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Personality Pyschology: Havings, Doings and Beings in Context

Personality Pyschology: Havings, Doings and Beings in Context

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Personality Pyschology: Havings, Doings and Beings in Context

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  1. Personality Pyschology: Havings, Doings and Beings in Context An article by Brian Little Presentation by Sarah McDermott EPI 6181, November 2006

  2. Foundations • First personologists (concerned with emotional exp.) • Freud: Psychodynamic perspectives – “unconscious wishes” • Murray: Diverse needs underlying human motivation – need for affiliation, achievement; environmental “presses” facilitating or impeding • Allport: Traits are the “substantively real and dynamic sources of human personality” • Behaviourist learning theory (concerned with behavioural processes) • Stimulus-response • Rewards and punishments

  3. Foundations cont’d 3. Kellians (concerned with cognitive systems) • “To understand individuals was to understand the personal constructs through which they view their worlds.” • Mischel (social cognitive learning) • Criticized trait as units of analysis in personality psychology • “Little evidence for broad-based generalities of trait dispositions” • Situational influences (i.e. given trait, such as submissiveness, might be exhibited in one situation and not another) • Brought about link with social psychologists

  4. Current personality psychologists • Current ways of explaining nature of human nature, according to Little (as adapted from McAdams), can be shown by three tiers: Havings, Doings, Beings • Little believes these are horizontally and potentially vertically integrated

  5. Tiers

  6. Havings • Functions: primarily descriptive, explanatory, predictive • E.g. of latter: conscientiousness and success (one interesting exception among jazz musicians –> ability to “flex” more predictive)

  7. Doings – Personal action constructs (PACs) • Personal projects • Considered middle level units in personality • Cannot be directly inferred from observation of individual’s acts, rather embedded in daily ecology (flu bugs, returning boyfriends, etc.) • Research has shown “subjective well-being is related to the extent to which people are engaged in personal projects that are worthwhile (meaning), managed effectively (structure), supported by others (community), likely to succeed (efficacy) and not unduly onerous (low stress) • Intrapersonal projects exist (trying to change or deal with aspects of one’s own personality – e.g. be more outgoing)

  8. Doings, cont’d • Life tasks • undertakings that are important to accomplish at different stages of life (Cantor) • E.g. for students: “getting independent from parents”, “forming friendships”, “succeeding academically” • Requires social intelligence, esp. strategies to accomplish tasks (e.g. defensive pessimism an illusory glow optimism) • Personal strivings • Something a person is typically trying to do e.g. “being nice to people” • Difficulties arise when these are in conflict e.g. being nice and being intellectually tough to succeed

  9. Havings and Doings • One major different between Havings and Doings: former may be relatively unchangeable after age of approximately 30 while the latter are more changeable • Environment: “havings” researchers most concerned with “fit” for individual (e.g. stimulating environment for extroverts), while “doings” researchers concerned with ability to generate, facilitate, frustrate “doings” (e.g. family atmosphere where school is not seen as important – may proscribe aspirations)

  10. Beings • Construct stories about our relationships, achievements, aspirations, to establish an identity, validation of the being we are or are becoming • Interest in “locating individual life stories in their historical context” • Telling of stories can have salutary effect!

  11. Basement • Psychodynamic theory • There has been acceptance of the “pervasive impact of unconscious influences on personality functioning.” • Evolutionary psychology • E.g. sex differences in choosing a partner