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Personality. Personality. What is personality? Personality the relatively enduring characteristics that differentiate people-those behaviors that makes each individual unique. Psychoanalytic Approaches. Psychoanalytic theory

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  • What is personality?

  • Personality

    • the relatively enduring characteristics that differentiate people-those behaviors that makes each individual unique

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Psychoanalytic Approaches

  • Psychoanalytic theory

    • Freud’s theory that unconscious forces act as determinants of personality

  • Unconscious

    • a part of the personality of which a person is not aware, and which is a potential determinant of behavior

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Structuring Personality

  • Id

    • the raw, unorganized, inborn part of personality, whose sole purpose is to reduce tension created by primitive drives related to hunger, sex, aggression, and irrational impulses

  • Libido

    • the “psychic energy” that fuels the primary drives

  • “Pleasure Principle”

    • immediate reduction of tension, maximization of satisfaction

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Structuring Personality

  • Ego

    • the part of the personality that provides a buffer between the id and the outside world

  • “Reality Principle”

    • instinctual energy is restrained in order to maintain the safety of the individual and help integrate the person into society

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Structuring Personality

  • Superego

    • the final personality structure to develop that represents the rights and wrongs of society as handed down by a persona’s parents, teachers, and other important figures

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Oral Stage

    • a stage from birth to 12-18 months, in which an infant’s center of pleasure is the mouth

    • interested in oral gratification from sucking, eating, mouthing, biting

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Anal Stage

    • a stage from 12-18 months to 3 years of age, in which a child’s pleasure is centered on the anus

    • gratification from expelling and withholding feces; coming to terms with society’s controls relating to toilet training

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Phallic Stage

    • a period beginning around age 3 during which a child’s interest focuses on the genitals

    • Oedipal conflict

      • a child’s sexual interest in his or her opposite-sex parent, typically resolved through identification with the same-sex parent

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Latency Period

    • the period between the phallic stage and puberty during which children’s sexual concerns are temporarily put aside

    • 5-6 years to adolescence

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Genital Stage

    • the period from puberty until death, marked by mature sexual behavior

    • reemergence of sexual interests and establishment of mature sexual relationships

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Developing Personality: A Stage Approach

  • Fixation

    • personality traits characteristic of an earlier stage of development due to an unresolved conflict stemming from the earlier period

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Defense Mechanisms

  • Defense mechanisms

    • unconscious strategies that people use to reduce anxiety by concealing the source from themselves and others

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Defense Mechanisms

  • Repression

    • unacceptable or unpleasant impulses are pushed back into the unconscious

  • Regression

    • people behave as if they were at an earlier stage of development

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Defense Mechanisms

  • Displacement

    • the expression of an unwanted feeling or thought is redirected from a more threatening, powerful person to a weaker one

  • Rationalization

    • a distortion of reality in which a person justifies what happens

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Defense Mechanisms

  • Denial

    • refusal to acknowledge an anxiety-producing piece of information

  • Projection

    • attributing unwanted impulses to someone


  • Sublimation

    • diversion of unwanted impulses into socially approved thoughts, feelings, or behaviors

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The Neo-Freudian Psychoanalysts

  • Jung’s “collective unconscious”

    • a set of influences we inherit from our own particular ancestors, the whole human race, and even animal ancestors from the distant past

  • Adler’s “inferiority complex”

    • a situation in which adults have not been able to overcome the feelings of inferiority that they developed as children

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    Trait Approaches

    • Trait theory

      • a model of personality that seeks to identify the basic traits necessary to describe personality

    • Traits

      • enduring dimensions of personality characteristics along which people differ

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    Trait Approaches

    • Allport’s trait theory

      • cardinal traits

        • a single characteristic that directs most of a person’s activities

      • central trait

        • the major characteristics of the individual

      • secondary traits

        • characteristics that affect behavior in fewer situations

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    Trait Approaches

    • Cattell

      • factor analysis

        • a method of summarizing the relationships among a large number of variables

      • surface traits

        • clusters of related behaviors

      • source traits

        • represent the basic dimensions of personality

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    Trait Approaches

    • Eysenck

      • extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism

    • The “Big Five”

      • extraversion

      • agreeableness

      • conscientiousness

      • neuroticism (emotional stability)

      • openness to experience

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    Learning Approaches

    • Cognitive-Social approaches to personality

      • emphasizes the influence of a person’s cognitions in determining personality

    • Reciprocal determinism

      • the way in which the interaction of environment, behavior, and individual ultimately causes people to behave as they do

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    Biological and Evolutionary Approaches

    • Biological and evolutionary approaches to personality

      • the theory that suggests that important components of personality are inherited

    • Temperament

      • a basic, innate disposition that emerges early in life

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    Humanistic Approaches

    • Humanistic approaches to personality

      • the theory that emphasizes people’s basic goodness and their tendency to grow to higher levels of functioning

    • Self-actualization

      • a state of self-fulfillment in which people realize their highest potential

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    Assessing Personality

    • Psychological Tests

      • standard measures devised to assess behavior objectively and used by psychologists to help people make decisions about their lives and understand more about themselves

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    Self-Report Measures of Personality

    • Self-Report measures

      • a method of gathering data about people by asking them questions about a sample of their behavior

    • MMPI-2

      • a test used to identify people with psychological difficulties as well as predicting a variety of other behaviors

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    Projective Methods

    • Projective personality test

      • a test in which a person is shown an ambiguous stimulus and asked to describe it or tell a story about it

    • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

      • a test consisting of a series of pictures about which a person is asked to write a story

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    Behavioral Assessment

    • Behavioral assessment

      • direct measures of an individual’s behavior used to describe characteristics indicative of personality