C H A P T E R
9 Personality and Self in Motivation Fierce eagles do not produce timorous doves.
—Horace, 13 B.C.
With a good heredity, nature deals you a fine hand at cards; and with a good environment, you learn to play the hand well.
—Walter C. Alvarez, M.D.
■ Different things motivate different people. The last chapter showed that different motivators could be organized according to various psychological needs. This chapter examines whether different motivators can be grouped according to people’s personalities. Is it possible that peo- ple with similar personality traits are alike in their motives and in their preferred incentives? This chapter presents possible answers to this and the following questions:
1. What is the difference between temperament and personality?
2. Are personality traits real?
3. How do personality traits affect a person’s reaction, selection, and manipulation of a situation?
4. Do personality traits influence the manner in which psychological needs are satisfied?
5. Can a person’s concept of herself serve as a source of motivation?
Personality Associated with Motivation After being separated since infancy for 39 years, identical twins Jim Springer and Jim Lewis were reunited. Even though they were adopted and reared by different families, there were some uncanny similarities between the twins. Each had been married twice, had a son named James, and had a dog named Toy during childhood. In regards to personal habits, both smoked and drank lite beer, bit their fingernails, and vacationed in the same beach area in Florida. Both twins had worked part time as sheriffs, owned light blue Chevrolets, and wrote love notes to their wives (Segal, 1999, pp. 116–118). How can two individuals reared in different environments be so similar? Is it due to chance or due to their similar tempera- ments and personalities, which were shaped by their genes?
The purpose of this section is to show that temperament and personality traits are real and that they are a source of motivation. These sources motivate people to react differently to the same situations and also to seek out or avoid different situations.
Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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Temperament, Personality, and Behavior People differ in both temperament and personality, and these differences have an impact on what motivates them. Were you active and outgoing as a child, or were you quiet and shy? To what extent are you the same or different today? Temperament refers to consistent individual differences in emotionality and is a result of genetically inherited characteris- tics. Personality is a consistent way of behaving as a result of the interaction between tem- perament characteristics and social experience. Although both imply long-term behavior dispositions, there are distinctions between them (Strelau, 1985, 1987). First, hereditary and biological factors play more of a role in determining temperament, whereas social fac- tors are involved in determining personality. Temperament manifests itself earlier in child- hood, while personality develops later. Temperament can refer to behavior differences, for example, among different breeds of dogs, as Gosling and John (1999) suggest. These researchers also noted differences in personality within the same breed. Finally, tempera- ment is more or less fixed, while personality is modifiable by experience. Insight into tem- perament can be gained by considering different breeds of dogs. For example, a basset hound is slow and easygoing, whereas a poodle is more active. A collie is timid, while a Scottish terrier tends to be feisty (Mahut, 1958). Although a trainer may be able to alter the temperament of an individual dog by varying its experience, that dog will still behave much like its breed. Perhaps a trainer can enliven the temperament of a basset hound to be more like a poodle. Yet a basset hound will still retain most of the behavioral characteris- tics of its breed.
Fearfulness and sociability are two frequently studied temperament traits in dogs (Jones & Gosling, 2005). Fearfulness characterizes a dog’s approach or withdrawal behav- ior to novel stimuli or strangers. It is also reflected in general activity, wariness, startle re- actions to loud sounds, and heart rate changes. Fearful dogs have also been labeled as shy. Sociability can be contrasted with aloofness. Sociable dogs tend to show an interest in peo- ple and other dogs as opposed to a lack of interest. It is associated with initiating friendly interactions, affection, attention seeking, and being more amenable to obedience training. Sociability may be parallel to extraversion in humans.
Personality Traits as Categories or Causes of Behavior Do people show consistency in their behavior from one time to the next or from one situa- tion to the other? Personality traits refer to the consistency in a specific set of behaviors across time and across relevant situations. A trait is also defined by the relationship among different behavioral habits. The trait of sociability, for example, consists of such behaviors as going to parties, liking to talk, preferring listening to reading, and being bored when alone (Eysenck, 1990). Sociability indicates that a person shows these behavioral charac- teristics from one time to the next and from one social situation to the other.
Personality traits help answer two important questions. First, why do people react dif- ferently to the same situation? Second, why do people differ in the situations they approach or avoid? Consider the physical trait of being left-handed versus right-handed. Left-handed individuals find it more awkward to take notes sitting in classroom desk chairs designed for right-handed people, to swing golf clubs designed for right-handers, and to shift a manual transmission. They are also more likely to be bumped by the right-handed individual when seated in the middle of a crowded dinner table. In all of these situations, left-handed
Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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TABLE 9.1 Dimension Descriptors of Personality
Openness Shallow, simple, unintelligent——————————Artistic, clever, curious
Conscientiousness Careless, disorderly, forgetful——————————Cautious, deliberate, dependable
Extraversion Quiet, reserved, shy——————————Active, assertive, dominant
Agreeableness Cold, cruel, unfriendly——————————Affectionate, cooperative, friendly
Neuroticism Calm, contented, unemotional——————————Anxious, emotional, moody
Source: Adapted from “Towards a Taxonomy of Personality Descriptors” by O. P. John, 1989, in D. M. Buss & N. Cantor (Eds.), Personality Psychology: Recent Trends and Emerging Directions, table 19.2, p. 265. New York: Springer Verlag.
individuals might feel less comfortable and efficient than right-handed persons. And if given a choice, a left-handed person might prefer a left-handed desk chair or golf clubs, shifting a gearshift with his left hand, and sitting on the far left of the dinner table.
Being left- or right-handed illustrates that differences between people are associated with differences in their reaction to and preferences for different situations. Similarly, people with different personality traits also react to situations differently and prefer to be in differ- ent situations. For example, the extravert may look forward to a large party, while anticipa- tion of a party may make the introvert anxious. The high-sensation seeker may explore a new restaurant in town, while the low-sensation seeker will stay with her familiar eating place. However, to use personality traits as an explanation of why people differ in what motivates them, some assumptions are necessary.Are traits categories of behavior only, or can they also serve as causes of behavior? Revelle (1987), and John and Robins (1993) describe traits as categories of behavior and also as causes of behavior. People can be categorized as left- or right-handed, but handedness also “causes” people to prefer different situations.
Personality Traits for Motivation Five-Factor Model. This chapter examines several personality dimensions for their ca- pacity to motivate behavior. One set of critical dimensions comes from the five-factor model of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (John, 1989, 1990a, 1990b; McCrae, 1989; McCrae & Costa, 1985, 1987). These five factors spell the acronym OCEAN, which helps to remember the factors. Each factor can be considered a dimension, which ranges from low to high. Table 9.1 lists some trait descriptors that help define each end of the five personality dimensions (John, 1989). Extraversion and neuroticism have been studied the most extensively in their relationship to motivation. They also comprise two of three major factors in Eysenck’s theory of per- sonality (Eysenck, 1967, 1990). Personality dimensions are important for motivation
Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental, Third Edition, by Lambert Deckers. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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because they help explain why people are motivated by different incentives, situations, and activities. Individuals at one end of a dimension may be motivated differently than individ- uals at the other end. For example, an extravert is motivated to attend a large party, while an introvert is motivated to stay home. An individual high in neuroticism may be easier to in- duce into a bad mood, while an individual low in neuroticism is not.
➣ More information about the five-factor model is available at http://www.uoregon.edu/ ~sanjay/bigfive.html
Sensation Seeking. This is another personality trait that is linked to differences in mo- tivation. It is usually considered separately from the five-factor model. Sensation seeking “is a trait defined by the seeking of varied, novel, complex, and intense sensations and ex- periences, and the willingness to take physical, social, legal, and financial risks for the sake of such experience” (Zuckerman, 1994, p. 27). Risk taking is an accompaniment of sensa- tion seeking, since it is the consequence of the rewarding sensation or experience. For ex- ample, people may experiment with drugs to obtain a certain sensation or experience. The consequence, however, is that the drug may kill them (physical risk) or may cause them to get arrested (legal risk) or fined (financial risk). In addition, they may have their names published in the local paper for all to read (social risk). Yet, high-sensation seekers are will- ing to take greater risks only because of the rewards provided by the sensation-seeking ac- tivities and experiences. Low-sensation seekers, however, are not willing to take such risks because those same sensation-seeking activities are not rewarding to them. Zuckerman (1994) has provided a rich source of evidence indicating that, in comparison to low- sensation seekers, high-sensation seekers have engaged in a wide variety of behaviors that provide these intense sensations and experiences. For example, high-sensation seekers are more likely to engage in high-risk sports (sky diving, mountain climbing); to have had a greater variety of sexual experiences; and to have used tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
Sensation seeking is not one large trait, however, but instead consists of four factors. Thrill and adventure seeking is the desire for sensations induced by participating in risky activities, such as sky diving and fast driving. Although people may not have participated in these activities, they express a desire to do so. Experience seeking is the desire for men- tal and sensory stimulation from art, travel, drugs, and music. These individuals are char- acterized by desiring a more unconventional lifestyle. Disinhibition reflects the desire for variety attained by drinking, partying, gambling, sexual activity, and other hedonic pursuits. These people can be characterized as extraverted sensation seekers in that they seek other individuals as a source of stimulation. Finally, boredom susceptibility is an aversion to bore- dom resulting from repetitive experiences and the absence of stimulation from activities and other people. Individuals with this factor have a low tolerance for boredom and become restless in such situations (Zuckerman, 1979).
Biological Reality of Traits Are personality traits real? Imagine people who have large feet versus those who have small feet. One could almost say that having large feet causes a person to buy large shoes and that having small feet causes a person to buy small shoes.These individuals are doing nothing more than buying shoes that fit. After all, good-fitting shoes allow the wearer to walk comfortably and efficiently, while poor-fitting shoes make this difficult. The point is that the foot is a realIS
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biological entity and not some hypothetical construct postulated to account for differences in shoe size among people. Applying this reasoning to personality traits, it is assumed that per- sonality traits are real entities that account for differences in behavior among people.
The reality of personality traits is verified in several ways. First, operational defini- tions of personality traits refer to the procedures by which the traits are measured. This usually involves a valid psychological paper-and-pencil scale. Second, other people’s ap- praisal externally validates the existence of a personality trait. For example, if you rate yourself as an extravert and a sensation seeker, then another person, such as a good friend, will agree with your assessment. Third, personality traits have biological correlates. Neural activity in the brain and physiological reactivity correlate with operational measures of personality traits. Finally, the biological correlates of personality traits are genetically transmitted—that is, traits run in families. The following subsections examine some trait- verification procedures.
Operational Definitions. It is important to separate measures of a personality trait from the behavior the trait is supposed to explain. To reason that a person frequently attends par- ties because she is an extravert and then use frequent party attendance as evidence for ex- traversion provides little understanding about the motivation for party attendance. Frequent party attendance cannot serve both as evidence for the trait of extraversion and as the be- havior to be explained by extraverison. Instead, it is necessary to measure a personality trait independently of the behavior that is to be explained. The existence of a personality trait is validated by how it is measured—that is, its operational definition. The NEO Personality Inventory is used to measure the five personality factors presented in Table 9.1 (Costa & McCrae, 1985, 2001). The inventory consists of 243 items that a person rates on a five-point scale, which ranges from Strongly disagree to Strongly agree. The Mini-Marker Set is a much briefer scale, which involves a list of 40 adjective markers that are descriptive of the big five personality factors (see Table 9.2; Saucier, 1994, 2003). A person endorses each adjective in the set according to how accurately it reflects his personality. The more accurate an adjective is rated, the more indicative it is of a person’s personality trait.
The Sensation Seeking Scale was developed to measure the four factors of the sensation- seeking trait (Zuckerman, 1978, 1979, 1994).A person receives one score for each factor rang- ing from zero to 10 and a total score equal to the sum of the four factors. The Sensation Seeking Scale assesses the thrill-and-adventure-seeking component with preferences for activities like sky diving, mountain climbing, or motorcycle riding and assesses the experience-seeking com- ponent with whether a person would like to be hypnotized, try new foods, or experiment with drugs.The disinhibition component is measured by one’s preference for emotionally expressive individuals, liking to get high, or observing sex scenes in movies. Finally, the boredom- susceptibility component is measured by whether or not one gets bored seeing the same old faces, watching the same movie again, and preferring unpredictable friends.
➣ A complete version of the Sensation Seeking Scale developed by Zuckerman (1979, 1994) can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/sensation/ index.shtml
Psychophysiology and Neuropsychology. Another method by which to validate per- sonality traits is to examine their correlation with physiological responses. Carl Jung (1924),
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a one-time collaborator with Freud, was one of the first to propose that a personality trait was real in the sense that it had a biological basis. In regard to the particular disposition of a person, “It may well be that physiological causes, inaccessible to our knowledge, play a part in this” (p. 416). Gordon Allport (1937b, 1966), one of the originators of the trait the- ory of personality, also believed that traits are real, meaning that they have direct counter- parts in the brain. Accordingly, a personality trait refers to behavioral consistencies and to neurological structures or processes in the brain. Psychophysiology is a field that relates changes in psychological variables with changes in physiological variables. Examples of physiological variables are heart rate, electrodermal activity, and changes in muscle activ- ity, which are measured by electrical signals. Differences in personality traits correspond to differences in physiological responding (Andreassi, 1989). Using sense of humor as an ex- ample, electrical changes in facial muscles from smiling at cartoons may be greater for in- dividuals with a good sense of humor compared to those with little sense of humor. Another method that attempts to demonstrate the reality of traits relates differences in personality to differences in brain characteristics. In the study of neuropsychology, an investigator would attempt to relate differences in brain activity and neurotransmitters with differences in per- sonality (Zuckerman, 1991).
TABLE 9.2 The 40-Item Mini-Marker Set: How Accurately Can You Describe Yourself?
Please use this list of common human traits to describe yourself as accurately as possible. Describe yourself as you see yourself at the present time, not as you wish to be in the future. Describe yourself as you are generally or typically, as compared with other persons you know of the same sex and of roughly your same age. Before each trait, please write a number indicating how accurately that trait describes you, using the following rating scale:
1 2 3 4 Extremely Very Moderately Slightly Inaccurate Inaccurate Inaccurate Inaccurate
Inaccurate nor Accurate
6 7 8 9 Slightly Moderately Very Extremely
Accurate Accurate Accurate Accurate
The eight words underneath each of the big five personality traits are descriptive markers of that trait.
OPENNESS CONSCIENTIOUSNESS EXTRAVERSION AGREEABLENESS NEUROTICISM Uncreative– Careless– Bashful– Cold– Relaxed– Unintellectual– Disorganized– Quiet– Harsh– Unenvious– Philosophical Inefficient– Shy– Rude– Envious Complex Sloppy– Withdrawn– Unsympathetic– Fretful Creative Efficient Bold Cooperative Jealous Deep Organized Energetic Kind Moody Imaginative Practical Extraverted Sympathetic Temperamental Intellectual Systematic Talkative Warm Touchy
Note: A negative sign after a word indicates reverse scoring: 1 � 9, 2 � 8, 3 � 7, 4 � 6, 5 � 5, etc. Sum the scores for each personality trait. A higher score indicates a greater degree of that personality trait.
Source: Adapted from The 40-Item Mini-Marker Set by G. Saucier available at http://www.uoregon.edu/~gsaucier/gsau41.pdf
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The study of the psychophysiology and neuropsychology of extraversion has been carried out extensively. Differences in the degree of extraversion are associated with central and peripheral nervous system differences (Eysenck, 1990). The cortex of an introvert is chronically more aroused than that of an extravert, due to greater levels of excitation produced by the introvert’s reticular activating system (Eysenck, 1967). To test this hypothesis, Bullock and Gilliland (1993) measured brain stem auditory-evoked responses in reaction to a click sound for both introverts and extraverts. Introverts exhibited faster brain stem auditory responses to these sounds than did extraverts. The results were interpreted as supporting Eysenck’s theory in that the activity level in the auditory pathway in the reticular activating system was greater for introverts. There are also differences between introverts and extraverts in physiological responding. Introverts are more physiologically reactive than extraverts in response to various kinds of intermediate levels of stimulation. Electrodermal and auditory-evoked responses to tones of different loudness or frequency also tend to be greater in introverts than extraverts (Stelmack, 1990). The cortex of an introvert is assumed to be habitually more aroused than that of an extravert (Eysenck, 1967, 1990).
Sensation seeking is based on inherited differences in the central nervous system and in brain chemistry. Zuckerman (1985, 1990, 1994) relies on the brain enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) as a reliable marker for sensation seeking in humans. The enzyme MAO correlates negatively with scores on the Sensation Seeking Scale (Zuckerman, 1994). High- sensation seekers are low in MAO, while low-sensation seekers are high in MAO. The apparent function of MAO is to break down brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine (Zuckerman, 1985, 1990, 1994). Dopamine energizes or activates behavior toward biological rewards and the search for such rewards. (The role of dopamine as a brain reward system was described in Chapter 4.)
MAO and suspected neurotransmitter differences between high- and low-sensation seekers is revealed in their physiological responses to various stimuli (Zuckerman, 1990, 1994). For example, Neary and Zuckerman (1976) presented a simple visual stimulus at ran- dom intervals to extremely low- and high-sensation seekers. Following habituation to this stimulus, the participants were presented with a novel stimulus of a complex colored design. The intensity of electrodermal responses to the initial simple stimulus and to the complex novel stimulus was stronger for high- than for low-sensation seekers. High-sensation seekers also give stronger electrodermal responses than low-sensation seekers to words that have a strong aggressive or sexual connotation (Smith et al., 1989). The effects of high- versus low- sensation seeking, especially the disinhibition factor, are also apparent in orienting responses. These are “What is that?” reactions. High-disinhibition participants show heart rate decelera- tion (orienting response) to visual and auditory stimuli, whereas low-disinhibition participants show heart rate acceleration (defense response) (Zuckerman et al., 1988). High-disinhibition participants also show stronger cortical-evoked potentials (brain wave responses) to a flashing light and loud tones presented at short intervals (Zuckerman et al., 1974).
Behavioral Genetics. Another method of demonstrating the reality of traits is through behavioral genetics, which is the science of the genetic inheritance of biological traits that are relevant to behavior. The use of this method is based on the assumption that the intricate structures and components of the brain and nervous system are genetically trans- mitted. Furthermore, greater genetic similarity between two individuals is associated with greater similarity in their brains and nervous systems, which, in turn, is associated with
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Openness Extraversion Neuroticism
corresponding resemblances in their personality traits (Plomin et al., 2001). For instance, identical, or monozygotic (MZ), twins come from a single fertilized egg that splits in half, resulting in two genetically identical individuals who have 100% of their genes in common. Fraternal, or dizygotic (DZ), twins and siblings represent two different eggs fertilized by two different sperm, resulting in two individuals who share an average of 50% of their genes. Finally, a parent and his or her biological child have 50% of their genes in common, while a parent with an adopted child has no genes in common. In regards to the similarity of personality traits, identical twins should be more similar than fraternal twins and sib- lings. In addition, fraternal twins, siblings, and parents with biological children should be more similar in personality traits than two unrelated individuals. For example, twins should be more alike in extraversion (sociable, outgoing) and sensation seeking (daring, adven- turesome) than siblings, who should be more alike on those traits than unrelated children.
Evidence for genetic influences on the five personality dimensions comes from Riemann and coworkers (1997) in Germany, who used NEO Personality Inventory scores obtained from identical and fraternal twins. They computed the correlations between the five personality dimension scores for 660 identical twins and for 200 same-sex fraternal twins. The results in Figure 9.1 show higher correlations for identical twins (MZ) than for same-sex fraternal (DZ) twins. In other words, individuals who are 100% alike genetically
FIGURE 9.1 Personality Traits of Identical and Fraternal Twins. The graph shows the correlations for all big five personality factor scores between identical (MZ) twins and same-sex fraternal (DZ) twins. Correlations were higher for MZ twins than for DZ twins on all five personality dimensions.
Source: Adapted from “Genetic and Environmental Influences on Personality: A Study of Twins Reared Together Using the Self- and Peer Report NEO-FFI Scales” by R. Riemann et al., 1997, Journal of Personality, 65, table 2, p. 461.
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are more similar on all five personality dimensions than individuals who are 50% alike genetically (Bouchard & Loehlin, 2001; Loehlin, 1992; Plomin et al., 2001).
One could make the argument, however, that this greater similarity among identical twins is the result of rearing practices. Perhaps identical twins are treated more alike than are fraternal twins, resulting in greater behavioral similarities between identical twins. One an- swer to this criticism is to compare twins who have been reared together with those who have been reared separately. If the environment has an effect, then twins reared together should be more alike than twins reared separately. This comparison is possible when twins are adopted by different families and reunite years later, as was true for the “Jim” twins in the case that opened this chapter. Loehlin (1992) summarizes the similarity in extraversion and neuroticism of twins reared together or separately in Finland, Sweden, the United States, and Great Britain. These analyses show that the correlations for both extraversion and neuroticism are greater for identical twins (MZ) than for fraternal twins (DZ), regardless of whether the twins were reared together or apart. Thus, even when rearing environments differ, greater genetic similarity corresponds to greater similarity in extraversion and neuroticism. Identical twins reared together are also more similar than identical twins reared apart, which implies that rearing conditions have some effect on extraversion and neuroticism.
There is also strong evidence for a genetic contribution to sensation seeking (Zuckerman, 2002). The closer the genetic relationship between individuals, the greater their similarity in sensation seeking. Hur and Bouchard (1997) examined the correlation between separated MZ and DZ twins on the four traits that comprise sensation seeking. The correlations, shown in Figure 9.2, indicate greater similarities between MZ twins than DZ twins on all traits of sensation seeking except thrill and adventure seeking. Even when identical twins were reared separately in different environments, they were still similar on all four sensation-seeking traits.
Other researchers have also contributed evidence for the effects of genes on sensation seeking. In analyzing a large set of sensation-seeking scores obtained from identical and fraternal twins, Fulker and associates (1980) found stronger correlations for identical twins than for fraternal twins. The authors concluded that the similarity in twins for sensation seeking is more the result of heredity than it is of environmental similarities. Tellegen and coresearchers (1988) compared scores of identical and fraternal twins on a constraint factor. High scorers on this factor are similar to low-sensation seekers in that they “describe themselves as being restrained, cautious, avoiding dangerous kinds of excitement and thrills, differential and conventional” (p. 1034). Low scorers on this factor, by contrast, are similar to high-sensation seekers in that they show “impulsiveness, fearless sensation seek- ing, and rejection of conventional strictures on their behavior” (p. 1034). The degree of re- lationship between scores on the constraint factor was strongest and practically identical for MZ twins reared together or apart, much weaker for DZ twins reared together, and nonex- istent for DZ twins reared apart (Tellegen et al., 1988). Thus, the results of this study also indicate that similarity in sensation seeking is more the result of genetic similarity among pairs of twins than it is the result of environmental similarity, such as where the twins were reared. Bear in mind, however, that “personality traits are not inherited as such; only the bi- ological structures coded in the DNA are inherited” (Zuckerman, 1994, p. 295). There is also evidence for genetic influences on sensation seeking and its biological marker MAO. In a summary of twin studies regarding measures of MAO, Zuckerman (1991, table 11.3)
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shows that there is a positive correlation in MAO levels between sets of twins. This leads to the conclusion that MAO is almost totally under genetic control.
Section Recap To show that personality is a source of motivation, it is first necessary to show the origin of personality traits, how they are studied, and that they are real. Temperament is a consistent individual difference in emotional responding resulting from inherited genetic features. Personality stems from temperament. It is a consistent individual difference in behavior re- sulting from the interaction of temperament and social experience. A personality trait refers to consistency in a specific set of behaviors across relevant situations from one time to the next. A trait can serve as a category for similar behaviors but also as a cause of why people differ in their reactions to, and in their approach and avoidance of, different situations. Traits represented in the five-factor model important for motivation are represented by the acronym OCEAN: openness (shallow–curious), conscientiousness (careless–dependable), extraversion (quiet–active), agreeableness (unfriendly–friendly), and neuroticism (calm–moody). Another trait important for understanding motivation is sensation seeking. This trait is characterized by seeking intense sensations and experiences and the willing- ness to take risks and incur costs for the sake of such experiences.
TAS ES Dis BS
FIGURE 9.2 Sensation Seeking of Separated Identical and Fraternal Twins. Correlations are presented between identical (MZ) and fraternal (DZ) twins for the four traits that comprise sensa- tion seeking: TAS � Thrill and adventure seeking, ES � Experience seeking, Dis � Disinhibition, BS � Boredom susceptibility. Correlations were higher for MZ twins than for DZ twins on all sensation-seeking factors except for thrill and adventure seeking.
Source: Adapted from “The Genetic Correlation between Impulsivity and Sensation-Seeking Traits” by Y-M Hur and T. J. Bouchard, Jr., 1997, Behavior Genetics, 27, table III, p. 460.
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Several procedures help validate the reality of personality traits. First, operational definitions refer to the use of psychological scales to measure the extent of personality traits in a person. The NEO Personality Inventory and the Mini-Marker Set are two ways to mea- sure the big five personality factors. Second, the appraisal of traits by other individuals cor- relates with a person’s self-assessment of those traits. Third, personality traits have biological correlates. Psychophysiology studies the relationship between personality in terms of physiological and psychological variables. Neuropsychology studies differences in brain structure, chemistry, and function to determine how these relate to personality and behavior. For instance, the cortex of the introvert is chronically more aroused than the cortex of the extravert. For sensation seeking, monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an important brain enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters. A greater amount is present in low- sensation seekers, and a lower amount is present in high-sensation seekers. Fourth, behavioral genetics is the science of the inheritance of behavioral characteristics and helps validate the existence of traits. Identical twins, whether reared together or apart, are more alike than fraternal twins on all big five personality traits and on sensation seeking.
Personality Traits Affect Motivation The previous sections demonstrated that personality traits have a real existence. The purpose of this section is to describe how personality traits affect motivation.
Personality and Environment Two concepts from behavioral genetics, gene-environment interaction and gene-environment correlation (Loehlin, 1992; Plomin et al., 2001), will help us understand the influence of personality traits on motivation. These two concepts will be translated with an emphasis on personality traits: trait-environment interaction and trait-environment correlation. Trait- environment interaction means that how a person reacts to the environment depends on the amount of a particular trait she possesses. Individuals with different levels of a person- ality trait react differently to environmental situations. For example, an extravert enjoys a large party while an introvert does not. An individual high in neuroticism may be more up- set by unfavorable weather than an individual who is low in neuroticism. Finally, a high- sensation seeker enjoys the latest scary movie, while the low-sensation seeker thinks of leaving in the middle of it.
A trait-environment correlation means that traits and environments are associated in their effects on behavior, because personality traits determine the situations a person chooses. Individuals with different personality traits select different situations, while those with similar personality traits seek out similar situations. Snyder (1983) suggests that people “may choose to enter and spend time in situations that facilitate behavior expressions of their characteristic dispositions” (p. 502). These situations allow for the satisfaction of motives that are characteristic of those personality traits. In addition, people manipulate the situations in which they find themselves (Buss, 1987, 1992; Buss et al., 1987). For example, extraverts seek out large parties, while introverts seek out small gatherings. Or, when given a choice of videos, a high-sensation seeker may select a scary movie, while a low-sensation seeker may choose a comedy. In other words, when traits are different, choices are different. But when traits are similar, choices are similar. The Jim twins, presumably having similar personality traits, selected the same vacation spots, cars, cigarettes, and part-time law enforcement work.
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Effects of Extraversion on Motivation The following questions illustrate the relationship between extraversion and motivation. (1) Trait-environment interaction: How would you react at a party where you did not know most of the guests? Would you dominate a group’s conversation at a party, or would you speak individually to only one other person? (2) Trait-environment correlation: On Satur- day night would you prefer to attend a large party or watch a video with a few friends? The answer to each question depends on a person’s degree of extraversion. As described next, extraverts would do one thing, and introverts another.
Extraversion-Environment Interaction. The differences between introverts and extraverts account for the variation in their reactions to the same situation. To illustrate, extraverts are easier to put into a good mood than introverts. Larsen and Ketelaar (1989, 1991) had ex- traverts and introverts imagine as vividly as possible either a pleasant or unpleasant experi- ence happening to them. The pleasant experience consisted of imagining that they had won a $50,000 lottery and were taking a vacation in Hawaii. The unpleasant experience con- sisted of imagining being expelled from school in an embarrassing manner and also having a close friend die. A control group of introverts and extraverts were asked to imagine visit- ing a supermarket and taking a car trip on the highway. Following this, participants were asked to rate their level of positive mood and their level of negative mood. Extraverts de- veloped a greater positive mood than did introverts as a result of imagining the pleasant ex- perience. The result of imagining the unpleasant experience, however, did not necessarily put introverts in a more negative mood than it did extraverts. Other research has shown that extraverts, compared to introverts, seem to be in a better mood consistently. For instance, Ruch and Köhler (1998) have found that extraverts tend to be consistently more cheerful and less often in a serious or a bad mood.
How individuals react to the opportunities and confines of a relationship depends on their level of extraversion. Watson and colleagues (2000) measured the degree of relation- ship satisfaction of married couples and of heterosexual-dating couples and correlated these measures with each member’s level of the big five personality factors. Extraversion corre- lated positively with relationship satisfaction. Extraverted wives and husbands were more satisfied with their relationship than were introverted wives and husbands. For dating cou- ples, extraverted men were more satisfied than introverted ones. However, there was no dif- ference between extraverted and introverted women.
Extraversion is also a factor in work success. Seibert and Kraimer (2001) adminis- tered the Mini-Marker Set (Table 9.2) to a sample of employees in a variety of organizations and occupations. Employees identified as high in extraversion had received a greater num- ber of promotions and higher salaries than employees identified as low in extraversion. In addition, extraverted employees also enjoyed greater intrinsic career satisfaction, such as feeling that they made progress toward their goals.
Extraversion-Environment Correlation. Extraverts and introverts voluntarily choose to participate in different activities. Extraverts participate in social activities such as noisy parties, debates, dancing, and meeting new people. Introverts, however, are more likely to avoid these activities (Argyle & Lu, 1990). When seeking recreation, extraverts, rather than introverts, are more likely to seek out social situations involving other people (Diener et al., 1984). In an extension of these latter findings, Emmons and associates (1986) tried to assess
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whether personality traits determined which situation people selected. At the end of each day, participants were asked to indicate how much time they spent in a particular situa- tion that ranged from 15 minutes to over 2 hours. The situations were of the participants’ own choosing, such as being alone, semisocial (studying in library), or social (interacting with others in recreation, family, or work). In addition, participants were asked if the situa- tion was imposed (you had to be there—e.g., go to class) or chosen (you decided to have lunch with a friend). Their results indicated that extraversion was positively related to the percentage of time spent in chosen social situations and negatively related to time spent in imposed social situations. Extraversion also correlated with the time spent in recreation that was freely chosen but was uncorrelated with imposed recreation. Thus, extraverts, more than introverts, are motivated to seek social stimulation.
Differences between introverts and extraverts are exhibited in a variety of other situations and activities. In the library, extraverts prefer areas containing easy chairs and large tables, where the opportunity for socialization is greater. Introverts prefer small tables or individual study desks, with limited opportunities for socialization. In addition, in the library extraverts prefer a higher noise level than do introverts (Campbell & Hawley, 1982). Extraverts prefer to participate in group-oriented or team sports such as basketball or soccer rather than solitary-type sports such as running or swimming. In addition, extraverts have a greater preference for highly competitive sports than for less competitive ones (Kirkcaldy & Furnham, 1991). Extraverted men and women have different occupa- tional preferences than do introverted men and women (Costa et al., 1984). Extraverted men prefer occupations like advertising executive, manufacturer’s representative, mar- riage counselor, and sales manager. Extraverted women prefer occupations of concert singer, advertising executive, sports promoter, symphony conductor, and freelance writer. As Costa and associates (1984) note, these occupations require the use of the extraverts’ assertive and somewhat exhibitionistic tendencies. Extraversion also plays a role in the choice of dating partners.
Extraversion and the Channeling of Motives. Psychological needs are stable individ- ual differences that have motivational properties. They push individuals into action. Per- sonality traits are also stable individual differences in behavior but have no motivational properties. Traits, however, determine the different values that people place on incentives. Both needs and traits are examples of Darwin’s population thinking. Need differences produce behavior differences. People behave differently because they have different inten- sities of psychological needs to satisfy. Trait differences are also associated with behavior differences. People behave differently because of the differently valued incentives that they hope to attain.
A reason for the motivational distinction between needs and traits is that their studies have separate histories in psychology. However, there are attempts to link the effects of needs and traits for the motivation of behavior. An example is to link extraversion to the need for affiliation and to the need for power. Winter and associates (1998) express this idea in their channeling hypothesis, which states that personality traits channel or convey how psychological motives are represented and satisfied. To support their theory, they used the results of important longitudinal studies to illustrate how extraversion channels the expres- sion of the affiliation motive and the power motive. The use of longitudinal data makes it possible to show how over a long period of time extraversion channels motive expression.
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How would introverts and extraverts differ in their attempts to satisfy their affilia- tion motives? Winter and associates (1998) hypothesized that extraverts would channel the expression of their affiliation motive by doing volunteer work. Such activity would pro- vide the means for satisfying their affiliation motive along with the opportunity for meet- ing new people. Introverts with a high affiliation motive, however, would shy away from volunteer work as a way of satisfying their need for affiliation, since they do not particu- larly enjoy meeting new people. A low need for affiliation also would not motivate intro- verted and extraverted women to do volunteer work. In studies consulted by these researchers, Mills College women had their need for affiliation and for power measured with the TAT at age 21 and their level of extraversion measured at age 43. Radcliffe College women had their need for affiliation and for power measured with the TAT at age 18 and their level of extraversion measured at age 43. The results confirmed the predic- tions for both the Mills and Radcliffe samples. Extraverted women with a high affiliation motive sought to do volunteer work at age 43, while introverted women with a high affil- iation motive shied away from it.
How would an extravert and an introvert differ in their attempts to satisfy the power motive? Entering an impact career such as business, education, psychotherapy, or journal- ism is a way of expressing one’s power motive (Jenkins, 1994; see Chapter 8). Winter and associates (1998) hypothesized that extraverts with a high power motive would enter high- impact careers, since these provided opportunities for interacting with other individuals. Introverts with a high power motive, however, would shy away from such careers and would channel their power motive in some alternative career direction. The results show that extraverted Radcliffe graduates with a high need for power selected high-impact careers. Introverted Radcliffe graduates did not use high-impact careers to satisfy their power motives. For Mills women graduates, however, impact careers were selected by both intro- verts and extraverts to satisfy their power motives. One reason for this difference between the two college samples is that Radcliffe women entered more traditionally “male” impact careers (psychiatrist, professor), while Mills women entered more traditionally “female” careers (social worker, elementary school teacher) (Winter et al., 1998).
Effects of Neuroticism on Motivation Neuroticism refers to a complex of trait dimensions that ranges from being characteristi- cally nonemotional (calm, contented) at the low end to being emotional (anxious, quickly aroused) at the high end.
Neuroticism-Environment Interaction. Individuals high in neuroticism are easier to put in a negative mood than those low in neuroticism. Rusting and Larsen (1997) had participants imagine pleasant scenes, like winning the lottery, or unpleasant scenes, like having a friend die of cancer. Follow-up mood measures showed a greater degree of nega- tive mood in high- compared to low-neuroticism individuals. Neuroticism did not correlate with the degree of positive mood that had been induced in the participants. Suls and asso- ciates (1998) had male participants who resided in the community record the occurrence of problems and moods several times per day over eight days. The degree of negative mood depended both on daily problems and on the level of neuroticism. Daily problems put every- one in a negative mood, but the level of negative mood was greater for the more neurotic men. In a study described earlier regarding relationship satisfaction, Watson and colleagues
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Negative Interpersonal Exchanges
High neuroticism Low neuroticism
FIGURE 9.3 Neuroticism and Drinking Alone. The impact of negative interpersonal exchanges is different for individuals high in neuroticism compared to those low in neuroticism. High- neuroticism individuals choose to increase their solitary drinking as the number of negative inter- personal exchanges increases. Low-neuroticism individuals are unaffected.
Source: From “Daily Interpersonal Experiences, Context, and Alcohol Consumption: Crying in Your Beer and Toasting Good Times” by C. D. Mohr et al., 2001, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, figure 2, p. 496. Copyright 2001 by American Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission.
(2000) found that, at least for women, neuroticism correlated negatively with satisfaction. Women high in neuroticism were less satisfied with their married or dating relationship than were women low in neuroticism. However, neuroticism had no effect on men’s satisfaction. Neuroticism also has a negative impact on career satisfaction. Employees high in neuroticism tended to evaluate their careers more negatively than employees low in neuroticism (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001).
Neuroticism-Environment Correlation. A person’s level of neuroticism determines the extent he chooses to engage in risky behavior to enhance his positive feelings or lessen his negative feelings. For instance, Mohr and coresearchers (2001) examined the link between negative interpersonal exchanges and drinking over a 30-day period in a community sam- ple of adults. Negative exchanges were measured by the answers to such questions as, Did anyone yell at you, take advantage of you, or prevent you from working on your goals today? If any of these negative social events happened, then how likely is an individual to have a drink alone that evening? The results showed that individuals high in neuroticism coped with negative events by drinking alone more frequently than individuals low in neu- roticism. Figure 9.3 provides a clear indication of a trait-environment correlation. High- neuroticism individuals chose to increase their number of solitary drinks in response to an increase in the number of negative interpersonal exchanges they experienced. Low- neuroticism individuals did not show this increase.
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Emotional distress and negative mood states characterize neuroticism. Individuals high in neuroticism also choose to use other risky behaviors, besides drinking, to cope (Cooper et al., 2000). For example, Trobst and coresearchers (2002) measured the big five personality factors of individuals engaged in risky sexual practices (anal sex, no condoms) and shared needles. Their results revealed a trait-environment correlation—that is, a posi- tive relationship between the level of neuroticism and the degree of risky behavior. Neurotic individuals were more likely to choose to engage in highly risky sexual and drug behaviors than were nonneurotic individuals.
Effects of Conscientiousness on Motivation A person with a high level of conscientiousness is competent, orderly, dutiful, achievement- striving, self-disciplined, and deliberate in her actions. These characteristics should show their mark on various behaviors, such as academic work and health-related behaviors. In the case of academic work, Noftle and Robins (2007) examined the relationship between con- scientiousness and GPA at two different University of California campuses. The major find- ing in all cases was that conscientiousness correlated with GPA even after indicators of scholastic aptitude were factored out. Simply put, more conscientious students earned high grades! Furthermore, students who became more conscientious as their academic careers progressed over the four years were also inclined to earn higher grades. The increase in grades with conscientiousness were the results of what the researchers termed academic effort. For example, students were asked, “On average, how many hours a week (outside of class time) have you spent on school work the current semester [quarter]?” (p. 121). More conscientious students reported that they put forth more academic effort, which was asso- ciated with earning higher grades (Noftle & Robins, 2007).
Conscientiousness is associated with lifestyle behaviors that promote healthful living and disassociated with unhealthy lifestyle choices. Bogg and Roberts (2004) examined nu- merous studies that covered the relationship between conscientiousness and health-related behaviors. On the whole, the authors found that increases in the level of conscientiousness was associated with decreases in excessive alcohol use, illicit drug use, unhealthy eating, risky driving, risky sex, and tobacco use. Individuals lower in conscientiousness were more likely to engage in these health-threatening behaviors. Conversely, individuals higher in conscientiousness are more likely to engage in health-promoting behaviors.
Effects of Agreeableness on Motivation Individuals high in agreeableness tend to be trusting, compliant, and helpful. So would they be more likely to help individuals in distress? Consider the following common scenario: Imagine driving and seeing an individual whose car has broken down along the side of the road. How likely is it that you will risk being late somewhere in order to help this individ- ual if he or she was a stranger, a friend, or one of your siblings? Consider the following extraordinary scenario: How likely would you enter a burning house at the risk of death in order to save the life of the occupant if that person were a stranger, a friend, or one of your siblings? Are individuals high, compared to low, in the trait of agreeableness more or less likely to help? Graziano and coresearchers (2007) presented these two scenarios to univer- sity students in order to answer this question. Based on a personality questionnaire, partic- ipants were divided into two groups: low agreeableness and high agreeableness. The results
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Stranger Relation to Person Helping
Friend Sibling 20
FIGURE 9.4 Agreeableness and Helping. Participants high in agreeableness were more likely to help a stranded motorist when that person was a friend or sibling. There was no difference be- tween low and high agreeableness in the likelihood of helping strangers.
Source: Adapted from “Agreeableness, empathy, and helping: A person × situation perspective” by W. G. Graziano et al., 2007, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 583–599, p. 586.
for the first scenario are shown in Figure 9.4. Individuals high in agreeableness reported a greater willingness to be late in order to help a stranded motorist provided that individual was a friend or sibling. There was no difference in the likelihood of helping a stranger. However, when it came to saving strangers from a burning house, high-agreeable people were a bit more likely to do so than low-agreeable people would. Low- and high-agreeable individuals were equally likely to save friends and siblings from burning buildings. Thus, agreeable people are more likely to help individuals who are in distress. However, helping also depends on the situation and on the relationship between the helper and the person helped. Individuals in grave danger are helped nearly equally by low- and high-agreeable people. However, when helping creates an inconvenience, such as being late, highly agree- able people are more likely to help.
Effects of Multiple Traits on Motivation The motivation of behavior comes from multiple sources. In the case of personality traits, multiple sources imply that several traits combine to determine a person’s reactions to and choices of situations and activities. This section examines some behaviors and how they are affected by multiple personality traits.
Internet Usage. Does the extent of Internet usage correlate with an individual’s person- ality traits? This question was examined in university students by Landers and Lounsbury (2006). Students could indicate their Internet usage along eight incremental steps that ranged from less than 1 hour per week to more than 10 hours per day. Internet usage could
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involve communication (e-mail or chat), leisure (music, shopping, games), and academics (research, course participation). Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion corre- lated negatively with Internet usage. However, in the case of conscientiousness, Internet us- age for academic purposes increased. Overall, the researchers concluded that “ . . . more introverted, less agreeable, and less conscientious students engaged in higher levels of Internet usage” (p. 288). Perhaps less agreeable students find that fewer demands for co- operation are placed on them when they use the Internet. High conscientiousness may dis- courage use of the Internet for leisure because these individuals spend more time in structured-student activities like sports or clubs. In addition, being high in conscientiousness increases the motivation to use the Internet for academic purposes. Finally, extraverted stu- dents may enjoy real social encounters in place of the more solitary encounters that the Internet provides (Landers & Lounsbury, 2006).
Prejudice. What is your attitude to groups or individuals who are different from you? This question taps into an individual’s prejudices.The definition of prejudice usually involves neg- ative attitudes and feelings about a social group or its members. Jackson and Poulsen (2005) reasoned that prejudice could be tempered by the amount of favorable contact that a person has with another group or individual. This contact, however, may depend on the strength of certain personality traits. Based on the selection hypothesis, an individual’s personality de- termines the type of contact sought with members of other groups. The selection hypothesis is an instance of trait-environment correlation, since personality is associated with the amount of group contact. Jackson and Poulsen (2005) hypothesized that individuals high on openness to experience would be more likely to seek contact with minority group members, such as African Americans or Asian Americans. Furthermore, they reasoned that the quality of contact should be greater with increases in openness but also with agreeableness. In their investigation, after the big five personality traits were assessed, students described the amount of their contact experiences with either African Americans or Asian Americans, fol- lowed by an assessment of their level of prejudice toward those groups. The results indicated that as the trait of openness increased, the frequency of group contact increased. In addition, as openness and agreeableness increased, the quality of contact also increased. Individuals high in openness and high agreeableness had lower negative attitudes and higher positive at- titudes toward those groups as a result of their contact experiences (Jackson & Poulsen, 2005). It is important to note that individuals high in openness to experience are more will- ing to initiate contact with members of other groups. As a result, they, along with people high in agreeableness, report those experiences as positive, friendly, and pleasant.
Happiness and the Big Five Personality Traits As described earlier, personality stems partly from temperament and is under genetic control. These factors, over which an individual has little control, imply that personality is deter- mined and is not created by free will. This conclusion has implications for the dependence of happiness on personality. Are individuals free to be as happy as they want to be or are they constrained by their personality traits? Diener and Seligman (2002) have examined the re- lationship between personality factors and happiness. They identified 22 (top 10%) very happy and 24 (bottom 10%) very unhappy university students out of an initial sample of 222. The classification of whether one is happy or unhappy depended on a screening procedure that involved four psychological scales, memory for positive and negative events, and the
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Neuroticism Agreeableness Openness
evaluation by people who knew the students. The results in Figure 9.5 clearly show that very happy and unhappy individuals differ on three of the personality factors. Very happy stu- dents were significantly lower on neuroticism and higher on extraversion and agreeableness. They did not differ in conscientiousness and openness. Figure 9.5 shows that neuroticism and extraversion appear to be the most influential personality factors governing happiness.
The specific association between extraversion and happiness may result from extraverts deriving greater positive affect from their social activities. Ratings of happiness, enjoyment, and satisfaction are generally greater for extraverts than for introverts in social situations (Argyle & Lu, 1990; Diener et al., 1984; Pavot et al., 1990). Extraverts seek out social situations because they add to their happiness and subjective well-being (Pavot et al., 1990). Emmons and associates (1986) asked their participants to rate whether their mood was positive or negative in a particular situation. The researchers found that affect ratings correlated with extraversion in social situations. Extraverts experience more positive affect than introverts when in a social situation of their choosing and less when they are required to be in a solitary situation. Extraverts also feel more negative affect when required to be alone and less negative affect when in a social situation of their choosing. Argyle and Lu (1990) studied how much time and how much enjoyment extraverts derive from various common activities, such as going to a bar or having a quiet conversation with a friend. Their findings showed that extraverts enjoy and participate more in social activities, while intro- verts have a greater preference and enjoyment for solitary activities.
FIGURE 9.5 Happiness and Personality. Students classified as very happy were significantly lower in neuroticism and higher in extraversion and agreeableness than were students classified as very unhappy. They did not differ in conscientiousness and openness.
Source: Adapted from “Very Happy People” by E. Diener and M. E. P. Seligman, 2002, Psychological Science, 13, table 3, p. 84.
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Effects of Sensation Seeking on Motivation What are your sensation-seeking tendencies like? Would you like to sample some raw oysters or escargot? Would you enjoy the newest roller coaster ride at an amusement park? Do you consider tattoos and body piercing attractive? A person’s answers to these questions depend on his level of sensation seeking.
Differences in motivation can stem from differences in sensation seeking. The sensa- tion seeking–environment interaction implies that the sensation experienced as pleasurable by a high-sensation seeker may be aversive to a low-sensation seeker. And a pleasurable sen- sation for a low-sensation seeker may be aversive for a high-sensation seeker. Also, since sen- sations result from activities, high- and low-sensation seekers engage in different activities in order to attain their most pleasurable level of sensation. In addition, different behaviors are selected, depending on whether the person is seeking sensation from thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition, or boredom susceptibility. Zuckerman (1994) has provided a rich source of evidence indicating that in comparison to low-sensation seekers, high-sensation seekers have engaged in a wide variety of behaviors that provide intense sen- sations and experiences. Many high-sensation behaviors, however, are illicit, such as sub- stance abuse, reckless driving, theft, vandalism, and risky sexual behavior (Wagner, 2001).
A small sample of activity differences between high- and low-sensation seekers is provided next in order to develop a flavor for this area. Individuals who participate in high- risk sports are more likely to be high- rather than low-sensation seekers. Freixanet (1991) compared alpinists (those who had participated in several expeditions to the Himalayas), mountaineers (mountain climbers and skiers), other sportsmen (scuba divers, water skiers, white-water canoeists, sky divers, race car drivers), and a control group of individuals who did not participate in any sports. All three sports groups scored higher on thrill and adven- ture seeking and experience seeking and had higher total sensation-seeking scores than did the control group. A major finding of this study was that the biggest difference was between sports groups and the controls; also, there was little difference among the sports groups. In comparing hang gliders, auto racers, and bowlers, Straub (1982) found that hang gliders and auto racers scored higher on all components of the sensation-seeking scale. Men and women who canoe and kayak white-water rivers involving long rapids and moderate waves have higher thrill-and-adventure-seeking scores than the general population. Higher thrill- and-adventure-seeking scores also are associated with lower anxiety levels prior to launch- ing into the river (Campbell et al., 1993).
Sensation seeking is associated with stimulus preference. For instance, high- and low- sensation seekers differ in the type of humor they prefer. Using factor analysis, Ruch has classified humor into three factors: incongruity-resolution, nonsense, and sex (see Ruch & Hehl, 1998). Incongruity-resolution humor involves jokes and cartoons in which the in- congruity is completely resolvable. Nonsense humor contains incongruities that are either not or only partially resolvable or create new incongruities on resolution. The sex factor refers to jokes and cartoons having a sexual theme. Ruch (1988) found that participants high in experience seeking and boredom susceptibility prefer nonsense humor over incongruity- resolution humor. Participants high in disinhibition preferred humor based on sexual con- tent more than did participants low in disinhibition. High- and low-sensation seekers also differ in their preference for eroticism. For example, Zuckerman (1978) found that high- disinhibition and experience-seeking participants prefer viewing erotic films more than low-disinhibition and experience-seeking participants.
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Section Recap Realizing that people differ in personality traits helps us to understand why they are moti- vated by different incentives and goals. First, individuals with a high level of a particular trait act as the trait name implies: open to experience, conscientious, extraverted, agreeable, and neurotic. Sensation seekers are individuals willing to take risks in order to experience varied, novel, complex, and intense sensations and experiences.
Individuals with different levels of traits react differently but also choose to be dif- ferent in different situations. Based on the trait-environment interaction, individuals at one end of a personality dimension react differently to various situations than do individuals at the other end. Thus, for each of the big five personality traits and sensation seeking, people with high levels of each trait react or respond differently to a situation than do those with low levels of each trait. According to the trait-environment correlation, individuals at one end of a personality dimension seek out, create, or modify situations differently than do in- dividuals at the other end. In this case, for each big five trait and sensation seeking, high trait levels are associated with seeking, creating, or modifying situations in ways that are different from those of individuals with low levels of each trait. The task of psychology is to determine what those situations and behaviors are. In some representative findings, ex- traverts are easier to put in a good mood. Extraverts are more likely than introverts to seek social stimulation in a variety of situations. According to the channeling hypothesis, extra- version channels or conveys how psychological motives like power and affiliation are ex- pressed and satisfied. Extraverts are more likely than introverts to do volunteer work when expressing their affiliation motive and to enter high-impact careers when expressing their power motive.
Other traits have also been examined for how people react and select or modify different situations. Individuals high in neuroticism are easier to put in a bad mood and are less satisfied with their relationships and careers. They are also more likely to choose to drink in solitude following negative social exchanges. Individuals high in con- scientiousness earn higher grades and are more likely to engage in health-enhancing be- haviors. High agreeableness is associated with a greater likelihood of helping friends and siblings in distress. Frequently a composite of trait levels are associated with a par- ticular behavior. For instance, students low in extraversion, agreeableness, and consci- entiousness spend more time using the Internet. According to the selection hypothesis, individuals high in openness to experience sought out minority contact more and reported less prejudice as a result as did individuals high in agreeableness. Happiness is associated with high levels of extraversion and agreeableness and low levels of neuroticism.
High sensation seekers respond positively to risky events, drugs, and unusual experi- ences, while low sensation seekers respond negatively. High sensation seekers are more likely to seek out and engage in risky sports, prefer unusual stimuli and situations, and ex- periment with things out of the ordinary.
Self as a Motivational System In a personality trait analysis of motivation, a person is viewed as reacting, selecting, and changing situations in a consistent fashion from one time to the next. Another type of con- sistency in motivation is a person’s self-image. Individuals try to maintain a consistent but
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also adaptable view of themselves depending on their role in a situation (Pervin, 1984, p. 171). To illustrate:
Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
The looking glass answers:
Thou, O Queen, are the fairest of all!
The mirror’s answer certainly gratifies the queen, because here is independent verification of her self-image that she is the most beautiful person in the land. Six years later the queen asks again:
Looking-glass, Looking-glass, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
The glass answers:
Thou art fairer than all who are here, Lady Queen. But more beautiful still is Snow-white, as I ween [imagine]. (Grimm, 1884/1968)
This time the queen is quite displeased with the mirror’s answer because now there is a large discrepancy between the queen’s self-conception of her beauty and the mirror’s conception.
This familiar fairy tale illustrates a unique psychological need: concern with self. As in the case of the queen, a person is motivated to have a positive image of herself. This need is similar to Maslow’s (1970) esteem need, since it involves holding yourself in respect (see Table 8.4). Concern with self also resembles Rogers’s (1959) concept of the need for self- regard, which refers to a person’s desire to feel positive about himself.
The purpose of this section is to examine how the image of the self and the evalua- tion of the self serve as a unique source of human motivation.
Self-Concept When you look into a mirror, do you see someone staring back at you? The person doing the staring is the I of the self and the person staring back is me. In introducing the concept of self into psychology, James (1892) described the I-self as the observer, knower, or subject and the me-self as the observed, the known, or the object. Just as a person’s image is reflected back in a mirror, the self as object is also reflected back from others, according to Cooley (1902/1964). He maintained that other individuals can serve as mirrors from which the self is reflected back. Cooley felt that “in imagination we perceive in another’s mind some thought of our appearance, manners, aims, deeds, char- acter, friends, and so on, and are variously affected by it” (p. 184). Through analysis of the self and from the feedback of others, an individual develops a self-concept. This is a person’s knowledge of herself organized into a schema or framework and from which information about the self can be retrieved and evaluated. A self-schema might be organized around such domains as appearance, performance, and social interactions with others (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991). For example, a student might identify himself as a male with red hair and freckles (appearance domain) who is good at math but bad at
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dancing (performance domain) and who enjoys talking about basketball with other stu- dents (social domain).
Motivation Regarding Self-Knowledge. The development of a self-concept depends on gaining knowledge about oneself. To this end, Baumeister (1998) postulates three cate- gories of motivation regarding self-knowledge. Self-enhancement is the foremost motive, which refers to the desire to learn positive things about the self. For example, a person would like to learn that she is good, moral, attractive, pleasant, and capable. The consistency motive refers to the desire for information that confirms or is congruous with current knowledge. For example, if a person perceives himself as having a good sense of humor, then information confirming that perception is accepted, while contrary informa- tion tends to be rejected. Finally, the appraisal motive refers to the desire to learn about oneself. Based on feedback from different people in different situations, a person learns about different characteristics of self. Although people wish appraisal to be accurate, they mostly want it to be enhancing and consistent with what they already think of and know about themselves.
Possible Selves as Incentives. In addition to the current self, people can also think of what they would like or not like to become (Markus & Nurius, 1986). These future possible selves are based on past selves and serve as guides for what to strive for and what to avoid. “I am now a student but can picture myself as a marriage and family counselor.” “I now hold a part-time minimum wage job yet I do not foresee myself as ever being on welfare.” One important motivational role of possible selves, according to Markus and Nurius (1986), is that they serve as incentives for behavior. When perceived as positive, the possi- ble self is an incentive or goal that the individual strives for, such as picturing oneself as being successful in a future career. When perceived as negative, a possible self is an outcome to be avoided, such as picturing oneself on long-term unemployment. Incentives and goals are usually treated as things or distinct entities; possible selves as incentives or goals, however, are seen as actual roles in which people visualize themselves. The process of visualizing possible selves includes cognitive elaboration of the future self, envisioning accompanying plans, and experiencing associated affect (Markus & Nurius, 1986).
What are the characteristics of possible future selves? By asking this question, Markus and Nurius (1986) found that students thought more about possible selves in the future than about past selves. Students were much more likely to consider and think about positive selves in comparison to negative selves. For example, they were more likely to see them- selves as happy and confident rather than depressed and lazy and as being sexy and in good shape in contrast to being unattractive and flabby. Furthermore, students were more likely to think that positive selves were more probable to happen than negative selves. The incen- tive nature of a future possible self also depends on the nature of the current self. For ex- ample, Carver and associates (1994) found that optimistic students considered it more likely that they would attain their positive future selves compared to pessimistic students.
Self-Esteem Consider, for example, a student who sees himself as a future nurse, but is not accepted into the nursing program at the university. What would be the consequences of this rejection for the future self? If the student had been accepted, how would this affect his future self?
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TABLE 9.3 Domains of Contingencies of Self-Worth
Contingency Self-Esteem Depends on These Characteristics
Others’ approval The opinion, approval, or acceptance by other people in general Appearance A person’s physical appearance of face and body Competition Outperforming or doing better than others in competitive tasks Academic competence Academic performance, high grades, doing well in school, or high on
teachers’ evaluations Family support Approval, acceptance, care, and love of family members Virtue Follow ethical principles or abide by a moral code God’s love Belief that one is loved and valued by God; feeling of religiosity
Source: Adapted from “Contingencies of Self-Worth in College Students: Theory and Measurement” by J. Crocker et al., 2003, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, pp. 895, 896, and table 2, p. 899.
Defining Self-Esteem. Self-esteem is a case of I evaluating me, which results in either a positive or negative judgment (James, 1892). Thus, a person feels good about herself (positive self-esteem) if her current self compares well against possible selves, or she feels bad about herself (negative self-esteem) if the comparison is unfavorable. An insightful way of defining self-esteem was provided by James (1892, p. 187) through his formula:
Self-esteem = Success
In this context, pretensions could be thought of as imagined possible selves: to become a rock star, to become rich, to receive a $45,000-a-year starting salary, to become immensely popular as a motivational speaker, to earn a 4.00 GPA. Success is defined through achiev- ing these possible selves or pretensions. For example, success means a student earned a 4.00 GPA and received a $45,000-a-year job offer on graduation. Lack of success, however, means most people considered the student’s guitar playing and singing awful, and his mo- tivational speeches put people to sleep. According to James, an individual can raise her level of self-esteem by either reducing the number of possible selves (pretensions) or by in- creasing the number of successes. Self-esteem is lowered, however, by decreasing the num- ber of successes or increasing the number of possible selves (pretensions).
Self-Esteem Depends on the Contingency of Self-Worth. The term pretensions in James’s self-esteem formula has been transformed into the modern-day concept of contingencies of self-worth (Crocker et al., 2003). This term refers to specific domains in people’s lives that they consider important for their self-esteem. High self-esteem or self- worth depends on success in those self-defined domains while low self-esteem is associ- ated with failures. A person’s endeavors that fall outside of those domains of contingency have no effect on self-worth. Crocker and coresearchers (2003) have hypothesized seven domains of contingencies of self-worth: others’ approval, appearance, competition, academic competence, family support, virtue, and God’s love. The domains are described in Table 9.3. An individual’s level of contingent self-worth in each domain is measured with the 35-item
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Level of Academic Contingent Self-Worth
FIGURE 9.6 Self-Esteem Depends on Academic Contingent Self-Worth. Students low and high in academic contingent self-worth were affected differently by rejection from or acceptance to graduate school. Self-esteem dropped more with rejection and rose more with acceptance for students with a high academic contingent self-worth.
Source: Adapted from “Hopes Dashed and Dreams Fulfilled: Contingencies of Self-Worth and Graduate School Admissions” by J. Crocker et al., 2002, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, p. 1280.
Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale (Crocker et al., 2003). A higher score indicates a greater level of contingent self-worth in a particular domain.
➣ The Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale is available at http://www.rcgd.isr.umich.edu/ crockerlab/scales/CSWscale.pdf
Self-esteem depends on the domain of contingent self-worth in which a person ex- periences success or failure. Crocker and coresearchers (2002, 2005) tested this hypothesis in the domain of academic competence. They measured the level of students’ contingent self-worth with items from the Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale. A sample item from this domain is “My self-esteem is influenced by my academic performance” (Crocker et al., 2003, p. 899). Students rated themselves on this and similar items with the scale 1 � strongly disagree to 7 � strongly agree. Students one standard deviation below and above the mean on the Scale were defined as low and high in contingent academic self- worth, respectively. An important indicator of achievement in this domain is whether stu- dents are accepted to graduate schools. Does the rise or fall of a student’s self-esteem depend on receiving a letter of acceptance or rejection and on whether they have high com- pared to low contingent self-worth in the domain of academic competence? In order to an- swer these questions, college seniors filled out a measure of self-esteem on days that a letter of acceptance or rejection was received and twice per week on regularly scheduled days when no news was received. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory was used to measure the level of self-esteem on all days.
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➣ The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale is available at http://www.bsos.umd.edu/socy/ Research/rosenberg.htm
Measured self-esteem on a particular day depended on the type of letter received and on the level of contingent self-worth as shown in Figure 9.6. For students with high contin- gent self-worth, a letter of rejection lowered their self-esteem while a letter of acceptance raised their self-esteem compared to no-news days. For students with low contingent self- worth, letters of acceptance had no effect on self-esteem and a letter of rejection had a small negative effect on self-esteem compared to no-news days (Crocker et al., 2002, 2005). These results and others suggest that people’s self-esteem rises and falls with successes and failures but only in those domains that they consider important.
Section Recap Self-concept refers to a person’s knowledge of herself organized into a schema or frame- work from which information about the self can be retrieved and evaluated. Self-concept develops through analysis of the self and from the feedback of others. The motivation for knowledge about the self is based on the assumption that the information be self-enhancing, consistent with current self-knowledge, and accurate. A person is motivated to aspire to a possible self that is more valued than the current self. Self-esteem refers to the evaluative feelings a person has about the self. According to James, self-esteem depended on how many possible selves (pretensions) a person has achieved or become. A contemporary view of pretensions is the concept of a contingency of self-worth, which can occur in various domains, such as academic competence. Successes in a domain boost self-esteem and failures lower self-esteem provided the individual has a high degree of contingent self- worth in that domain. Successes or failures in domains of low contingent self-worth have little effect on self-esteem.
1. Measure your level on each of the big five per- sonality factors by completing The 40-Item Mini-Marker Set in Table 9.2. Take the test with a biological parent and try to determine if the similarity between your scores, if any, is the result of heredity, rearing, or their interaction. Do your preferences and behaviors seem to de- pend on those personality factors on which you scored high? In other words, does your person- ality determine your motivation?
2. Do you think members of fraternities and soror- ities are more likely to be extraverts compared to nonmembers? Why? Are there any other ac- tivities or groups on campus that introverts or extraverts would be more likely to do or join?
3. One characteristic of extraverts is that they smile and laugh more. If smiling and laughing is an outward sign of happiness, then it may be that extraverts are happier than introverts. In fact, some research indicates that they are. What do you think?
4. Body piercing (multiple earrings, nose rings, and lip rings) is a fashion in our society. Which component of sensation seeking do these individuals characterize: thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, disinhibition, or boredom susceptibility? Are there any other activities that would differentiate low- from high-sensation seekers on your campus? For example, art majors versus accounting majors,
A C T I V I T I E S
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smokers versus nonsmokers, drinkers versus nondrinkers. Can you add any other examples?
5. Based on James’s formula (Self-esteem � Success/pretensions), you can have high self-esteem by having very few pretensions. If you advise people to raise their self-esteem by lowering pretensions, are you basically saying they should reduce their achievement motiva- tion? Is there an inconsistency here?
6. Do you think people can raise their self-esteem by thinking about their successes and lower their self-esteem by thinking about their fail- ures? Do people with low self-esteem dwell more on their failures, while those with high self-esteem dwell more on their successes? What do you think?