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Transcript of Personality
The Trait Perspective
When we refer to the "
" in contemporary psychology we are discussing the
center of personality: the organizer of our thoughts, feelings, and actions
Exploring the Self
personality that emphasizes
the interaction of our traits with our situations
. Much like nature and nurture always work together, so do individuals and their situations.
The Social-Cognitive Perspective
Assessing Behavior in Situations
The Humanistic Perspective
We define personality as a person's characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting.
theory of personality that
attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts
; the techniques used in treating psychological disorders by seeking to
expose and interpret unconscious tensions
strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives (pleasure principle and immediate gratification)
provides standards for judgment (the conscious) and for future aspirations
the largely conscious part of personality that mediates among the demands of the id, superego, and reality
Freud also believed that
children cope with their threatening feelings of competition with their same-sex parent by identifying with their same-sex parent and incorporating their parents' values
into their developing
Freud believed that
fixation could occur at any point of the psychosexual stages, resulting from unresolved conflicts
(overindulgence or deprivation). For example, an adult who may have become
may continue to seek oral gratification by smoking, excessive eating, or nail biting.
Fun fact about Freud:
Freud's mother was the father'
. The father had 3 sons from the first wife that were around the
as the second wife.
Much of Freud's focus on incest and penis envy might have stemmed from the rumors that Freud's younger sister may have been fathered by one of the brothers
, one of Freud's ex-disciples, placed less emphasis on social factors but still agreed with Freud that the unconscious exerts a powerful influence. But for Jung, the unconscious contains more than just our repressed thoughts and feelings. He believed that we have a c
ollective unconscious, a common reservoir of images derived from our species' universal experiences
much of Freud's work has been dismissed
, most followers of psychodynamic theory believe that
much of our mental life is unconscious; that we often struggle with inner conflicts among our wishes, fears, and values; and that childhood shapes our personality and ways of becoming attached to them
. Additionally, they believe that in order to get to the unconscious we have to use things like
free association and dream interpretation
because questionnaires would just merely
tap the conscious surface
aim to provide this "
" by asking test takers to describe an ambiguous stimuli or to tell a story about it.
...What could be a potential problem with this method?
Rorschach inkblot test
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
Only a few of the many Rorschach-derived scores (like
hostility and anxiety
) have demonstrated validity; and are therefore
not very reliable
Issues with the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Development is lifelong
, not fixed in childhood
unlikely that infants' neural
networks are mature enough
to sustain as much
as Freud assumed
underestimated peer influence
Repression is not as common or easy
as Freud though
Not everything is motivated by
Freud believed that defense mechanisms disguise sexual and aggressive impulses
they do work to protect our self-esteem
, there is no evidence of the former being true.
The Modern Unconscious Mind
The unconscious involves:
that automatically control our perceptions and interpretations
priming by stimuli
to which we have not consciously attended
right-hemisphere activity that enables the split-brain patient's left hand to carry out an instruction
the patient cannot verbalize
of different aspects of vision and thinking
implicit memories that operate without conscious recall
, even among those with amnesia
emotions that activate instantly
, before conscious analysis
self-concept and stereotypes that automatically and unconsciously influence how we process information
about ourselves and others
The unconscious mind is huge
. More often than not, we fly on autopilot.
What is the
most serious problem
with Freud's theory?
It offers after-the-fact explanations of any
(of one person's smoking, another's fear of spiders, and another's sexual orientation)
yet fails to predict such behaviors and traits.
Emphasizes the growth potential of healthy people
and the individual's potential for personal growth and self-realization
(1970), remember him?) proposed that we are motivated by a
hierarchy of needs.
He felt that we ultimately seek
(the process of fulfilling our potential) and
(meaning, purpose, and understanding beyond the self)
(1980) agreed with much of Maslow's thinking. He also believed that
people are basically good and endowed with self-actualizing tendencies
unless we get thwarted by a negative environment that inhibits growth.
He also practiced
unconditional positive regard
; an attitude of
toward another person
Additionally, Rogers believed
people nurtured our growth by being empathetic
(by sharing and mirroring our feelings and reflecting our meaning).
Humanistic psychologists believed that any
standardized assessment of personality
, even a questionnaire, is
. They prefer
to gain a better understanding of each person's unique experience.
...What could be a potential problem with this?
A characteristic pattern of behavior or a disposition to feel and act
, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports
(1919) was one of the first people who strived to
describe personality in terms of fundamental traits
, thought that Freud delved a bit too deep, and that
psychologists should give full recognition to manifest motives before probing the unconscious
Isabel Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs
(1987), wanted to describe
important personality differences
, and attempted to sort people according to Carl Jung's personality types.
A newer technique is
factor analysis; a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of correlated test items
that tap basic components of intelligence.
Biology and Personality
Extraverts seek stimulation because their normal brain arousal is relatively low
. For example PET scans show that
a frontal lobe area involved in behavior inhibition is less active in extraverts than introverts
. Dopamine and dopamine-related neural activity tend to be higher in extraverts.
are linked with the
, energy-spending, sympathetic nervous system,
are connected with the
, energy-conserving, parasympathetic nervous system.
This shows that our
biology and genes
have much to do with our
and behavior (like in our
autonomic nervous system reactivity
The "Big Five"
How stable are they?
In adulthood, the Big Five are
quite stable. Some tendencies (
neuroticism, extraversion, and openness
during early and middle adulthood, while others (
agreeableness and conscientiousness
How heritable are they?
, depending on the type of people studied.
Evaluating the Trait Perspective
stable and potent
of our specific
behaviors from one situation to the next is another matter
in behaviors also make
personality test scores weak predictors
For example, people's
scores on an extroversion test do not neatly predict how sociable they actually will be
on any given occasion.
people's average outgoingness, happiness, or carelessness over many situations is predictable
Personality tests often use stock assessments
, and often when the results are displayed as
favorable and "unique,"
people tend to rate the description as
(known as the
Social-cognitive theorists believe we learn many of our behaviors either through conditioning or by observing others and modeling our behavior after theirs
(the social aspect). They also emphasize the importance of mental processes and
how our thinking about the situation affects or behavior
(the cognitive aspect)
Things to remember:
- the idea that our
personalities are shaped by the
interaction of our personal traits
(including our thoughts and feelings), our environment,
and our behavior.
specific ways in which
individuals and environment interact
Different people choose different environments
(you choose your environment and it then shapes you)
Our personalities shape how we interpret and react to events
(for example, anxious people are attuned to potentially threatening events)
Our personalities help create situations to which we react
(for example, how we view and treat people influence how they in turn treat us)
In studying how we interact with our environment, social-cognitive psychologists emphasize our sense of
whether we learn to see ourselves as controlling, or as controlled by, the environment
Self-control, the ability to control impulses and delay gratification
, predicts good adjustment, better grades, and social success. It relies on attention and energy.
Under conditions of personal freedom and empowerment, people thrive...
too much choice can lead to decreasing life satisfaction, increased depression
, and something called choice paralysis.
Optimism Versus Pessimism
Optimistic people tend to live longer, healthier lives.
Why is this?
However, students concerned about failing an upcoming test
may study more thoroughly than their equally able but more
Ironically, people are often most over-confident when most incompetent
(it takes competence to recognize competence).
Excessive optimism can blind us to
, as well.
The best way of predicting future behavior is by observing a person's past behavior patterns in similar situations
. If you can't check this, the next best thing is to
create an assessment situation that stimulates the task
so you can see how the person handles it.
Critics say that the social-cognitive perspective
focuses so much on the situation that it fails to appreciate the persons' inner traits
By giving them a chance to
try out many possible selves
offer children important
opportunities to develop emotionally, socially , and cognitively.
visions of the self you dream of becoming and the self you fear becoming
. Our self-focused perspective may motivate us at times, but it also makes us
overestimate that others are noticing and evaluating our every move
(known as the
Self esteem, one's feelings about self-worth,
plays a huge role in our lives and how we view ourselves.
It probably comes as no surprise that
high self esteem leads to higher feelings of self worth and confidence
. People with high self esteem tend to be
more persistent at difficult tasks, are less shy, anxious, and lonely, and are just plain happier
feeling good often follows doing well, and if people feel like they never meet expectations it can lead to low self esteem
People who are negative about themselves also tend to be thin skinned and judgmental towards other
. People who are made to feel insecure will often become
I can handle
Our readiness to perceive oneself favorably is known as self-serving bias.
Findings confirming self-serving bias:
1.) People accept
more responsibility for good deeds
than for bad, and for success than for failures.
2.) Most people
see themselves as better than average
what about the people who feel worthless and unlovable
? If self-serving bias is true, why do so many people disparage themselves?
self-directed put-downs are a strategic means of getting people to tell you the opposite
2.) Sometimes, like before a game or a test,
self-disparaging comments may prepare us for possible failure.
3.) Self-disparagement often frequently pertains to one's old self.
People tend to be more critical of their distant past selves than of their current selves
(even when they have not changed).
Feeling inferior or insecure is a normal part of life, but the deeper and more frequently we have such feelings the more unhappy (and often depressed) we are.
But for most people, thinking has a naturally positive bias.
Two types of self-esteem:
Fragile, focuses on sustaining itself, which makes failures and criticism feel threatening. Correlated with aggressive and antisocial behavior.
Less fragile since it is less contingent on external evaluations. Due to feeling accepted for who we are. Correlated with happiness and higher rated quality of life.
Culture and the Self
Cultures vary in the extent to which they give priority to the nurturing and expression of personal identity or group identity.
(often from North America, Western Europe, Australia, or New Zealand)
tend to give relatively greater priority to personal goals
and define their
mostly in terms of
. Individualists do
share the human need to belong; they join groups, but are less focused on group harmony and doing their duty to the group
. Being more self-contained,
individualists also move in and out of social groups more easily
(often from asiatic countries)
tend to get their sense of belonging from group identification
. Collectivists tend to place a premium on
preserving group spirit and making sure others never lose face
. They tend to
exhibit greater shyness toward strangers and greater concern for social harmony and loyalty
. Elders and superiors receive respect, and
duty to family may trump personal career preferences
Time to see some pictures of Ms. Schwinge expressing her version of individualism-based personality