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An Introduction to Personality and Personal Growth

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1 An Introduction to Personality and Personal Growth
By Safdar Mehdi

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, mental processes and the factors that influence it. Psychologists use the term behavior very broadly to refer both to actions that we can directly observe and to inner processes such as thought, feelings, images, and psychological reactions. In their search for the causes of these diverse forms of behavior, psychologists take into account biological, psychological, and environmental factors. The science of psychology relates to virtually every aspect of our lives. It explores the nature and causes of our behavior and feelings, our motives and thoughts.

3 GOALS OF PSYCHOLOGY As scientists, psychologists have four basic goals: to describe how people and other animals behave to understand (explain) the causes of these behaviors to predict how people and animals will behave under certain conditions to control, or influence, behavior through knowledge and control of its causes

4 Personality For psychologists, personality is a set of relatively enduring behavioral characteristics and internal predispositions that describe how a personality reacts to the environment. Psychologists recognize that an individual’s behavior is not consistent all the time or in every situation.

5 Personality Theories Personality theories are a set of interrelated ideas and facts put forward to coherently explain and predict behavior and mental processes. Personality theories focus on a few key questions: Does nature or nurture play a greater role in day to day behavior? Do unconscious processes direct behavior? Are human behavior patterns fixed? Does a person’s behavior depend on the situation? What makes people consistent in their behavior?

6 Psychoanalytic Approach
This perspective emphasizes unconscious thoughts, conflict between biological instincts and society’s demands, and early family experiences. Key features of this approach are: Our behaviour and feelings as adults are rooted in our childhood experiences. Relationships (particularly parenting) are of primary importance in determining how we feel and behave. Our behaviour and feelings are powerfully affected by the meaning of events to the unconscious mind. Information can be obtained from dreams, irrational behaviour and what patients say in therapy. The personality is made up of three distinct structures: id, ego and super ego.

7 The Psyche (Personality)
Id: Instincts Ego: Reality Superego: Morality

8 OK Guys – I’m in charge. Anything you want has to go through me.
Healthy Psyche OK Guys – I’m in charge. Anything you want has to go through me. OK. OK. Ego Id Superego

9 Neurotic Superego Id Ego
Listen up! I’m in charge, and you are not here to enjoy yourselves. Get ready for a double-size portion of anxiety with a side order of guilt! No fun. >whimper< Superego Id Ego

10 The Unconscious Thoughts Perceptions Memories
The conscious. The small amount of mental activity we know about. Thoughts Perceptions Memories Stored knowledge Fears Unacceptable sexual desires Violent motives Irrational wishes Immoral urges Selfish needs Shameful experiences Traumatic experiences The preconscious. Things we could be aware of if we wanted or tried. The unconscious. Things we are unaware of and can not become aware of. Bad Worse Really Bad

11 Humanistic Approaches
More interested in people’s concept of themselves and what they would like to become. Assume that people are motivated by internal forces to achieve personal goals. Focuses not on disturbed individuals but on healthy people.

12 Maslow’s Theory of Needs

13 Trait Approach Trait Theorists study specific traits. A trait is any readily identifiable stable quality or behavior that characterizes the way in which an individual differs from other individuals. If a person’s traits are known, it is possible to predict how the person will respond to various events in the environment.

14 Trait Approach Cardinal Traits: ideas and behaviors that determine the direction of a person’s life. A clergyman’s cardinal trait may be devotion to God. Central Traits: Behaviors related to person’s daily life, e.g. self control, tension, forthrightness etc. Secondary Trait: Specific behaviors that occur in response to specific situations, e.g. prejudice against minorities, love of spectator sports,etc.

15 Behavioral Approach People LEARN from their environments.
Personality characteristics are not long lasting and fixed, instead they are subject to change. Stimuli and Response Observational Learning, e.g. parents, TV

16 Cognitive Approaches Influenced by humanistic idea that people are essentially good and strive to be better. People can change their behavior, their conceptions of themselves and their personalities in a short time if they are willing to change their thoughts.


18 Personality Assessment
Objective Personality Tests. Projective Tests. Behavioral Assessment Behavioral Assessment Interviews Naturalistic Observation Self Monitoring

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