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Personality. Chapter 11. Personality. An individual's unique pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that persists over time and across situations Two key components Personality refers to unique differences Personality is presumed to be stable and enduring. Psychodynamic Theories.

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Chapter 11


  • An individual's unique pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that persists over time and across situations

  • Two key components

    • Personality refers to unique differences

    • Personality is presumed to be stable and enduring

Psychodynamic theories
Psychodynamic Theories

  • Psychodynamic theories see behavior as a product of psychological forced within the individual, often outside conscious awareness

  • Five propositions common to all psychodynamic theories

    • Much of mental life is unconscious

    • Mental processes such as emotions, motivations, and thought may conflict with one another

    • Early childhood experiences strongly affect personality development

    • Our mental representation of ourselves and others guides our interactions with others

    • Development of personality involves learning to regulate sexual and aggressive urges

Sigmund freud
Sigmund Freud

  • Best known of psychodynamic theorists

  • Freud was first to stress the unconscious

    • The unconscious is all the ideas, thoughts, and feelings of which we are normally not aware

  • Freud’s ideas form the basis for psychoanalysis


  • Collection of unconscious urges and desired that continually seek expression

  • Operates according to the pleasure principle, i.e., seeks immediate pleasure and to avoid pain

  • Operates entirely in the unconscious mind


  • Mediates between reality, conscience (superego), and instinctual needs (id)

  • Operates according to the reality principle

  • Operates at the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels


  • The social and parental standards that have been internalized

  • Conscience

    • Our sense of morality

  • Ego ideal

    • The standard of what one would like to be

  • We are not born with the superego, but it develops over time

  • Operates at the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels

Defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms

  • Anxiety is produced when the ego cannot satisfy the demands of the id in a way acceptable to the superego

  • This anxiety causes feelings of uneasiness and worry

  • Ego may employ any of a number of defense mechanisms to protect the conscious mind from this anxiety

Defense mechanisms1
Defense Mechanisms

  • Denial

    • Refusal to acknowledge a painful reality

  • Repression

    • Unpleasant thoughts are excluded from consciousness

  • Projection

    • Attributing one’s own feelings, motives, or wishes to others

  • Identification

    • Taking on the characteristics of other to avoid feeling incompetent

  • Regression

    • Reverting to childlike behavior

Defense mechanisms2
Defense Mechanisms

  • Intellectualization

    • Thinking about stressful problems in an abstract way to detach oneself from them

  • Reaction formation

    • Expression of exaggerated ideas and emotions that are opposite of true feelings

  • Displacement

    • Shift repressed motives from an original object to a substitute object

  • Sublimation

    • Redirecting repressed motives and feelings into socially acceptable activities

Development of personality
Development of Personality

  • Freud believed that personality development is the result of various ways in which the sexual instinct (also called the libido) is satisfied during the course of life

  • There are several stages, each focusing on different bodily areas

  • These stages are called the psychosexual stages

Psychosexual stages
Psychosexual Stages

  • Oral Stage (birth to 18 months)

    • Pleasure is obtained by sucking and swallowing

    • Too much oral stimulation may result in an overly optimistic, gullible, and dependent adult

    • Too little stimulation can result in a pessimistic, sarcastic, argumentative adult

  • Anal Stage (18 months to 3 ½ years)

    • Focus of pleasure is the anus, especially controlling bowels

    • Strict toilet training may result in anal retentive personality types as adults, i.e., stingy and excessively orderly

Psychosexual stages1
Psychosexual Stages

  • Phallic Stage (after age 3)

    • Erotic feelings center on genitals

    • Boys experience the Oedipal complex wherein they are strongly attached to their mother and jealous of their father

    • Girls experience the Electra complex, being strongly attached to their father and jealous of their mother

    • These complexes are usually resolved by identification with the same-sex parent

    • Fixation at this stage may result in vanity and egotism in adult life

Psychosexual stages2
Psychosexual Stages

  • Latency Stage (5 or 6 to 12 or 13)

    • Child appears to have no interest in the other sex

  • Genital Stage (begins at puberty)

    • Final stage marked by development of mature sexuality

Carl jung
Carl Jung

  • Shared Freud’s emphasis on unconscious processes

  • Personal unconscious

    • That part of the unconscious mind containing an individuals thoughts and feelings

  • Collective unconscious

    • The part of the unconscious that is inherited and common to all members of a species


  • Ideas/categories in the collective unconscious

  • Examples of archetypes

    • Persona

      • Our public self

    • Anima

      • Female archetype as expressed in male personality

    • Animus

      • Male archetype as expressed in female personality

Attitude types
Attitude Types

  • Extroverts

    • Focus on external world and social life

  • Introverts

    • Focus on internal thoughts and feelings

  • Jung felt that everyone had both qualities, but one is usually dominant

Personality types
Personality Types

  • Rational individuals

    • People who regulate their actions through thinking and feeling

  • Irrational individuals

    • People who base their actions on perceptions, either through their senses or intuition

Alfred adler
Alfred Adler

  • Compensation

    • Our efforts to overcome real or perceived weaknesses

  • Inferiority complex

    • Fixation on feelings of personal inferiority that can lead to emotional and social paralysis

Karen horney
Karen Horney

  • Viewed anxiety as a powerful motivating force

  • Environmental and social factors important seen as being as important as unconscious sexual conflict

  • Neurotic trends

    • Irrational strategies for coping with emotional problems

Erik erikson
Erik Erikson

  • Eight stages of personality development

    • Trust vs. mistrust

    • Autonomy vs. shame and doubt

    • Initiative vs. guilt

    • Industry vs. inferiority

    • Identity vs. role confusion

    • Intimacy vs. isolation

    • Generativity vs. stagnation

    • Ego integrity vs. despair

Evaluating psychodynamic theories
Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories

  • Culture-bound ideas

    • Freud made no connection between women’s subordinate status in society and their sense of inferiority

  • Psychodymanic theories are largely untestable in any scientific way

Humanistic personality theories
Humanistic Personality Theories

  • Humanistic view asserts the fundamental goodness of people and their constant striving toward higher levels of functioning

  • Does not dwell on past occurrences, but rather focuses on the present and future

Carl rogers
Carl Rogers

  • All organisms have an actualizing tendency

  • Humans also have a self-actualizing tendency

  • Unconditional positive regard

    • Acceptance of another regardless of person’s behavior

  • Conditional positive regard

    • Acceptance is dependent upon certain ways of behaving

Evaluating humanistic theories
Evaluating Humanistic Theories

  • The basic tenets of humanistic theory are difficult to test scientifically

  • Some view these theories as overly optimistic and that they ignore the nature of human evil

  • Some argue that humanistic view lead to narcissism and self-centeredness

Trait theories
Trait Theories

  • People differ on personality traits such as dependency, aggressiveness, or anxiety

  • The “Big Five” traits currently thought to be central to describing personality

    • Extroversion

    • Agreeableness

    • Conscientiousness

    • Emotional stability

    • Culture, intellect, openness

Are the big five traits universal
Are the “Big Five” Traits Universal?

  • Evidence point to the presence of the big five traits across cultures

  • Findings suggest a genetic basis for traits

Evaluating trait theories
Evaluating Trait Theories

  • Unlike some other theories, trait theories can be studied scientifically

  • Merely descriptive

  • Traits represent statistical averages of populations rather than individuals

  • Disagreement over minimum number of traits needed to fully describe variety of human behavior

Cognitive social learning theories
Cognitive-Social Learning Theories

  • Hold that people’s behavior is guided by thought, expectancies, learning, and the environment

  • Expectancies

    • What a person anticipates in a situation or as a result of behaving in certain ways

  • Performance standards

    • Individually determined standards by which to judge one’s own behavior

Cognitive social learning theories1
Cognitive-Social Learning Theories

  • Self-Efficacy

    • Expectancy that one’s efforts will be successful

  • Locus of control

    • Expectancy about whether reinforcement is under internal or external control

Evaluating cognitive social learning theories
Evaluating Cognitive-Social Learning Theories

  • Affirms role of cognition in development of personality

  • Focuses on conscious behavior and experience

  • Can be studied scientifically

  • Has led to many useful therapies

Personality assessment
Personality Assessment

  • The personal interview

  • Direct observation

  • Objective tests

    • Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF)

    • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)

  • Projective tests

    • Rorschach test

    • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)