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Personality Chapter 15 Personality generally viewed as the unique pattern of enduring thoughts, feelings and actions that characterize a person

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Chapter 15


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
the psychoanalytical perspective
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
the psychoanalytical approach
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
exploring the unconscious
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
personality development
Personality Development
  • Psychosexual stages
    • Oedipus complex
    • Electra complex
defense mechanisms
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)
defense mechanisms cont
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
assessing the unconscious
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?
variations on freud s personality theory
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
variations cont
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
contemporary psychodynamic theories
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
evaluation of the psychodynamic approach
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
humanistic approach
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
abraham maslow 1954 1971
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)
carl rogers 1961 1970 1980
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
carl rogers cont
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
evaluation of the humanistic approach
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
the trait approach
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
exploring traits
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
the big five model of personality
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
big five cont
Big-Five cont.
  • McCrae & Costa (1999)
    • Personality organized around 5 components:
      • Openness to experience
      • Conscientiousness
      • Extraversion
      • Agreeableness
      • Neuroticism
biological trait theories
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
assessing traits
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
evaluating trait approach
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
social cognitive approach
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
roots of the social cognitive approach
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
roots of the social cognitive approach28
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
roots of the social cognitive approach29
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?
evaluating the social cognitive perspective
Evaluating the Social –Cognitive Perspective
  • Builds on research of cognition and learning
  • Does not appreciate inner traits