Unit 4 Assignment: Personality

This assignment is designed to reinforce the core principles of personality development during the human lifespan. Please write a 400 word essay (do not simply address each question, your assignment must be written in fluid essay form) to address the concepts below.

Write your essay in your own words however you will need to review your text as well as relevant research literature to validate your own perspectives. Please use APA format to cite all resources.

Personality traits may be defined as “the characteristics or dimensions of personality on which people vary”. Traits can be thought of as falling along a continuum that ranges from traits considered by many to be desirable (e.g., happy, self-confident, considerate) to traits that are often considered to be undesirable (e.g., aggressive, spiteful, crude). Presented below is a list of some common personality traits. The list is far from exhaustive and you should have no difficulty coming up with an additional list of traits if needed.

Passive 
Outgoing 
Unsociable 
Active
Careful 
Talkative 
Sober 
Optimistic
Thoughtful 
Responsive 
Rigid 
Impulsive
Peaceful 
Easygoing 
Moody 
Changeable
Controlled 
Lively 
Anxious 
Excitable
Reliable
Carefree 
Reserved 
Aggressive
Even-Tempered 
Depressed 
Restless
Calm 
Quiet 
Lonely 
Touchy
Sociable 
Pessimistic 
Confident 
Jealous

Successful completion of the assignment requires that you select one personality trait and then review your text as well as relevant research literature in order to answer each of the following questions:

  1. How does the personality trait develop in humans? Where does it appear to come from? 
  2. What purpose or function does the trait appear to serve? 
  3. How does the trait affect the individual’s social behavior? How does the trait impact upon interpersonal relationships? 
  4. [answer either (a) or (b) depending upon which alternative is appropriate] 
    1. If the trait that you selected is closer to the desirable end of the trait continuum, then what methods or techniques might be used to increase, or at least maintain at a high level, the quantity of the trait? (e.g., make a person more self-confident). 
    2. If the trait that you selected is closer to the undesirable end of the trait continuum, then what methods or techniques might be used to decrease the quantity of the trait? (e.g., make a person less aggressive).

Additional Information: MyPsychLab WATCH – Episode 13 Personality
Twins and Personality Special Topic http://visual.pearsoncmg.com/mypsychlab/index.php?clipId=74

Source: Hittner, J. B. (1999). Fostering Critical Thinking in Personality Psychology: The Trait Paper Assignment. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 26, 92-97.

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