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Chapter 11: Personality. Dr. M. Davis-Brantley. What is Personality?. Personality An individual’s unique and relatively consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving Personality Theory

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Chapter 11 personality l.jpg

Chapter 11: Personality

Dr. M. Davis-Brantley

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What is Personality?

  • Personality

    • An individual’s unique and relatively consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving

  • Personality Theory

    • Attempt to describe and explain how people are similar, how they are different, and why every individual is unique

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Personality Perspectives

  • Psychoanalytic—importance of unconscious processes and childhood experiences

  • Humanistic—importance of self and fulfillment of potential

  • Social cognitive—importance of beliefs about self

  • Also, Behaviorism (discussed extensively in Chap 5)

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Psychoanalytic Approach

  • Developed by Sigmund Freud

  • Psychoanalysis is both an approach to therapy and a theory of personality

  • Emphasizes unconscious motivation – the main causes of behavior lie buried in the unconscious mind

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Psychoanalytic Approach: Conscious Forces

  • Conscious – all things we are aware of at any given moment

  • Wishes, desires, or thoughts we are aware of , or can recall, at any given moment

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Psychoanalytic Approach: Preconscious Forces

  • Preconscious – everything that can, with a little effort, be brought into consciousness

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Psychoanalytic Approach: Unconscious Forces

  • Unconscious –inaccessible warehouse of anxiety-producing thoughts and drives

  • Represents wishes, desires, or thoughts that, because of their disturbing or threatening content, we automatically repress and have difficulty accessing

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Psychoanalytic Divisions of the Mind

  • Id—instinctual drives present at birth

    • does not distinguish between reality and fantasy

    • operates according to the pleasure principle

  • Ego—develops out of the id in infancy

    • understands reality and logic

    • mediator between id and superego

  • Superego

    • internalization of society’s moral standards

    • responsible for guilt

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Id: The Pleasure Principle

  • Pleasure principle—drive toward immediate gratification, most fundamental human motive

  • Libido—sexual energy or motivation

  • Id’s psychological energy is derived from two conflicting drives Eros (life instinct) and Thanatos (death instinct)

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Ego: The Reality Principle

  • Reality principle—ability to postpone gratification in accordance with demands of reality

  • Ego—rational, organized, logical, mediator to demands of reality

  • Can repress desires that cannot be met in an acceptable manner

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Superego: Conscience

  • Internalization of societal and parental values

  • Partially unconscious

  • Can be harshly punitive using feelings of guilt

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Defense Mechanisms

Unconscious mental processes employed by the ego to reduce anxiety

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Psychosexual Stages

  • Freud’s five stages of personality development, each associated with a particular erogenous zone

  • Fixation—an attempt to achieve pleasure as an adult in ways that are equivalent to how it was achieved in these stages

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Neo-Freudian Psychodynamic Theories

  • Carl Jung

  • Karen Horney

  • Alfred Adler

  • Erik Erikson

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Eriksonian Psychosocial Stages of Development

  • Trust vs. Mistrust—babies learn to trust others will care for their basic needs (birth to 1 year)

  • Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt—child learns that they can be self-sufficient (1-3 years)

  • Initiative vs. Guilt—children learn to undertake many adult activities or be punished by parents and made to feel guilty (3-6 years)

  • Industry vs. Inferiority—child learns to be competent and productive or unable to do anything (6-11 years)

  • Identity vs. Role Diffusion—Begin to understand/figure out “Who am I”? Or are confused about who they are (adolescence)

  • Intimacy vs. Isolation—Person seeks companionship and love or can become isolated because of fear of rejection or disappointment (Young adulthood)

  • Generativity vs. Stagnation—Person explore contribution to next generation such as meaningful work, raising a family, etc…(Middle Adulthood)

  • Integrity vs. Despair—Person tries to make sense of life and sees it as meaningful or not goal-directed (Older adulthood)

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Evaluation of Psychoanalysis

  • Evidence is inadequate—data are not available or able to be reviewed

  • Theory is not testable—lack of operational definitions. Good at explaining past but not at prediction

  • Sexism—believed that women were weak and inferior. Used male psychology as basis for all people

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Humanistic Perspective

  • Free will

  • Self-awareness

  • Psychological growth

  • Abraham Maslow

  • Carl Rogers

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Carl Rogers

  • Actualizing tendency—innate drive to maintain and enhance the human organism

  • Self-concept—set of perceptions you hold about yourself

  • Positive regard—conditional and unconditional

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Evaluating Humanism

  • Difficult to test or validate scientifically

  • Tends to be too optimistic, minimizing some of the more destructive aspects of human nature

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Social Cognitive Perspective

  • Social cognitive theory—the importance of observational learning, social experience, self-efficacy and reciprocal determinism in personality

  • Reciprocal determinism-model that explains personality as the result of behavioral, cognitive, and environmental interactions

  • Self-efficacy—belief that people have about their ability to meet demands of a specific situation

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Social-Cognitive Cont’d

Reciprocal Determinism—Albert Bandura

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Cognitive Social-Learning Theory

  • Developed by Albert Bandura

  • Reciprocal Determinism

    • Complex interaction of individual factors (person variables), behavior, and environment stimuli

  • Person Variables

    • Factors within the person that influence behavior such as expectancies, competencies, attitudes, beliefs, or prior Sr+ history

      • These variables are in addition to your effect on the environment and the environment’s effect on you

    • Ex: Beginning an exercise regimen

    • Reciprocal Determinism:


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Evaluation of Social Cognitive Perspective

  • Well grounded in empirical, laboratory research

  • However, laboratory experiences are rather simple and may not reflect the complexity of human interactions

  • Ignores the influences of unconscious, emotions, conflicts