PERSONALITY & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

What is this field?

Personality & Social Psychology together cover a large area of psychology that describes everything from an individual’s personality to the effect of groups and culture. While Personality Psychology studies the dynamic nature of personality and the factors that affect it, Social Psychology focuses on the effect of groups and culture on an individual’s or another group’s psychology, ranging from emotions and thoughts to beliefs and goals.

What do these researchers study?

  • Individual behavior and emotion
  • Personal attitudes and thought patterns
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Social cognition, identity and influence

Studies in Personality & Social Psychology have dug in the depths of personality and pushed the limits of understanding the boundaries behind social norms. Personality Psychology dates back to times of Ancient Greeceopen in new window from which some ideas originated and then resurfaced during the scientific expansion of the field in the 20th century, such as the Oedipal Complex.[1]

Today, one of most well-known theories of personality is the Big Five, a model that outlines 5 essential factors that shape one’s personality: openness, consciousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Extreme instances of personality can even be considered abnormal and are of interest to health & clinical psychologistsopen in new window, such as narcissistic personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

One of the most famous social psychology experiments is the Milgram Experiment where participants were instructed to administer shocks to a subject in the presence of an ‘authority’ figure.[2] Although the shocks were fake, the participants sending the electricity did not know this and were instructed by the ‘authority’ to continue ‘sending shocks’ to the subject even at signs of great discomfort. While this experiment shed light on the human nature to be obedient to authority and is one of the most well-cited social psychology experiments, it would not be possible to run today based on current ethical standards!

How can Labvanced match these famous designs?

While these famous studies have set up the landscape of social psychology, modern day researchers are utilizing advances in technology, like Labvanced’s online platform, to add new dimensions and capabilities to their experiments, such as:

  • Multi-User Studies: Researchers have the ability to create studies that multiple subjects can participate in at the same time, allowing for cooperative games and social experiments.
    • Example: Invite participants to a game that relies on teamwork and study how player choices influence their perception of each other.
  • Eye-Tracking Studies: Track eye movement through Labvanced online software as you conduct social psychology experiments online.
    • Example: Differences in eye movement across visual stereotypes
  • Longitudinal Studies: Plan your study’s progression and automatically remind participants to return for the next session.
    • Example: Study how cultural views are shaped over time in certain age groups.
  • Multilingual Studies: Collect participants from anywhere in the world and allow them to participate in their native language.
    • Example: Study language social constructs across geographical locations through online experiments.

What are the advantages of online experimentation?

  • Internationality: Studies can reach populations from other sides of the world to study nuances in social behavior but also in personality.
  • Easy access: Participants can be in the comfort of their own home when completing the online studies, thus saving them the time and effort to travel to a lab.
  • Reminders: Notifications can be sent to participants about a recurring test date, which saves researchers’ precious time.

Labvanced Library Studies

Check out these studies that are related to Personality & Psychology in the Labvanced Library:

  1. Ultimatum Game (2 participants):open in new window A game that mimics the take-it-or-leave-it environment.
  2. Interacting Minds (2 participants):open in new window Make joint decisions with another person about a visual perception task. This is an adapted online version of the Bahrami paper in 2010. Assess cooperative behavior.
  3. Instagram Study:open in new window Online survey about instagram habits and personality traits
  4. T.I.N.D.E.R:open in new window This experiment simulates popular dating apps like Tinder to find how matching with people influences self-esteem

Researcher Spotlight

Labvanced Researcher Interview with Dr. Malte Wostmann:open in new windowPersonality captures dissociations of subjective versus objective hearing in noise.

Learn about how Dr. Wostmann established that personality plays a role in auditory perception, a study conducted in Labvanced that was published in Royal Society Open Science.[3]open in new window

Additional Use Cases

  1. Personality traits relating to job performance [4]open in new window
  2. The connection between Big 5 and cognition in the elderly[5]open in new window
  3. The effectiveness of diversity training[6]open in new window

References

  1. Dumont, F. (2010). A history of personality psychology: Theory, science, and research from Hellenism to the twenty-first century. Cambridge university press.
  2. Miller, A. G., Collins, B. E., & Brief, D. E. (1995). Perspectives on obedience to authority: The legacy of the Milgram experiments. Journal of Social Issues, 51(3), 1-19.
  3. Wöstmann, M., Erb, J., Kreitewolf, J., & Obleser, J. (2021). Personality captures dissociations of subjective versus objective hearing in noise. Royal Society Open Science, 8(11), 210881.
  4. American Psychological Association. (2011). Which traits predict job performance?. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/managing-human-capital/predict-job-performance
  5. Curtis, R. G., Windsor, T. D., & Soubelet, A. (2015). The relationship between Big-5 personality traits and cognitive ability in older adults–a review. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 22(1), 42-71.
  6. American Psychological Association. (2020, November). Speaking of Psychology: Does diversity training work? with Calvin Lai, PhD. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/podcasts/speaking-of-psychology/diversity-training.