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Psychology 3051 Psychology 305: Theories of Personality Lecture 8

Jan 04, 2016



  • Psychology 305: Theories of PersonalityLecture 8

  • Announcements1. There has been a recent problem with the Psychology Departments server. Some e-mail messages are being held for up to 48 hours before being delivered to faculty mailboxes. If you have e-mailed me and have not received a response, please see me today or during my office hours tomorrow with your questions.

  • 2. I will have additional office hours tomorrow for the purpose of exam preparation. I will be available in my office (Kenny, 2517) at: 11:00-12:00 and 3:00-4:30.3. Our first exam is scheduled for next classThursday, June 10th (6:00-8:00 PM). Please note the following points for the exam:

  • The exam will include 30 multiple choice questions (1 point each) and several short answer questions (ranging in value from 2 6 points each). It will be scored out of 50 points. Be sure to bring a pencil, eraser, pen, and your student ID to the exam. Note that hats (e.g., baseball caps) should not be worn during the exam. All electronic devices must be put away; the time will be monitored in 5 minute increments on the overhead projector.

  • Biological Perspective on Personality:

    Physiological Approach (continued)

    4. What does contemporary research suggest about the physiological basis of (b) sensitivity to reward and punishment (continued) and (c) sensation seeking?

    Questions That Will be Answered in Todays Lecture

  • BAS/BIS Sensitivity SurveyScore on items:1, 4, 7, 10, 12, 15, 19 = BIS Sensitivity2, 3, 5, 6, 8 = BAS Sensitivity: Reward Responsiveness 9, 11, 13, 18 = BAS Sensitivity: Drive 14, 16, 17, 20 = BAS Sensitivity: Fun Seeking What does contemporary research suggest about the physiologicalbasis of sensitivity to reward and punishment? (continued)

  • The 3 BAS sensitivity subscales are as follows. Reward responsiveness: Assesses how responsive one is to the occurrence or anticipation of rewards. Drive: Assesses the persistence with which one pursues desired goals. Fun seeking: Assesses ones desire for new rewards and ones willingness to approach potentially rewarding events on the spur of the moment.

  • BAS/BIS Sensitivity Survey Means and Standard Deviations (Carver & White, 1994), N = 732MeanSDBIS Sensitivity19.993.70BAS Sensitivity: RewardResponsiveness17.592.14BAS Sensitivity: Drive12.052.36BAS Sensitivity: Fun Seeking12.432.26

  • What does contemporary research suggest aboutthe physiological basis of sensation seeking? Sensation seeking refers to the tendency to seek out varied, novel activities that are both exciting and risky. The term sensation seeking (SS) was coined by Marvin Zuckerman (1965), who developed the Sensation Seeking Scale to measure this characteristic.

  • Examples of Items from the Sensation Seeking ScaleI sometimes like to do things that are a little frightening.A sensible person avoids activities that are dangerous. *I like to have new and exciting experiences and sensations even if they are frightening, unconventional, or illegal.Almost everything enjoyable is illegal or immoral.I get bored seeing the same old faces.I like the comfortable familiarity of everyday friends. ** Reverse-scored items.

  • Zuckerman (1991) maintains that SS is physiologically based. Consistent with this assertion, he found that individuals who were high in SS had relatively low levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in their blood. MAO is an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that enable the transmission of nerve impulses from one cell to another.

  • MAO breaks down neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft.

  • Zuckerman maintains that the low levels of MAO in sensation seekers results in relatively high levels of theneurotransmitter dopamine within the nervous system. The high levels of dopamine, in turn, cause a disinhibition of the nervous system, resulting in less control over behaviour, thought, and emotion. Thus, MAO act as a brake, diminishing or inhibitingneurotransmission.

  • Analysis of the Personality of a Serial KillerJeffrey DahmerDiscussion Questions

    How would you expect Jeffrey Dahmer to score on the personality dimensions identified by (a) Eysenck, (b) Wiggins, and (c) Big 5 theorists?2. Can a diathesis-stress model be used to explain the onset of Jeffrey Dahmers antisocial behaviour?3. What needs do you think motivated Jeffrey Dahmers behaviour? Consider both Murrays needs and the Big Three.

  • Discussion Questions, continuedCan evolutionary psychology offer explanations for antisocial behaviour, psychopathy, cannibalism, and/or necrophilia?5. Which characteristics do you think Jeffrey Dahmer may have inherited? 6.How do you think Jeffrey Dahmer would score on the temperaments identified by Buss and Plomin (i.e., activity level, sociability, and emotionality)?7.Speculate upon the physiological causes of antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy (e.g., the role of the BAS, the BIS, MAO, testosterone).

  • Eysencks Major Personality DimensionsA = Phlegmatic; B = Melancholic; C = Sanguine; D = Choleric

    Emotionally StableEmotionally UnstableIntrovertPassiveThoughtfulPeaceful AControlledReliableCalmQuietPessimisticUnsociable BMoodyAnxiousReservedExtravertSociableOutgoingTalkative CResponsiveEasygoingCarefreeActiveOptimisticImpulsive DExcitableAggressiveRestless

  • Wiggins Interpersonal CircleWarm-agreeableCold-heartedUnassured-submissiveAssured-dominantAloof-introvertedUnassuming-ingenuousGregarious-extravertedArrogant-calculating

  • Extraversion:Conscientiousness:Agreeableness:Openness to Experience:Neuroticism:LowHighLowLowLowThe Big 5 Dimensions

  • Some Heritable Personality Characteristics The Big 5: HExtraversion .50Conscientiousness...49Agreeableness ....48Openness to Experience ...48Neuroticism ..49

  • Characteristics related to psychopathy: HFearlessness > .95Carefree Nonplanfulness (i.e., impulsiveness)....94Machiavellianism (i.e., enjoys manipulating others)....74Social potency (i.e., skilled at influencing others) ..66Aggressiveness ...67

  • Contemporary Measures of Psychopathy:Psychopathic Personality InventorySelf-report measure.187 items, scored with a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (false) to 4 (true).Consists of 8 factors: Machiavellian egocentricity, social potency, fearlessness, coldheartedness, impulse nonconformity, blame externalization, carefree nonplanfulness, and stress immunity.

  • Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R)Instrument used by trained clinicians.Assesses 20 symptoms associated with psychopathy. Each symptom is scored from 0 2 (0 = definitely does not apply to the person, 2 = definitely does apply to the person).Consists of 2 factors: Affective/interpersonal features and behavioural features.Maximum score: 40. A score of 30 is indicative of the presence of psychopathy.

  • 3. Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised Screening Version (PCLR: SV)Instrument used by trained clinicians.Assesses 12 symptoms associated with psychopathy. Each symptom is scored from 0 2 (0 = not present; 2 = item definitely applies).Consists of 2 factors: Affective/interpersonal features and behavioural features.Maximum score: 24. A score of 18 is indicative of the presence of psychopathy.