Experimental Personality 820- 673 Spring, 1999

Instructor: Dr. M. Hynan

Office: Garland Hall 216

Phone: 229- 5099 or 229- 4746 (main office), e- mail hynan@csd.uwm.edu

Home page: www.uwm.edu/~hynan

Office Hours: MW 2:30- 3:30 a.m. and T 2:00- 3:00 p.m.


This course in Experimental Personality will be primarily concerned with experi-

mental research methodology. Because of this, the substance area of personality is

going to be treated as secondary to the methodology of scientific research.

The requirements for the course include three exeriments with complete write- ups

using APA format and two exams. The designs in the first two experiments will be

provided for you, and you will be required to: l) run the subjects, 2) gather and

analyze the data and 3) submit a description of the experiment which must be written

STRICTLY ACCORDING TO THE APA MANUAL, FOURTH EDITION. Students must work individually on writing the first two papers. After completion of the second

experiment your next paper will be a research proposal. In this paper you will

propose an experiment which is internally valid (i.e., without methodological flaw)

in any area of personality you have an interest in.

You may collaborate in teams of 2 or 3 for the research proposal and the last

experiment which is one of your own creation. Your team is responsible for designing

the experiment, running the subjects, analyzing the data, and co- authoring the final

write- up.

These papers will count for 60% of your final grade according to the following


Experiment I------ (Anxiety )------ 8%

Experiment II------ (Perceptual Defense)-- 12%

Research Proposal--------------------------------------- 15%

Experiment III ---------------------------------------- 25%

The two exams will be of an essay format. The mid- term exam will count for l5% of

your final grade, and the final exam (non- cumulative) will count for 25% of your

final grade. The final exam is Thurs., May 13, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Each research manuscript and exam will be assigned a letter grade and corre-

sponding multiplier (i.e., F=0, F+=.3, D- =.7, D=l.0, D+=l.3, C- =l.7, C=2.0, C+=2.3,

B- =2.7, B=3.0, B+=3.3, A- =3.7, A=4.0, A+=4.3). This multiplier will then be used in

conjunction with percentage worth of the paper or exam to calculate the number of

grade points for the paper or exam. Thus, it is possible to achieve a total of 430

grade points during the semester (i.e., A+=4.3 X l00 percent = 430 points). Final

grade will be based on the final sum of grade points accumulated over the semester

according to the following schedule:

Grade Points Grade

35l- 430 ----------------- A

27l- 350 ----------------- B

l9l- 270 ----------------- C

9l- l90 ----------------- D

0- 90 ----------------- F

Please note that this grade is not based on a curve. It is possible for everyone to

get A's or for everyone to get F's.

Write- ups of experiments must be handed in by the last minute of class on the day on

which they are due. Papers handed in after this deadline will not be considered- - you

will get an F. There is one exception to this requirement. Each student in class

will be able to hand in a maximum of one paper 48 hours late. Use this exception


There is one required text for this class. the Publication Manual of the American

Psychological Association (4th ed) published by the American Psychological

Association. The other readings listed are on reserve in the library and all are

required. The required journal articles are compiled in a course book that can be

purchased at the UWM bookstore.

I invite any student with a disability to talk with me regarding methods of improving

instruction and special procedures for taking exams. I also ask that any student talk

with me who needs to miss class or schedule exams at a different time because of

religious hold days.

Imformation on Psychology Dept. policies on participation by students with

disabilities, accomodations for religious observances, academic conduct, complaint

procedures, grade appeal procedures, and other standing policies (e.g., sexual

harassment, incompletes) is available in the main office of Psychology the Garland




Experiment I: Anxiety

Underwood, B.J. (1957). Psychological research. New York,

Appleton- Century- Crofts, p. ll2- l27.

Spence, J.T. & Spence, K.M. (1956). The motivational components of manifest

anxiety: Drive and drive stimuli. In C.D. Spielberger (Ed.), Anxiety and behavior.

(pp. 29l- 326). New York Academic Press.

Standish, R.P. & Champion, R.A. (1960). Task difficulty and drive in verbal

learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 36l- 365.

Yates, A. (1970). Behavior therapy. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 44- 68.

Spielberger, C. (1972). Anxiety as an emotional state. In C.D. Spielberger

(Ed.), Anxiety: Current trends in theory and research. (pp. 23- 49). New York:

Academic Press.

Experiment II: Perceptual Defense

McGinnies, E. (1949). Emotionality and perceptual defense. Psychology Review,

244- 25l.

Howes, D., & Solomon, R. (l985l). Visual duration threshold as a function of

word probability. Journal of Experimental Psychology. 41, 40l- 4l0.

Thorndike, E.L. & Lorge, I. (1944). The Teachers Word Book of 30,000 Words.

Cowen, E., & Beier, E. (l950). The influence of "Threat- expectancy" on percep-

tion. Journal of Personality, l9, 85- 94.

Bruner, J. & Postman, L. (l947). Emotional selectivity in perception and

reaction. Journal of Personality l6, 69- 77.

Kucera, H. & Francis, W. Computational Analysis of Present Day American English.

Erikson, C. (l963). Perception and personality. In J. Wepman and R. Heine

(Eds.), Concepts of Personality. Chicago: Aldine.

Byrne, D. (l964). Repression- sensitization as a dimension of personality. In

B.A. Maher (Ed.), Progress in Experimental Personality Research. New York,

Academic Press.

Erdelyi, M. (l974). A new look at the new look: Perceptual defense and

vigilance. Psychological Review, 8l, l- 25.

Eberhage, M., Polek, D., & Hynan, M. (l985). Similar Effects of different

threats on perceptual processes. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 23, 470-


Final Readings: Traits vs. Environments

Mischel, W. (l973). Toward a cognitive social learning reconception of person-

ality, Psychological Review, 80, 252- 282.

Snyder, M. (l974). Self- monitoring of expressive behavior. Journal of

Personality and Social Psychology, 526- 537.

Bem, D.J. & Allen, A. (l979). On predicting some of the people some of the time:

The search for cross- situational consistencies in behavior. Psychological Review,

8l, 506- 520.

Olweus, D. (l977). A critical analysis of the "modern" interactionist position.

In D. Magnusson and N. Endler (Eds.), Personality at the crossroads: Current

issues in interactional psychology. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Mischel, W. & Peake, P. (l982). Beyond Deja Vu in the search for cross-

situtional consistency. Psychological Review, 89, 730- 755.

Kendrick, D.T. & Funder, D.C. (1988). Profiting from controversy: Lessons from

the person- situation debate. American Psychologist, 43, 23- 34.

Funder, D.C. & Colvin, C.R. (1991). Explorations in behavioral consistency:

Properites of persons, situations, and behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social

Psychology, 60, 773- 794.

Goldberg, L.R. (1993). The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American

Psychologist, 48, 26- 34.

Lykken, D. (l968). Statistical significance in psychological research.

Psychological Bulletin, 80, l5l- l59.