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Personality

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Clare Gruszka

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of Personality

The unique way in which each individual thinks, feels, and acts throughout life Personality The four traditional perspectives in the study of personality are the psychodynamic, behavioristic, humanistic, and trait perspectives Theories of Personality Sigmund Freud and the Psychodynamic Perspective The Behaviorist and Social Cognitive View of Personality Humanism and Personality Humanism developed as a reaction against the negativity of psychoanalysis and the deterministic nature of behaviorism Trait Theories Allport Different from... Character: value judgments made about a person's morals or ethical behavior Temperament: the enduring characteristics with which each person is born But includes these aspects... Freud's Cultural Background Lived during the Victorian Age of sexual repression
People growing up in this period were told by their church that sex should take place only in the context of marriage and then only to make babies
To enjoy sexual intercourse was considered a sin Men were understood to be unable to control their "animal" desires at times and a good Victorian husband would father several children with his wife and then turn to a mistress for sexual comfort, leaving his virtuous wife untouched Women, especially those of the upper classes, were not supposed to have sexual urges Thus, Freud's "obsession" with sexual explanations for abnormal behavior seems more understandable in light of his cultural background and that of his patients Freud believed that the mind was divided into three parts: : Where current awareness exists Containing memories, information, and events of which one can easily become aware : Part of mind that remains hidden at all times, surfacing only in symbolic form in dreams and in some of the behavior people engage in without knowing why they have done so Most important determining factor in human behavior and personality, according to Freud Three parts of personality are the id, ego, and superego: The first and most primitive part of the personality present at birth Completely unconscious, pleasure-seeking, amoral part of personality Contains all of basic biological drives: hunger, thirst, self-preservation, sex Demanding, irrational, illogical, and impulsive Wants needs satisfied immediately and doesn't care about anyone else's needs or desires Works on the pleasure principle, or the desire for immediate gratification of needs with no regard for consequences Develops out of a need to deal with reality Is mostly conscious, rational, and logical Works on the reality principle, or the need to satisfy the demands of the id only in ways that will not lead to negative consequences The moral center of personality, containing the conscience, the part of personality that makes people feel guilt, or moral anxiety, when they do the wrong thing The conflicts between the demands of the id and the rules and restrictions of the superego lead to anxiety for the ego, which uses defense mechanisms to deal with that anxiety Defense Mechanisms Psychological defense mechanisms: ways of dealing with stress through unconsciously distorting one's perception of reality Denial Repression Rationalization Reaction Formation Displacement Regression Identification Compensation (substitution) Sublimation Projection Refusal to recognize or acknowledge a threatening situation "Pushing" threatening or conflicting events or situations out of conscious memory Making up acceptable excuses for unacceptable behavior Placing one's own unacceptable thoughts onto others, as if the thoughts belonged to them and not to oneself Forming an emotional reaction or attitude that is the opposite of one's threatening or unacceptable actual thoughts Expressing feelings that would be threatening if directed at the real target onto a less threatening substitute target Falling back on childlike patterns as a way of coping with stressful situations Trying to become like someone else to deal with one's anxiety Trying to make up for areas in which a lack is perceived by becoming superior in some other area Turning socially unacceptable urges into socially acceptable behavior Stages of Personality Development Parts of personality develop in series of stages
Stages were determined by the developing sexuality of the child Oral Stage First stage occurring in the first year to year and a half of life in which the mouth is the erogenous zone and weaning is the primary conflict Stage is dominated by the id Weaning that occurs too soon or too late can result in too little or too much satisfaction of the child's oral needs, resulting in activities and personality traits associated with an orally fixated adult personality: overeating, drinking too much, chain smoking, talking too much, nail biting, gum chewing, and a tendency to be either too dependent and optimistic (when oral needs are overindulged) or too aggressive and pessimistic (when oral needs are denied) Anal Stage Second stage occurring from about 1 or 1 ½ years of age, in which the anus is the erogenous zone and toilet training is the source of conflict Fixation in the anal stage, from toilet training that is too harsh, can take two forms: 1. Anal expulsive personalities: children who rebelled against toilet training and expelled feces purposefully; adults who see messiness as a statement of personal control and are somewhat defensive and hostile 2. Anal retentive personalities: children who were terrified of making a mess and rebelled passively by refusing to go at all or retaining feces; as adults, are stingy, stubborn, and excessively neat Phallic Stage Third stage occurring from about 3 to 6 years of age, in which the child discovers sexual feelings The erogenous zone shifts to the genitals Freud believed that when boys realize that girls have no penis they develop a fear of losing the penis called castration anxiety, while girls develop penis envy because they are missing a penis Conflict in the phallic stage centers on awakening sexual feelings of the child Freud believed that boys develop both sexual attraction to their mothers and jealousy of their fathers during this stage, a phenomenon called the Oedipus complex Jealousy of the father leads to feelings of anxiety and fears that the father, a powerful authority figure, might get angry and do something terrible To deal with anxiety, the boy will repress his sexual feelings for his mother and identify with the father The Oedipus/Electra Complexes Girls go through a similar process called the Electra complex, with their father as the target of their affections and their mother as their rival Result of identification with same-sex parent is the development of the superego, the internalized moral values of the same-sex parent Fixation in the phallic stage usually involves immature sexual attitudes as an adult or exhibiting promiscuous sexual behavior and vanity Latency Stage Fourth stage occurring during the school years, in which the sexual feelings of the child are repressed while the child develops in other ways Genital Stage Final stage occurring during puberty to death, in which sexual behavior is focus of pleasures through sexual relationship with a partner The Neo-Freudians The neo-Freudians changed the focus of psychoanalysis to fit their own interpretation of the personality, leading to the more modern version known as the psychodynamic perspective Jung believed that there was not only a personal unconscious as Freud described it, but developed a theory of a collective unconscious, memories shared by all members of the human species Adler proposed feelings of inferiority as the driving force behind personality and developed birth order theory Horney developed a theory based on basic anxiety, anxiety created in a child born into a world that is so much bigger and more powerful than the child and rejected the concept of penis envy While people whose parents gave them love, affection, and security would overcome this anxiety, others with less secure upbringings would develop neurotic personalities and maladaptive ways of dealing with relationships Erikson developed a theory based on social rather than sexual relationships, covering the entire life span Current Thoughts on Freud and the Psychodynamic Perspective Although Freud's psychoanalytic theory seems less relevant today, many of his concepts have remained useful and still form a basis for many modern personality theories
Current research has found support for the defense mechanisms and the concept of an unconscious mind that can influence conscious behavior, but other concepts cannot be scientifically researched
A major criticism is that Freud did no experiments to arrive at his conclusions about personality--his theory is based on his observations of numerous patients Behaviorists define personality as a set of learned responses or habits
In the strictest sense, everything a person or animal does is a response to some environmental stimulus that has been reinforced or strengthened by a reward in some way Social cognitive learning theorists, who emphasize the importance of both the influences of other people's behavior and of a person's own expectancies on learning, hold that observational learning, modeling, and other cognitive learning techniques can lead to the formation of patterns of personality Social Cognitive View In the social cognitive view of Albert Bandura, behavior is governed not just by the influence of external stimuli and response patterns, but also by cognitive processes such as anticipating, judging, and memory, as well as learning through the imitation of models Bandura believes that three factors influence one another in determining the patterns of behavior that make up personality: the environment, the behavior itself, and personal or cognitive factors that the person brings into the situation from earlier experiences These three factors each affect the other two in a reciprocal, or give-and-take, relationship called reciprocal determinism Self-efficacy is a person's expectancy of how effective his or her efforts to accomplish a goal will be in any particular circumstance Depends on previous experiences, the opinions of others, and perceived personal competencies According to Bandura, people high in self-efficacy are more persistent and expect to succeed, whereas people low in self-efficacy expect to fail and tend to avoid challenges Rotter's Social Learning Theory Rotter devised a theory based on a basic principle of motivation derived from Thorndike's law of effect: People are motivated to seek reinforcement and avoid punishment Viewed personality as a relatively stable set of potential responses to various situations--if, in the past, a certain way of responding led to a reinforcing or pleasurable consequence, that way of responding would become a pattern of responding, or part of the "personality" In Rotter's view, one very important pattern of responding is his concept of locus of control Locus of control: the tendency for people to assume that they either have control or do not have control over events and consequences in their lives People who assume that their own actions and decisions directly affect the consequences they experience are said to have internal locus of control, whereas people who assume that their lives are more controlled by powerful others, luck, or fate have external locus of control Personality is also determined by an interaction between one's expectancies, or a person's subjective feelings that a particular behavior will lead to a reinforcing consequence, and the perceived value of the potential reinforcement Current Thoughts on the Behaviorist and Social Cognitive Views Behaviorism as an explanation of the formation of personality has limitations: classic theory does not take mental processes into account when explaining behavior, nor does it give weight to social influences on learning However, unlike psychoanalysis, concepts in these theories can and have been tested under scientific conditions Thus, behaviorist personality theory has scientific support, but is criticized as being too simplistic Id: Ego: Superego: At each stage, a different erogenous zone, or area of the body that produces pleasurable feelings, becomes important and can become the source of conflict
Conflicts that are not fully resolved can result in fixation, or getting "stuck" to some degree in a stage of development Humanistic perspective: the "third force" in psychology that focuses on those aspects of personality that make people uniquely human, such as subjective feelings and freedom of choice Carl Rogers and Self-Concept Both Maslow and Rogers believed that human beings are always striving to fulfill their innate capacities and capabilities and to become everything that their genetic potential will allow them to become--this striving for fulfillment is called the self-actualizing tendency Rogers proposed that self-actualization depends on proper development of the self-concept The self-concept is based on what people are told by others and how the sense of self is reflected in words and actions of important people in one's life, such as parents, siblings, coworkers, friends, and teachers The self-concept includes the real self and the ideal self Real self: one's actual perception of characteristics, traits, and abilities that form the basis of the striving for self-actualization Ideal self: the perception of what one should be or would be like to be Rogers believed that when the real self and the ideal self are very close or similar to each other, people feel competent and capable, but when there is a mismatch between the real self and ideal self, anxiety and neurotic behavior can be the result It is primarily how the important people in a person's life react to the person that determines the degree of agreement between real and ideal selves Conditional and Unconditional Positive Regard Rogers defined positive regard as warmth, affection, love, and respect that comes from the significant others in people's experience--it is vital to people's ability to cope with stress and to strive to achieve self-actualization Rogers believed that unconditional positive regard, or love, affection, and respect with no strings attached, is necessary for people to be able to explore fully all that they can achieve and become Conditional positive regard: positive regard that is given only when the person is doing what the providers of positive regard wish Unconditional positive regard from important others in a person's life helps the formation of the self-concept and the congruity of the real and ideal selves, leading to a fully functioning person For Rogers, a person who is in the process of self-actualization, actively exploring potentials and abilities, and experiencing a match between the real self and ideal self, is a fully functioning person Fully functioning people are in touch with their feelings and abilities and are able to trust their innermost urges and intuitions To become fully functioning, a person needs unconditional positive regard Current Thoughts on the Humanistic View of Personality Humanistic theory is not scientifically researched and has been criticized as being "too optimistic," but has been effective as a therapeutic modality Trait theories are less concerned with the explanation for personality development and changing personality than they are with describing personality and predicting behavior based on that description Trait: a consistent, enduring way of thinking, feeling, or behaving First developed a list of about 200 traits He believed that these traits were literally wired into the nervous system to guide one's behavior across many different situations and that each person's "constellation" of traits was unique Cattell and the 16PF Cattell defined two types of traits as surface traits and source traits Cattell reduced the number of traits to between 16 and 23 with a computer method called factor analysis These 16 source traits are seen as trait dimensions, or continuums, in which there are two opposite traits at each end with a range of possible degrees for each trait measurable along the dimension The Big Five Several researchers have arrived at five trait dimensions that have research support across cultures, called the Big Five or five-factor model Current Thoughts on the Trait Perspective Some theorists have cautioned that personality traits will not always be expressed in the same way across different situations
Mischel, a social cognitive theorist, has emphasized that there is a trait-situation interaction in which the particular circumstances of any given situation are assumed to influence the way in which a trait is expressed
Cross-cultural research has found support for the five-factor model of personality traits in a number of different cultures Surface traits: personality characteristics easily seen by other people Source traits: more basic traits that underlie the surface traits 1. Openness: a person's willingness to try new things and be open to new experiences 2. Conscientiousness: refers to a person's organization and motivation, with people who score high on this dimension being those who are careful about being places on time and careful with belongings as well 3. Extraversion: refers to where people draw energy from, with extraverts drawing energy from being sociable and being around people, and introverts garnering energy through being alone or doing solitary activities 4. Agreeableness: refers to the basic emotional style of a person, who may be easygoing, friendly, and pleasant (at the high end of the scale) or grumpy, crabby, and hard to get along with (at the low end) 5. Neuroticism: refers to emotional instability or stability. People who are excessive worriers, overanxious, and moody would score high on this dimension, whereas those who are more even-tempered and calm would score low The Biology of Personality Behavioral genetics is a field of study devoted to discovering the genetic bases for personality characteristics Twin Studies By comparing identical twins to fraternal twins, especially when twins can be found who were not raised in the same environment, researchers can begin to find evidence of possible genetic influences on various traits, including personality The results of the Minnesota twin study have revealed that identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins or unrelated people in intelligence, leadership abilities, the tendency to follow rules, the tendency to uphold traditional cultural expectations, nurturance, empathy, assertiveness, and aggressiveness This similarity holds even if the twins are raised in separate environments Adoption Studies By comparing adopted children to their adoptive parents and siblings, and, if possible, to their biological parents who have not raised them, researchers can uncover some of the shared and nonshared environmental and genetic influences on personality Adoption studies have confirmed what twin studies have shown: genetic influences account for a great deal of personality development, regardless of shared or nonshared environment Current Findings Several studies have found that the five personality factors of the five-factor model have nearly a 50 percent rate of heritability across several cultures It appears that variations in personality traits are about 25 to 50 percent inherited, while environmental and cultural influences apparently account for the other (approximately) 50 percent Assessment of Personality Interviews Method of personality assessment in which the professional asks questions of the client and allows the client to answer, either in a structured or unstructured fashion Disadvantages: Clients can lie, distort the truth, misremember, or give what they think is a socially acceptable answer instead of true information Interviewers themselves can be biased, interpreting what the client says in light of their own belief systems or prejudices Interviews are also subject to the halo effect, which is a tendency to form a favorable or unfavorable impression of someone at the first meeting, so that all of a person's comments and behavior after that first impression will be interpreted to agree with the impression--positively or negatively Projective Tests Personality assessments that present ambiguous visual stimuli to the client and ask the client to respond with whatever comes to mind Most commonly used by psychoanalysts with the purpose of attempting to access the unconscious mind Rorschach inkblot test: projective test that uses 10 inkblots as the ambiguous stimuli Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): projective test that uses 20 pictures of people in ambiguous situations as the visual stimuli Problems with Projective Tests Projective tests are by their nature very subjective (valid only within the person's own perception) Projective tests, with no standard grading scales, have both low reliability and low validity Projective tests can be useful in finding starting points to open a dialogue between therapist and client Behavioral Assessments Include direct observation of behavior, rating scales of specific behavior, and frequency counts of behavior In direct observation, the psychologist observes the client engaging in ordinary, everyday behavior, preferably in a natural setting In a rating scale, a numerical rating is assigned, either by the assessor or the client, for specific behaviors In a frequency count, the assessor literally counts the frequency of certain behaviors within a specified time limit Behavioral assessments have the disadvantage of the observer effect, which causes an observed person's behavior to change, and observer bias on the part of the person doing the assessment Personality Inventories Personality inventory: test that consists of statements that require a specific, standardized response from the person taking the test The standard nature of the questions (everyone gets the same list) and the lack of open-ended answers make these assessments far more objective and reliable than projective tests The NEO-PI is based on the five-factor model, whereas the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on Jung's theory of personality types with sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, extroversion/introversion, and perceiving/judging dimensions The MMPI-2 is designed to detect abnormal personality It has 10 clinical scales and 8 validity scales in addition to numerous subscales Validity scales, which are built into any well-designed psychological inventory, are intended to indicate whether or not a person taking the inventory is responding honestly Advantages: Personality inventories are standardized (i.e., everyone gets exactly the same questions and the answers are scored in exactly the same way)
Thus, the validity and reliability of personality inventories are generally recognized as being greatly superior to those of projective tests Disadvantages: The validity scales are a good check against cheating, but they are not perfect--some people are still able to fake their answers and respond in what they feel are socially appropriate ways
Individual responses to specific questions may also vary as they may be interpreted in different ways by different individuals, and are very likely to be subject to cultural influences
Some people may develop a habit of picking a particular answer rather than carefully considering the statement, whereas others may simply grow tired of responding to all those statements and start picking answers at random
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