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Personality. An Introduction Sheldon . Personality. Personality - A unique pattern of consistent feelings, thoughts,and behaviors that originate within the individual. Freudian Classical Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality .

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An Introduction



  • Personality - A unique pattern of

    • consistent feelings, thoughts,and behaviors

    • that originate within the individual.

Freudian Classical Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality

  • Developed by Sigmund Freud in the late nineteenth century and continued until his death in 1939

    • Believed sex was a primary cause of emotional problems and was a critical component of his personality theory

  • Remains an important influence in Western culture

    • especially pop culture

Freud’s Three Levels of Awareness

  • The conscious mind is what you are presently aware of, what you are thinking about right now

  • The preconscious mind is stored in your memory that you are not presently aware of but can gain access to

  • The unconscious mindis the part of our mind of which we cannot become aware

  • Freudian slips

Freud’s Three-Part Personality Structure




The Id (The Devil)

  • Is the original personality, the only part present at birth.

    • Resides in the unconscious mind

    • Includes our biological instinctual drives:

      • Life instincts (EROS) for survival, reproduction, and pleasure

      • Death instincts, (THANATOS) destructive and aggressive drives detrimental to survival: VIOLENCE both to oneself and others

    • Operates on a pleasure principle -demands immediate gratification for these drives without the concern for the consequences of this gratification

The Superego (The Angel)

  • Represents one’s conscience and idealized standards of behavior in their culture

    • Operates on a morality principle, threatening to overwhelm us with guilt and shame if we misbehave

The Ego (The Decider/Mediator)

  • Starts developing during the first year or so of life to find realistic and socially-acceptable outlets for the id’s needs

    • Operates on thereality principle, finding gratification for instinctual drives within the constraints of reality (the norms and laws of society)

    • Makes decisions based on the desires of the id and the morality of the superego.

  • To prevent being overcome with anxiety because of trying to satisfy the id and superego demands, the ego uses what Freud called…

  • Defense mechanisms - processes that distort reality and protect us from anxiety

Defense Mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms

Freud’s Psychosexual Stage Theory

  • Was developed chiefly from his own childhood memories and from his interactions with his patients.

  • An erogenous zone is the area of the body where the id’s pleasure-seeking psychic energy is focused during a particular stage of psychosexual development

  • Fixation occurs when a portion of the id’s pleasure-seeking energy remains in a stage because of excessive gratification or frustration of our instinctual needs.

  • Educational Video

Five Psychosexual Stages

Oral Stage (birth – 18 months)

Anal Stage (18 months – 3 years)

Phallic Stage (3 – 6 years)

Latency Stage (6 years – puberty)

Genital Stage (puberty – adulthood)

Freud’s Psychosocial States of Personality Development

Potty Training

  • Parents try to get the child to have self-control during toilet training

    • If the child reacts to harsh toilet training by trying to get even with the parents by withholding bowel movements, an anal-retentive personality with the traits of orderliness, neatness, stinginess, and obstinacy develops

    • The anal-expulsive personality develops when the child rebels against the harsh training and has bowel movements whenever and wherever he desires


  • In the process of identification, the child adopts the characteristics of the same-sexed parents and learns their gender role (the set of behaviors expected of someone of a particular sex)

Phallic Stage Conflicts

  • In the Oedipus conflict, the little boy becomes sexually attracted to his mother and fears the father (his rival) will find out and castrate him

  • Family Guy

  • In the Electra conflict, the little girl is attracted to her father because he has a penis; she wants one and feels inferior without one (penis envy)

  • Big Bang

Evaluation of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality

  • So, was Freud right about the Id, Ego, Superego, and defense mechanisms?

  • First, you’ll need to remember that Freud was practicing in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s.

  • Recent research contradicts many of Freud theories.

  • Freud believed that sexual repression caused vast psychological disorder.

  • Well….that has been proven to be false on many counts.


Neo-Freudian Theories of Personality

  • Agree with many of Freud’s basic ideas, but differ in one or more important ways

Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious

Alfred Adler’s Striving for Superiority

Karen Horneyand theNeed for Security

Neo-Freudian thoughts

  • Many of Freud’s followers joined the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.

  • This society, led by Freud, focused on Freud’s view of personality.

  • Freud disagreed strongly with anyone who challenged his views.

  • Several members of the group, left to form their own views of personality (schools, associations).

Neo-freudian criticisms of Freud’s theory:

  • 1.Rejected idea that adult personality is completely formed by 5- or 6-years old.

  • 2.Argued that Freud’s focused too much on biological instincts/nature and ignored social factors/nurture.

  • 3.Rejected overall negative tone of Freud’s theories.

Carl Jung (1875-1961)

  • Born in Switzerland, the son of a Protestant Minister, Jung was a quiet, introspective child who kept to himself.

  • Pondered the nature of dreams & visions he experienced.

  • Jung earned his M.D. degree in 1900 & went on to study schizophrenia, consciousness, & hypnosis.

  • He became interested in Freud after reading The Interpretation of Dreams.

More about Jung

  • Jung & Freud met in 1907 & became close colleagues.

  • Jung formally left Freud’s group in 1913.

  • Jung spent the next 7 years in intense introspection—led to his theory of personality.

Carl JUNG: The Collective Unconscious

  • There are common themes & experiences that all people in all cultures experience.

    • These give every individual a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species’ history.

      • Every human is born with these

  • Example: Spirituality and God beliefs are found in every culture and person.

  • The collective unconscious is made up of archetypes.

    • These are emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning.

    • These are not individual memories but are passed along in our DNA.

    • Example: The mother archetype

    The collective unconscious is made up of archetypes .

    • These are the universal symbolic images of a particular person, object, or experience.

    • Example: the archetype of mother is in the child’s collective unconscious.

    Mythology: Common themes across cultures (ancient, recent)

    • If you look throughout all human history you can identify these following themes:

    • Hero & heroine

      (Luke or Leia)

    • Villain

      (Darth Vader)

    • Naïve youth & wise old-sage

      (Luke and Obi-Wan)

    Shadow – Our dark side

    • This is the unconscious part of ourselves that is negative.

    • Jung argued you couldn’t have good without evil.

    • This concept is found throughout every culture.

    Other common archetypes

    • Mother/Father

    • God/Devil

    • Hero/Heroine (Knight, Warrior)

    • Damsel (Princess)

    • Alchemist (Wizard, Magician, Scientist, Inventor)

    • Fairy Godmother /Godfather

    • Teacher (Instructor, Mentor)

    • Jung’s ideas of archetypes have been more studied and adopted by the disciplines of

    • art, philosophy, anthropology, religious studies and popular culture

    • than by psychologists.

    • Jung was the first to describe the

      • Introvert and extravert personality types.

    • Introverts tend to be preoccupies with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings and experiences.

    • Extraverts tend to be interested in the external world of people and things.

      • Talkative, friendly outgoing

    Carl Jung’s Other Terms:

    • Jung proposed two main personality attitudes, extraversion and introversion

    • Extraversion – Outgoing

      and excitable.

    • Introversion – Quiet and

      slower to warm up.

    Alfred Adler’s Striving for Superiority

    • An Austrian physician, Adler was one of the first to break from Freud’s group (1911).

    • Rejected Freud’s notion of “penis envy,” argued that women really envy men’s power & status.

    • Adler emphasized importance of conscious goal-directed behavior & down played unconscious influences.

    Adler’s main ideas:

    • All humans begin life with a sense of inferiority.

    • We are helpless as children & need adults to survive.

    • Adler argued we struggle the rest of our lives to overcome this feeling of inferiority.

    We struggle to overcome inferiority.

    • Adler called this natural instinct striving for superiority.

    • “Striving for superiority” doesn’t mean being superior over others, rather to improve ourselves.

    • Our primary motivation is to improve ourselves.

    What happens if we fail?

    • If we fail to overcome feelings of vulnerability & weakness, we develop an inferiority complex.

    • Here, an individual believes they are inferior & feel powerless, weak, & helpless.

    Alternative Approaches

    • Humanistic theories developed in the 1960s

      • The humanistic approach emphasizes conscious free will in one’s actions,

      • the uniqueness of the individual person,

      • and personal growth

    The Humanistic Approach to Personality

    • Abraham Maslow is considered the father of the humanistic movement

      • He studied the lives of very healthy and creative people to develop his theory of personality

    • Maslow’s hierarchy of needsis an arrangement of the innate needs that motivate our behavior and should lead to Self Actualization: the development or achievement of one’s potential.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


    • Characteristics of self-actualized people include

      • Accepting themselves, others, and the nature of world for what they are

      • Having a need for privacy and only a few close, emotional relationships

      • Being autonomous and independent, democratic, and very creative

      • Having peak experiences, which are experiences of deep insight in which you experience whatever you are doing as fully as possible

    How Did Maslow Determine WHO was self-actualized?

    • Maslow interviewed people he both knew and admired.

    • He would :

      • 1. Interview a sample of people he thought were self-actualized.

      • He would write down a list of traits he felt each person possessed and compiled their common traits

      • By refining his trait list again and again, he eventually came up with what he felt was a stable list of attributes which would define the self-actualized individual.

    Truth, rather than dishonesty.

    Goodness, rather than evil.

    Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity.

    Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness or forced choices

    Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life

    Uniqueness, not bland uniformity.

    Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident.

    Completion, rather than incompleteness.

    Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness.

    Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity.

    Richness, not environmental impoverishment.

    Effortlessness, not strain.

    Playfulness, not grim, humorless, drudgery.

    Self-sufficiency, not dependency.

    Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness.

    Traits of Self-Actualized People:


    • Maslow hierarchy of needs is criticized for being based on non-empirical vague studies of a small number of people that he subjectively selected as self-actualized

    Trait Theories of Personality and Personality Assessment

    Trait Theories of Personality

    • Personality traitsare internally based, relatively stable characteristics that define an individual’s personality

      • Each trait is called a dimension,

      • and there is a continuum ranging from one extreme of the dimension to the other

    • Factor analysis identifies clusters of test itemsthat measure the same factor/trait

    Number and Kind of Personality Traits

    • Raymond B. Cattell, using factor analysis, found that 16 traits were necessary to describe human personality

    • Hans Eysenck, also using factor analysis, argued for three trait dimensions

    • Eysenck’s theory is at more general than Cattell’s

    Raymond B. Cattell 16 personality factors

    Eysenck’s Three-Factor Theory


    Eysenck argued that these traits are determined by heredity


    (emotionally unstable)-Emotionalstability


    (no self control)- Impulsecontrol

    Eysenck’s Three-Factor Theory

    • People who are high on the neuroticism-emotional stability dimension tend to be overly anxious, emotionally unstable, and easily upset

    • The psychoticism-impulse control trait is concerned with aggressiveness, impulsiveness, and empathy

    More Common Today: Five-Factor Model of Personality

    • These five factors appear to be universal and are consistent from about age 30 to late adulthood

    • The first 5 factor model was advanced by Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal in 1961

    Five-Factor Model of Personality

    Personality Assessment

    • The main uses of personality tests are to aid in diagnosing people with problems, counseling, and making personnel decisions

    • There are two types



    Personality Inventories

    • Are designed to measure multiple traits of personality, and in some cases, disorders

      • Are a series of questions or statements for which the test taker must indicate whether they apply to him or not

      • Uses a “True/False/Cannot Say” format with simple statements (e.g., “I like to cook”)

    Projective Tests

    • Contain a series of ambiguous stimuli, such as inkblots, to which the test taker must respond about his perceptions of the stimuli

    • Sample tests

      • Rorschach Inkblots Test

      • Thematic Apperception Test

    Rorschach Inkblots Test

    • Contains 10 symmetric inkblots used in the test,

      • The test taker then describes what he or she sees in the shapes

    • Assumes the test taker’s responses are projections of their personal conflicts and personality dynamics

    • Widely used but not demonstrated to be reliable and valid

    Rorschach inkblots

    What do you see?

    More blots

    What do you see?

    More blots

    Thematic Apperception Test

    Thematic Apperception Test

    • Mickey Mouse

    • Kanga

    • Pooh

    • Owl

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