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  1. Personality Chapter 15

  2. Personality generally viewed as the unique pattern of enduring thoughts, feelings and actions that characterize a person • Personality research focuses on the understanding the origins or causes of similarities and differences among people in their patterns of thinking, emotion and behavior • To fully understand one’s personality, must understand • Developmental experiences inc. cultural influences • Genetic and other biological characteristics • Perceptual and other information-processing habits and biases • Typical patterns of emotional expression • Social skills

  3. The Psychoanalytical Perspective • Developed by Sigmund Freud • Believed that our personalities, behavior and behavior disorders are determined by basic drives and past psychological events • People may not know why they feel, think or act the way they do b/c these are controlled by the unconscious part of the personality of which we are not normally aware • Created the psychodynamic approach to personality

  4. The Psychoanalytical Approach The Structure and Development of Personality • People have certain basic urges or impulses that included those of an aggressive or sexual nature • Did not believe they were all innate and unchangeable • Believed that desires for love, knowledge and security are based on those more fundamental impulses • States that we each have the task of figuring out how to satisfy our basic urges • Personality develops from this struggle • Reflected in the ways in which we satisfy a range of urges

  5. Exploring the Unconscious • Hypnosis could unlock the door to the unconscious • Not uniformly successful • Free association • Assumed this would allow the patient to create a chain of thought into the patient’s unconscious which would allow him/her to retrieve and release painful memories • Often childhood memories • Believed the mind was an iceberg-most of it was hidden • Unconscious was the largest (and hidden) part of the mind • Contains things we are unaware of • Some are stored in preconscious area • Interested in thoughts we repress

  6. Personality Development • Psychosexual stages • Oedipus complex • Electra complex

  7. Defense Mechanisms • Anxiety is the price paid for civilization • Intrapsychic or psychodynamic conflicts • Primary function :to prevent this anxiety • Protect oneself w/defense mechanisms • Repression-underlies all other defense mechanisms • Explains why we do not remember lust we feel for a parent • Also incomplete • Seen in dreams and slips of the tongue • Regression • Reaction Formation-opposite to unacceptable impulse • Ex. You like you best friends boy/girlfriend, so you act like you dislike him/her • Projection-attributing own unacceptable thoughts onto another person (ex. I hate him=He hates me)

  8. Defense Mechanisms cont. • Rationalization-attempts to make actions or mistakes seem reasonable • Reasons for spanking children • Displacement-reflecting an impulse from original target to a less threatening one • Ex. Ad a bad day at school so you yell at your dog • Denial-discounting existence of threatening impulses • Ex. I don’t have a temper • Compensation-striving to make up for unconscious impulses or fears • Ex. Competitiveness b/c feel inferior

  9. Assessing the Unconscious • Projective tests • Henry Murray (1933) • Thematic Apperception Test • Rorschach inkblot test (1921) • Why are people so accepting of this test? • What are some of the criticisms?

  10. Variations on Freud’s Personality Theory • Neo-Freudians-Why are they called this? • Jung’s analytical psychology • Emphasized that the libido was not just sexual instinct, but also a more general life force • No specific stages of personality development • Over time, people develop differing degrees of introversion or extraversion • Combination of these is what makes one’s personality • Collective unconscious • Contains inherited memories • Not consciously aware of them, but are responsible for innate tendencies • Impossible to determine its existence

  11. Variations cont. • Alfred Adler (1927) • Striving for superiority • Overcome infantile helplessness is the power behind personality development • Karen Horney (1937) • Men envy women • See their lives as less meaningful b/c they cannot bear children + participate little in their lives • aka womb envy • Cultural factors play a major role in personality development

  12. Contemporary Psychodynamic Theories • Approaches to personality focus on object relations • How ppl’s perceptions of themselves and others influence their view of and rxn to the world • Early relations /t infants and love objects important to the development of the personality

  13. Evaluation of the Psychodynamic Approach • Freud’s theory the most comprehensive and influential psychological theory ever proposed • Several weaknesses, however • Based on case studies of a few individuals • Not a representative sample • Thinking about personality mostly Western Europeans or North American values • Freud may have modified reports to fit his theories • Focus on male psychosexual development and female envy of male anatomy have caused many to reject Freud’s theories • Freud’s theory is not very scientific

  14. Humanistic Approach • Focus on mental capabilities that set humans apart • Human behavior motivated by an innate drive toward growth that prompts people to fulfill their unique potential • To explain one’s actions in any situation, important to understand their view of the world from his/her point of view

  15. Abraham Maslow (1954, 1971) • Saw personality as the expression of a basic human tendency toward growth and self-actualization • How did Maslow develop his ideas? • ppl. controlled by deficiency orientation • Preoccupation w/perceived needs for material goods • May lead to jealousy • Growth orientation focuses on what they have, what they are and what they can do (aka peak experiences)

  16. Carl Rogers (1961, 1970, 1980) • Emphasized actualizing theory • Innate inclination toward growth and fulfillment that motivates all human behavior • Those who accurately experience the self are on the road to self-actualization • Personality begins to develop early • Children search for parent’s approval (aka positive regard) • As parents and others begin to evaluate the child, they compare them to his/her own evaluations • Child reacts in a way that’s congruent to w/self-experience • Self-concept • Positive + positive = positive • Positive + negative= negative

  17. Carl Rogers cont. • People like what they are supposed to like and behave the way they are supposed to behave • Psychological disorders and anxiety occurs when people’s feelings are incongruent to their true feelings • Conditions of worth • Evaluate the child not the behavior

  18. Evaluation of the Humanistic Approach • Critics believe it to be naïve, romantic and unrealistic • Underplay the importance of genetics • Emphasis on culture specific ideas about mental health may not apply anywhere but Western Europe or North America

  19. The Trait Approach • When describe others by referring to the kind of person they are • Makes 3 basic assumptions: • Personality traits are relatively stable, therefore predictable over time • Personality traits are relatively stable across situations and why ppl act in predictable ways in different situations • Differ in how much of a particular personality trait they possess • No 2 people are alike on all traits

  20. Exploring Traits • Allport’s Trait Theory (1961) • Found 18,000 terms that referred to personality traits but many were the same • Believed that the set of labels that are chosen to describe a person reflects their central traits • Equivalent to the descriptions that are meant to convey what can be expected from a person most of the time • Also believed people possess secondary traits • More specific to certain situations and control less behavior • Ex. Dislikes crowds • Help lay foundation for modern research on personality • uniqueness of individual personality made it difficult to draw conclusions about structure of human personality

  21. The Big-Five Model of Personality • Raymond Cattall • Used factor-analysis to study which terms were related to one another • Believed that sets of traits clustering together in this analysis would reflect a set of basic personality factors • Identified as the 16 factors and are found in everyone • Measured by the 16PF

  22. Big-Five cont. • McCrae & Costa (1999) • Personality organized around 5 components: • Openness to experience • Conscientiousness • Extraversion • Agreeableness • Neuroticism

  23. Biological Trait Theories • Eysenck’s Biological Trait Theory • Also used factor analysis to study personality • Laid groundwork for big-five model • Suggested most people’s traits could be described in 2 dimensions: • Introversion-extraversion • Emotionality –stability • People fall into different points along these dimensions b/c of inherited differences in nervous systems • If operates at a low level, most likely extraverted; on a high level, introverted • Their response to stress is also different

  24. Assessing Traits • Done through personality inventories • Most widely used: MMPI • Empirically derived-explain • MMPI-2 contains 10 clinical scales, several validity scales and 15 content scales • Scored objectively (by computer) • This does not mean it is valid-Why? • Funder (1991, 1995) peer-reports more trustworthy than self-reporting

  25. Evaluating Trait Approach • Better at describing people than understand them • Offers a short list of traits of varying strengths that provides a superficial description of personality • Does not capture how they fit together to create a complex and dynamic individual • Questioned if there are 5 core dimensions and if they are the same for all cultures • Do not take into account that situations affect behavior

  26. Social-Cognitive Approach • Look to conscious thoughts and emotions for clues about how people differ from one another and what guides their behavior • Formed out of animal and human learning not through clinical trials or other descriptions of personality

  27. Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach • John B. Watson; B.F. Skinner-What role did they play in the social-cognitive approach to personality? • Rotter’s Expectancy Theory (1982) • Learning creates cognitions (expectancies) that guide behavior • Decision to engage in behavior is determined by • What the person expects to happen following the behavior • The value placed on the outcome

  28. Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach • Albert Bandura and reciprocal determinism • Personality shaped by the ways in which thoughts, behavior, and environment interact and influence each other • What is reciprocal determinism? • How do individuals and environments interact

  29. Roots of the Social-Cognitive Approach • Personal control • What is it? • If we control or are controlled by our environment • Study in two ways: • Locus of control • Learned helplessness • Optimism- • What are the health benefits of optimism?

  30. Evaluating the Social –Cognitive Perspective • Builds on research of cognition and learning • Does not appreciate inner traits