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Ch Personality Psychology

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1 Ch. 10 - Personality Psychology
(Myers-Briggs)

2 What Is Personality? an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, & acting most fields of psychology study similarity personality: the individual

3 Personality: an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, & acting
implies some degree of consistency enduring, stable qualities traits vs. situationism traits: relatively consistent characteristics exhibited in different situations intuitive appeal

4 The Case For Situationism
a view of personality that regards behavior as mostly a function of the situation, not of internal traits idea of multiple selves, situationally-elicited Does the following passage sound like you?

5 The Case For Situationism
You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. You pride yourself as being an independent thinker and do not accept others’ opinions without satisfactory proof. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. what would you think if this came back as your result from a personality test?

6 The Case For Situationism
Davies (1997): gave all participants this paragraph after a personality test results: students typically rated personality summary as good or excellent certain traits experienced at certain times, in certain situations role of dual presentation This is why horoscopes “work”...

7 The Case Against Astrology...
Leo: creative, generous, fun-loving, dramatic, passionate, ambitious, independent, noble, powerful bossy, patronizing, boastful, self-conscious Capricorn: prudent, responsible, patient, hard-working, self-reliant, ambitious, conscientious rigid, demanding, insensitive, inhibited Pisces: compassionate, imaginative, spiritual, easy-going, accepting, visionary, artistic distracted, detached, impractical, neglectful, lazy couldn’t any of these apply to any of us? in certain situations...

8 The Case Against Astrology...
1. universality of traits 2. desire to see self positively Glick et al. (1989): skeptics of astrology given flattering description “maybe there’s something to this astrology stuff after all” couldn’t any of these apply to any of us? in certain situations...

9 The Case For Situationism
Hartshorne & May (1928): gave grade-school kids the opportunity for undetected deceit e.g. lie about how many push-ups they can do, lie to parents about time spent on homework, cheat on a test, keep money given to them for other purposes dishonesty in one domain did not predict dishonesty in another less than 10% of variance explained by single underlying trait of honesty

10 Interactionism: The Compromise
power of the situation... ...but we do carry something around with us individual differences interactionism: view of personality as product of both traits and situations We will start by talking about historical personality perspectives, then move to more modern interactionist approaches... interactionism: most social psych acknowledge role of personality, and vice versa

11 Sigmund Freud ( ) Austrian neurologist; medical degree from University of Vienna (psychiatry/neurology) early interest in cocaine as analgesic, relief from mental disorders (On Coca, 1884) reports of addiction, overdoses developed interest in nervous disorders (neurosis, hysteria) defined by anxieties

12 Anna O. (1859-1936) aka. Bertha Pappenheim
treated for hysteria by Josef Breuer & Freud limb paralysis on right side of body disruptions to vision, hearing, & speech hallucinations loss of consciousness faking symptoms? sympathy from Breuer & Freud used hypnosis, discussion & clarification of memories “talking cure” Are we anxious about things that we are unaware of? right arm was arm she held dying father with... repression?

13 The Unconscious more to the psyche than just consciously accessible portion (iceberg analogy) unconscious: collection of unacceptable thoughts, wishes, desires, feelings, & memories (Freudian definition) modern definition: information processing of which we are unaware psychoanalysis: hydraulic theory of personality that attributes thoughts & actions to unconscious motives & conflicts free association: like continuous writing exercise

14 The Unconscious Revealed
unconscious wields powerful influence (often in disguise) Freud found deeper meaning in almost everything e.g. dreams: “the royal road to the unconscious” manifest vs. latent content safe haven for expressing unacceptable urges; consequence-free e.g. Freudian slips slips of the tongue through which strange or unacceptable thoughts are expressed “A Freudian slip is like saying one thing, but meaning your mother.”

15 Freudian Slips Condoleezza Rice (2004): called Pres. Bush “my husband”

16 Freudian Slips Pres. George W. Bush (2000):
“I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”

17 Freudian Slips Pres. George W. Bush at an address to teachers of America (2001): “First I’d like to spank all the teachers...”

18 Freudian Slips George H.W. Bush (1988):
“For seven and a half years I’ve worked alongside President Reagan. We’ve had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We’ve had some sex ... uh ... setbacks.”

19 The Unconscious Revealed
e.g. free association not all patients could be hypnotized free association: relax, respond to stimulus with first thing that comes to mind reverse flow of unconscious thoughts; backtracking Bottom line: Freud believed neuroses expressed themselves in slips of the tongue, passing comments, etc. free association writing exercise

20 Uncovering the Unconscious Today?
limited information from objective tests (conscious only) need a pipeline to the unconscious... projective tests: personality test using ambiguous stimuli to elicit projection of inner conflicts e.g. Rorschach inkblot test (1921)

21 set of 10 cards: this is #1

22 Uncovering the Unconscious Today?
82% of clinicians report administering Rorschach at least occasionally (Watkins et al., 1995; Lilienfeld et al., 2000) “If a professional psychologist is ‘evaluating’ you in a situation in which you are at risk and asks you for responses to ink blots ... walk out of that psychologist’s office.” (Dawes, 1994)

23 Uncovering the Unconscious Today?
problems with Rorschach: extracting objective meaning from allegedly ambiguous stimuli? Are the inkblots truly ambiguous? requires subjective, projective perspective of clinician no universal system for scoring & interpretation low inter-rater reliability yet inkblots are still used... “The Rorschach Inkblot Test has been resoundingly discredited ... I call it the Dracula of psychological tests, because no one has been able to drive a stake through the cursed thing’s heart.” (Tavris, 2003)

24 Uncovering the Unconscious Today?
another projective test: Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) 30 provocative but ambiguous pictures create a dramatic story, including: what led up the event shown what is happening now what the characters are thinking, feeling outcome of the story

25 Uncovering the Unconscious Today?
interpretations, themes = window to the unconscious? criticisms: validity? (measuring what it actually claims to measure) reliability? (consistent results over time) reliability: how do we standardize interpretations of imagined stories?

26 Psychoanalytic Theory: 3 Components of Personality
personality = behavior resulting from conflict between aggressive, pleasure-seeking desires and social restraints

27 Psychoanalytic Theory: 3 Components of Personality
id: unconscious psychic energy driven by sexual & aggressive urges pleasure principle: demands immediate gratification; mindless of societal norms & restraints young children largely id-driven

28 Psychoanalytic Theory: 3 Components of Personality
superego: part of personality that represents internalized ideals and standards for judgment the “conscience” develops around age 4-5 (according to Freud) focuses on how one ought to behave

29 Psychoanalytic Theory: 3 Components of Personality
ego: mostly conscious, “executive” part of personality that mediates id vs. superego struggle reality principle: seeks to gratify id in ways acceptable to the superego

30 Psychoanalytic Theory: Stages of Psychosexual Development
patients’ symptoms rooted in conflicts from childhood? id’s pleasure-seeking energies focused on different parts of the body (erogenous zones)

31 Don’t write this down... it’s on page 392
personality formed during first 3 stages primarily oral stage --> satisfaction of hunger, thirst drives fixation: overdependency, overattachment anal stage --> satisfaction of urge to go to bathroom toilet training = superego involvement development of ability to self-control, neatness, organization fixation: anal-retentiveness, passive-aggressive phallic stage --> Oedipus complex

32 The Story of Oedipus Oedipus: mythical Greek king of Thebes
son of Laius & Jocasta prophecy that he would murder Laius, marry Jocasta given to herdsman to be killed traveling to Thebes, met chariot with father in it dispute  killed Laius defeated Sphinx’ riddle appointed king of Thebes, married widow Jocasta met herdsman: Jocasta killed self, Oedipus blinded self

33 The Oedipus Complex during phallic stage (3-6 years old), boys develop unconscious sexual desires for mother, jealousy & hatred of father (rival) feelings of guilt, fear of punishment (anxiety) castration anxiety = fear of becoming like a female (fear of powerful people overcoming them) What about girls? Electra complex: a girl’s feelings of inferiority and jealousy (anxiety) penis envy = anger, regret over being female

34 Remember, it’s all about anxiety...
hedonistic id vs. conscience/superego = personality ego fears losing control experience generalized anxiety, no clear explanation why defense mechanisms: methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality can be adaptive... only going to discuss a few, make sure to check text

35 Defense Mechanisms repression: forcibly blocking unacceptable thoughts from conscious mind thoughts, desires, emotions, memories, etc. e.g. why we don’t remember childhood sexual desire for parents underlies all the other defense mechanisms

36 Defense Mechanisms projection: disguise own threatening impulses by attributing them to others e.g. Newt Gingrich’s diatribe against Bill Clinton’s infidelity while having his own affair at the same time “a level of disrespect and decadence that should appall every American” ... White House as “rough equivalent of the Jerry Springer show” ( )

37 Defense Mechanisms reaction formation: unconsciously switching unacceptable impulses into their opposites e.g. Congressman Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned in 2006 exchanged sexually explicit s with a former congressional page had previously introduced legislation to protect children from Internet exploitation by adults

38 Defense Mechanisms sublimation: redirecting psychic energy away from negative outlets, toward positive outlets most productive defense mechanism; “socially useful” e.g. art, music, etc.

39 Neo-Freudians people who ran with Freud’s ideas, pioneered psychoanalysis maintained many of Freud’s original ideas e.g. personality structures, unconscious, personality development in childhood, anxiety & defense mechanisms 2 critical modifications: 1. more emphasis on conscious mind 2. sex & aggression as primary motives? motives: higher level social & moral goals

40 Carl Jung ( ) Swiss psychiatrist; developed close relationship with Freud intrigued by psychoanalysis + Freud needed people to spread and validate ideas shared belief in existence of unconscious, but differed on content Freud unconscious: store unacceptable thoughts, urges (Jung: “personal unconscious”) Jung unconscious: personal unconscious + collective unconscious first Freud-Jung conversation allegedly 13 hours

41 Collective Unconscious
“a reservoir of the experiences of our species” repository of all religious, spiritual, & mythological symbols and experiences evidence? theory of synchronicity 2 or more events seemingly co-occur meaningfully, but causally unrelated meaningful coincidences

42 Synchronicity e.g. costume designers buying a coat for Wizard of Oz
bought from second-hand store previously belonged to L. Frank Baum Jung: such synchronicities evidence of collective unconscious, underlying all human experience Professor Marvel Wizard of Oz Baum = author of Wizard of Oz

43 Evaluating Psychoanalysis: The Bad
many of Freud’s specific ideas refuted by modern research “Many aspects of Freudian theory are indeed out of date, and they should be: Freud died in 1939, and he has been slow to undertake further revisions.” (Westen, 1998) scientific shortcomings typically based on Freud’s own recollections & interpretations fails to predict behaviors, only explains them post hoc testable predictions? testable predictions: anger at parent’s death = unresolved childhood dependency issues, no anger = repression

44 Evaluating Psychoanalysis: The Bad
lifelong development, not just childhood neural networks incapable of sustaining traumas suggested by Freud? gender identity begins earlier, lasts longer than Oedipus complex other, modern explanations for dreams

45 Evaluating Psychoanalysis: The Bad
Freudian slips: confusion between verbal choices in memory network (simultaneous activation) e.g. “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.” little evidence for repression more often remember traumatic events (role of stress, emotion) trauma: kids remember parents being murdered, Nazi prisoners remember concentration camps

46 Evaluating Psychoanalysis: The Good
introduction of the unconscious modern conception: processing of which we are not aware e.g. implicit learning Lewicki et al. (1997): number 6 jumped around screen according to complex pattern tracked movement; got faster with repeated exposure offered $100 for finding pattern, but no one could different than Freud’s concept, but rooted in that idea defense against anxiety, often unconsciously (e.g. Terror Management Theory)

47 Evaluating Psychoanalysis: The Good
not necessarily intended to be a predictive scientific theory? merely possible to find meaning in our states of mind first personality & psychotherapy theories roots of modern study of: unconscious/implicit processes self-protective defenses sexuality as human motivation social well-being

48 Nicolaus Copernicus 1473-1543 Charles Darwin 1809-1882 Sigmund Freud
reminder to read about humanistic psychology Nicolaus Copernicus Charles Darwin Sigmund Freud

49 The Trait Perspective early-mid 20th century: 2 primary options for budding psychologists 1. Freudian psychoanalysis (and its accompanying negativity) 2. Skinnerian behaviorism (and its mechanistic way of thinking) Gordon Allport ( ) generally considered founder of modern personality psychology thought psychoanalysis = too deep, behaviorism = not deep enough

50 Allport’s Famous Visit with Sigmund Freud (1919)
Soon after I had entered the famous red burlap room with pictures of dreams on the wall, he summoned me to his inner office. He did not speak to me but sat in expectant silence, for me to state my mission. I was not prepared for silence and had to think fast to find a suitable conversational gambit. I told him of an episode on the tram car on my way to his office. A small boy about 4 years of age had displayed a conspicuous dirt phobia. He kept saying to his mother, “I don’t want to sit there ... don’t let that dirty man sit beside me.” To him everything was schmutzig (dirty). His mother was a well-starched Hausfrau, so dominant and purposive looking that I thought the cause and effect apparent.”

51 Allport’s Famous Visit with Sigmund Freud (1919)
When I finished my story Freud fixed his kindly therapeutic eyes upon me and said, “And was that little boy you?” Flabbergasted and feeling a bit guilty, I contrived to change the subject. While Freud’s misunderstanding of my motivation was amusing, it also started a deep train of thought. ...taught me that [psychoanalysis], for all its merits, may plunge too deep, and that psychologists would do well to give full recognition to manifest motives before probing the unconscious. i.e. describe personality in terms of traits trait: characteristic pattern of behavior or a disposition to feel and act a certain way describing, rather than explaining, behavior

52 The Trait Approach: Class Project
Groups of no more than 5 at stake: 1 homework voucher per person for winning team 1. Are some traits more ‘important’ than others? In other words, which are most centrally defining of someone’s personality? Which traits are most important? (roommate example) 2. Would most people agree with you? How would you know if those traits are the most important to other people? 3. How would you assess these traits in someone? Be specific: If questionnaire, what would you ask? Who would you ask? If observation, what would you look for? etc.

53 The Trait Approach How do we decide which traits are most important?
3 main approaches: 1. lexical approach 2. statistical approach 3. theoretical approach

54 1. The Lexical Approach lexical hypothesis: all important individual differences have been encoded within language over time meaningful differences noticed  words invented to discuss differences e.g. dominant, creative, reliable, cooperative, hot-tempered, self-centered, etc. etc. etc... a ‘natural selection’ amongst words

55 1. The Lexical Approach ≈ 2,800 trait-descriptive adjectives in English language (Norman, 1967) 2 criteria for identifying important traits: 1. synonym frequency 2. cross-cultural universality syn freq: e,g, dominance

56 1. The Lexical Approach problems & limitations
many traits ambiguous, metaphorical, obscure, or difficult to interpret personality conveyed through different parts of speech (not just adjectives) Bottom line: good starting point for identifying traits, but should not be exclusive method ambiguous: snaky = like a snake in appearance, long and sinuous (whip?), cold & cunning (personality) obscure: clavering (inclined to gossip or idle talk): should it count since most people don’t know it?

57 2. The Statistical Approach
start with pool of personality items (e.g. lexical approach) have large number of people rate selves on traits factor analysis: statistical procedure that identifies groups of items that covary, but do not covary with other groups

58 Factor Analysis Example (Matthews & Oddy, 1993)
Extraversion Factor 2: Ambition Factor 3: Creativity Adjective Rating Humorous .66 .06 .19 Amusing .65 .23 .02 Popular .57 .13 .22 Hard-working .05 .63 .01 Productive .04 .52 Determined .08 Imaginative .09 .62 Original .53 Inventive .26 .47 factor loadings: degree to which item correlates (“loads on”) the underlying factor

59 2. The Statistical Approach
advantages: identifying personality variables that have common property, “hang together” reducing huge number of traits into more manageable set of factors caveat: You only get out of it what you put into it. critical dependence on input selection

60 3. The Theoretical Approach
theory dictates which traits are important to measure e.g. Maslow’s self-actualization theory predicts differences in motivation to self-actualize

61 Taxonomies of Personality
many attempts at creating a list of the most ‘important’ traits some theoretical, some atheoretical... taxonomy with most support: five-factor model (Big Five) began with combination of lexical & statistical approaches trait dimensions

62 The Big Five Openness Conscientiousness Extraversion Agreeableness
Neuroticism

63 The Big Five Conscientiousness Agreeableness Neuroticism Openness
Extraversion

64 The Big Five: Conscientiousness
how we control, direct, and regulate our lives high conscientiousness: organized, neat, orderly, practical, prompt, meticulous low conscientiousness: disorganized, disorderly, careless, sloppy, impractical sample questions: “I am always prepared.” “I am exacting in my work.”

65 The Big Five: Agreeableness
concern with cooperation and social harmony high agreeableness: sympathetic, kind, warm, understanding, sincere low agreeableness: unsympathetic, unkind, harsh, cruel sample questions: “I am interested in people.” “I make people feel at ease.” “I sympathize with others’ feelings.”

66 The Big Five: Neuroticism
tendency to experience strong negative emotions intense emotional reactions, long-lasting high neuroticism: moody, anxious, insecure low neuroticism (aka. emotional stability): calm, relaxed, stable sample questions: “I get irritated easily.” “I get stressed out easily.” “I have frequent mood swings.”

67 The Big Five: Openness somewhat vague trait: distinguishes imaginative, creative people high openness: creative, imaginative, intellectual, preference for new & exciting low openness: uncreative, unimaginative, unintellectual, preference for routine & habit sample questions: “I am full of ideas.” “I am quick to understand things.” “I spend time reflecting on things.”

68 The Big Five: Extraversion
engagement with the outside (social) world high extraversion: talkative, assertive, forward, outspoken low extraversion: shy, quiet, bashful, inhibited sample questions: “I am the life of the party.” “I don’t mind being the center of attention.” “I start conversations.” “I talk to a lot of different people at parties.”

69 Research on the Big Five
generally very stable through adult life neuroticism, extraversion, openness drop slightly after college agreeableness (30s-60s), conscientiousness (20s) rise slightly after college (McCrae et al., 1999; Vaidya et al., 2002) heritability: (Bouchard & McGue, 2003) openness: 57% extraversion: 54% conscientiousness: 49% neuroticism: 48% agreeableness: 42%

70 Research on the Big Five
cultural universality? e.g. McCrae et al. (2005): 50 culture study, 80 collaborators “Features of personality traits are common to all human groups.” some variability... e.g. individualistic cultures score higher (on average) on extraversion Big 5 predicting other attributes morning people = more conscientious; evening people = more extraverted (Jackson & Gerard, 1996) one partner lower than other in agreeableness, stability, & openness = marital & sexual dissatisfaction (Donnellan et al., 2004) birth order?

71 Birth Order & Personality
only child = spoiled, self-centered, pampered? middle child = left out, out of place in family, “problem child”? Sulloway (1997): firstborns = more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, less open to new ideas intelligence differences?

72 Birth Order & Intelligence
firstborns typically score higher on intelligence, reasoning, & achievement tests Zajonc: firstborns surrounded by adults, adult influences (highly intellectual?)

73 Birth Order & Personality
little definitive research to support birth order claims often contradictory: only children = introverted (used to being alone) AND extraverted (go outside family to meet other children)? studies often confounded e.g. large families typically lower SES than smaller families 3rd, 4th, 5th kids: low in birth order but also larger family, often lower SES, etc. Ernst & Angst (1983): study on 6,315 Swiss males birth order research a “waste of time” Jefferson, Herbst, & McCrae (1998): study on 9,664 Americans no significant correlations between birth order and Big 5 tendency to perceive birth order effects when aware of individual’s birth order

74 Optimism belief that things are more likely to go well than to go badly strongly positively correlated with self-esteem causal direction?

75 “We just haven’t been flapping them hard enough.”
Optimism benefits of optimism: more likely to turn around low grades success at work associated with higher immune system functioning problems with optimism? work: measure optimism among new life insurance reps optimism = positive spin on setbacks (learning opp, fluke, etc.) --> sell more, less likely to quit “We just haven’t been flapping them hard enough.”

76 “We just haven’t been flapping them hard enough.”
Optimism one problem with optimism: optimistic bias tendency to be over-optimistic about future outcomes Most people see themselves as less likely than peers to: become alcoholic drop out of school have heart attack by 40 get divorced be fired from a job get struck by lightning get cancer from smoking cigarettes “We just haven’t been flapping them hard enough.”

77 Optimism vs. Realism a dose of realism can help
explaining past failure = depress ambition anxiety over potential future failure = increased ambition “Success requires enough optimism to provide hope and enough pessimism to prevent complacency.” A realist might say, “The glass is full: half full of water, half full of air.”


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