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Personality Theories and Assessment

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1 Personality Theories and Assessment
Psychology: A Concise Introduction 2nd Edition Richard Griggs Chapter 8 Prepared by J. W. Taylor V

2 Personality A person’s internally based characteristic ways of acting and thinking

3 The Journey… The Psychoanalytic Approach to Personality
The Humanistic Approach and the Social-Cognitive Approach to Personality Trait Theories of Personality and Personality Assessment

4 The Psychoanalytic Approach to Personality
Freudian Classical Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality Neo-Freudian Theories of Personality

5 Freudian Classical Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality
Developed by Sigmund Freud in the late nineteenth century and continued until his death in 1939 Freud received a medical degree and established a practice as a clinical neurologist treating patients with emotional disorders Believed sex was a primary cause of emotional problems and was a critical component of his personality theory Remains an important influence in Western culture

6 Freud’s Three Levels of Awareness
1. The conscious mind is what you are presently aware of, what you are thinking about right now 2. The preconscious mind is stored in your memory that you are not presently aware of but can gain access to 3. The unconscious mind is the part of our mind of which we cannot become aware It contains, however, the primary motivations for all of our actions and feelings – our biological instinctual drives (such as for food and sex) and repressed unacceptable thoughts, memories, and feelings, especially unresolved conflicts from our early childhood experiences

7 Freud’s Three-Part Personality Structure
Id Ego Superego


9 The Id Is the original personality, the only part present at birth and the part out of which the other two parts of our personality emerge Resides in the unconscious mind Includes our biological instinctual drives, the primitive parts of our personality located in our unconscious Life instincts for survival, reproduction, and pleasure Death instincts, destructive and aggressive drives detrimental to survival Operates on a pleasure principle; that is, it demands immediate gratification for these drives without the concern for the consequences of this gratification

10 The Ego Starts developing during the first year or so of life to find realistic and socially-acceptable outlets for the id’s needs Operates on the reality principle, finding gratification for instinctual drives within the constraints of reality (the norms and laws of society) Part of the ego is unconscious (tied to the id) and part of the ego is conscious and preconscious (tied to the external world) Serves as the executive manager of the personality

11 The Superego Represents one’s conscience and idealized standards of behavior in their culture Operates on a morality principle, threatening to overwhelm us with guilt and shame The demands of the superego and the id will come into conflict and the ego will have to resolve this turmoil within the constraints of reality To prevent being overcome with anxiety because of trying to satisfy the id and superego demands, the ego uses what Freud called defense mechanisms, processes that distort reality and protect us from anxiety

12 Freud’s Defense Mechanisms
Repression Unknowingly placing an unpleasant memory or thought in the unconscious Not remembering a traumatic incident in which you witnessed a crime Regression Reverting back to immature behavior from an earlier stage of development Throwing temper tantrums as an adult when you don’t get your way Displacement Redirecting unacceptable feelings from the original source to a safer substitute target Taking your anger toward your boss out on your spouse or children by yelling at them and not your boss

13 Freud’s Defense Mechanisms
Sublimation Replacing socially unacceptable impulses with socially acceptable behavior Channeling aggressive drives into playing football or inappropriate sexual desires into art Reaction Formation Acting in exactly the opposite way to one’s unacceptable impulses Being overprotective of and lavishing attention on an unwanted child Projection Attributing one’s own unacceptable feelings and thoughts to others and not yourself Accusing your boyfriend of cheating on you because you have felt like cheating on him Rationalization Creating false excuses for one’s unacceptable feelings, thoughts, or behavior Justifying cheating on an exam by saying that everyone else cheats

14 Unhealthy Personalities
Develop not only when we become too dependent upon defense mechanisms, but also when the id or superego is unusually strong or the ego unusually weak

15 Freud’s Psychosexual Stage Theory
Was developed chiefly from his own childhood memories and from his years of interactions with his patients and their case studies that included their childhood memories An erogenous zone is the area of the body where the id’s pleasure-seeking psychic energy is focused during a particular stage of psychosexual development A change in erogenous zones designates the beginning of a new stage Fixation occurs when a portion of the id’s pleasure-seeking energy remains in a stage because of excessive gratification or frustration of our instinctual needs and continue throughout the person’s life and impact their behavior and personality traits

16 Five Psychosexual Stages
Oral Stage (birth to 18 months) Anal Stage (18 months to 3 years) Phallic Stage (3 to 6 years) Latency Stage (6 years to puberty) Genital Stage (puberty to adulthood)

17 Freud’s Psychosocial States of Personality Development
Stage (age range) Erogenous Zone Activity Focus Oral (birth to 1½ years) Mouth, lips, and tongue Sucking, biting, and chewing Anal (1½ to 3 years) Anus Bowel retention and elimination Phallic (3 to 6 years) Genitals Identifying with same-sex parent to learn gender role and sense of morality Latency (6 years to puberty) No erogenous zone Cognitive and social development Genital (puberty to adulthood) Development of sexual relationships, moving toward intimate adult relationships

18 Potty Training Parents try to get the child to have self-control during toilet training If the child reacts to harsh toilet training by trying to get even with the parents by withholding bowel movements, an anal-retentive personality with the traits of orderliness, neatness, stinginess, and obstinacy develops The anal-expulsive personality develops when the child rebels against the harsh training and has bowel movements whenever and wherever he desires

19 Phallic Stage Conflicts
In the Oedipus conflict, the little boy becomes sexually attracted to his mother and fears the father (his rival) will find out and castrate him In the Electra conflict, the little girl is attracted to her father because he has a penis; she wants one and feels inferior without one (penis envy)

20 Identification In the process of identification, the child adopts the characteristics of the same-sexed parents and learns their gender role (the set of behaviors expected of someone of a particular sex) It is during identification that the superego begins to develop

21 Evaluation of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality
Freud’s notion of an “unconscious” level of awareness is not accessible to anyone and is impossible to examine scientifically Indeed, unconscious information processing does impact our thinking and behavior However, the unconscious is not a storehouse of instinctual drives, conflicts, and repressed memories and desires Although early childhood experiences are indeed important, there is little evidence for his psychosexual stages impacting development

22 Evaluation of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality
Contemporary researchers think repression, seldom, if ever, really occurs We understand today how Freud’s questioning during therapy may have created such “repressed’ memories in his patients There is evidence we fight hard to maintain self-esteem, but not necessarily through defense mechanisms as Freud described them

23 Neo-Freudian Theories of Personality
Agree with many of Freud’s basic ideas, but differ in one or more important ways Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious Alfred Adler’s Striving for Superiority Karen Horney and the Need for Security

24 Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious
The collective unconscious is the accumulated universal experiences of humankind, with each of us inheriting the same cumulative storehouse of all human experiences These experiences are manifested in archetypes, which are images and symbols of all the important themes in the history of humankind (e.g., God, mother, hero) Notions of collective unconscious and archetypes are more mystical than scientific and cannot be empirically tested

25 Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious
Jung proposed two main personality attitudes, extraversion and introversion Jung also proposed four functions/styles of gathering information Sensing is the reality function in which the world is carefully perceived Intuiting is more subjective perception Thinking is logical deduction Feeling is the subjective emotional function The two personality attitudes and four functions are the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, still in wide use today

26 Alfred Adler’s Striving for Superiority
Adler thought the main motivation was what he termed “striving for superiority” – to overcome the sense of inferiority that we feel as infants given our totally helpless and dependent state A healthy person learns to cope with these feelings, becomes competent, and develops a sense of self-esteem Inferiority complex is the strong feeling of inferiority felt by those who never overcome this initial feeling of inferiority

27 Karen Horney and The Need for Security
Focused on dealing with our need for security, rather than a sense of inferiority A child’s caregivers must provide a sense of security for a healthy personality to develop or else basic anxiety, a feeling of helplessness and insecurity in a hostile world, will result Three neurotic personality patterns Moving toward people A compliant, submissive person Moving against people An aggressive, domineering person Moving away from people A detached, aloof person

28 The Humanistic Approach and the Social-Cognitive Approach to Personality
The Humanistic Approach to Personality The Social-Cognitive Approach to Personality

29 Alternative Approaches
Humanistic theories developed in the 1960s as a part of a response to the deterministic psychoanalytic and strict behavioral psychological approaches that then dominated psychology and the study of personality The humanistic approach emphasizes conscious free will in one’s actions, the uniqueness of the individual person, and personal growth During the 1960s, social-cognitive theorists rebelled against the narrowness of the strict behavioral approach to the development of personality, emphasizing both social and cognitive factors along with conditioning to explain personality development

30 The Humanistic Approach to Personality
Abraham Maslow is considered the father of the humanistic movement He studied the lives of very healthy and creative people to develop his theory of personality Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an arrangement of the innate needs that motivate our behavior, from the strongest needs at the bottom of the pyramid to the weakness needs at the top of the pyramid

31 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Self-Actualization Self- Esteem Social Safety Physiological

32 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

33 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Self- Actualization A growth-based need focused on the fullest realization of one’s potential, becoming all that one can be Self-Esteem Achievement mastery, gaining apprecia-tion from others for our achievements, and having a positive self-image Social Love, belongingness, affection, family relationships, and companionship Safety Being out of danger, feeling safe and secure Physiological Food, water, and air

34 Self-Actualization Characteristics of self-actualized people include
Accepting themselves, others, and the nature of world for what they are Having a need for privacy and only a few close, emotional relationships Being autonomous and independent, democratic, and very creative Having peak experiences, which are experiences of deep insight in which you experience whatever you are doing as fully as possible

35 Critique Maslow hierarchy of needs is criticized for being based on non-empirical vague studies of a small number of people that he subjectively selected as self-actualized

36 Roger’s Self Theory Carl Rogers was a client-centered therapist who dealt with young, bright college students with adjustment problems Emphasized self-actualization Believe that people have a strong need for positive regard – to be accepted by and have the affection of others, especially the significant others in our life

37 Roger’s Self Theory Our parents set up conditions of worth, the behaviors and attitudes for which they would give us positive regard Meeting conditions of worth continues throughout life, and a person develops a self-concept of what others think he should be Unconditional positive regard – acceptance and approval without conditions Empathy from others, and having others be genuine with respect to their own feelings is necessary if we are to self-actualized Note that neither Maslow nor Roger’s theories are research-based

38 The Social-Cognitive Approach to Personality
Is research-based by combining elements of three major research perspectives Cognitive Behavioral Sociocultural Maintains that learning through environmental conditioning contributes to personality development However, social learning/modeling and cognitive processes, such as perception and thinking, are also involved and are actually more important to the development of our personality

39 Bandura’s Self-System
The self-system is the set of cognitive processes by which a person observes, evaluates, and regulates his/her social behavior There is a conscious decision to choose what behavior to engage in, acting in accordance with the assessment of whether the behavior will be reinforced or not Self-efficacy is a judgment of one’s effectiveness in dealing with particular situations and plays a major role in determining our behavior Low self-efficacy is associated with depression, anxiety, and helplessness High self-efficacy is associated with self-confidence, positive outlook, and minimal self-doubt

40 Rotter’s Locus of Control
Locus of control is a person’s perception of the extent to which he/she controls what happens to him/her External locus of control refers to the perception that chance or external forces beyond your control determine your fate Internal locus of control refers to the perception that you control your own fate

41 Locus of Control People with an internal locus of control perceive their success as dependent upon their own needs, but they may or may not feel that they have the competence (efficacy) to bring about successful outcomes in various situations People with an internal locus of control are psychologically and physically better off External locus of control may contribute to learned helplessness, a sense of hopelessness in which one thinks that he/she is unable to prevent unpleasant events

42 Self-Perception Attribution is the process by which we explain our own behavior and that of others Internal attribution means that the outcome is attributed to the person External attribution means that the outcome is attributed to factors outside the person

43 Self-Perception Self-serving bias is the tendency to make attributions so that one can perceive oneself favorably If the outcome is positive, we make an internal attribution for it If the outcome is negative, we make an external attribution for it Self-serving bias is adaptive because it protects us from falling prey to learned helplessness and depression

44 Learned Helplessness and Depression
Can result from: Internal attributions for negative outcomes (“I failed the test because I am no good at math”) External attributions for positive outcomes (“I aced the test because it was so easy”) Pessimistic explanations are also stable (i.e., the causes are permanent, “I will always have no ability for math”) and global (“I have no ability for anything”)

45 Trait Theories of Personality and Personality Assessment

46 Trait Theories of Personality
Personality traits are internally based, relatively stable characteristics that define an individual’s personality Each trait is a dimension, a continuum ranging from one extreme of the dimension to the other Trait theorists use factor analysis and other statistical techniques to tell them how many basic personality factors (or traits) are needed to describe human personality, as well as what these factors are Factor analysis identifies clusters of test items (e.g., on a personality test) that measure the same factor/trait

47 The Number and Kind of Personality Traits
Raymond B. Cattell, using factor analysis, found that 16 traits were necessary to describe human personality Hans Eysenck, also using factor analysis, argued for three trait dimensions Cattell and Eysenck differed because the number of traits depends on the level of categorization in the factor analysis Eysenck’s theory is at a more general and inclusive level of abstraction than Cattell’s

48 Eysenck’s Three-Factor Theory
Extraversion- Introversion Neuroticism- Emotional stability Psychoticism- Impulse control Eysenck argued that these traits are determined by heredity

49 Eysenck’s Three-Factor Theory
The biological basis for the extraversion-introversion trait is level of cortical arousal (neuronal activity) Introverts have higher normal-levels of arousal than an extravert, so extraverts need to seek out external stimulation to raise the level of arousal in the brain to a more optimal level

50 Eysenck’s Three-Factor Theory
People who are high on the neuroticism-emotional stability dimension tend to be overly anxious, emotionally unstable, and easily upset because of a more reactive sympathetic nervous system The psychoticism-impulse control trait is concerned with aggressiveness, impulsiveness, and empathy A high level of testosterone and a low level of MAO, a neurotransmitter inhibitor, lead to high levels of psychoticism

51 Five-Factor Model of Personality
These five factors appear to be universal and are consistent from about age 30 to late adulthood These factors are measured using an assessment instrument called the NEO-PI

52 The Big Five Personality Trait Dimensions
High End Low End Openness Independent, imaginative, broad interests, receptive to new ideas Conforming, practical, narrow interests, closed to new ideas Conscientiousness Well-organized, dependable, careful, disciplined Disorganized, undependable, careless, impulsive Extraversion Sociable, talkative, friendly, adventurous Reclusive, quiet, aloof, cautious Agreeableness Sympathetic, polite, good-natured, soft-hearted Tough-minded, rude, irritable, ruthless Neuroticism Emotional, insecure, nervous, self-pitying Calm, secure, relaxed, self-satisfied

53 Personality Assessment
The main uses of personality tests are to aid in diagnosing people with problems, counseling, and making personnel decisions Personality Inventories Projective Tests

54 Personality Inventories
Are designed to measure multiple traits of personality, and in some cases, disorders Are a series of questions or statements for which the test taker must indicate whether they apply to him or not The MMPI (the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) is the most widely used, translated into more than 100 languages

55 MMPI Uses a “True/False/Cannot Say” format with 567 simple statements (e.g., “I like to cook”) Developed to be a measure of abnormal personality, with 10 clinical scales such as depression and schizophrenia Items were developed and tested to differentiate different groups of people (a representative sample of people suffering a specific disorder versus a group of normal people) on certain dimensions; to be retained, the two groups generally responded to an item in opposite ways

56 MMPI Contains three validity scales, which attempt to detect test takers who are trying to cover up problems and fake profiles or who were careless in their responding Its test construction method leads to good predictive validity for its clinical scales and its objective scoring procedure leads to reliability in interpretation

57 Projective Tests Contain a series of ambiguous stimuli, such as inkblots, to which the test taker must respond about his perceptions of the stimuli Sample tests Rorschach Inkblots Test Thematic Apperception Tests (TAT)

58 Rorschach Inkblots Test
Contains 10 symmetric inkblots used in the test, in which the examiner then goes through the cards and asks the test taker to clarify her responses by identifying the various parts of the inkblot that led to the response Assumes the test taker’s responses are projections of their personal conflicts and personality dynamics Widely used but not demonstrated to be reliable and valid

59 Thematic Apperception Tests (TAT)
Consists of 19 cards with black and white pictures of ambiguous settings and one blank card Test taker has to make up a story for each card he sees (what happened before, is happening now, what the people are feeling and thinking, and how things will turn out) Looks for recurring themes in the responses Scoring has yet to be demonstrated to be either reliable or valid

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