schm3270: November 2011 Archives

A Focus on Extraversion

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In lecture last week, we learned about the Big 5 Personality Traits, which include Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. These Big Five Traits are said to have emerged from factor analyses, which is a statistical way of looking at the correlations between different responses on personality assessments. In an article I found on Science Daily, researchers present a view on one trait in particular; extraversion. In this article, Ronald E. Riggio talks about how extraversion and leadership correlate. Although a lot of people may assume that those who are extraverts are automatically good leaders, Riggio uses the critical thinking principle of ruling out rival hypotheses to present an alternate viewpoint. He says that social skills could be a better predictor of leadership. In his longitudinal study (one in which he studied the same group of individuals at different points in time), Riggio used a sample of everyday adults, not leaders, to assess social skills. Even though previous, replicable research has found that extraversion was correlated with both attainment of leadership and measures of effectiveness, Riggio also found that social skills are a predictor of leadership. So, when social skills were put into the mix, only extraverts with high levels of social skills were considered to be good leaders. I feel that this study is a very effective way of showing not only ruling of rival hypotheses, replicability and falsifiability, but it also includes a lot of important psychology terms and ways to look deeper and be more analytical in the psychology world. Personality is an important factor, but this article helps show that other complex matters, such as social skills, may matter more when it comes to social behaviors such as leadership.

I recently found an article from Psychology News titled "Perception of Facial Expressions Differs Across Cultures." In this article, a group of researchers from University of Glasgow are using falsifiability to refute what has been presented to us in our Lilienfeld textbooks of Psychology 1001. According to them, East Asians and Western Caucasians differ in how they interpret angry, happy and sad faces. Prior evidence has been presented that all humans entail the 7 primary emotions of fear, anger, disgust, happiness, sadness, contempt and surprise. According to our textbook, these primary emotions are cross-culturally universal. These emotions are the biologically based emotions from which other emotions arise, even though the negative emotions may be harder to interpret. However, the Glasgow researchers used statistical image processing techniques to examine how 15 chinese and 15 caucasian participants viewed the facial representations. Neutral based images were altered and shown to the participants and they were instructed to categorize the facial expressions. This study found that the chinese tend to rely on the eyes and caucasians tend to rely on the mouth and eyebrows when classifying facial expressions. These distinctions could lead to misinterpretations across cultures, which is different from what has previously been thought. This study does not go against the Discrete Emotional Theory, which states that humans experience a small amount of emotions that are biologically rooted. This is because this study only researched a total of 30 participants which can not be enough to conclude much. Overall, it is important to take into account this study, and others, when understanding the cultural differences in communication.

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