Motivation and emotion/Tutorials/Personality, motivation and emotion
Tutorial X: Personality, motivation and emotion
This is an archived version of the Tutorial 05 - complete for 2016. For the new Tutorial 05, see Individual emotions.
This tutorial is about individual differences in emotion. Stable characteristics that differ between individuals are referred to as personality and some personality traits are related to emotion - in particular, neuroticism is associated with psychological distress amd extraversion is associated with happiness.
The tutorial reviews the Reeve (2009) personality, motivation and emotion chapter, discusses the big 5 personality traits and their connection with emotion, and discusses three other personality measures (a BIS/BAS survey, the Sensation Seeking Scale, and the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory). Finally, the tutorial conducts a final wiki-blitz on book chapters.
- Reeve (2009, Ch 13)
Big 5 personality factors and happiness/unhappiness
Review (by class generating):
- the big 5 personality factors and
- Neuroticism – (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). A tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability. Associated with unhappiness.
- Extraversion – (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others. Associated with happiness.
- Openness to experience – (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.
- Agreeableness – (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.
- Conscientiousness – (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behaviour.
- What is your big 5 personality profile? (The Big Five Personality Test?)
A 10-item BIS/BAS self-test is suggested by (Reeve, 2009, p. 62), based on items by Carver and White (1994), and measuring:
- Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS; right prefrontal lobe sensitivity; 4 items); greater sensitivity to:
- negative emotion
- avoidance-oriented behaviours
- Behavioural Activation System (BAS; left prefrontal lobe sensitivity; 6 items); greater sensitivity to:
- positive emotion
- approach-oriented behaviours
The results will look something like:
You are motivated by:
- BAS Reward sensitivity: anticipation or occurrence of reward: 85%
- BAS Drive: pursuit of desired goals: 100%
- BAS Fun seeking: desire for new rewards and impulsive approach to potential rewards: 69%
- BIS: anticipation of punishment: 75%
Sensation seeking scale
- Sensation seeking is a personality trait which has been identified and described by Marvin Zuckerman (1971). Zuckerman was a student participant in sensory deprivation experiments who became intrigued by people who were least able to tolerate a lack of stimulation.
- Sensation seeking scale (Wikipedia)
- Online versions: BBC
- Other versions: SSS with scoring instructions | PDF
There are four factors:
- Thrill and adventure seeking (10 items) - desire to engage in sports or activities involving some physical danger or risk such as mountain climbing, parachute jumping, scuba diving, speeding in a car, etc.
- Experience seeking (10 items) - desire to seek new experiences through the mind and senses by living in a nonconforming life style with unconventional friends, and through travel.
- Disinhibition (10 items) - need to disinhibit behaviour in the social sphere by drinking, partying and seeking variety in sexual partners.
- Boredom susceptibility (10 items) - aversion for repetitive experience of any kind, routine work, or even dull or predictable people. Other items indicate a restless reaction when things are unchanging.
Complete the SSS (online or from handout), score your total and factor scores, and then contribute your data to the class graph and data sheet (if willing).
Discuss the constructs and distributions.
- Self-test online: Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (52-items).
- Note that the display of the graph at the end does not work and means are not provided for all dimensions, but you can compare your scores with the 'optimal' profile
- Watch and discuss video: Philip Zimbardo prescribes a healthy take on time (Philip Zimbardo, 6:31 min, TED talk, 2009)
- These are the time perspective factors:
- Past Negative
- Past Positive
- Present Fatalism
- Present Hedonism
- Transcendental Future
- According to Zimbardo:
- The best profile is a blend of:
- high past-positive
- moderately high future orientation
- moderate present selected hedonism
- i.e., you like your past, work for the future – but not so hard that you become a workaholic – and choose when to seek pleasure in the present.
- The worst time-perspective profile is a blend of:
- high present fatalism
- high of past-negative.
- i.e., these people are living in a negative past and think nothing they do can change it. 
- The best profile is a blend of:
- Zimbardo's two books on this topic are:
Book chapter development
- Class review - invite a list of outstanding questions about the chapters, write them up on the board, and address them
- Last chance to do some live tutorial demos and fixes/enhancements - anyone want any live fixes performed by the tutor? Call for volunteer book chapter pages, then apply wiki-blitz/make-over for layout and images etc.