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Personality. Psychology 2012 – Fall 2003. Introduction: What is Personality?. An individual’s unique and relatively consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving

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Personality


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    1. Personality Psychology 2012 – Fall 2003

    2. Introduction: What is Personality? • An individual’s unique and relatively consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving • Personality – an attempt to describe and explain how people are similar, how they are different, and why every individual is unique • Tries to explain the whole person

    3. Introduction: What is Personality? • Personality theories can be roughly grouped under four basic perspectives: • The psychoanalytic perspective – emphasizes the importance of unconscious processes and the influence of early childhood experiences • The humanistic perspective – represents an optimistic look at human nature, emphasizing the self and the fulfillment of a person’s unique potential • The social cognitive perspective – emphasizing learning and conscious cognitive processes, including the importance of beliefs about the self, goal-setting, and self-regulation • The trait perspective – emphasizes the description and measurement of specific personality differences among individuals

    4. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, was one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century • Psychoanalysis – the theory of personality that stresses the influence of: • Unconscious mental processes • Sexual and aggressive instincts, and • The enduring effects of early childhood experience on personality

    5. Sigmund Freud Assumptions: • Traits transcend situations • Personality formed in childhood

    6. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The life of Sigmund Freud • Freud studied medicine, became a physician, and then proved himself an outstanding physiological researcher • However, prospects for an academic career in scientific research were very poor, especially for a Jew in Vienna, which was intensely anti-Semitic at that time

    7. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Influences in the development of Freud’s ideas • Joseph Breuer – a highly respected physician, who found that when patients were hypnotized and allowed to talk freely about a given symptom, forgotten memories of traumatic events would emerge • After patients freely expressed the pent-up emotions associated with the events, symptoms would disappear • A process Breuer call catharsis • Freud dropped the use of hypnosis and developed his own technique of free association to help patients uncover forgotten memories • Freud’s patients would spontaneously report their uncensored thoughts, mental images, and feelings as they came to mind

    8. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Influences in the development of Freud’s ideas • Breuer and Freud described several of their case studies in their landmark book Studies on Hysteria; published in 1895, it marked the beginning of psychoanalysis • In 1900, Freud published what many consider his most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams • Freud came to focus on humanity’s destructive tendencies; Freud wrote Civilization and Its Discontents, in which he applied his psychoanalytic perspective to civilization as a whole • The central theme: human nature and civilization are in basic conflict – a conflict that cannot be resolved

    9. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Freud’s Dynamic Theory of Personality • Freud saw personality and behavior as resulting from a constant interplay between conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness • All the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that you are aware of at this particular moment represent the conscious level • The preconscious contains information of which you’re not currently aware, but is easily capable of entering your consciousness, such as childhood memories or your social security number • The bulk of Freud’s psychological iceberg is made up of the unconscious, which lies below the waterline of the preconscious and the conscious • We are not directly aware of these submerged thought, feelings, wishes, and drives • But the unconscious exerts an enormous influence on our conscious thoughts and behavior

    10. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Freud’s Dynamic Theory of Personality • Freud believed that unconscious material often seeps through to the conscious level in distorted disguised, or symbolic forms • Dream analysis was particularly important to Freud • Beneath the surface images (manifest content) of a dream lies the true, hidden, unconscious meaning of the dream symbols (latent content) • The unconscious also can be revealed in unintentional actions, • Such as accidents, mistakes, instances of forgetting and inadvertent slips of the tongue (often referred to as “Freudian Slips”)

    11. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The structure of personality • Psychological energy evolves to form the three basic structures of personality – the id, the ego, and the superego. These are distinct psychological processes. • The id, the most primitive part of the personality, is entirely unconscious and present at birth – it is completely immune to logic, values, morality, danger, and the demands of the external world • Two conflicting instinctual drives fuel the id: the life instinct and the death instinct • Eros – the life instinct; consists of biological urges that perpetuate the existence of the individual and the species (hunger, thirst, physical comfort, sexuality) • Thanatos – the death instinct; destructive energy that is reflected in aggressive, reckless, and life-threatening behaviors, including self-destructive actions

    12. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The id is rules by the pleasure principle • The relentless drive toward immediate satisfaction of the instinctual urges, especially sexual urges. • The id strives to increase pleasure, reduce tension, and avoid pain • The newborn infant is completely driven by the pleasure principle

    13. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The structure of personality • A new dimension of personality develops from part of the id’s psychological energy – the ego • Partly conscious, the ego represents the organized, rational, and planning dimensions of personality • The mediator between the id’s instinctual demands and the restrictions of the outer world, the ego operates on the reality principle • The capacity to postpone gratification until the appropriate time or circumstances exist in the external world

    14. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The ego is the pragmatic part of the personality that learns various compromises to reduce the tension of the id’s instinctual urges. • If the ego cannot identify an acceptable compromise to satisfy an instinctual urge, it can repress the impulse • Remove it from conscious awareness

    15. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The structure of personality • Gradually, social values move from being externally imposed demands to being internalized rules and values • By age 5-6, young children develop an internal, parental voice that is partly conscious – the superego • As the internal representation of parental and societal values, the superego evaluates the acceptability of behavior and thoughts, then praises or admonishes

    16. Freud’s Model

    17. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The ego defense mechanisms: unconscious self-deceptions • When the demands of the id or superego threaten to overwhelm the ego, anxiety results • If a realistic solution or compromise is not possible, the ego may temporarily reduce anxiety by distorting thoughts or perceptions of reality through processes Freud called ego defense mechanisms • By resorting to these largely unconscious self-deceptions, the ego can maintain an integrated sense of self • While searching for a more acceptable and realistic solution to a conflict between the id and superego

    18. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Ego defenses • The most fundamental ego defense mechanism is repression – unconscious forgetting • Unbeknownst to the person, anxiety-producing thoughts, feelings, or impulses are pushed out of conscious awareness into the unconscious • Displacement – impulses are redirected to a substitute object or person • Usually one less threatening or dangerous than the original source of conflict • The use of defense mechanisms is very common • Many psychologically healthy people temporarily use ego defense mechanisms to deal with stressful events • When they delay or interfere with our use of more constructive coping strategies, they can be counterproductive

    19. Freudian Theory: Defense Defense Mechanisms • Methods for dealing with anxiety • Freud thought some more mature than others Denial Sublimation Projection Reaction Formation

    20. Denial • Refusing to accept that the feeling is present or that the event occurred • A very primitive mechanism • Example: preschoolers will convince themselves they didn't do something they wish they hadn't

    21. Projection • Attributing one's undesirable traits or actions to others, so they become the problem instead of you • Example from a failing student: "I'm not worried about me, but I'd hate to see Ellen flunk--she's so fragile"

    22. Reaction Formation • Taking actions opposite to one's feelings in order to deny the reality of the feelings • Example: A woman says she can’t stand her boss, when in reality she is in love with him

    23. Sublimation • The most mature mechanism • Redirecting anxiety-causing impulses into socially acceptable actions • Example: Dealing with anxiety over a final by engaging in vigorous physical activity

    24. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Personality development: The psychosexual stages • Freud believed that people progress through five psychosexual stages of development • The foundations of the adult personality are established during the first six years of life, as the child progresses through the oral, anal, and phallic stages • The latency stage occurs during later childhood and the fifth and final stage, the genital stage, begins in adolescence

    25. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • In Freud’s theory, the psychosexual stages are age-related developmental periods in which sexual impulses are focused on different bodily zones • And are expressed through activities associated with those areas

    26. Freudian Theory: Stages Psychosexual Stages(source of libido satisfaction) Oral (0-1 year) Anal (1-3 years) Phallic (3-6 years) Latency (6-puberty) Genital (from puberty)

    27. Freudian Theory: Stages Oral Stage: • Libido gratification comes from oral exploration of the world • Infant learns to trust in others, esp. for food Oral Personality: • Problems in the oral stage supposedly lead to pessimism about the world, hostility or passivity

    28. Freudian Theory: Stages Anal Stage: • Kids learn about delay of gratification • Kids gain pleasure and libido satisfaction from being in control Anal Personality: • Problems in the anal stage supposedly lead to either excessive orderliness or excessive messiness

    29. Freudian Theory: Stages Phallic Stage: • Freud believed sex-role identification occurred • Mechanisms included castration anxiety (boys) & penis envy (girls) Phallic Personality: • Problems in the phallic stage supposedly lead to sex-role identification problems, promiscuity, vanity, or excessive chastity

    30. Freudian Theory: Stages Latency Stage: • A time of focus on achievement and mastery of skills • Libido is channeled into mastery activities • Freud thought little of interest happened here • Others have argued the sense of self-esteem is established here

    31. Freudian Theory: Stages Genital Stage: • The time of mature personality, intimacy with others • Libido satisfied by adult-type sexual activity

    32. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Fixation – unresolved developmental conflicts • At each psychosexual stage, according to Freud, the infant or young child is faced with a developmental conflict that must be successfully resolved in order to move on to the next stage • If frustrated, the child will be left with feelings of unmet needs characteristic of that stage; • If overindulged, the child may be reluctant to move on to the next stage • In either case, the result of an unresolved developmental conflict is fixation at a particular stage

    33. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The Oedipus complex: A psychosexual drama • The most critical conflict occurs during the phallic stage • Freud believed that the child develops a sexual attraction to the opposite-sex parent and hostility toward the same-sex parent • Freud called this the Oedipus complex – named after the hero of a Greek myth

    34. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The Oedipus complex: A psychosexual drama • The little boy feels hostility and jealously toward his father, but he realizes that his father is more physically powerful • The boy experiences castration anxiety • To resolve the Oedipus complex, the little boy ultimately joins forces with his former enemy resorting to the defense mechanism of identification • He imitates and internalizes his father’s values, attitudes, and mannerisms • The little girl discovers that little boys have a penis and that she does not • She feels a sense of deprivation and loss that Freud termed penis envy • The little girl blames her mother and develops contempt for her • However, in her attempt to take her mother’s place with her father, she also identifies with her mother

    35. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • The Neo-Freudians: Freud’s descendents and dissenters • In general, the neo-Freudians disagreed with Freud on three key points • Freud’s belief that behavior was primarily motivated by sexual urges • Freud’s contention that personality is fundamentally determined by early childhood experiences • Freud’s generally pessimistic view of human nature and society

    36. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Carl Jung: Archetypes and the collective unconscious • Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung broke with Freud to develop his own psychoanalytic theory of personality • He believed that people are motivated by a more general psychological energy that pushes them to achieve psychological growth, self-realization, and psychic wholeness and harmony • He also believed that personality continues to develop in significant ways throughout the lifespan

    37. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Carl Jung, continued • Jung believed that the deepest part of the individual psyche is the collective unconscious • Shared by all people and reflects humanity’s collective evolutionary history • Contained in the collective unconscious are the archetypes • The mental images of universal human instincts, themes and preoccupations • Jung was the first to describe two basic personality types: • Introverts – who focus their attention inward • Extroverts – who turn their attention and energy toward the outside world

    38. Karen Horney • Stressed need for safety & satisfaction • Childhood frustration may lead to development of basic anxiety & neurosis Tyranny of the Should: Horney's term for focusing on an unrealistic, perfect self-image that leads to dissatisfaction

    39. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Karen Horney: basic anxiety and “womb envy” • German-born American psychoanalyst Karen Horney came to stress the importance of cultural and social factors in personality development, matters that Freud had largely ignored • She also stressed the importance of social relationships, especially the parent-child relationship, and culture in personality • Horney believed that disturbances in human relationships, not sexual conflicts, were the cause of psychological problems • Such problems arise from the attempt to deal with basic anxiety

    40. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Horney described three patterns of behavior that individuals use to defend against basic anxiety • Those who move toward other people have an excessive need for approval and affection • Those who move against others have an excessive need for power • Those who move away from other people have an excessive need for independence and self-sufficiency • Horney contended that people with a healthy personality are flexible in balancing these different needs

    41. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Horney also sharply disagreed with Freud’s interpretation of female development, especially the notion that women suffer from penis envy • She believed that what women envy in men is not their penis, but their superior status in society • She contended that men often suffer from womb envy • Envying women’s capacity to bear children • She argued that men compensated for their minor role in reproduction by creating artifacts and other external accomplishments through their work

    42. Alfred Adler • Humans motivated by the need to overcome inferiority and strive for significance • Inferiority Complex:Adler's term for feelings of inferiority that interfere with development

    43. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Alfred Adler: Feelings of inferiority and striving for superiority • Austrian physician Adler broke away from Freud to establish his own theory of personality • Adler believed that the most fundamental human motive was striving for superiority • The desire to improve oneself, master challenges, and move toward self-perfection and self-realization • This striving arises from universal feelings of inferiority • These feelings motivate people to compensate for their real or imagined weaknesses

    44. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Alfred Adler, continued • When people are unable to compensate for specific weaknesses or when their feelings of inferiority are excessive they can develop an inferiority complex • A sense of inadequacy, weakness, and helplessness • At the other extreme, people can overcompensate for their feelings of inferiority and develop a superiority complex

    45. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Evaluating Freud and the psychoanalytic perspective on personality • Although Freudian theory has had a profound impact on Western culture and on psychology, it has been criticized on three major counts • Inadequacy of evidence • Lack of testability • Sexism

    46. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Inadequacy of evidence • Freud’s theory relies wholly on data derived from his relatively small number of patients and from self-analysis • It seems impossible to objectively assess Freud’s “data”

    47. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Lack of testability • Many psychoanalytic concepts are so vague and ambiguous that they are impossible to measure or confirm objectively • Yet they are often impossible to disprove, because even seemingly contradictory information can be used to support Freud’s theory • Psychoanalysis is better at explaining past behavior than at predicting future behavior • Nonetheless, several key psychoanalytic ideas have been substantiated by empirical research. Among them: • Much of mental life is unconscious • Early childhood experiences have a critical influence on interpersonal relationships and psychological adjustment in adulthood • People differ significantly in the degree to which they are able to regulate their impulses, emotions, and thoughts toward adaptive and socially acceptable ends

    48. The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Personality • Sexism • Horney and other female psychoanalysts have pointed out that Freud’s theory uses male psychology as a prototype • However, to Freud’s credit, women were quite active in the early psychoanalytic movement

    49. The Humanistic Perspective on Personality • Emergence of the “Third Force” • In opposition to both psychoanalysis and behaviorism, humanistic psychology was a “third force” in psychology • This view of personality emphasizes human potential and such uniquely human characteristics as self-awareness and free will • It sees people as being innately good and focuses on the healthy personality

    50. The Humanistic Perspective on Personality • Humanistic psychologists contended that the most important factor in personality is the individual’s conscious, subjective perception of his or her self • Abraham Maslow was one of the founders of humanistic psychology: key ideas included the hierarch of needs and self-actualization