Presentation on theme: "Theories of Personality What is personality? Origin of the concept Western conceptualizations of personality Trait/Type Psychodynamic Behavioral."— Presentation transcript:
Theories of Personality What is personality? Origin of the concept Western conceptualizations of personality Trait/Type Psychodynamic Behavioral Constructivist Indigenous conceptualizations of personality
What is Personality? Gk. “Persona” Personality is that which characterizes an individual and determines his/her unique adaptation to the environment
What is the Purpose of Personality Theories? Each theory is a model for understanding the way people are Makes it possible to “know” why people do what they do Explain past behaviors Predict future behaviors
Personality Like identity, personality is culturally constructed Every society reproduces its culture—its norms, its underlying assumptions, its mode of organizing experience—in the individual, in the form of personality. Lasch, 1980, p.34
In every society Some personality characteristics are elevated Other personality characteristics are devalued
Western European societies value individuality Personal independence, autonomy, self- determination, separation, individuation, clear interpersonal boundaries, self-expression, personal ambition, personal property, self- sufficiency, assertiveness, competition, clear and direct verbal communication Devalue collectivism as primitive and pathological enmeshment
Most every other society Values Collectivism Personal embeddedness in a web of relationships, loyalty, interdependence, interpersonal harmony, co-operation, subtle non-verbal, indirect communication Devalues Self-centeredness as the cause of suffering direct, assertive communication as a primitive way of relating
Colonization (colonialism) The maintenance of political, social, economic, and cultural domination over people for an extended period
Colonizers Privilege their own culture Devalue some aspects of local cultures E.g., Europeans interpreted Indigenous Peoples’ unfamiliar beliefs, physical appearances, and practices as signs of biological, intellectual, cultural and moral inferiority Devaluation justifies exploitation, appropriation of land and resources, genocide
“Race” as an Instrument of Colonization Linnaeus (~1750) Invented the 4 “races” connecting geographical region, skin color, and “temperament” Americanus Europaeus Asiaticus Afer
Cultural Determinsim Divides the colonizer from the colonized Makes subordination appear “natural” Vernon (1969, p. 29) “…it seems reasonable to regard the Puritan ethic of the western middle class as producing the greatest development of intelligence, in contrast, both to the western lower class and to the “less civilized” cultures.”
Western Personality Strategies The hundreds of personality theories all fit into 4 broad strategies Trait/Type Psychodynamic Behavioral Constructivist
Each Strategy has its Own Underlying assumptions Methods of Assessment Methods of intervention Strengths and limitations
Trait/Type Strategy Describes people in terms of traits, types, predispositions Oldest strategy Comes most naturally Cultural determinism is dispositional
Trait/Type Strategy Underlying Assumptions Behavior is consistent Across situations Over time Methods of Assessment Self report inventories Observation
Trait/Type Strategy Methods of intervention: there aren’t any Applications MMPI for personnel selection based on predicted job performance Prediction of health outcomes based on Type Strengths Provides a way of organizing observations Limitations Deterministic No hope for change
Psychodynamic Strategy Underlying assumptions Our narratives are essential to who we are The present personality is shaped by the past Unconscious conflicts from early childhood problems motivate behavior Personality can be expressed either directly or indirectly ao ao
Methods of Assessment Requirements: worldview that values Individualism self-focus willingness and ability to be introspective, identify one’s own thoughts and feelings, and talk about them to a professional helper
Sources of Information The assessment involves gathering information about the person from the person’s story, history, and from observation during the assessment interview(s) Indirect sources Dreams, ambiguous stimuli (e.g., ink blots) Children: play
Focus Presenting problem Life situation History Quality of Relationships Rapport Motivation Insight
Psychodynamic Intervention Interpretation brings insight Insight brings change May involve Re-experiencing the traumatic situation Realization that these conditions no longer exist
Strengths Strengths All problems make sense in context All problems were attempted solutions at one time Our stories are important Much of who we are is outside of our awareness Corrective experience Therapeutic use of self
Limitations Ignores ecosystemic context of problems Ignores impact of present circumstances Situates the problem within the person Deterministic Cultural bias Power differential between client and therapist
Behavioral Strategy Underlying assumptions Personality is behavior Overt behavior observable Covert behavior Internal, private Behavior is determined by present situational and environmental factors Not history, traits, etc.
Underlying assumptions Maintaining Conditions Antecedents Consequences Behavior changes through Learning and experience Changing the situation Future behavior is predicted by past behavior
Assessment Behavior is assessed via direct observation of a person in different contexts E.g., home, school, etc. Self-report inventories
Strengths and Limitations Strengths Short term Measurable Doesn’t depend on insight Limitations Reductionistic Ignores history, insight, corrective relationship
Constructivist Strategy Underlying Assumptions We construct our realities Constructivism The reality of events lies solely in the way they are perceived. People are active agents, constantly changing and evolving toward self-actualization Self-actualization = becoming who you really are; all that you are capable of being
Constructivist Assessment Less focused on particular events or behaviors than on the meaning people attach to them Focus is on the present, here and now Self-report = only means of assessing perception Self-report taken at face value, not inferential
Intervention Guiding the individual to discover him/her potentials and actualize them Stresses self-determination Requires accurate empathy Carl Rogers Basic human need for unconditional positive regard o o
Cognitive Therapy Cognitive therapy makes the assumption that thoughts precede moods and that false self-beliefs lead to negative emotions.
Cognitive Therapy aims to help the patient recognize and reassess his patterns of negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts that more closely reflect reality.
Cognitive Distortions Cognitive therapy recognizes 10 common patterns of faulty thinking, which are known as cognitive distortions. All-or-Nothing Thinking: Failing to recognize that there may be some middle ground. Characterized by absolute terms like always, never, and forever. Overgeneralization: Taking an isolated case and assuming that all others are the same.
Cognitive Distortions Mental Filter: Mentally singling out the bad events in one's life and overlooking the positive. Disqualifying the Positive: Treating positive events like they don't really count. Jumping to Conclusions: Assuming the worst about a situation even though there is no evidence to back their conclusion.
Cognitive Distortions Should Statements: Rigidly focusing on how you think things should be rather than finding strategies for dealing with how things are. Labeling and Mislabeling: Applying false and harsh labels to oneself and others. Personalization: Blaming yourself for things that are out of your control.
Cognitive Distortions Magnification and Minimization: Downplaying positive events while paying an inordinate amount of attention to negative ones. Emotional Reasoning: Allowing your emotions to govern what you think about a situation rather than objectively looking at the facts. vXI&feature=fvw vXI&feature=fvw
Abraham Maslow Characteristics of self-actualized persons Clarity Acceptance Freshness of appreciation’ Spontaneity, simplicity, naturalness Focus Process oriented
Detachment Independence from culture and situation Resistance to assimilation/acculturation Desire to help others Pluralistic world view Deep interpersonal relations Philosophical sense of humor\ Creative Peak experiences
Strengths and Limitations Strengths Recognizes our unlimited potential for growth Recognizes the importance of perception in adaptation Limitations Individualistic Ignores historical and behavioral information Relies on self-report
Overview Each personality strategy has its own Underlying assumptions Methods of assessment Methods of intervention Strengths Limitations Each personality theory is an attempt of find similarities between people but has the disadvantage of overlooking variability and diversity