Personality Psychology

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Chapter 1 Vocabulary

Trait Descriptive Adjectives – Words that describe traits, attributes of a person that are reasonably characteristic of an individual and perhaps even enduring over time.

Personality – The set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence their interactions with and adaptations to, the environment (including intrapsychic, physical and social environment).

Psychological Traits – Characteristics that describe ways in which people are unique or different from or similar to each other.

Average Tendencies – Tendency to display certain psychological traits with regularity.

Psychological Mechanisms – Similar to traits, except that mechanisms refer more to the processes of personality.

Within the Individual – The important sources of personality reside within the individual – that is, people carry the sources of their personality inside themselves – and hence are stable over time and consistent over situations.

Organized – The psychological traits and mechanisms for a given person are not simply a random collection of elements. Rather, personality is organized because the mechanisms and traits are linked to one another in a coherent fashion.

Enduring – The psychological traits are generally consistent over time, particularly in adulthood, and over situations.

Influential Forces – Personality traits and mechanisms influence people’s actions, views of self, views of the world, interactions with others, feelings, selection of environment, goals and desires, and how we react to our circumstances.

Person-Environment Interaction – A person’s interactions with situations including perceptions, selections, evocations, and manipulation.

Perceptions – Refer to how we “see” or interpret an environment.

Selection – Describes the manner in which we choose situations – such as our friends, hobbies college classes, and careers.

Evocation – Refers to the reactions we produce in others, often quite unintentionally.

Manipulations – Refers to the ways in which we attempt to influence others.

Adaptation – Inherited solutions to the survival and reproductive problems posed by the hostile forces of nature. Environment – Environments can be physical, social, and intrapsychic (within the mind). Which aspect of the environment is important at any moment in time is frequently determined by the personality of the person in that environment.

Human Nature – The traits and mechanisms of personality that are typical of our species and are possessed by everyone or nearly everyone.

Individual Differences – Every individual has personal and unique qualities that make him or her different from others.

Differences between Groups – People in one group may have certain personality features in common, and these common features make them different from other groups.

Nomothetic – The study of general characters of people as they are distributed in the population, typically involving statistical comparisons between individuals or groups.

Idiographic – The study of single individuals, with an effort to observe general principles as they manifest in a single life over time.

Domain of Knowledge – A specialty area of science and scholarship, where psychologists have focused on learning about some specific and limited aspect of human nature, often with preferred tools of investigation.

Dispositional Domain – Deals centrally with the ways in which individuals differ from one another. As such, the dispositional domain connects with all the other domains. In the dispositional domain, psychologists are primarily interested in the number and nature of fundamental dispositions, taxonomies of traits, measurement issues, and questions of stability over time and consistency over situations.

Biological Domain – The core assumption of biological approaches to personality in that humans are, first and foremost,...
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