Topic: Individual Differences


Topic: Individual Diferences

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We are going to focus on Type A and B personality. Individuals exhibiting the Type A pattern are characterised by impatience, a chronic sense of time urgency, enhanced competitiveness, aggressive drive, and often some hostility (Rosenman, 1978). Research suggests that Type A individuals are more likely to develop CHD than Type B individuals (Haynes, Feinleib, & Kannel, 1980; Rosenman, Brand, Jenkins, Friedman, Straus, & Wurm, 1975).
It was mentioned in the lecture that the two most prominent measures of the Type A behaviour pattern are the structured interview (Rosenman et al., 1964) and the Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS) (Jenkins, Rosenman, & Friedman, 1967). The JAS has been the more popular measure because it is a self-administered questionnaire and does not take as much time as the individually administered interview, nor does it require a specially trained interviewer to administer.
Although hostility is an important component of the Type A behaviour pattern, questions have been raised concerning whether the JAS adequately measures this component of Type A (Matthews, 1982). It has been argued that further experimental evidence is needed assess the relationship between Type A as measured by the JAS and physiological measures of frustration-induced anger (such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, finger pulse volume, and skin resistance) (Zurawski & Houston, 1983).

The seminar will involve activities around self-report and physiological measures related to Type A and B behaviour.
For this activity you need to estimate your resting heart rate. For adults it is between 60-100 beats per minute. For well-conditioned athletes it is between 40-60 beats per minute.
Estimate your heart rate and write it down.
Now measure your actual resting heart rate by counting the pulse beats at your wrist or neck for 1 minute.
Now complete the Jenkins Activity Survey and calculate your score based on the scoring sheet (note there are some negative items that need reverse coding). This is a just a sample of the questions from the survey, but gives an idea about the types of questions asked when assessing Type A and B personality.
You will now have a score out of 115. Scores between between 23 – 69 within this sample of questions indicates Type B personality, whereas a score between 70- 115 indicates Type A personality.
What do you think about this and how do you feel about this classification? Do you agree with the classification?
Now compare your estimated resting heart rate with the monitored heart rate. Have any overestimated? Or underestimated? Research has shown that Types As are much more likely to overestimate their heart rate at rest and during stress than Type Bs (Essau & Jamieson, 1987). Does your own data support this hypothesis?
Finally can you identify some of the biases inherent using these measures (both self-report questionnaire and resting heart rate)?

Essau, C. A. & Jamieson, J.L. (1987). Heart rate perception in the Type A personality. Health Psychology, 6(1), 43-54.


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