatial social and intimate relationships
  • Interdependence / dependence
  • Relativist/ absolutist


Kotre argues that Erikon too broad on generativity and offers 5 types of genrativity: 

  • generativity is too narrow and offers 5 types
  • Also argues that they come and go and are not fought constantly
  • Biological/parental relating to child rearing
  • Technical generativity / passing on skills to youth
  • Cultural / being a mentor
  • Agentic / desire to do something that transcends death
  • Communal / person's participation in an interpersonal reality


Research on Generativity

  • Broken into concern and action
  • you can have one without the other
  • generativity has received more attention than other adult stages and it is more apparnet in middle-aged adults
  • Demonstrates that concerns of middle-aged adults are fundamentally different from those of younger adults   


Describe the class of theories known as life transition theories

  • Jung believed in a mid-life crisis
    • MASS MEDIA popularized the idea that you'll be fucked in your 40s but its not substantiated 
    • but midlife is a time of gains ans losses 
    • Alternatively Major dynamic that drives change may be cognitive Mid life people show the most awareness around self, emotions and motivations Cognitive complexity is shown to be the strongest predictor of high levels of complexity in general
    • postulate periods of transition that alternate with periods of stability 


midlife correction,

  • reevaluating one's roles and dreams and making the necessary corrections
  • Rather than crisis, best way to see midlife as a time of both gain and loss
  • better description for women 
  • Competence, ability to handle stress, sense of personal control, purpose in life and social responsibility are all at a peak
  • On the down side, physicality starts to slide
  • Over an extended period of time
  • Positive and negative stuff so life acquires new meaning


What is McAdams's life-story model?

  • people create a life story as internalized narrative with beginning, middle and anticipated ending 
  • reformulate through adulthood 
  • reflects emotions, beliefs, motivations, values, goals 
  • Sense of identity cannot be understood using the language of dispositional traits or personal concerns
  • The model for change in identity over time is a process of fashioning and refashioning one's life stories / strongly influenced by culture