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Chapter 12 Personality. Chapter Preview. Psychodynamic Perspectives Humanistic Perspectives Trait Perspectives Personological and Life Story Perspectives Social Cognitive Perspectives Biological Perspectives Personality Assessment Personality and Health and Wellness. Personality.

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Chapter 12 Personality

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Chapter 12 personality

Chapter 12


Chapter preview

Chapter Preview

Psychodynamic Perspectives

Humanistic Perspectives

Trait Perspectives

Personological and Life Story Perspectives

Social Cognitive Perspectives

Biological Perspectives

Personality Assessment

Personality and Health and Wellness



…a pattern of enduring distinctive thoughts,

emotions, and behaviors that characterize the

way an individual adapts to the world

Psychodynamic perspectives

Psychodynamic Perspectives

personality is primarily unconscious

understanding personality involves exploring the symbolic meanings of behavior and the unconscious mind

early childhood experiences sculpt the individual’s personality

Freud s psychoanalytic theory

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory

Freud and Psychoanalysis

  • sex drive – main determinant of personality development


  • physical symptoms without physical cause

  • overdetermined – multiple unconscious causes

    Iceberg Analogy of Human Personality

Personality structure

Personality Structure


  • instincts and reservoir of psychic energy

  • pleasure principle


  • deals with the demands of reality

  • reality principle


  • moral branch of personality; “conscience”

Personality structure1

Personality Structure

Defense mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms

  • conflict between the id, ego, and superego results in anxiety

  • defense mechanisms reduce anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality – not necessarily unhealthy

  • repression

    • foundation for all defense mechanisms

    • push unacceptable impulses out of awareness

Defense mechanisms1

Defense Mechanisms






reaction formation



Defense mechanisms2

Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms3

Defense Mechanisms

Psychosexual stages

Psychosexual Stages

Oral Stage: 0-18 Months

  • infant’s pleasure centers on the mouth

    Anal Stage: 18-36 Months

  • child’s pleasure involves eliminative functions

    Phallic Stage: 3-6 Years

  • child’s pleasure focuses on the genitals

  • Oedipal complex

  • castration anxiety

Phallic stage

Phallic Stage

  • Pleasure focuses on genitals

    • discovery that self-stimulation is enjoyable

  • Oedipus Complex

    • boy’s intense desire to replace father and enjoy affections of mother

    • castration Anxiety

      • boy’s intense fear of being mutilated by father

    • identifying with father and adopting male gender role to reduce conflict, as foundation for superego

      • without experience of castration anxiety, girls cannot develop superego like boys

Psychosexual stages cont d

Psychosexual Stages (cont’d)

Latency Stage: 6 Years - Puberty

  • psychic “time-out”

  • interest in sexuality is repressed

    Genital Stage: Adolescence and Adulthood

  • sexual reawakening

  • source of sexual pleasure is someone else

    Fixation - remain locked in particular developmental

    stage (e.g., anal retentive)

Psychosexual stages1

Psychosexual Stages

Dissenters and revisionists

Dissenters and Revisionists

sexuality – not pervasive force behind personality

early experience –not as powerful as Freud thought

importance of conscious thought

sociocultural influences

Dissenters and revisionists1

Dissenters and Revisionists

Horney’s Sociocultural Approach

  • both sexes envy the attributes of the other

  • need for security, not sex, is primary motivator

    Jung’s Analytical Theory

  • collective unconscious and archetypes

    Adler’s Individual Psychology

  • perfection, not pleasure, is key motivator

Evaluating psychodynamic theory

Evaluating Psychodynamic Theory


  • too much emphasis on early experiences

  • too much faith in unconscious mind’s control

  • too much emphasis on sexual instincts

  • theory can not be tested


  • importance of childhood experiences

  • development proceeds in stages

  • role of unconscious processes

Humanistic perspectives

Humanistic Perspectives

…emphasis on a person’s capacity for

personal growth and positive human


Humanistic perspectives1

Humanistic Perspectives

Abraham Maslow

  • third force psychology

  • self-actualization

  • peak experiences

  • biased since focus was on highly successful individuals

Humanistic perspectives2

Humanistic Perspectives

Carl Rogers

  • personal growth and self-determination

  • unconditional positive regard

    - conditions of worth

    - self-concept

  • empathy

  • genuineness

Evaluating humanistic perspectives

Evaluating Humanistic Perspectives


  • self-perception is key to personality

  • consider the positive aspects of human nature

  • emphasize conscious experience


  • too optimistic about human nature

  • promotes self-love and narcissism

Trait perspectives

Trait Perspectives


  • an enduring disposition that leads to characteristic responses

  • traits are the building blocks of personality

    Trait Theories

  • people can be described by their typical behavior

  • strong versus weak tendencies

Trait perspectives1

Trait Perspectives

Gordon Allport

  • personality understood through traits

  • behavior consistent across situations

  • lexical approach  4500 traits

    W. T. Norman

  • five factor model

  • broad traits – main dimensions of personality

Five factor model of personality

Five Factor Model of Personality

Evaluating trait perspectives

Evaluating Trait Perspectives


  • traits influence health, cognitions, career success, and interpersonal relations


  • ignores the role of the situation in behavior

  • ignores nuances of an individual’s personality

Personological perspectives

Personological Perspectives

…focusing on an individual’s

life history or life story

Henry Murray

  • personology: the study of the whole person

  • motives are largely unconscious

  • thematic apperception test (TAT)

    - need for achievement, affiliation, and power

Life story approach

Life Story Approach

Dan McAdams

  • our life story is our identity

  • intimacy motivation


  • applying personality theory to one person’s life

Evaluating life story approach

Evaluating Life Story Approach


  • rich record of an individual’s experience


  • difficult and time-consuming

    - extensive coding and content analysis

  • prone to bias

  • not easily generalized

Social cognitive perspectives

Social Cognitive Perspectives

  • emphasize conscious awareness, beliefs, expectations, and goals

  • incorporates principles from behaviorism when exploring:

    - reasoning

    - beliefs

    - self reflection

    - interpretation of situation

Social cognitive perspectives1

Social Cognitive Perspectives

Albert Bandura

  • reciprocal determinism

    - behavior, environment, and cognitive

    factors interact to create personality

    Key Processes and Variables

  • observational learning

  • personal control

  • self-efficacy

Reciprocal determinism

Reciprocal Determinism

Social cognitive perspectives2

Social Cognitive Perspectives

Walter Mischel


- behavior and personality vary considerably across context

CAPS Model of Personality

- stability over time rather than across situations

- interconnections among cognitions and emotions affect our behavior

Evaluating social cognitive theory

Evaluating Social Cognitive Theory


  • focuses on interactions of individuals with their environments

  • suggests people can control their environment


  • too concerned with change and the situation

  • ignores the role of biology

  • very specific predictions hinder generalization

Biological perspectives

Biological Perspectives

Personality and the Brain

  • brain damage alters personality

  • brain responses correlate with personality

    Eysenk’s Reticular Activation System Theory

  • extraverts and introverts have different base-line levels of arousal

    Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory

  • behavioral activation system and behavioral inhibition system

Eysenck s ras theory

Eysenck’s RAS Theory

  • Reticular Activating System (RAS)

    • Located in brain stem

    • Plays role in wakefulness or arousal

  • Eysenck’s Theory

    • All share optimal arousal level

    • RAS of extraverts and introverts may differ in baseline levels of arousal, with behaviors aimed at regulating arousal around these baselines

    • But introverts may just be more sensitive to stimuli

Gray s reinforcement sensitivity

Gray’s Reinforcement Sensitivity

  • Behavioral approach system (BAS) and behavioral inhibition system (BIS) underlie personality

  • Differences in sensitivity to rewards and punishers

    • BAS

      • Sensitive to rewards

      • Predisposition to positive emotion

      • Underlies extraversion

    • BIS

      • Sensitive to punishers

      • Predisposition to fear

      • Underlies neuroticism

Biological perspectives1

Biological Perspectives

Role of Neurotransmitters

  • growth of dopamine receptors stimulated by warm care-givers

  • disposes person to reward-sensitivity (extraversion)

  • less serotonin in circulation leads to negative mood (neuroticism)

Biological perspectives2

Biological Perspectives

Behavioral Genetics

  • twin studies reveal substantial genetic influence on Big Five traits

  • most traits influenced by multiple genes

    Evaluating the Biological Perspective

  • ties personality to animal learning, brain imaging, and evolutionary theory

  • criticisms (e.g., biology may be the effect, not the cause, of personality)

Personality assessment

Personality Assessment

Self-Report Tests

  • beware social desirability

  • empirically-keyed tests used to get around social desirability problem

    - test takers do not know what is being measured

    - test items not related to purpose of test

    - MMPI is an example

Personality assessment1

Personality Assessment

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

  • 567 items

  • controls for social desirability

  • assesses mental health and used to make hiring decisions and to determine criminal risk

    Neuroticism Extraversion Openness

    Personality Inventory-Revised

  • assesses the big five factors and 6 subdimensions

Personality assessment2

Personality Assessment

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

  • four dimensions used to make personnel decisions:

    - extraversion-introversion

    - sensing-intuiting

    - thinking-feeling

    - judgment-perception

  • not empirically supported

  • Barnum effect

Personality assessment3

Personality Assessment

Projective Tests

…psychodynamic approach

…project own meaning on ambiguous stimuli

Rorschach inkblot test

  • personality score based on description of inkblots

  • questionable reliability and validity

    Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

  • series of ambiguous pictures viewed one at a time

  • elicited stories reveal an individual’s personality

Rorschach inkblot test

Rorschach Inkblot Test

Thematic apperception test

Thematic Apperception Test

Other assessment methods

Other Assessment Methods

direct behavioral observation

cognitive assessment of attention and memory

peer ratings

psychophysiological measures (e.g., polygraph)

brain imaging

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