Individual Differences and Personality

Individual Differences and Personality

4th Edition - March 26, 2022

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  • Author: Michael Ashton
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323859509
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323859516

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Individual Differences and Personality, Fourth Edition provides a comprehensive overview of research regarding what personality is and how and why it differs between people. This book begins with a description of the study of personality and then presents basic principles of personality measurement, the concept of personality traits, and the major dimensions of personality variation. Further chapters review personality change and stability, biological causal mechanisms, genetic and environmental influences, and evolutionary adaptive function. Personality disorders are examined as are life outcomes (such as relationships, work, and health) that are predicted by personality characteristics. In addition, the book examines important individual differences beyond personality, such as mental abilities, religious beliefs, political attitudes, and sexuality. Revisions to the fourth edition include updates to all chapters and substantial new content. For example, the developmental change chapter includes new studies of long-term stability, and the biological bases chapter includes new research about the effects of dopamine-like substances on impulse control. The genetics chapter has been heavily revised to cover recent meta-analyses and large-scale studies of the heritability of personality traits. In the chapter on the evolutionary function of personality, the discussion of sex differences is expanded to include cross-cultural variation. The chapter on personality and life outcomes includes new coverage of rating the personality of one's hypothetical ideal partner. The chapter on mental ability has updates on brain volume and IQ and on motivation and IQ.

Key Features

  • Contains both theory and research
  • Examines the impact of personality on life outcomes
  • Includes new content from meta-analyses
  • Retains chapters and organization with fully updated material
  • Explores environmental, genetic and evolutionary perspectives
  • Presents an accessible style that is suitable for courses on individual differences


Students in Individual Differences psychology courses

Table of Contents

  • Cover image
  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Study of Personality
  • The Universal, the Unique, and the In-Between
  • Idiographic Versus Nomothetic Approaches
  • Outline of This Book
  • References
  • Chapter 1: Basic Concepts in Psychological Measurement
  • Abstract
  • 1.1: Some Simple Statistical Ideas
  • 1.2: Assessing Quality of Measurement: Reliability and Validity
  • 1.3: Methods of Measurement: Self- and Observer Reports, Direct Observations, Biodata
  • 1.4: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 2: Personality Traits and the Inventories That Measure Them
  • Abstract
  • 2.1: The Idea of a Personality Trait
  • 2.2: Personality Traits and Other Psychological Characteristics
  • 2.3: Do Personality Traits Exist?
  • 2.4: Measuring Traits by Self- or Observer Report: Structured Personality Inventories
  • 2.5: Strategies of Personality Inventory Construction
  • 2.6: Self- and Observer Reports on Personality Inventory Scales
  • 2.7: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 3: Personality Structure Classifying Traits
  • Abstract
  • 3.1: Which Traits to Measure? Completeness Without Redundancy
  • 3.2: A Gentle Introduction to Factor Analysis
  • 3.3: Factor Analysis of Personality Traits: How to Find a Representative Set of Traits?
  • 3.4: Lexical Studies in the English Language: The Big Five Personality Factors
  • 3.5: Lexical Studies in Many Languages: The HEXACO Personality Factors
  • 3.6: What It All Means: A Few Dimensions, But Many Personalities
  • 3.7: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 4: Developmental Change and Stability of Personality
  • Abstract
  • 4.1: Defining Change and Stability
  • 4.2: Developmental Changes in Mean Levels of Personality Traits
  • 4.3: Stability of Traits Across the Years (and the Life Span)
  • 4.4: Personality in Childhood and Infancy: Measurement and Structure
  • 4.5: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 5: Biological Bases of Personality
  • Abstract
  • 5.1: Early Ideas: The Four “Humors” and Personality
  • 5.2: Neurotransmitters
  • 5.3: Brain Structures
  • 5.4: Hormones
  • 5.5: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 6: Genetic and Environmental Influences on Personality
  • Abstract
  • 6.1: The Question: Nature Versus Nurture
  • 6.2: Examining the Similarity of Relatives
  • 6.3: Separating Heredity and Environment
  • 6.4: The Answers
  • 6.5: Assumptions Underlying Heritability Studies in General
  • 6.6: Assumptions Underlying Twin-Based Heritability Studies in Particular
  • 6.7: Effects of the Unique Environment on Personality? Parental Treatment, Peer Groups, and Birth Order
  • 6.8: Summary and Conclusions
  • 6.9: Appendix: Difficulties in Separating the Effects of Heredity and Environment
  • References
  • Chapter 7: The Evolutionary Function of Personality
  • Abstract
  • 7.1: The Idea of Evolution by Natural Selection
  • 7.2: Why Are We Not All the Same? Fluctuating Optimum and Frequency Dependence
  • 7.3: Adaptive Trade-offs Between High and Low Levels of the HEXACO Personality Factors
  • 7.4: Cross-Generational and Cross-National Differences in Mean Levels of Personality Traits
  • 7.5: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 8: Personality Disorders
  • Abstract
  • 8.1: The Idea of a Personality Disorder
  • 8.2: The DSM-5 Personality Disorders
  • 8.3: An Alternative System for Personality Disorders
  • 8.4: Origins of Personality Disorders: Developmental Change and Stability, Biological Bases, Heredity and Environment, and Evolutionary Function
  • 8.5: Treatment of Personality Disorders
  • 8.6: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 9: Personality and Life Outcomes
  • Abstract
  • 9.1: Does Personality Matter in Life?
  • 9.2: Relationships and Marriage
  • 9.3: Friendships and Other Peer Relationships
  • 9.4: Health-Related Outcomes
  • 9.5: Academic Performance
  • 9.6: Job Performance
  • 9.7: Law-Abidingness Versus Criminality
  • 9.8: Life Satisfaction
  • 9.9: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 10: Mental Ability
  • Abstract
  • 10.1: The Domain of Mental Ability
  • 10.2: The Structure of Mental Ability: One Dimension or Many?
  • 10.3: Developmental Change and Stability in Mental Ability
  • 10.4: Biological Correlates of Mental Ability
  • 10.5: Genetic and Environmental Influences on Mental Ability
  • 10.6: Evolutionary Function of Mental Ability
  • 10.7: Mental Ability and Life Outcomes
  • 10.8: Not All g-Loaded Tasks Are the Same
  • 10.9: Alternative Ideas About Mental Ability
  • 10.10: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 11: Vocational Interests
  • Abstract
  • 11.1: How Vocational Interests Are Measured
  • 11.2: Score Reports From Vocational Interest Surveys
  • 11.3: Constructing Vocational Interest Scales: Empirical and Rational Strategies
  • 11.4: Major Dimensions of Vocational Interests
  • 11.5: Vocational Interests and Personality
  • 11.6: Vocational Interests and Mental Abilities
  • 11.7: Validity of Vocational Interest Surveys
  • 11.8: Origins of Vocational Interests: Developmental Change and Stability, Genetic and Environmental Influences, Biological Bases, and Evolution
  • 11.9: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 12: Religion and Politics
  • Abstract
  • 12.1: Religion
  • 12.2: Politics
  • 12.3: Origins of Religious Beliefs and Political Attitudes: Biological Bases, Genetic and Environmental Influences, and Evolutionary Function
  • 12.4: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 13: Sexuality
  • Abstract
  • 13.1: Major Dimensions of Sexuality
  • 13.2: Sexuality and Personality
  • 13.3: Origins of Variation in Sexuality: Developmental Stability and Change, Genetic and Environmental Influences, Biological Bases, and Evolution
  • 13.4: Sexual Arousal
  • 13.5: Sexual Commitment (or Restricted Versus Unrestricted Sociosexuality)
  • 13.6: Sexual Orientation
  • 13.7: Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Conclusions
  • What We Have Learned So Far
  • What We Have Yet to Learn
  • Final Remarks
  • References
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 418
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2022
  • Published: March 26, 2022
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323859509
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323859516

About the Author

Michael Ashton

Michael Ashton
Michael C. Ashton is a professor of psychology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 1998. As a grad student in the late 1990s, together with Kibeom Lee, he did some cross-cultural research to find out whether the “Big Five” personality dimensions found in North America could be recovered in other cultures. Using their own work and that of other researchers, they found that there were actually six personality dimensions. The “new” one was the H factor, or the Honesty-Humility Factor, was discovered and is now considered one of the six dimensions of human personality. In addition to the second edition of the textbook, Individual Differences and Personality, he is the author of numerous articles in scientific journals, and co-authored with Kibeom Lee The H Factor of Personality.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Psychology, Brock University, Ontario, Canada

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