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Modules 19 & 20: Theories of Personality

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1 Modules 19 & 20: Theories of Personality

2 Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory
Developed in 1800s emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences, unconscious or repressed thoughts that we cannot voluntarily access, and the conflicts between conscious and unconscious forces that influence our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors

3 Conscious vs. Unconscious Forces
Conscious thought: wishes, desires, or thoughts that we are aware of, or can recall, at any given moment Unconscious forces: wishes, desires, or thoughts that, because of their disturbing or threatening content, we automatically repress and cannot voluntarily access Unconscious motivation: the influence of repressed thoughts, desires, or impulses on our conscious thoughts and behaviors


5 Techniques to Discover the Unconscious
Free association: technique in which clients are encouraged to talk about any thoughts or images that enter their head; assumption: free-flowing, uncensored talking will provide clues to unconscious material Dream interpretation: technique of analyzing dreams; Assumption: dreams contain underlying, hidden meanings and symbols that provide clues to unconscious thoughts and desires (latent content)

6 Techniques to Discover the Unconscious cont.
Freudian slip: mistakes or slips of the tongue that we make in everyday speech; such mistakes, which are often embarrassing, are thought to reflect unconscious thoughts or wishes


8 Divisions of the Mind Freud divided the mind into three separate processes; each has a different function interactions among the id, ego, and superego result in conflicts Id: first division of the mind to develop (aka pleasure seeker) contains two biological drives: sex and aggression Id operates according to the pleasure principle: satisfy drives and avoid pain, without concern for moral restrictions or society’s regulations

9 Divisions of the Mind- Ego
Ego: second division of the mind, develops from the id during infancy (Negotiator) goal is to find safe and socially acceptable ways of satisfying the id’s desires and to negotiate between the id’s wants and the superego’s prohibitions large part of ego is conscious; smaller part is unconscious follows reality principle: policy of satisfying a wish or desire only if there is a socially acceptable outlet available.

10 Divisions of the Mind-Superego
Superego: third division of the mind (aka regulator) develops from the ego during early childhood goal: apply the moral values and standards of one’s parents or caregivers and society in satisfying one’s wishes moral standards of which we are conscious or aware and moral standards that are unconscious or outside our awareness

11 Anxiety in Freudian Theory
Anxiety: uncomfortable feeling that results from inner conflicts between the primitive desires of the id and the moral goals of the superego ego’s continuous negotiations to resolve conflict causes anxious feelings ego uses defense mechanisms to reduce the anxious feelings

12 Defense Mechanisms Defense mechanisms: Freudian processes that operate at unconscious levels and that use self-deception or untrue explanations to protect the ego from being overwhelmed by anxiety Two ways to reduce anxiety: can take realistic steps for reducing anxiety use defense mechanisms to reduce anxiety

13 Defense Mechanisms cont.
Rationalization: covering up the true reasons for actions, thoughts, or feelings by making up excuses and incorrect explanations Denial: refusing to recognize some anxiety-provoking event or piece of information that is clear to others Repression: involves blocking and pushing unacceptable or threatening feelings, wishes, or experiences into the unconscious

14 Defense Mechanisms cont.
Projection: falsely and unconsciously attributes your own unacceptable feelings, traits, or thoughts to individuals or objects Reaction formation: involves substituting behaviors, thoughts, or feelings that are the direct opposite of unacceptable ones Displacement: involves transferring feelings about, or response to, an object that causes anxiety to another person or object that is less threatening

15 Defense Mechanisms cont.
Sublimation: involves redirecting a threatening or forbidden desire, usually sexual, into a socially acceptable one Overuse of defense mechanisms may prevent us from recognizing or working on the real causes of our anxiety. Growing scientific evidence that we use defense mechanisms Many of us have a dominant or most-often-used one, but only effective in reducing short-term anxiety

16 Freud’s Developmental Stages
Psychosexual stages five developmental periods, each marked by a potential conflict between parent and child conflicts arise as a child seeks pleasure from different body areas that are associated with sexual feelings (erogenous zones)

17 Developmental Stages Fixation: potential personality problems
occur during any the oral, anal, or phallic stages process through which an individual may be locked into a particular psychosexual stage because his or her wishes were either overgratified or undergratified

18 Developmental Stages cont.
Oral stage; early infancy-first 18 months -Potential conflict: infant’s pleasure is centered around the mouth; pleasure-seeking activities: sucking, chewing, biting -Fixation at this stage: oral wishes gratified too much or little, continue to seek oral gratification as an adult

19 Developmental Stages cont.
Anal stage; late infancy-1 ½-3 years Potential conflict: infant’s pleasure seeking is centered on the anus & its functions of elimination Fixation at this stage: continue to engage in activities related to retention or elimination, such as being stingy or being rigid; for elimination, being generous or messy

20 Developmental Stages cont.
Phallic stage; early childhood-3-6 years Potential conflict: when the infant’s pleasure seeking is centered on the genitals. Oedipus Complex: Competes with parent of the same sex for the affections & pleasure of the parent of the opposite sex; girls have penis envy Problems in resolving: Electra complex-feelings of inferiority for women & something to prove for men

21 Developmental Stages cont
Latency stage; 6 years-puberty Potential conflict: child represses sexual thoughts & engages in nonsexual activities, developing social & intellectual skills Genital stage; puberty through adulthood Potential conflict: individual has renewed sexual desires he/she seeks to fulfill through relationships with members of the opposite sex If conflicts resolved in first 3 stages, develops loving relationships & healthy & mature personality

22 Freud’s Followers & Critics
Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: followers of Freud Carl Jung Believed collective unconscious, not sex is the basic force in the development of personality Collective unconscious: ancient memory traces & symbols passed on my birth & shared by all people in all cultures his theory-analytical psychology

23 Freud’s Followers & Critics cont.
Alfred Adler Adler disagreed with Freud’s theory that humans are governed by biological and sexual urges Adler proposed that humans are motivated by social urges each person is a social being with a unique personality Philosophy: “individual psychology” we are aware of our motives and goals & have the capacity to guide and plan our futures

24 Freud’s Followers & Critics cont.
Karen Horney trained as a psychoanalyst objected to Freud’s view of women being dependent, vain, and submissive because of biological forces and childhood sexual experiences took Issue with Freud’s idea of penis envy personality development, (women or men) can be found in child-parent social “interactions”

25 Freud’s Followers & Critics cont.
Karen Horney cont. theorized that: major influence on personality development: child-parent interaction; conflicts are avoidable if the child is raised in a loving, trusting, and secure environment founded the psychology of women, considered feminist Was a Neo-Freudian Neo-Freudians turned the emphasis of the Freud’s psychodynamic theory away from biological drives toward psychosocial & cultural influences

26 Neo-Freudian Theory Today
Issue 1: How valid is Freud’s theory? Too comprehensive; can explain almost any behavior Difficult to test; some components have been experimentally tested & supported Must be updated; needs to include genetic factors Issue 2: How important are the first five years? Research has shown that the first five years are not as significant as he proposed

27 Neo-Freudian Theory Today
Issue 3: Are there unconscious forces? Neuroscientists have developed a different concept: implicit or nondeclarative memory: learning without awareness, such as occurs in experiencing emotional situations or acquiring motor habits. We are unaware of such learning, but it can influence our conscious thoughts, feelings & behavior; part of cognitive-emotional system

28 Neo-Freudian Theory Today
Issue 4: What was Freud’s impact? Widespread use of Freudian terms His concepts have been incorporated into many fields of psychology

29 Humanistic Theories Official beginning: Early 1960s
Major figure: Abraham Maslow Emphasize our capacity for personal growth, development of our potential, and freedom to choose our destiny. Humanistic theories emphasize our capacity for personal growth, development of our potential & freedom to choose our destiny

30 Humanistic Theories cont.
Three characteristics: Phenomenological perspective: your perception of the world, whether or not it is accurate, becomes your reality Holistic view: individual parts of personality form a unique and total entity that functions as a unit Self-actualization: our inherent tendency to develop and reach our true potentials

31 Maslow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Divides needs into two categories:
deficiency needs: growth needs: Physiological & needs at higher psychological needs levels, such as That we try to fulfill if beauty & justice They are not met


33 Maslow cont. Goal: work toward self-actualization
Based on characteristics of self-actualized individuals Albert Einstein Abraham Lincoln

34 Rogers: Self Theory also called self-actualization theory
based on two major assumptions: personality development is guided by each person’s unique self-actualization tendency each of us has a personal need for positive regard

35 Rogers: Self Theory Roger’s self-actualization tendency:
refers to an inborn tendency for us to develop all of our capacities in ways that best maintain and benefit our lives relates to biological functions & psychological functions guides us toward positive or healthful behaviors rather than negative or harmful ones

36 Rogers: Self Theory cont.
Self or self-concept refers to how we see our describe ourselves positive negative tend to act, feel, tend to act, feel & think optimistically & think pessimistically Constructively & destructively

37 Rogers: Self Theory cont.
Two kinds of selves: ideal self real self based in our hopes & based on actual wishes; how we would like experiences; to see ourselves how we really see ourselves Positive regard: love, sympathy, warmth, acceptance, and respect, which we crave from family, friends, and people important to us

38 Rogers: Self Theory cont.:
Conditional positive regard: positive regard we receive if we behave in certain acceptable ways Unconditional positive regard: warmth, acceptance & love that others show you regardless of your behavior

39 Application: Shyness Psychodynamic approach:
Shyness: feeling of distress that comes from being tense, stressed, or awkward in social situations & worrying about fear & rejection. Psychodynamic approach: -unresolved conflict at one or more of Freud’s psychosexual stages -conscious & unconscious fears & use of defense mechanisms Social Cognitive Theory: -breaks shyness down into 3 observable components- cognitive, behavioral & environmental -therapies based on this theory have helped shy people reduce shy behavior

40 Assessment: Tests Psychological assessment: use of various tools to measure various characteristics, traits, or abilities in order to understand & predict behaviors

41 Assessment: Tests Personality tests: measure observable & unobservable behaviors or characteristics; Used to identify personality problems & psychological disorders & to predict behavior. Ability tests: measure what we have learned (achievement), our potential for learning or a specific skill (aptitude), potential to solve problems (intelligence)

42 Assessment: Tests Projective tests: require individuals to look at some meaningless object/ambiguous photo & describe what they see; through interpretation, they project their conscious & unconscious feelings, needs & motives Examples: Rorshach inkblot test showing an inkblot & asking what the image is Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): showing 20 pictures & asking what people are doing or thinking Handwriting analysis

43 Assessment: Tests validity: the test measures what it is supposed to measure reliability: having a consistent score at different times Barnum principle: method of listing many general traits so that almost everyone who reads the horoscope thinks that these traits apply specifically to him & her; these traits are so general they apply to almost everyone

44 Assessment: Tests Objective personality tests, or self-report questionnaires: consist of specific, written statements that require individuals to indicate whether the statements do or do not apply to them.

45 Assessment: Tests Examples of objective test: Integrity tests
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2: a true-false self-report questionnaire that consists of 567 statements describing a wide range of normal & abnormal behaviors; intended to measure personality style & emotional adjustment in individuals with mental illness

46 Self-Esteem How much an individual likes him/herself; includes feelings of self-worth, attractiveness & social competence-

47 Optimism vs. Pessimism Optimism: relatively stable personality traits that lead to believing & expecting that good things will happen. Pessimism: relatively stable personality trait that leads to believing & expecting bad things will happen.

48 Social Cognitive & Trait Theories
Module 20 Social Cognitive & Trait Theories

49 Social Cognitive Theory
Says personality development shaped by 3 forces: Environmental conditions: social, political & cultural influences & learning experiences Cognitive-personal factors Cognitive: includes beliefs, expectations, values, intentions & social roles Personal: emotional makeup & biological/genetic influences Behavior

50 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
Created by Albert Bandura Personality development, growth & change are influenced by 4 human cognitive processes: 1. language ability 2. observational learning 3. purposeful behavior 4. self-analysis

51 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory cont.
Locus of control: our beliefs about how much control we have over situations of rewards. Internal locus of control: we believe that we have control (over situations & rewards) External locus of control: we don’t have control; events outside ourselves determine what happens *People with internal l.o.c –high achievers, take preventive health measures, report less stress than those with external l.o.c

52 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory cont.
Delay of gratification: not taking an immediate but desirable reward & waiting & pursuing an object or completing a task that promises a better reward in the future.

53 Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory cont.
Self-efficacy: confidence in your ability to organize & execute a given course of action to solve a problem or accomplish a task

54 Trait Theory An approach to analyzing the structure of personality by measuring, identifying & classifying similarities & differences in personality characteristics or traits. Trait: relatively stable & enduring tendency to behave in a particular way

55 Trait Theory cont. Factor analysis: statistical method that finds relationships among many different or diverse items & allows them to be grouped together

56 Trait Theory cont.

57 Trait Theory cont. Openness Conscientiousness Extraversion
Agreeableness Neuroticism

58 Trait Theory cont. Big 5 Where do you fit on the scale for each trait?

59 Trait Theory cont. Person-situation interaction: person’s behavior results from interaction between his/her traits & situations

60 Genetic Influences on Traits
Behavioral genetics: study of how genetic factors influence & interact with psychological factors to shape our personality, intelligence, emotions & motivation & how we behave, adapt & adjust to our environments

61 Genetic Influences on Traits cont.
Heritability: statistical measure that estimates how much of cognitive, personality, or behavioral trait is influenced by genetic factors. What shapes personality? 40% genetic factors 27% nonshared environmental factors 26% error 7% shared environmental factors

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