Examples and Illustrations of Concepts in Personality
How would you use the Five Factors to describe George Washington's personality? Rembrandt Peale - George Washington - Google Art Project (721252) by Rembrandt Peale - YQFxfjbCehPD7w at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Attachment: Anxious-Avoidant Duos: Walking on Thin Ice in Relationships and Physical Health Writing for Science of Relationships, Jena Lempke describes how Disney’s hit movie Frozen depicts how varying preferences for closeness in people with different attachments styles can lead to relationship problems. She describes how the friction between the sisters Elsa (with her avoidant attachment style) and Anna (with her anxious attachment style) was caused by their different attachment styles.
Chronotypes: Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized Maria Popova, writing for Brain Pickings wonders if there is a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The results of her query led to this graphic illustrating the sleep cycle of 37 famous writers and their literary accomplishments. The result suggests that having a set routine is more important for productivity that whether one is a morning lark or a night owl. Posted December 2013.
Dance to the (Circadian) Rhythm The consumer technology company Jawbone released data aggregated from its users tracking sleep and wake times by location. The result is a series of fascinating interactive graphs of bedtimes and total hours of night sleep by county within the United States. Some fascinating findings suggest that our circadian rhythms are more attuned to the sunrise and sunset than to what the clocks says. Posted November 2014.
DreamBank Welcome to The DreamBank, a collection of over 16,000 dream reports in English (and another 6,000 in German). The reports come from a variety of different sources and research studies, from people ages 7 to 74. They can be analyzed using the search engine and statistical programs built into this site. Based on the research of Adam Schneider and G. William Domhoff Psychology Department, at UC Santa Cruz. Includes transcriptions of the dream journals of real people including Freud and Jung and others here.
Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development Visit this page to see classroom activities submitted by high school and college teachers to illustrate the 8 stages of development. Add your own activities for inclusion here.
Erikson: Identity vs. Role Confusion: Parents Can Play An Active Role In The Identity Formation Of Their Adolescent Children Science Daily, from August 27, 2008, summarizes research by Elli Schachter of Bar Ilan University and Jonathan Ventura of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mainstream belief regarding identity theory tends to portray adolescents as the sole agents involved in their identity development. However, a new article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence reveals that parents are concerned, involved, and reflective participants in their children's identity formation
Examples for Erikson's 8 Stages of Development Visit this page to see examples of people (actual and fictional) to illustrate each of the 8 stages of development and to add your own examples.
Extroversion-Introversion: The Necker Cube Experiment This brief on-line experiment, devised by the Open University in conjunction with the BBC was developed by Dr Peter Naish. Their hypothesis is that because of their varying response to stimulation, extroverts and introverts will perceive a Necker cube differently.
Factor Analysis and Sea Monsters Kevin Grobman, who maintains the DevPsy.org website, uses the brilliant metaphor of underwater sea monsters in order to help students understand what factor analysis is. Check out his cute graphics and explanation here. He also includes a link to PowerPoint slides you can use in your own lectures.
The Five Factors: The Charlie Brown Theory of Personality James C. Kaufman, writer for Psychology Today makes the case that all you need to know about the Five Factors can be found in the comics. Read about how Charlie Brown and other members of the Peanuts crew illustrate each of the Five Factors. From March 2, 2010.
fMRI: Real-Time Self-Regulation of Emotion Networks Using fMRI, 8 patients with depression were able to increase activity in areas of the brain related to positive emotion and lowered their depression through neuro(bio)feedback. A control group who went through similar cognitive strategies but without the feedback did not show such improvement. Includes downloadable slides of their findings.
Forced Ranking: The Poisonous Employee-Ranking System That Helps Explain Microsoft’s Decline Writing for Slate Magazine, Will Oremus, on August 23, 2013 claims that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer oversaw a system called "stack ranking," in which employees on the same team competed directly with one another for money and promotions. Critics say this rewarded brown-nosing and sabotage
Freudian Dream Analysis Doug Davis, Haverford College, shares these notes from his Foundations of Personality class. These teaching notes on The Interpretation of Dreams, describe in some detail Irma's dream from Chapter 2.
Freudian Personality Types Test This 48-item test purports to measure the classic Freudian adult personality types of oral receptive, oral aggressive, anal expulsive, anal retentive, phallic aggressive, phallic compensative, classic hysteric, and retentive hysteric. Though little information is given about the test's validity and reliability, the questions and results do illustrate Freud's idea and make spark class discussion.
Freudian Slips Doug Davis, Haverford College, shares these from his Foundations of Personality class.
Freudian Slips Add your own examples to this list of our favorite Freudian slips.
Gender: Girls' Versions of Classic Non-Gendered Board Games Scrabble, LIFE, and Monopoly in pink? That's right, Toys-R-Us are selling girl versions of these classic toys. Is this a stroke of marketing genius or an example of gender over-schematization or just plain old sexism? We'll let you and your students be the judge.
Gender Neutral Advertising in the Toys "R" Us Catalog in Sweden Scandinavian toy retailer Top-Toy, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has made a bold move in its Swedish catalog this year, working to do away with the guns-for-boys, dolls-for-girls gender system that is a mainstay of the industry. Instead, its catalog is trying to be gender-neutral, reflecting Sweden’s national focus on equality in the workplace and in society. Check out some of these new images posted by the Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2012.
Gender: The Most Pointlessly Gendered Products Plenty has been said on how gendered advertising is harmful by reinforcing ender stereotypes. But according to the Feministing website, gendered advertising has reached a new low. There are not tissues, bread, and eggs marketed to men and even pet shampoo marketed to the owners of male and female dogs. Is using gender to sell gender-irrelevant products taking things too far? These images ought to spark a lively discussion of stereotypes vs. true gender differences in personality. Published March 26, 2014.
Gender Non-Conformity in a Tide Ad This ad depicts a mom who is exasperated at her daughter's non-conformity with gender roles. While the mom tries to be supportive of her daughter's non-traditional efforts, her obvious discomfort illustrate that gendered expectations for behavior still run strong.
Gender Inequity in Whoville? NPR commentator Peter Sagal and his daughters discover that sexism is alive and well in the just-released movie Horton Hears a Who -- sexism that was not in the original 1954 book.
Genetics: Raising Awareness of Genetic Disorders: Jeans for Genes Day As part of their mission, Jeans for Genes Day, which raises awareness of genetic disorders and money for people with genetic disorders, created five minute films that are narrated by children who are either affected by a genetic disorder themselves or have an affected sibling. Each film is accompanied by a teacher fact sheet and a number of resources that can be used in the classroom.
Genetics: Famous Black Lives Through DNA's Prism This New York Times article gives an overview of the new PBS Series African-American Lives 2 in which Henry Louis Gates Jr. uses DNA evidence, archival research, and good old-fashioned detective work to trace the family trees of Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, Tina Turner and others. Includes a brief video and links to related web sites.
A Genetic Map of Europe: Evoked Culture Biologists have constructed a genetic map of Europe showing the degree of relatedness between its various populations. New York Times writer Nicholas Wade's explanation of genetic variation provides a good illustration of genetics and evoked cultural variation. Originally published on August 13, 2008.
The Harry Potter Personality Test According to a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences by Laura Crysel and colleagues (2015), a person’s preferred Hogwart’s house from the fictional Harry Potter series may be related to their personality traits.
How Good Are You At Reading People? How good at you at identifying the basic emotional expressions in the eyes and face? Here is a fun quiz based on the research by Paul Ekman and others on facial expression of the basic emotions.
Karen Horney's Three Neurotic Personality Styles Add your own examples to this list of personalities from movies, TV, fiction, and real life.
Jungian Celebrity Types This page lists the 16 Myers-Briggs Types along with famous (and infamous) “celebrities” who exemplify each personality type. You can find your own type by taking their 44-item survey.
Introversion: Confessions of an introverted traveler and Six tips for introverted travelers You don't have to be an extrovert to enjoy travel. Sophia Dembling, writer for the travel blog World Hum which believes that Travel is a state of mind, suggests that while some people travel to meet people, introverts don't. She blogs about how extroverted and introverted travelers see the world differently. In the second link, she describes strategies that introverts might try while traveling to enhance their experience and to counteract the myth that introverts are just not cut out for traveling.
Introversion Explained via Cartoons Introvert Chuck Schallhorn, at Teaching High School Psychology, posted these resources about what introverts are like in real life. Included are these 10 visuals and cartoons describing in an often humorous way what it introversion is, and how to interact with introverts if you are an extrovert.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds by FireflySixtySeven - Own work using Inkscape, based on Maslow's paper, A Theory of Human Motivation. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Monster Needs According to the Canadian English language TV comedy channel BiteTV, zombies, vampires, ghosts, and werewolves all have their belongingness and self-esteem needs and can achieve self-actualization.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, including newer 7- and 8- stage models. Also includes links to PDF and MSWORD illustrations of the hierarchies.
- Hierarchy of Needs Original 5 stage model in PDF format.
- Hierarchy of Needs Modified 7-stage model from the 1970s in PDF format.
- Hierarchy of Needs Modified 8-stage model from the 1990s in PDF format.
- Self-test Quick self-test based on the 5-stage model of the hierarchy of needs in PDF format.
- Self-test Quick self-test based on the modified 8-stage model of the hierarchy of needs in PDF format.
Maslow: The relentless urge to create. Joseph Martell, a paint mixer at Home Depot, is able to see the beauty in a simple can of unmixed paint. While others are too busy to notice, he quickly snaps a photo before the can hits the mixing machine. The results are stunning and illustrate the urge to create -- even under less than ideal circumstances. Illustrates beautifully Maslow's quote: A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
MBTI Typealyzer: What type is that blog? Just type in the URL of a favorite blog and this site will tell you the Myers-Briggs personality type of the writer. The results are bound to spark a lively debate in your class about reliability, validity, generalizability, and self-presentation.
McDonald’s Advertisements and Culture: I’m Loving It The McDonald’s famous I’m Loving it campaign looks different, depending on the culture in which the ad is targeted. For example, in India the ad features more collectivistic values: A father and son share a bonding moment. In the individualistic United States, the ads most often feature a person alone. Würtz (2005) explains all about cultural differences and advertisements in her original article including many illustrations of McDonald’s Ads from China, Japan, India, and the United States.
Microsoft's Lost Decade Due to Forced Ranking Appraisal Systems Kurt Eichenwald argues that a forced ranking system may have had negative effects on Microsoft's corporate culture. From Vanity Fair, August 2012.
Neuroscience A companion site to the PBS series The Secret Life of the Brain this site contains definitions and examples of CAT scans, PET scans, MRI, fMRI, MEG, a 3-D tour of the brain, and mind illusions. Divided into five segments (the baby's brain, the child's brain, the teenage brain, the adult brain, the aging brain), the site contains numerous video clips including infant vision, the birth of the brain, motherese, sleep, addiction, culture and schizophrenia, laughter, emotions, Alzheimer's, memory, and more.
NPR: Radio Diaries The NPR project Radio Diaries encourages teenagers, seniors, prison inmates and others whose voices are rarely heard to document their lives for public radio. Their stories are often powerful, surprising, intimate, and timeless, illustrating many aspects of the self, including self-concept, self-esteem, and social identity.
Outgoing vs. Shy Summarizes research on early temperaments related to extraversion, introversion, and shyness. Includes an excellent graphic summarizing these differences. From LifeScience, September 25, 2011.
Pavlov's Dog. The Nobel Prize Organization hosts an informative web site on Nobel Prize winners which includes educational games. Since Ivan Petrovich Pavlov won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904, the site has a game to illustrate principles of classical conditioning. Note: if you find the graphics too simplistic, stick around until the end for the theoretical explanation.
16PF Pearson Assessments, the publishers of the 16PF provide an extensive overview of the scale, including background and uses free on their website. They even have 3 full sample reports which would make useful case study examples for a class. The test itself, however, is available for a fee.
Left: Studio portrait of brain-injury survivor Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) shown holding the tamping iron which injured him. Phineas Gage Cased Daguerreotype WilgusPhoto2008-12-19 Unretouched Color ToneCorrected by Photograph by Jack and Beverly Wilgus of daguerreotype from their collection. - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Right: A rendering of the Gage skull with the best fit rod trajectory and example fiber pathways in the left hemisphere intersected by the rod. Simulated Connectivity Damage of Phineas Gage 4 vanHorn PathwaysDamaged left by Van Horn JD, Irimia A, Torgerson CM, Chambers MC, Kikinis R, et al. - Van Horn JD, Irimia A, Torgerson CM, Chambers MC, Kikinis R, et al. (2012) Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37454. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037454. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
Phineas P. Gage Check out the only known photograph (daguerreotype) of Phineas Gage, the foreman who sustained a serious and amazing head wound which changed his personality for the rest of his life. Provides links to background information on Phineas P. Gage. Also available here.
Probe the Brain PBS presents this site where you pretend you are a brain surgeon and get to virtually map out the brain's motor cortex.
Self: Who's that Beautiful Baby? How can we have changed so much from when we were children and yet still be the same person? Use this entertaining slide show quiz of celebrity baby pictures to introduce the idea of self-concept and personality continuity.
Sensation Seeking: Novel Drug Abuse Prevention Ads Get Strong Response from High-Sensation Seekers According to the website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse: A strong, biologically based need for stimulation appears to make sensation-seeking young adults more vulnerable to drug abuse. Now a NIDA-funded study has shown that highly novel drug abuse prevention messages can capture the attention of high-sensation-seeking young adults and get them to consider participating in alternatives to drug abuse. Read about the study and the ad here.
Sexual Orientation: Gender Non-Conformity in a Tide Ad This ad depicts a mom who is exasperated at her daughter's non-conformity with gender roles. While the mom tries to be supportive of her daughter's non-traditional efforts, her obvious discomfort illustrate that gendered expectations for behavior still run strong.
Sexual Orientation: US Views on Gays, Lesbians, Shift Sharply According to the 2010 update of the General Social Survey (GSS) at NORC at the University of Chicago, not only do a plurality of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, but they overwhelmingly support freedom of expression and basic civil liberties for gays and lesbians. This article summarizes these findings and includes two graphs which illustrate this trend toward increased tolerance over time.
Skinner: The Perfected Self Writer David Freedman describes how B. F. Skinner's Behavior Modification work, once maligned by the world, is enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to smartphone apps which apply Skinner's principles to help people lose weight and keep it off. From the Atlantic Monthly, June 2012.
. Doug Davis, Haverford College, as part of his Personality Assessment course posted these 4 sets of responses to TAT cards. They include responses of a University of Michigan undergraduate woman from the 1960s, a Moroccan adolescent, and Haverford undergraduates to both a computer stimulus and the standard cards.
Science of Sadness And Joy: Inside Out Gets Childhood Emotions Right The hit film of the summer of 2015, Inside Out, depicts life for an 11-year old girl. Much of the film takes place inside her mind, in a control center staffed by five emotions personified: Joy, Sadness, Fear, and Disgust. Read about the science behind the movie and the contributions of psychologists Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman who were consultants to the film.
Stacked (Forced) Ranking From Michael Britt at The Psych Files: Here's a sound byte from an episode of TWIT (This Week in Technology: twit.tv/twit) podcast in which Leo Laporte and John Dvorak discuss the negative effects of a performance appraisal system often called Stacked or Forced ranking. Psychologists refer to scales like this as ordinal scales. From July 15, 2012, show #362. (This audio clip runs 1 minute, 55 seconds).
The United States of Mind Research by Rentfrow and colleagues on the geography of personality suggests that there are regional clusters of personality traits. This summary of their (2008) research from the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science contains a link to an interactive map of states' personality profiles with details on each state's rankings on each of the five factors. From the Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2008.
What Attachment Style is The Bachelorette’s Andi Dorfman? Erica Djossa writing for the “Science of Relationships” blog explains her evidence for why this latest eligible lady from the reality TV series may have secure attachment, even though secure attachment doesn’t make for “juicy reality TV”. July 15, 2014.
Family Reading Hour by Peter Merholz from Berkeley, CA, United States - Flickr.com - image description page. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons