Personality theories
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PERSONALITY THEORIES. Personality Theories. BEHAVIORISTS (Skinner) PSYCHOANALYTIC (Freud, Neo-Freudians, Psychodynamic) SOCIAL COGNITIVE (Bandura, Mischel, Seligman) HUMANISTIC (Rogers, Maslow) BIOLOGICAL (Eysenck) TRIAT (Allport, Catrell, Sheldon). Skinner.

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Personality theories


Personality theories1

Personality Theories

  • BEHAVIORISTS (Skinner)

  • PSYCHOANALYTIC (Freud, Neo-Freudians, Psychodynamic)

  • SOCIAL COGNITIVE (Bandura, Mischel, Seligman)

  • HUMANISTIC (Rogers, Maslow)

  • BIOLOGICAL (Eysenck)

  • TRIAT (Allport, Catrell, Sheldon)



  • Argued for determinism--behavior is fully determined by environmental stimuli.

  • Free will is but an illusion…”There is no place in the scientific position for a self as a true originator or initiator of action.”

  • Collection of response tendencies that are tied to various stimulus situations.

Social cognitive theories

Social Cognitive Theories

  • Applies principles of learning, thinking and social influences

  • Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura)…idea that internal mental events, external environmental events and overt behavior all influence one another. Your environment determines your behavior & your behavior can change your environment.

Personality theories




Personality theories

Bandura continued…

*Observational Learning…

Bobo doll experiment

*Often considered the father of the cognitive movement

Walter mischel

Walter Mischel

  • Colleague of Bandura at Stanford (now at Columbia)

  • Extent to which situational factors govern behavior…controversy over the consistency of human behavior

  • Emphasizes and highlights situational determinants of behavior

Martin seligman julian rotter

Martin Seligman Julian Rotter

  • Learned Helplessness

  • Optimism

  • Julian Rotter--Locus of control (internal and external)

Humanists phenomenological

Humanists (Phenomenological)

  • Humans are essentially good

  • Motivated toward self-actualization

  • Maslow--Hierarchy of Needs

  • Carl Rogers…Unconditional Positive Regard…Self

  • Holism (considers whole person like Gestalt

  • Phenomenological--everyone’s individual frame of reference/point of view



  • Hans Eysenck--personality structure as a hierachy of traits

  • Three high order traits (Extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism)

Trait theorists

Trait Theorists

  • Gordon Allport--

  • Personal traits (dispositions)--concrete, easily recognized,consistencies in our behavior

  • Common traits (culturally)--liberal/conservative

  • Central traits (building blocks)--5 to 10

Allport continued

Allport (continued)

  • Secondary traits(preferences, attitudes)

  • Cardinal traits (define life)…Mother Theresa--religious service

  • Allport was so right about so many things that his ideas have simply passed on into the spirit of the times. Influenced many others.

  • Humanist????

Other trait theorists

Other Trait Theorists...

  • Sheldon--Body types (endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph)

  • Big Five Personality Factors (Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness)

  • Cattell--16 traits



  • Ectomorph - EndodermThis is known to develop into the digestive tact which consists of the intestine, stomach. Heart lungs etc. this somatotype is also the innermost layer of the embryo. The personality traits associated with the endoderm body type is tolerance, love, comfort. In a word all the emotions that have to deal with a great deal of affection. The body type is considered to be fat and can easily be overweight. The love for people and the intimate relationship with food is also another trait of this personality.

  • Mesomorph - MesodermThis is the middle layer which in turn develops into the muscle, blood vessels, bone etc. In terms of body shape with this type of somatotype, Sheldon concluded that the physic of this body is all about muscle. These are well defined muscle tones. In terms of personality this relates to very energetic, courageous, active, aggressive, etc. all this can be seen as the personality of the Alpha male.

  • Endomorph - EctodermThis is naturally the last layer. It has its association or develops are that it forms the nervous system, skin and hair. These are people that are considered to be underweight because they are so slim. They are often the intelligent nerds and their personality traits are that highly self-aware therefore they are also very sensitive with an air of an artistic nature to them. In a way they are society’s introverts because of their shy and timid nature.

Personality tests

Objective Tests





Projective tests


TAT (Murray)

Personality tests

General personality information

General Personality Information

Issues in personality theories

Issues in Personality Theories

Issues in personality theories1

Issues in Personality Theories

Personality theories


Stages of


Stages of development

Stages of Development

  • Freud believed that personality is formed during childhood.

  • Our past childhood experiences are powerful influences on our present personalities

Personality theories

  • The stages (Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genital) represent patterns of gratifying our basic needs and satisfying our drive for physical pleasure

  • Insufficient or excess gratification during any stage could cause a person to reflect the stage throughout life.



Stage issues

Stage Issues

  • During the Phallic Stage, The Oedipus complex occurs due to boys feelings of guilt for love of mother and fear of castration.

  • During Oral Stage, deprivation or overindulgence may result in adult oral fixations or have dependence issues

Personality theories

  • If Anal Stage is not resolved, may result in an anal expulsive (messy, unorganized) or anal retentive (controlled compulsively neat) personality

Personality theories




The iceberg correlation






Id -

Pleasure Principle

Ego -

Reality Principle

Super Ego

- Moral Principle

Elements of the personality

Elements of the Personality


  • Unconcious energy

  • Basic drives

  • Immediate gratification

  • Pleasure Principle

  • Instinctual/biological

  • Libidinal Energy

Elements of the personality1

Elements of the Personality


  • Partially conscious

  • Cope with real world

  • Gratifies ID in realistic ways

  • Reality Principle

  • Logical/Rational

  • Struggles to reconcile ID & Superego

Elements of the personality2

Elements of the Personality


  • Partially conscious

  • Ideal behavior

  • Moral Principle

  • Conscience

The iceberg correlation1


below the surface

(thoughts, feelings,

wishes, memories)


“the mind is like an iceburg - mostly hidden”

Conscious Awareness

small part above surface



banishing unacceptable

thoughts & passions to


Dreams & Slips

Expressions of the unconscious

The work we choose

The beliefs we hold

Daily habits

Troubling symptoms



Slips of the tongue


Expressions of the Unconscious

Personality theories

Psychoanalysis and


Freud s psychoanalytical

Freud’s Psychoanalytical

  • Discovered the unconscious

  • Used hypnosis and then free association to unlock the unconscious

  • Three levels of the mind: unconscious, preconscious, and conscious.

  • Freud believed we are most influenced by our unconscious.

  • Personality results from our efforts to resolve conflict between pleasure seeking impulses and internalized social restraints.

Psychoanalytic personality tests

Psychoanalytic Personality Tests

Goal – to tap into the unconscious.

Projective Tests – user tells a story or gives a description based on an ambiguous stimulus.


  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – share inner feelings through stories made up about ambiguous scenes.

  • Rorschach inkblot – descriptions of inkblots reflect inner feelings and conflicts.


  • Reliability? – NO• Validity? – NO

  • No universal scoring system or training system

Neo freudians

Neo - Freudians

Neo freudians1

Neo - Freudians

Accepted Freud’s basic ideas:

  • Id, ego, superego.

  • Importance of conscious.

  • Shaping of personality during childhood.

  • Dynamics of anxiety & defense mechanisms.


  • More emphasis on conscious.

  • Less emphasis on sexual motivations.

  • More emphasis on noble motives & social interactions.

Neo freudians2

Neo - Freudians


  • Dependent child’s sense of helplessness creates anxiety

  • Triggers desire for love & security

  • Criticized Freud’s gender bias

Neo freudians3

Neo - Freudians


  • Childhood social conflicts influence personality development

  • Inferiority complex

Neo freudians4

Neo - Freudians


  • More emphasis on unconscious than other neo Freudians

  • Unconscious contains more than just negative, but unrealized talents, gifts, creativities & passions.

  • Believed in a Collective Unconscious – Part of unconscious shared by all. Archetypes, the building blocks of the soul which are inherited and shared by all, live here.

Humanistic perspective

Humanistic Perspective

  • Positive Approach

  • Sense of Self = center of personality

  • Goal = foster personal growth

  • Emphasis = human potential

  • Self concept shapes personality



The self actualized person

  • Self aware & self accepting

  • Open & spontaneous

  • Loving & caring

  • Secure

  • Creates deep relationships

  • Is moved by personal peak experiences

  • Has the courage to be unpopular

Carl rogers

Carl Rogers

A growth promoting climate:

  • Genuineness – openness

  • Acceptance – unconditional positive regard

  • Empathy – sharing our feelings and reflecting our meanings

    Positive self concept occurs when

    IDEAL self = ACTUAL self

Self esteem


People with higher

self-esteem typically:

  • have < sleepless nights

  • < likely to conform under pressure or use drugs

  • more persistent at difficult tasks

  • <shy & lonely

Criticisms of humanistic approach

Criticisms of Humanistic Approach

  • Concepts vague and subjective

  • Individualism can lead to self indulgence, selfishness, arrogance & pride.

  • Ignores our human capacity for evil.

Social cognitive perspective

Social Cognitive Perspective

  • Applies principles of learning, thinking & social influence

  • Emphasizes importance of external events and how we interpret them.

  • Emphasizes our sense of personal control

Reciprocal determinism

Reciprocal Determinism

Bandura = process of interacting with our environment

1. Different people choose different environments

2. Different people interpret & react differently to situations & events.

3. Our personalities create situations to which we react. Ex – self fulfilling prophesy, expectations.

Who controls your world

Who controls your world?

  • Do you see yourself as controlling of, or controlled by your environment?

  • External locus of control – perception that outside factors determine one’s fate.

  • Internal locus of control – perception that one has more control over own fate. Typically these people achieve more in schools, act more independently, are less depressed, in better health and cope with stress better.

Learned helplessness

Learned Helplessness

  • Those who feel helpless & oppressed often view control as external.

  • When traumatic events occur and people feel as if they have no control, they often learn helplessness, which can generalize to other situations.



  • Too much focus on situations, not enough focus on person’s inner traits

  • SCs argue that our traits & emotions shine through in our reactions & responses.

Trait perspective

Trait Perspective

Describes Personality based on:

  • Characteristic Behaviors

  • Conscious Motives

  • Describes, doesn’t explain

  • Basically a classification system

Trait tests

Trait Tests

Myers – Briggs Test - Based on Jung’s personality types:

  • Extravert vs. Intravert

  • Thinking vs. Feeling

  • Judging vs. Perceiving

  • Sensing vs. Intuitive

Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

  • Objective, normed personality inventory with validity scales for faking & lying.

    10 scales:

    1. Hypochondriasis6. Schizophrenia

    2. Depression7. Hypomania

    3. Social Introversion8. Hysteria

    4. Psychopathic Deviancy9. Paranoia

    4. Masculinity/Femininity10. Psychasthenia

Biology personality

Biology & Personality

  • Low brain arousal results in more extraversion

  • Overactive Autonomic Nervous System results in a more emotionally unstable personality

  • Inactive frontal lobe area results in a more extraverted personality

  • Genetics influence personality

Trait perspective criticism

Trait Perspective Criticism

  • Person-situation controversy – Do traits persist over time and across situations?

  • Are behaviors consistent from one situation to the next?

  • Does trait perspective result in labeling & pigeonholing?

    Trait Perspective actually attempts to predict AVERAGE behavior over many situations to determine personality.

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