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Expressive Style in Psychology Video

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  • 0:04 Personality Types Background
  • 0:47 Expressive Style in Early Life
  • 1:58 Expressive Style in Adulthood
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Why do some people focus on feelings, while others are more cerebral and detached? In this lesson, we'll explore the expressive personality style in psychology, including how it shows up at different points in the lifespan.

Personality Types Background

David is wondering why his friend Chin is so good with people. Chin makes quick decisions and is the life of the party. David, on the other hand, is more introverted and not quite as open as Chin.

In psychology, a personality type is a way of categorizing people who are similar to each other. It's a cluster of traits that some people have in common. For example, Chin is extroverted, quick-thinking and open. In fact, most people who are extroverted are also open and quick-thinking. The three traits influence how a person behaves in different situations and how he/she interacts with others.

To help David understand Chin's personality type better, let's take a look at the expressive style in personality psychology, including what it looks like in children and adults.

Expressive Style in Early Life

Chin has what's called an expressive style. This is a person who loves to express his or her inner thoughts and feelings. David is more private. He rarely talks about his feelings. Chin, on the other hand, is an open book. David wonders if Chin has always been this way. Which leads us to a good question - are expressive people that way in childhood?

In toddlerhood, children with an expressive style generally use language to talk about their feelings and the feelings of others. For example, a three-year-old Chin might have said things like ''I hurt,'' or ''Mommy sad?'' These socially-focused utterings are typical of expressive children.

This expressive linguistic style is contrasted with the referential style of expression in toddlerhood. Children who engage in referential style speech use language to name things. Three-year-old David might have been more referential, saying things like ''That's the door,'' or ''Gimme toy truck.'' His use of language is more about objects, whereas Chin's use is more about feelings.

The expressive style in children is more common in some cultures than others. In the U.S., for example, the referential style is more common in toddlers, but in other cultures, children are taught to talk about feelings more than things.

Expressive Style in Adulthood

David understands how the expressive style can manifest in children, but what about adults? How does Chin experience the world differently from David?

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