PY101:Psychological Perspectives on Human Behavior Personality Theories and Assessment
How do psychologists define and use the concept of “personality”? • The behaviors that make people different from one another are those behaviors that psychologists consider to be at the root of personality. • Personality refers to the relatively enduring characteristics that differentiate one person from another and that lead people to act in a consistent and predictable manner, both in different situations and over extended periods of time.
Personality “Characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.” Four Major Perspectives on Personality Psychoanalytic - unconscious motivations Trait - specific dimensions of personality Humanistic - inner capacity for growth Social-Cognitive - influence of environment
Psychoanalytic Perspective“first comprehensive theory of personality” University of Vienna 1873 Voracious Reader Medical School Graduate (1856-1939) Specialized in Nervous Disorders Some patients’ disorders had no physical cause!
Sigmund Freud pioneered personality psychology! • What is the structure and development of personality, according to Sigmund Freud and his successors (i.e.,psychoanalysts)? • According to psychoanalysts, much of behavior is caused by parts of personality which are found in the unconscious and of which we are unaware. • Freud’s 3 levels of awareness/consciousness: • the conscious mind; • the preconscious mind; and • the unconscious mind.
Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious Unconscious below the surface (thoughts, feelings, wishes, memories) “the mind is like an iceberg - mostly hidden” Conscious Awareness small part above surface (Preconscious) Repression banishing unacceptable thoughts and passions to unconscious: Dreams and Slips
Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Theory of Personality • Three levels of consciousness: • Conscious mind:things we are focusing on. • Preconscious mind:things are are not currently aware of but which we could focus on. • Unconscious mind:that which we areunaware of.
Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Theory of Personality • Freud’s theory suggest that personality is composed of the id, the ego, and the superego. • id: the unorganized, inborn part of personality whose purpose is to immediately reduce tensions relating to hunger, sex, aggression, and other primitive impulses. • ego: restrains instinctual energy in order to maintain the safety of the individual and to help the person to be a member of society. • superego: the rights and wrongs of society and consists of the conscience and the ego-ideal.
Freud and Personality Structure Super Ego Ego Id Id - energy constantly striving to satisfy basic drives Pleasure Principle Ego - seeks to gratify the Id in realistic ways Reality Principle Super Ego - voice of conscience that focuses on how we ought to behave
Freud’s Theory:“the ID” • The id uses the most primitive of thinking process. • Basic biological urges (e.g., hunger, self-protection). • The id operates on thePleasure Principle. • Seeks pleasure and avoids pain: “I want what I want NOW!” • The id operates completely at an unconscious level. • No direct contact with reality. • The id has 2 major instincts: • Eros: life instinct = motivates people to focus on pleasure-seeking tendencies (e.g., sexual urges). • Thanatos: death instinct = motivates people to use aggressive urges to destroy. • The energy for the id’s instincts comes from the libido, (the energy storehouse).
Freud’s Theory:“the Ego” • The ego consists of a conscious faculty for perceiving and dealing intelligently with reality. • The ego acts as a mediator between the id and the superego. • The ego is partly conscious. • Deals with the demands of reality. • Makes rational decisions.
Freud’s Theory:“the Ego” • The ego serves the ID: • The rational part of personality that maintains contact with reality. • Governed by ‘Reality Principle’ • “What consequences are there to my behavior?” • The ego is the Executive of the personality • The ego controls higher mental processes. • Reasoning, problem solving. • The ego uses these higher mental processes to help satisfy the urges of the ID.
Freud’s Theory:“the Superego” • Superego: the moral part of personality. • Internalized rules of parents and society. • Superego consists of two parts: • Conscience: “notions of right/wrong.” • Ego Ideal: “how we ideally like to be.” • Superego: constrains us from gratifying every impulse (e.g., murder) because they are immoral, and not because we might get caught. • Superego: partly conscious, partly unconscious.
Freud: superego, id, and ego • According to Freud, an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego.
Freud’s Theory of Personality: • The id, the ego, and the superegoarecontinually in conflict with one another. • This conflict generates anxiety. • If the ego did not effectively handle the resulting anxiety, people would be so overwhelmed with anxiety that they would not be able to carry on with the tasks of everyday living. • The ego tries to control anxiety (i.e., to reduce anxiety) through the use of ego defense mechanisms. • Ego defense mechanisms => next slides.
Ego Defense Mechanisms • Definition: An defense mechanism is a psychology tendency that the ego uses to help prevent people from becoming overwhelmed by any conflict (and resulting anxiety) among the id, the ego, and the superego. • Defense mechanisms operate at an unconscious level: • We are not aware of them during the time that we are actually using them. • However, we may later become aware of their previous operation and use.
Freud’s Theory:Defense Mechanisms • Repression:pushing unacceptable and anxiety-producing thoughts into the unconscious; involves intentional forgetting but not consciously done; repressed material can be memories or unacceptable impulses. • A rape victim cannot recall the details of the attack. • Regression: acting in ways characteristic of earlier life stages/earlier stage of personality. • A young adult, anxious on a trip to his parents/ home, sits in the corner reading comic books, as he often did in grade school.
Freud’s Theory:Defense Mechanisms • Reaction formation: replacing an anxiety-producing feeling with its exact opposite, typically going overboard; repressed thoughts appear as mirror opposites. • A man who is anxious about his interest in gay men begins dating women several times a week. • Rationalization: creating false but believable excuses to justify inappropriate behavior; real motive for behavior is not accepted by ego. • A student cheats on an exam, explaining that cheating is legitimate on an unfair examination.
Freud’s Theory:Defense Mechanisms • Denial: claiming and believing that something which is actually true is false. • A person disbelieves that she is age, asserting that “I am not getting older.” • Displacement: redirecting emotional feelings (e.g., anger) to a substitute target; involves directing unacceptable impulses onto a less threatening object/person. • A husband, angry at the way his boss treated him, screams at his children. • Instead of telling your professor what you really think of her, you tailgate and harass a slow driver on your way home from school.
Freud’s Theory:Defense Mechanisms • Projection: attributing one’s own unacceptable feelings or beliefs to others; perceiving the external world in terms of one’s own personal conflicts. • An employee at a store, tempted to steal some merchandise, suspects that other employees are stealing. • Sublimation: substitute socially acceptable behavior for unacceptable impulses. • Playing video games instead of getting in a fight.
Freud:Stages ofPersonality Development • Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality suggests that personality develops through a series of stages, each of which is associated with a major biological function. • . • More specifically, Freud theorized that as people age, they pass through several systematic stages ofpsychosexual development in their personality.
Psychosexual Stages of Development are Source of Unconscious Conflicts. • The stages of personality development involve critical events that occur in every child’s life. • At each level, there is a conflict betweenpleasure and reality. • The resolution of this conflict determines personality. • At any stage, “a fixation” can occur: • If needs are either under-gratified or over-gratified, we become fixated at a particular stage. • Each stage also involves anerogenous zone. • Parts of the body that involve sexual pleasure.
Freud’s Stages of Personality Development: • Oral stage: the oral state is the first period, occurring during the first year of life. • Anal stage: next comes the anal stage, lasting from approximately age 1 to age 3. • Phallic stage: the phallic stages follows, with interest focusing on the genitals. • Latency period: then follows the latency period lasting until puberty. • Genital stage: after puberty, people move into the genital stage, a period of mature sexuality.
(1) Oral stage of development: • Time period: Birth to 18 months: • Erogenous zone is mouth. • Gratification through sucking and swallowing. • Oral fixation has two possible outcomes. • Oral receptive personality: • Preoccupied with eating/drinking. • Reduce tension through oral activity. • eating, drinking, smoking, biting nails • Passive and needy; sensitive to rejection. • Oral aggressive personality: • Hostile and verbally abusive to others.
(2) Anal stage of development: • Time period: 1 1/2 to 3 years of age. • Erogenous zone is the anus. • Conflict surrounds toilet training. • Anal fixation has two possible outcomes. • Anal retentive personality. • Stingy, compulsive orderliness, stubborn, perfectionistic. • Anal expulsive personality. • Lack of self control, messy, careless.
(3) Phallic stage of development: • Time period: 3 to 6 years. • Erogenous zone is the genitals: self-stimulation of the genitals produces pleasure. • At age 5 or 6, near the end of the phallic stage, children experience the Oedipal conflict (boys)/the Electra conflict (girls)--a process through which they learn to identify with the same gender parent by acting as much like that parent as possible. • Oedipus complex (boys) vs Electra complex (girls) • Child is sexually attracted to the other sex parent and wishes to replace the same sex parent.
(3) Phallic stage of development: • Oedipus complex (little boys): • Castration anxiety: • Son believes father knows about his desire for mom. • Fears dad will castrate him. • Represses his desire and defensively identifieswith dad.
(3) Phallic stage (continued): • Electra complex (little girls): • Penis envy: • Daughter is initially attached to mom. • Shift of attachment occurs when she realizes she lacks a penis. • She desires dad whom she sees as a means to obtain a penissubstitute (a child). • Represses her desire for dad. • incorporates the values of her mother • accepts her inherent “inferiority” in society
(4) Latency Period: • During the latency period, little girls and little boys try to socialize only with members of their own gender. • Freud posits that children do this so as to help minimize the awareness of “sexuality.” • Thus, they continue the process of sexual repression that began in the previous stage (for those who successfully made it through the Oedipal Complex/Electra Complex).
(5) Genital Stage: • When adolescence begin puberty, they enter the 5th stage of psychosexual development. • They develop secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., pubic hair). • The onset of the physical sexual characteristics “re-awakens” people sexual urges, and thus they are no longer able to successfully repress their sexual desires, impulses, and urges. • They begin searching for a marital mate, with whom they can share sex and intimacy.
Summary of Freud (on personality): • Freud’s psychoanalytic theory has provoked a number of criticisms. • a lack of supportive scientific data; • the theory’s inadequacy in making predictions; and • its limitations owing to the restricted population on which it is based. • Still, the theory remains popular. • For instance, the neo-Freudian psychoanalytic theorists built upon Freud’s work, although they placed greater emphasis on the role of the ego and paid greater attention to social factors in determining behavior.
4 Types of Personality Theories: (1). Psychodynamic approaches to personality. (2). Humanistic approaches to personality. (3). Trait approaches to personality. (4). Social Cognitive approaches to personality.
(1) Psychodynamic Personality Theories: • Source of information about personality: • Obtained from expert analyst from people in therapy. • Cause of behavior, thoughts, and feelings: • unconscious internal conflict associated with childhood experiences. • Also, unconscious conflicts between pleasure-seeking impulses and social restraints. • Outlook on humans: • negative. • Comprehensiveness of theory: • very comprehensive.
Psychodynamic (Psychoanalytic) Theories: Many are called Neo-Freudians. All place lessemphasis on sex. • Carl Jung: • Personal vs.Collective Unconscious. • Balance betweenintroversionandextroversion. • Alfred Adler: • Striving for superiority = motivation to master environment. • Notion of anInferiority Complex. • Karen Horney: • Personality is Cultural rather than biological.
(2) Humanistic Personality Theories: • Source of information about personality: • obtained from self-reports from the general population and people in therapy. • Cause of behavior, thoughts, and feelings: • self concepts, • self-actualizing tendencies. • conscious feelings about oneself (based on one’s previous experiences). • Outlook on humans: • positive. • Comprehensiveness of theory: • fairly comprehensive.
Humanistic Personality Theories:Maslow and Rogers • Humanistic approach (Third Force): • Rejected Freud’s pessimistic view of personality. • Rejected Behaviorist’s mechanistic view. • More optimistic/positive about human nature. • Humans are free and basically good. • Humans are inner-directed. • Everyone has the potential for healthy growth. • Health growth involvesSelf actualization: • “Be all you can be.” • Given the right environmental conditions, we can reach our full potential.
Humanistic Personality Theories:Carl Rogers • Self-concept: our image or perception of ourselves(Real Self versus Ideal Self). • We have a need for positive regard/approval from others. • Conditions of worth or conditional positive regard. • The conditions under which other people will approve of us. • We change our behavior to obtain approval. • What we need is:Unconditional positive regard. • Anxiety signifies that we are not being true to our ideal self. • Well-adjusted persons: self-concept & experience. • Poorly adjusted person: self-concept & experience.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of human motives: one must satisfy lower needs before one satisfies higher needs.
Humanistic Personality Theories:Abraham Maslow • Self-actualization is the culmination of a lifetime of inner-directed growth and improvement: • Challenging ourselves to the fullest. • Can you identify a self-actualized individual? • Characteristics ofthe self-actualized person: • Creative and open to new experiences. • Committed to a cause or a higher goal. • Trusting and caring of others, yet not dependent. • Have the courage to act on their convictions.
(3) Trait Personality Theories: • Source of information about personality: • obtained from observation of behavior and questionnaire responses from the general population as well as from people in therapy. • Cause of behavior, thoughts, and feelings: • stable internal characteristics; • some emphasize genetic basis. • Outlook on humans: • neutral - neither positive nor negative. • Comprehensiveness of theory: • not very comprehensive.
(3) Trait Personality Theories (cont): • Trait approaches have tried to identify the most basic and relatively enduring dimensions along which people differ from one another--dimensions known as traits. • How many trait dimensions are there? • How can we measure these trait dimensions? • Where do these trait dimensions originate?
(3) Trait Personality Theories (cont):Allport • Allport: Most important personality traits are those that reflect our values. • Allport suggested that there are 3 kinds of traits: • cardinal: a single personality trait that directs most of a person’s activities (e.g., greed, lust, kindness). • central: a set of major characteristics that make up the core of a person’s personality. • secondary: less important personality traits that do not affect behavior as much as central and cardinal traits do.
(3) Trait Personality Theories (cont):Eysenck • HansEysenck:foundtwo (2) major trait dimensions: • introversionversusextroversion(quiet versus sociable). • Neuroticismversusemotional stability(moody versus calm).