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  1. Personality

  2. What is Personality?

  3. People differ from each other in meaningful ways People seem to show some consistency in behavior What is Personality? Personality is defined as a person’s characteristic patterns of behaving, feeling, and thinking.

  4. Personality • Personality refers to a person’s unique and relatively stable pattern of thoughts, feelings, and actions • Personality is an interaction between biology and environment • Genetic studies suggest heritability of personality • Other studies suggest learned components of personality

  5. Different Perspectives • Trait • Categorize and describe • Psychodynamic • Unconscious, sexual, motivation, conflict • Humanistic • Positive growth, realization of potential • Cognitive- Social Learning • Think, act, and respond to environment

  6. Trait Theory of Personality • Goal: attempts to explain personality and differences among people in terms of personal characteristics that are stable across situations. • Five-Factor Model: view that personality can be explained in terms of five broad dimensions, each of which is composed of a cluster of personality traits

  7. The Trait Perspective • Trait • a characteristic pattern of behavior • a disposition to feel and act, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports • Personality Inventory • a questionnaire (often with true-false or agree-disagree items) on which people respond to items designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors • used to assess selected personality traits

  8. Overview of the Big “5”

  9. Five Factor Model • Extraversion-positive emotionality • Neuroticism-negative emotionality • Openness to experience-curiosity, flexibility, imaginativeness • Agreeableness-sympathetic, trusting, cooperative • Conscientiousness-diligent, disciplined, well-organized, punctual

  10. Personality Structure:The “Big Five” Personality Factors*(Each factor is a continuum of many related traits) Neuroticism (anxious, hostile, insecure), (effective, confident, calm) Extroversion (Gregarious , energetic, self-dramatizing) (Shy, unassertive, withdrawn) Conscientiousness (Planful, neat, dependable) (Impulsive, careless, irresponsible) Agreeableness (Warm, tactful, considerate) (Independent, cold, rude) Openness (Imaginative, curious, original) (Dull, unimaginative, literal-minded)

  11. Personality of law student and social science students at one university

  12. Evaluating Trait Theory • Trait theory, especially the Big 5 model, is able to describe personality • Cross-cultural human studies find good agreement for the Big 5 model in many cultures • Appear to be highly correlated not only in adulthood, but also in childhood and even late preschoolers • Three dimensions (extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness) have cross-species generality • Problems with trait theory include: • Lack of explanation as to WHY traits develop • Issue of explaining transient versus long-lasting traits

  13. Psychoanalytic Theory • Psychoanalytic theory, as devised by Freud, attempts to explain personality on the basis of unconscious mental forces • Levels of consciousness: We are unaware of some aspects of our mental states • Freud argued that personality is made up of multiple structures, some of which are unconscious • Freud argued that as we have impulses that cause us anxiety; our personality develops defense mechanisms to protect against anxiety

  14. Personality Structure • Id • a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy • strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives • operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification

  15. Personality Structure • Superego • the part of personality that presents internalized ideals • provides standards for judgment and for future aspirations

  16. Personality Structure • Ego • the largely conscious, “executive” part of personality • mediates among the demands of the id, superego and ego • operates on the reality principle, satisfying the id’s desires in ways that will realistically bring pleasure rather than pain

  17. Figure 11.1 Levels of Awareness and the Structure of Personality Freud believed that personality is composed of three psychological processes—the id, the ego, and the superego—that operate at different levels of awareness. If you think of personality as being like an iceberg, the bulk of this psychological iceberg is represented by the irrational, impulsive id, which lies beneath the waterline of consciousness. Unlike the entirely unconscious id, the rational ego and the moralistic superego are at least partially conscious.

  18. Appealing to the Id How would Freud explain the appeal of this billboard? In Freud’s theory, the id is ruled by the pleasure principle—the instinctual drive to increase pleasure, reduce tension, and avoid pain. Advertisements like this one, which encourage us to be hedonistic, appeal to the pleasure principle.

  19. Establishing the Superego “Don’t hit your friends” is just one of the many rules and values we learn as children from parents and other authorities. The internalization of such values is what Freud called the superego—the inner voice that is our conscience. When we fail to live up to its moral ideals, the superego imposes feelings of guilt, shame, and inferiority.

  20. Levels of consciousness Conscious What we’re aware of Preconscious Memories etc. that can be recalled Unconscious Wishes, feelings, impulses that lies beyond awareness Structures of Personality Id Operates according to the “pleasure principle” Ego Operates according to the “reality” principle Superego Contains values and ideals Psychoanalytic Theory

  21. Psychoanalytic Theory • Anxiety occurs when: • Impulses from the id threaten to get out of control • The ego perceives danger from the environment • The ego deals with the problem through: • Defense mechanisms-- unconscious mental processes that protect the conscious person from developing anxiety

  22. Freud’s model of personal dynamics

  23. Defense Mechanisms • Denial: person refuses to recognize reality • Projection: Attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another • Sublimation: person channels energy from unacceptable impulses to create socially acceptable accomplishments • Repression: anxiety-evoking thoughts are pushed into the unconscious • Identification: Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group.

  24. Defense Mechanisms • Rationalization:Creating false but plausible excuses to justify behavior • Reaction formation:Behaving in a way that is exactly opposite of one’s true feelings. • Regression: Responding to a threatening situation in a way appropriate to an earlier age or level of development • Displacement: Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target.

  25. Personality Development • Psychosexual Stages • the childhood stages of development during which the pleasure-seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones

  26. 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

  27. Psychosexual Stages • Phallic Stage (after age 3) • Erotic feelings center on genitals • Boys experience the Oedipal complex wherein they are strongly attracted to their mother and jealous of their father • Girls experience the Electra complex, being strongly attracted 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

  28. 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

  29. Criticisms of Freud • Sexist • Freud’s theory was thought to be sexist against women (e.g., “penis envy”, underdeveloped superego) • Description rather than prediction • Subjective description, solely by Freud, and “after the fact” on a relatively small sample of patients, including himself! • His patients were mostly females from upper classes • Unverifiable concepts • How the heck can you directly confirm, disconfirm, or even observe the Oedipus Complex?! • Feels more mythical than scientific

  30. But… • Freud’s theory…. • Was rich and comprehensive in description • 1st comprehensive theory of personality: every personality theory since can be seen as a reaction to Freud • Sparked psychoanalysis • Many still believe that psychoanalysis is the best treatment for mental illness • Was controversial and stretched the boundaries for creativity

  31. Humanistic Theory • Humanistic personality theories reject psychoanalytic notions • Humanistic theories view each person as basically good and that people are striving for self-fulfillment; optimistic view of human nature • Humanistic theory argues that people carry a perception of themselves and of the world • The goal for a humanist is to develop/promote a positive self-concept

  32. Humanistic Perspectives • Carl Rogers • Self-concept-a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature; mental picture of yourself. • Mental health is related to the degree of congruence between self-concept and life experiences. • Incongruence is the degree of difference between one’s self-concept and one’s actual experience.

  33. Humanistic Perspective • Unconditional positive regard(love) from parents fosters congruence and condition and conditional love fosters incongruence.

  34. Humanistic Perspective • Abraham Maslow • Human motives are organized into a hierarchy of needs-a systematic arrangement of needs, according to priority, in which basic needs must best be met before people can focus on needs higher up. • Self-actualization-need to fulfill one’s full potential

  35. Humanistic Perspectives • Abraham Maslow emphasized the basic goodness of human nature and a natural tendency toward self-actualization.

  36. Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective • Concepts like self-actualization are vague • Emphasis on self may promote self-indulgence and lack of concern for others • Theory does not address reality of human capacity for evil • Theory has impacted popular ideas on child-rearing, education, management, etc.

  37. Social Cognitive Perspective • View personality as a collection of learned behaviors acquired through social interactions. • Includes how we think about the world & interpret what happens to us

  38. Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism • Three components: • External environment • Individual behaviors • Internal factors • Our personalities are shaped by the interaction of our internal factors (personal traits including thoughts, beliefs and feelings), our environment and our behavior.

  39. Mischel and the Person-Situation Controversy • Critic of trait theory • Focused attention on the extent to which situational factors govern behavior. • Research has shown that people exhibit far less consistency across situations. • Both the person and the situation are important determinants of behavior.

  40. Social-Cognitive Perspective • Built from research on learning and cognition • Fails to consider unconscious motives and individual disposition • Today, cognitive-behavioral theory is perhaps predominant psychological approach to explaining human behavior

  41. Behavioral Genetics and Personality • Genetic factors exert considerable influence over personality. • Shared family environment has little impact on personality. • The Minnesota Study (Tellegen et al, 1988) studied identical and fraternal twins raised together and apart.

  42. Personality Assessment • Self-Report Inventories Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) • the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests • Measures 10 personality traits that, when manifested to an extreme, are thought to be symptoms of disorders.

  43. Clinically significant range 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Hypochondriasis (concern with body symptoms) Depression (pessimism, hopelessness) After treatment (no scores in the clinically significant range Hysteria (uses symptoms to solve problems) Before treatment (anxious, depressed, and displaying deviant behaviors) Psychopathic deviancy (disregard for social standards) Masculinity/femininity (interests like those of other sex) Paranoia (delusions, suspiciousness) Psychasthenia (anxious, guilt feelings) Schizophrenia (withdrawn, bizarre thoughts) Hypomania (overactive, excited, impulsive) Social introversion (shy, inhibited) 0 30 40 50 60 70 80 T-score Personality Assessment • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test profile