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1. Individual versus situational explanations for behaviour You have looked at how the situation affects our behaviour many times in psychology, but how much should we…
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  • 1. Individual versus situational explanations for behaviour You have looked at how the situation affects our behaviour many times in psychology, but how much should we consider individual personality traits as being either as important or even more important than the situation we are in, when it comes to predicting behaviour!
  • 2. The Nomothetic Approach versus the Idiographic Approach <ul><li>The Nomothetic approach looks at how our behaviours are similar to each other as human beings. </li></ul><ul><li>The Idiographic or individual differences approach looks at how our behaviours are different to each other </li></ul>
  • 3. We already know there are many individual differences in behaviour: <ul><li>Gender: and criminal behaviour (Farrington) </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health : (Eve White) </li></ul><ul><li>Age : (Little Hans or Samuel and Bryant and conservation) </li></ul><ul><li>Culture : beliefs are affected by cultural norms which in turn affect our behaviour (for example helping behaviour is very different in different cultures) </li></ul>
  • 4. Personality is another area where psychologists argue individual differences effect behaviour:
  • 5. Individual differences - Personality <ul><li>We expect people to be different at different times and to have moods and changes of mind or behaviour. </li></ul>
  • 6. Personality <ul><li>What sets the limits of those moods and behaviours? </li></ul><ul><li>What gives some of us more determination to change, be brave, or stand out from the crowd? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it largely our ‘personality? </li></ul>
  • 7. Psychologists who study personality: <ul><li>Psychologists who study personality look for enduring qualities that distinguish us from others and make our behaviour more consistent and predictable across a range of different situations. </li></ul>
  • 8. Personality tests and psychologists <ul><li>The basic premise of a personality psychologist is that your behaviour will be: </li></ul><ul><li>A) Predictable </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><li>B) Consistent </li></ul><ul><li>With your personality type! </li></ul><ul><li>http:// = rvnvAvmuxHM&feature =related </li></ul>
  • 9. Personality Tests <ul><li>Personality tests aim to assess your personality type in order that your behaviour might be predicted . </li></ul><ul><li>These tests are often used to determine your likely success within a new job field, marriage, partnership or position within a team etc. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// =kHF0VXPanU8 </li></ul>
  • 10. Cattell et al: The five main personality traits <ul><li>Openness ,  Conscientiousness ,  Extroversion ,  Agreeableness , and  Neuroticism  (OCEAN, or CANOE if rearranged). The Neuroticism factor is sometimes referred to as Emotional Stability. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the Openness factor, which is sometimes called &quot; Intellect &quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>Each factor consists of a cluster of more specific traits that correlate together. For example, extroversion includes such related qualities as sociability, excitement seeking, impulsiveness, and positive emotions. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// =Vm2vafSHf_U&feature=related </li></ul>
  • 11. Advantages of Personality tests <ul><li>Enable us to predict behaviour: </li></ul><ul><li>Some tests like IQ tests can be used to predict some behaviours like mental agility </li></ul><ul><li>Some tests do enable us to show which personalities may be best suited to jobs like the police force (Hathaway 1970) </li></ul>
  • 12. Identify a close family member: <ul><li>Put them in an unusual or different situation – for example on the deck of a large ship which is full of passengers and about to sink? </li></ul><ul><li>Would you be able to predict with some certainty how they would behave? </li></ul>
  • 13. Examples of four personality types <ul><li>http:// =k7mEh53rTc0 </li></ul>
  • 14. Fundamental Attribution Error <ul><li>Remember this: </li></ul><ul><li>We tend to attribute more significance to situational factors when considering the causes of our own behaviour but attribute more significance to personality characteristics when considering causes of the behaviour of others! </li></ul>
  • 15. Problems with personality tests <ul><li>Personality is difficult to operationalise </li></ul><ul><li>We cannot be sure any measurement is valid </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental attribution errors </li></ul><ul><li>Tests are all different as they are based on different theories e.g.: projective tests are based on psychodynamic theory, the Myers Briggs test is based on a theory of Carl Jung. So the quality or value of the test will depend on the value, importance or quality of the theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Test are often not generalisable to all people in all situations (for example an Eysenck test which shows you are an extrovert might predict you would be a good manager in some jobs like retail but not necessarily a good manager in another job like head of school etc). </li></ul><ul><li>There is disagreement over whether research shows that behaviours based on personality tests can be often predicted </li></ul>
  • 16. Mischel 1968 <ul><li>Mischel did a literature review of the research into personality tests and predictability of behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>He did correlational analysis between types of behaviour and predictability of that behaviour and found a positive correlation of between .02 and 0.4 which is quite low! </li></ul><ul><li>He said the role of personality in behaviour was small and therefore the greatest variability of behaviour depended on the situation. </li></ul>
  • 17. Funder 2001 <ul><li>Said that a correlation of 0.4 was not low and amounted to a prediction that personality would affect behaviour about 70% of the time! </li></ul><ul><li>He also said people choose their situations. For example an introvert might choose to work in a library. This will then, in turn affect their behaviours. </li></ul>
  • 18. The Interactionist Perspective <ul><li>Arguing ‘is it personality or the situation’ causing behaviour is too simplistic. Both arguments are reductionist. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a complex interaction between the demands of a situation and the personality traits of the individual. </li></ul>
  • 19. Individual differences and personality <ul><li>Some individuals may show more consistent personality traits, so may be more influenced by these traits! </li></ul><ul><li>Some personality traits will only emerge in some situations! </li></ul><ul><li>Some individuals will be more affected by the environment in which they are in than their personality traits! </li></ul>
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