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Personality Chapter 15 Personality generally viewed as the unique pattern of enduring thoughts, feelings and actions that characterize a person

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Personality

Chapter 15


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  • Personality generally viewed as the unique pattern of enduring thoughts, feelings and actions that characterize a person

    • Personality research focuses on the understanding the origins or causes of similarities and differences among people in their patterns of thinking, emotion and behavior

  • To fully understand one’s personality, must understand

    • Developmental experiences inc. cultural influences

    • Genetic and other biological characteristics

    • Perceptual and other information-processing habits and biases

    • Typical patterns of emotional expression

    • Social skills


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The Psychoanalytical Perspective

  • Developed by Sigmund Freud

    • Believed that our personalities, behavior and behavior disorders are determined by basic drives and past psychological events

    • People may not know why they feel, think or act the way they do b/c these are controlled by the unconscious part of the personality of which we are not normally aware

    • Created the psychodynamic approach to personality


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The Psychoanalytical Approach

The Structure and Development of Personality

  • People have certain basic urges or impulses that included those of an aggressive or sexual nature

    • Did not believe they were all innate and unchangeable

    • Believed that desires for love, knowledge and security are based on those more fundamental impulses

    • States that we each have the task of figuring out how to satisfy our basic urges

      • Personality develops from this struggle

      • Reflected in the ways in which we satisfy a range of urges


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Exploring the Unconscious

  • Hypnosis could unlock the door to the unconscious

    • Not uniformly successful

  • Free association

    • Assumed this would allow the patient to create a chain of thought into the patient’s unconscious which would allow him/her to retrieve and release painful memories

      • Often childhood memories

  • Believed the mind was an iceberg-most of it was hidden

    • Unconscious was the largest (and hidden) part of the mind

      • Contains things we are unaware of

      • Some are stored in preconscious area

      • Interested in thoughts we repress


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Personality Development

  • Psychosexual stages

    • Oedipus complex

    • Electra complex


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Defense Mechanisms

  • Anxiety is the price paid for civilization

    • Intrapsychic or psychodynamic conflicts

    • Primary function :to prevent this anxiety

    • Protect oneself w/defense mechanisms

      • Repression-underlies all other defense mechanisms

        • Explains why we do not remember lust we feel for a parent

        • Also incomplete

          • Seen in dreams and slips of the tongue

      • Regression

      • Reaction Formation-opposite to unacceptable impulse

        • Ex. You like you best friends boy/girlfriend, so you act like you dislike him/her

      • Projection-attributing own unacceptable thoughts onto another person (ex. I hate him=He hates me)


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Defense Mechanisms cont.

  • Rationalization-attempts to make actions or mistakes seem reasonable

    • Reasons for spanking children

  • Displacement-reflecting an impulse from original target to a less threatening one

    • Ex. Ad a bad day at school so you yell at your dog

  • Denial-discounting existence of threatening impulses

    • Ex. I don’t have a temper

  • Compensation-striving to make up for unconscious impulses or fears

    • Ex. Competitiveness b/c feel inferior


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Assessing the Unconscious

  • Projective tests

    • Henry Murray (1933)

    • Thematic Apperception Test

    • Rorschach inkblot test (1921)

      • Why are people so accepting of this test?

      • What are some of the criticisms?


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Variations on Freud’s Personality Theory

  • Neo-Freudians-Why are they called this?

  • Jung’s analytical psychology

    • Emphasized that the libido was not just sexual instinct, but also a more general life force

      • No specific stages of personality development

    • Over time, people develop differing degrees of introversion or extraversion

    • Combination of these is what makes one’s personality

    • Collective unconscious

      • Contains inherited memories

      • Not consciously aware of them, but are responsible for innate tendencies

      • Impossible to determine its existence


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Variations cont.

  • Alfred Adler (1927)

    • Striving for superiority

      • Overcome infantile helplessness is the power behind personality development

  • Karen Horney (1937)

    • Men envy women

    • See their lives as less meaningful b/c they cannot bear children + participate little in their lives

    • aka womb envy

    • Cultural factors play a major role in personality development


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Contemporary Psychodynamic Theories

  • Approaches to personality focus on object relations

    • How ppl’s perceptions of themselves and others influence their view of and rxn to the world

    • Early relations /t infants and love objects important to the development of the personality


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Evaluation of the Psychodynamic Approach

  • Freud’s theory the most comprehensive and influential psychological theory ever proposed

  • Several weaknesses, however

    • Based on case studies of a few individuals

      • Not a representative sample

      • Thinking about personality mostly Western Europeans or North American values

    • Freud may have modified reports to fit his theories

    • Focus on male psychosexual development and female envy of male anatomy have caused many to reject Freud’s theories

    • Freud’s theory is not very scientific


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Humanistic Approach

  • Focus on mental capabilities that set humans apart

  • Human behavior motivated by an innate drive toward growth that prompts people to fulfill their unique potential

  • To explain one’s actions in any situation, important to understand their view of the world from his/her point of view


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Abraham Maslow (1954, 1971)

  • Saw personality as the expression of a basic human tendency toward growth and self-actualization

  • How did Maslow develop his ideas?

  • ppl. controlled by deficiency orientation

    • Preoccupation w/perceived needs for material goods

    • May lead to jealousy

  • Growth orientation focuses on what they have, what they are and what they can do (aka peak experiences)


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Carl Rogers (1961, 1970, 1980)

  • Emphasized actualizing theory

    • Innate inclination toward growth and fulfillment that motivates all human behavior

  • Those who accurately experience the self are on the road to self-actualization

  • Personality begins to develop early

    • Children search for parent’s approval (aka positive regard)

    • As parents and others begin to evaluate the child, they compare them to his/her own evaluations

      • Child reacts in a way that’s congruent to w/self-experience

      • Self-concept

        • Positive + positive = positive

        • Positive + negative= negative


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Carl Rogers cont.

  • People like what they are supposed to like and behave the way they are supposed to behave

    • Psychological disorders and anxiety occurs when people’s feelings are incongruent to their true feelings

      • Conditions of worth

      • Evaluate the child not the behavior


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Evaluation of the Humanistic Approach

  • Critics believe it to be naïve, romantic and unrealistic

  • Underplay the importance of genetics

  • Emphasis on culture specific ideas about mental health may not apply anywhere but Western Europe or North America


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The Trait Approach

  • When describe others by referring to the kind of person they are

  • Makes 3 basic assumptions:

    • Personality traits are relatively stable, therefore predictable over time

    • Personality traits are relatively stable across situations and why ppl act in predictable ways in different situations

    • Differ in how much of a particular personality trait they possess

  • No 2 people are alike on all traits


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Exploring Traits

  • Allport’s Trait Theory (1961)

    • Found 18,000 terms that referred to personality traits but many were the same

    • Believed that the set of labels that are chosen to describe a person reflects their central traits

      • Equivalent to the descriptions that are meant to convey what can be expected from a person most of the time

    • Also believed people possess secondary traits

      • More specific to certain situations and control less behavior

        • Ex. Dislikes crowds

    • Help lay foundation for modern research on personality

    • uniqueness of individual personality made it difficult to draw conclusions about structure of human personality


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The Big-Five Model of Personality

  • Raymond Cattall

    • Used factor-analysis to study which terms were related to one another

      • Believed that sets of traits clustering together in this analysis would reflect a set of basic personality factors

      • Identified as the 16 factors and are found in everyone

      • Measured by the 16PF


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Big-Five cont.

  • McCrae & Costa (1999)

    • Personality organized around 5 components:

      • Openness to experience

      • Conscientiousness

      • Extraversion

      • Agreeableness

      • Neuroticism


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Biological Trait Theories

  • Eysenck’s Biological Trait Theory

    • Also used factor analysis to study personality

      • Laid groundwork for big-five model

    • Suggested most people’s traits could be described in 2 dimensions:

      • Introversion-extraversion

      • Emotionality –stability

    • People fall into different points along these dimensions b/c of inherited differences in nervous systems

      • If operates at a low level, most likely extraverted; on a high level, introverted

        • Their response to stress is also different


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Assessing Traits

  • Done through personality inventories

  • Most widely used: MMPI

  • Empirically derived-explain

  • MMPI-2 contains 10 clinical scales, several validity scales and 15 content scales

  • Scored objectively (by computer)

    • This does not mean it is valid-Why?

  • Funder (1991, 1995) peer-reports more trustworthy than self-reporting


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Evaluating Trait Approach

  • Better at describing people than understand them

  • Offers a short list of traits of varying strengths that provides a superficial description of personality

    • Does not capture how they fit together to create a complex and dynamic individual

  • Questioned if there are 5 core dimensions and if they are the same for all cultures

  • Do not take into account that situations affect behavior


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Social-Cognitive Approach

  • Look to conscious thoughts and emotions for clues about how people differ from one another and what guides their behavior

  • Formed out of animal and human learning not through clinical trials or other descriptions of personality


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Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach

  • John B. Watson; B.F. Skinner-What role did they play in the social-cognitive approach to personality?

  • Rotter’s Expectancy Theory (1982)

    • Learning creates cognitions (expectancies) that guide behavior

    • Decision to engage in behavior is determined by

      • What the person expects to happen following the behavior

      • The value placed on the outcome


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Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach

  • Albert Bandura and reciprocal determinism

    • Personality shaped by the ways in which thoughts, behavior, and environment interact and influence each other

    • What is reciprocal determinism?

    • How do individuals and environments interact


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Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach

  • Personal control

    • What is it?

    • If we control or are controlled by our environment

    • Study in two ways:

      • Locus of control

      • Learned helplessness

  • Optimism-

  • What are the health benefits of optimism?


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Evaluating the Social –Cognitive Perspective

  • Builds on research of cognition and learning

  • Does not appreciate inner traits


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