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Theories of Personality Chapter 15. Fun Personality Tests - http :// /. Personality. An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting ( unique & consistent ). Each dwarf has a distinct personality. Part I: The Psychodynamic Perspective.

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theories of personality chapter 15

Theories of PersonalityChapter 15

Fun Personality Tests -


An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting (unique & consistent).

Each dwarf has a distinct personality.

part i the psychodynamic perspective
Part I: The Psychodynamic Perspective

In his clinical practice, Sigmund Freud encountered patients suffering from nervous disorders. Their complaints could not be explained in terms of purely physical causes.

Sigmund Freud


psychodynamic perspective
Psychodynamic Perspective

Freud’s clinical experience led him to develop the first comprehensive theory of personality.

Psychological problems are the result of unconscious processes. Bringing unpleasant unconscious thoughts into to consciousness, produces catharsis


The unconscious mind is a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. Freud asked patients to participate in free association - say whatever came to their minds – while he looked for links or themes that allowed him to tap the unconscious.

  • ▪ Interpretation of latent (hidden) content of dreams
  • ▪ Jokes, Doodles & “Freudian Slips”
    • “It is a pleasure to beat, I mean meet you this evening.”
    • Spouses accidentally calling each other “mom” or “dad” or by a past mates name
personality structure
Personality Structure

The mind is like an iceberg. It is mostly hidden, and below the surface lies the unconscious mind. The preconscious stores temporary memories.

Personality develops as a result of our efforts to resolve conflicts between our biological impulses (id) and social restraints (superego).


More Logical

More Emotional

id ego superego
Id, Ego & Superego

The id unconsciously strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives, operating on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification (selfish).

The ego functions as the “executive” and mediates the demands of the id and superego. Operates on the reality principle.

The superegoprovides standards for judgment and for future aspirations (selfless). Operates on the moral principle (the conscience). Too active = guilt;

not active enough = self-indulgence.

Remember Lord of the Flies from 9th grade? Jack = Id, Ralph = Ego, Piggy = Superego

5 psycho sexual stages
5 Psychosexual Stages

Freud believed that personality formed during the first few

years of life divided into psychosexual stages. During these

stages the id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on pleasure sensitive

body areas erogenous zones)that move around the body as

we develop. Freud believed that people can become fixated

(stuck) in one of these psychosexual stages depending on their

childhood experiences.


Adults who are fixated at this stage like to do things with mouth for pleasure: smoking, eating, chewing gum, biting nails & other things, and engage in orally aggressive behavior (sarcasm & argumentative).

Anal retentive are overly-cleanly, neat & organized, stingy, and stubborn. Anal repulsive are messy & disorderly, irresponsible, and engage in temper tantrums.

Oedipal complex – boys have erotically tinged preference for their mother – compete with their father for mother’s attention (Electra complex for girls). Narcissistic pleasure.


Latency – sexuality is hidden. Children exist in same sex groups. Boys identify with their father and girls with their mother. The “cooties stage” begins sometime around the age of six and ends when puberty starts. Freud believed that in this phase the Oedipus complex was dissolved and set free, resulting in a relatively conflict-free period of development that focuses on learning new tasks.

Genital – Post puberty energy is not focused on your own genitals (like in the phallic stage) but on other people’s genitals. Fixation in earlier stages may hinder this stage.


Defense Mechanisms

The ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.

In other words, its how our personality deals with unpleasant emotions and thoughts.

defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms
  • Repressionbanishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness – motivated/unconscious forgetting. (“I don’t wanna think about it.” A child who is molested, may suppress the traumatic event so that they have no memory of it .)

2. Regression leads an individual faced with anxiety to retreat to a more infantile or immature stage. (“Fine, I don’t want to do it…you do it.” Soldiers crying for “mommy” or fighting couples acting immature.)

defense mechanisms1
Defense Mechanisms

3. Reaction Formation causes the ego to unconsciously switch unacceptable impulses into their opposites - acting the opposite of the way you feel. (People may express feelings of purity when they may be suffering anxiety from unconscious feelings about sex. Homophobia expressed by people afraid that they are homosexual.)

4. Projection leads people to disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others. (“All these people think I am worthless” may = “I think that I am worthless.” Your partner tells you how selfish you are, when they are in fact selfish.)

defense mechanisms2
Defense Mechanisms
  • Rationalization offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one’s actions.
  • (A person who engages in risky behavior because “everybody is doing it.”
  • You run over a person and tell yourself “I’m sure he would have died soon anyway.” You steal and say, “Well, I spend a lot of money at this store!”)

New Orleans Walmart after Hurricane Katrina

defense mechanisms3
Defense Mechanisms

6. Displacement shifts impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person, redirecting anger toward a safer outlet – negative! (Mr. Edelstein tends to break remote controls when the Badgers are losing. After being grilled by your boss, you go home & yell at your partner or the dog/cat. Peeing on neighbor’s car after he yelled at you for driving too fast.)

defense mechanisms4
Defense Mechanisms

7. Intellectualization repression of the emotion connected with a distressing event yet is dealt with as an interesting event (a man who is rejected by a potential love interest states “love is unpredictable”)

8. Sublimation a repressed impulse is expressed in the form of a socially acceptable or admired behavior – unacceptable to acceptable. (A man who has hostile impulses becomes an investigative reporter who ruins careers with his stories. Aggressive impulses are transformed into the urge to engage in competitive sports.)

defense mechanisms5
Defense Mechanisms

9. Denial refusal to accept or acknowledge anxiety-arousing aspects of the environment. May involve the emotions or the event itself. (“I’m not upset,” “I didn’t lose,” “I don’t have a drinking problem.”)

the neo freudians
The Neo-Freudians

Carl Jung believed in the collective unconscious, which contained a sharedcommon reservoir of experiences (memories & ideas) derived from our ancestors’ past.

This is why many cultures share certain myths and images such as the mother being a symbol of nurturance.

Carl Jung


the neo freudians1
The Neo-Freudians

Like Freud, Alfred Adler believed in childhood tensions. However, these tensions were social in nature and not sexual.

A child struggles with an inferiority complex (physical, intellectual, & social inadequacies) during growth and strives for superiority and power (altruistic, creative, aware, cooperative…).

He was the first to study the influence of birth order.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

the neo freudians2
The Neo-Freudians

She wasn’t Horney until she got married!

Like Adler, Horney believed in the social aspects of childhood growth and development.

She countered Freud’s assumption that women have weak superegos and suffer from “penis envy” during the Phallic stage. She proposed that men suffer from “womb envy.”

Karen Horney (1885-1952)

projective tests
Projective Tests

Evaluating personality from an unconscious mind’s perspective would require a psychological instrumentthat would reveal the hidden unconscious mind. Remember the defense mechanism of projection.

thematic apperception test tat
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

The TAT is a projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interests through the stories they make up about ambiguous scenes.

Answers reveal Manifest content and then Latent content is discovered.

rorschach inkblot test
Rorschach (Inkblot) Test

The most widely used projective test. It uses a set of 10 inkblots designed by Hermann Rorschach. It seeks to identify people’s inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots.

projective tests criticisms
Projective Tests: Criticisms

Critics argue that projective tests lack both reliability (consistency of results) and validity (predicting what it is supposed to).

When evaluating the same patient, even trained raters come up with different interpretations (poor interrater reliability).

2. Projective tests may misdiagnose a normal individual as pathological (poor validity).

evaluating the psychoanalytic perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • Personality develops throughout life and is not fixed in childhood.
  • Freud underemphasized peer influence on the individual, which may be as powerful as parental influence.
  • Gender identity may develop before 5-6 years of age.
  • There may be other reasons for dreams besides wish fulfillment.
  • Verbal slips can be explained on the basis of cognitive processing of verbal choices.
  • Suppressed sexuality leads to psychological disorders. Sexual inhibition has decreased, but psychological disorders have not.
part ii the humanistic perspective
Part II: The Humanistic Perspective

By the 1960s, psychologists became discontent with Freud’s negativity. Psychologists wanted to focus on “healthy” people and how to help them strive to “be all that they can be.” Freud studied the ill, while humanists studied the well.

Abraham Maslow


Carl Rogers


growth and fulfillment
Growth and Fulfillment

Carl Rogers also believed in the self, an individual's organized and consistent set of beliefs & perceptions about themself. We all seek unconditional positive regard, a genuine acceptance and love from other’s independent of our behavior.

assessing the self
Assessing the Self

When positive regard is not unconditional, conditions of worth dictate behaviors that cause us to approve or disapprove or ourselves. The difference between our real self (the way we actually are) and our ideal self (what we think society wants) is called incongruence.

To become fully functioning (self-actualized) we must learn to accept ourselves (unconditional positive regard) and unite the two.

personal construct theory
Personal Construct Theory

People’s number one goal is to make sense out of the world. Like scientists, people try to explain and predict the events of their lives.

People create categories called personal constructs into which they arrange the people and events of their lives.

Personality differences between people = how people categorize the same types of events and people.

George Kelly

evaluating the humanistic perspective
Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective
  • Humanistic psychology has a pervasive impact on counseling, education, child-rearing, and management.
  • Concepts in humanistic psychology are vague and subjective and lack scientific basis.
  • While Humanists believe that people are fundamentally good, what about humanity’s capacities to commit evils?

4. Gender identity may develop before 5-6 years of age.

part iii the trait perspective
Part III: The Trait Perspective

Traits are an individual’s unique collection of long-lasting moods and consistent ways of behaving that makes up his or her personality. Traits are often more situational rather than permanent.

Allport & Odbert, identified

18,000 words representing traits.

how can we test and determine traits
How Can We Test and Determine Traits?

Personality Inventories/Self Reports/Objective Tests are questionnairesdesigned to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors assessing several traits at once (often rely on honesty with true-false or agree-disagree items).

They are used by humanists

and others and are more common than the projective tests used by psychoanalysts.

exploring traits
Exploring Traits

Factor analysis is a

statistical approach

used to see the clusters

and describe/relate

personality traits (it is

used for scoring).

Raymond Cattell used this approach to develop a 16 Personality Factor (16PF) inventory.

Raymond Cattell


myers briggs type indicator mbti
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

4 Pairs of “Preferences”

World – Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)

Information – Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)

Decisions – Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

Structure – Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

16 Possible Combinations

• Mrs. Cohen’s personality type is ISTJ

• Mr. Edelstein’s personality type is INTJ

personality dimensions
Personality Dimensions

Hans and Sybil Eysenck suggested that personality could be reduced down to two polar dimensions, extraversion-introversion and emotional stability-instability.

five factor model big 5
Five Factor Model (Big 5)

* Measures the level

Similar to Myers-Briggs, but more modern

minnesota multiphasic personality inventory mmpi
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

The MMPI is the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests.

It was originally developed to identify emotional disorders. It uses a long series of true-false questions.

1.I like mechanics magazines2.I have a good appetite3.I wake up fresh & rested most mornings4.I think I would like the work of a librarian5.I am easily awakened by noise6.I like to read newspaper articles on crime7.My hands and feet are usually warm enough8.My daily life is full of things that keep me interested9.I am about as able to work as I ever was10.There seems to be a lump in my throat much of the time11.A person should try to understand his dreams and be guided by or take warning from them12.I enjoy detective or mystery stories13.I work under a great deal of tension14.I have diarrhea once a month or more15.Once in a while I think of things too bad to talk about16.I am sure I get a raw deal from life17.My father was a good man18.I am very seldom troubled by constipation19.When I take a new, I like to be tipped off on whom should be gotten next to20.My sex life is satisfactory

21.At times I have very much wanted to leave home22.At times I have fits of laughing & crying that I cannot control23.I am troubled by attacks of nausea and vomiting24.No one seems to understand me25.I would like to be a singer26.I feel that it is certainly best to keep my mouth shut when I’m in trouble27.Evil spirits possess me at times28.When someone does me a wrong I feel I should pay him back if I can, just for the principle of the thing.29.I am bothered by acid stomach several times a week30.At times I feel like swearing

part iv social cognitive perspective
Part IV: Social-Cognitive Perspective

Albert Bandura believes that personality is the result of an interaction that takes place between a person and their social context (i.e. environment).

He called this reciprocal determinism.

Albert Bandura

reciprocal determinism
Reciprocal Determinism

The three factors, behavior, cognition, and environment, are interlocking determinants and influence each other.

Bandura called the process of interacting with our environment reciprocal determinism.

  • Trait theories do NOT take into account the importance of the situation. Behaviorists say personality changes according to the environment (reinforcers/punishment).
  • If you change the environment then you change the personality.
individuals environments

Different people choose different environments.

Individuals & Environments

The college you attend and the music you listen to are partly based on your dispositions.

Specific ways in which individuals and environments interact

Our personalities shape how we react to events.

Anxious people react to situations differently than calm people.

Our personalities shape situations.

How we view and treat people influences how they treat us.

personal control
Personal Control

Social-cognitive psychologists emphasize our sense of personal control, whether we control the environment or the environment controls us.

External locus of control refers to the perception that chance or outside forces beyond our personal control determine our fate.

Internal locus of control refers to the perception that we can control our own fate.

learned helplessness
Learned Helplessness

When unable to avoid repeated negative events an animal or human learns helplessness.

martin seligman learned helplessness
Martin Seligman’ Learned Helplessness
  • Thought dogs would learn to avoid shock
  • Dogs placed in harness and given shocks
  • Even when able to avoid the shocks, the dogs cowered in the box
  • Hypothesis not confirmed
learned helplessness1
Learned Helplessness
  • Dogs learned that they couldn’t control or avoid the shocks, so didn’t even try to avoid them
  • Significant in the study of depression in humans
optimism vs pessimism
Optimism vs. Pessimism

An optimistic or pessimistic attributional style is your way of explaining positive or negative events.

Positive psychology aims to discover and promote conditions that enable individuals and communities to thrive.

culture self esteem
Culture & Self-Esteem

People maintain their self-esteem even with a low status by valuing things they achieve and comparing themselves to people with similar positions.

evaluating the social cognitive perspective
Evaluating the Social-Cognitive Perspective

Critics say that most social-cognitive psychologists pay a lot of attention to the situation and pay less attention to the individual, his unconscious mind, his emotions, and his genetics.