• Personality – the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations
  • Aspects of personality have three characteristics:
    • Seen as components of identity that distinguish that person from other people
    • Behaviours viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors
    • Behaviours seem to fit together in a meaningful fashion, suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour

The Psychodynamic Perspective

  • Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
    • Considered personality to be an energy system
    • Psychic energy – generated by instinctual drives, this energy powers the mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release
      • Buildup of sexual energy can be discharged directly through sexual activity, or indirectly through fantasies or artistic depictions
    • Mental events are divided:
      • Conscious – events that we are presently aware of
      • Preconscious – memories, thoughts, feelings, images that we are unaware of at the moment, but can be recalled
      • Unconscious – dynamic realm of wishes, feelings, and impulses that lie beyond our awareness
    • Personality divided into three separate but interacting structures:
      • Id – primitive and unconscious part of the personality that contains the instincts
        • Operates according to the pleasure principle (seeks immediate gratification or release, regardless of rational considerations or reality)
      • Ego – executive of personality that is partly conscious between impulses of id, prohibitions of superego, and dictates of reality
        • Operates according to reality principle (tests reality to decide when the id can safely discharge impulses)
      • Superego – moral arm of personality that internalizes standards and values of society
        • Rewards compliance with pride, and non-compliance with guilt
    • Id and superego are formed when child is young, ego develops later
    • Iceberg analogy – id is below the water (unconscious), while ego and superego are mostly above water (conscious)
      • Ego is mostly above water, while superego has portions both above and under
    • Unconscious conflict – interaction of id, ego, and superego results in constant struggle, causing anxiety
      • Reality anxiety – ego’s fear of real world threats
      • Neurotic anxiety – ego’s fear of id’s desires
      • Moral anxiety – ego’s fear of guilt from superego
    • Defense mechanisms – unconscious processes by which the ego prevents the expression of anxiety-arousing impulses
      • Repression – ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories from entering consciousness
      • Sublimination (displacement) – completely masking the sinister underlying impulses through other forms (art, sports, etc.)
      • Rationalization – urge reinterpreted in acceptable terms
      • Projection – own urges seen in others (“I hate you” becomes “You hate me”)
      • Isolation – memories allowed back into consciousness without motives or emotions
      • Regression – mentally returning to an earlier, safer state
      • Conversion – conflict converted into physical symptom (developing blindness so as not to see an anxiety-arousing situation)
    • Psychosexual stages – stages of development in which psychic energy is focused on certain body parts
      • Oral (0-2), Anal (2-3), Phallic (4-6), Latency (7-puberty), Genital (puberty+)
      • Deprivation or overindulgences in a stage can result in fixation, in which instincts are focused on a particular theme
      • Oedipus complex – the male child experiences erotic feelings toward his mother and views his father as a rival (female’s complex referred to as Electra complex)
  • Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory
    • Alfred Adler insisted that humans are social beings who are motivated by social interest (the desire to advance the welfare of others)
    • Carl Jung developed analytic psychology
      • Humans not only posses a personal unconscious of life experiences, but a collective unconscious of memories accumulated throughout the history of humanity
      • Memories are represented by archetypes, inherited tendencies to interpret experience in certain ways
    • Object relations – the images or mental representations that people form of themselves and other people as a result of early experience with caregivers

The Humanistic Perspective

  • Self-actualization – the total realization of one’s human potential
  • Carl Rogers’s Self Theory
    • Self – an organized, consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about oneself
      • Must have self-consistency (absence of conflict among self-perceptions) and congruency (consistency between self-perceptions and experiences) to maintain self-concept
      • Experiences that are inconsistent with self-concept evokes threat and anxiety
    • People are born with a need for positive regard (acceptance, sympathy, and love)
      • Unconditional positive regard – communicated attitude of total and unconditional acceptance of another person
      • Conditional positive regard – dependant on behaviour of the child
      • Need for positive self-regard develops
      • Lack of unconditional positive regard leafs to belief that they are worthy of love only when standards are met
        • Fosters development of conditions of worth that dictate when we approve or disapprove of ourselves
    • Fully functioning persons – self-actualized people who are free from unrealistic conditions of worth and who exhibit congruence, spontaneity, creativity, and a desire to develop further
  • Research on the Self
    • Self-esteem – how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves
      • Children develop high self-esteem when parents communicate unconditional acceptance and love, establish clear guidelines for behaviour, and reinforce compliance while giving the child freedom to make decisions
    • Self-verification – a need to preserve self-concept by maintaining self-consistency and congruency
    • Self-enhancement – processes whereby one enhances positive self-regard
    • Gender schemas – organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for both genders

Trait and Biological Perspectives

  • Factor analysis – statistical technique that permits a researcher to reduce a large number of measures to a small number of clusters or factors
    • Factor of introversion includes not attending parties, enjoying solitary activities, etc.
  • Raymond B. Cattell developed 16 basic behaviour clusters of personality
  • Hans Eysenck proposed two basic dimensions of personality
    • Introversion-Extraversion and Stability-Instability
    • Added third factor called Psychoticism (creativity, impulsivity, social deviance) – Self Control
    • Linked dimensions to differences in normal patterns of arousal in brain
      • Claimed introverts to be overaroused
  • Big Five factor model proposes that openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism are principle factors of personality
  • Mershon and Gersuch found that theories with more traits (such as Cattell’s) are better at predicting specific behaviours
  • Traits found to be both stable and changing
    • Introversion-extraversion, emotionality, and activity level are quite stable
    • Stability found in optimistic or pessimistic view to negative life events
  • Three factors cause difficulty in prediction on basis of personality traits’ relation to behaviour
    • Traits interact with other traits and characteristics in different situations
    • Degree of consistency across situations is influenced by how important a given trait is for a person
    • People differ in tendency to tailor behaviour to what is called for by the situation
      • Self-monitoring – personality trait that reflects people’s tendencies to regulate social behaviour in accord with situational cues as opposed to internal values, attitudes, and needs

Social Cognitive Theories

  • Social cognitive theorists combine behavioural and cognitive perspectives into an approach to personality that stresses the interaction of a thinking human with a social environment that provides learning experiences
    • Take into account both internal and external factors
  • Reciprocal determinism – two way causal relations between the person, behaviour, and the environment
  • Julian Rotter: Expectancy, Reinforcement Value, and Locus of Control
    • Likelihood that we engage in a particular behaviour in a given situation is influenced by two factors: expectancy and reinforcement value
      • Expectancy – perception of how likely that certain consequences will occur if we engage in a particular behaviour
      • Reinforcement value – how much we desire or dread the outcome that we expect
    • Internal-external locus of control – generalized expectancy that one’s outcomes are under personal versus external control
  • Albert Bandura: Social Learning and Self-Efficacy
    • Self-efficacy – beliefs concerning their ability to perform the behaviours needed to achieve desired outcomes
      • Key factor in way people regulate their lives
    • Four different determinants of self-efficacy:
      • Performance attainments in similar situations
      • Observational learning (if another person similar to yourself can accomplish a certain goal, so can you)
      • Verbal persuasion
      • Emotional arousal (anxiety or fatigue tend to decrease self-efficacy)

Personality Assessment

  • Interviews
    • Should not limit attention to what interviewee says, but also how they say it
    • Characteristics of interviewer and interviewee can affect validity of information
  • Behaviour Assessment
    • Psychologists devise an explicit coding system that contains the behavioural categories of interest
    • Psychologists observe behaviours rather than ask people about them
  • Remote Behaviour Sampling
    • Researchers collect samples of behaviour from respondents as they live their daily lives
    • A beeper sounds at determined times throughout the day, and people record thoughts, feelings, etc.
  • Personality Scales
    • Certain tests have validity scales that detect tendencies to respond in a socially desirable manner
    • Items on personality scales are developed in two ways:
      • Rational approach – items are based on theorist’s conception of the personality trait to be measured
      • Empirical approach – items are chosen not because their content seems relevant to the trait, but because previous research has shown that the items were answered differently by groups of people known to differ in the personality characteristic of interest
        • Used to develop Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  • Projective Tests
    • Assumption is that when a person is presented with an ambiguous stimulus whose meaning is not clear, the interpretation attached to the stimulus will have to come partly from within
    • Rorshach inkblot test consists of ten inkblots of ambiguous shape
    • Thematic Apperception Test consists of series of pictures from paintings, drawings, and magazines
      • Respondents must describe what is going on in each scene

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