2Personality Overview Personality is an elusive concept. Some psychologists have developed “grand theories” of personality.Others have tried to identify personality types and describe why an individual classified as a certain “personality type” behaves in certain ways.This chapter, we will examine the ways of understanding personality and also discuss the ways of and problems in measuring this concept.
3Personality Theories: What’s behind the mask? Personality -- from the Latin word persona or “mask” that Greek actors used to wear to indicate if they were comic or tragic.What is Personality?Your characteristic pattern of thinking/ feeling/ acting, esp. in social contexts.Implies some level of consistency across time and contextsThis chapterPsychodynamic ApproachHumanistic ApproachMiscellaneous Facts & Assessment
4Two major approaches: psychodynamic & humanist FIGURE 13.1 Philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau held opposing views of human nature. Psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers also held conflicting views. Freud, like Hobbes, stressed the more negative aspects of human nature; Rogers, like Rousseau, the more positive aspects.
5Psychodynamic theories Personality as the interplay of conflicting forces within the individual, including some forces that the individual may not consciously acknowledge.
6Sigmund Frued First psychodynamic personality theory Background Born 1856 Austro-Hungarian EmpireWent into training as a medical doctorTheory based largely on sessions with his patientsNervous disorders sometimes didn’t make neurologicalSense and talking often revealed emotional problems and resolved symptomsDiscussed cases with colleague Josef Breuer -- who used hypnosis as a way to help cure patients with various neuroses (e.g., Anna O)
7Sigmund Fruedannounced a new technique called free association.Patients express any random thoughts that enter their minds.Unconscious thoughts and memories brought to the conscious, allowing the patient to understand them. This will hopefully free the patient from the problem.Free association led to a therapy known as psychoanalysis.Focused biologically based instinctual drives, especially sex and aggression.Very young children also have these drives and they influence fantasies, problem solving and social interactions
8Personality Freud and the psychodynamic approach Although Freud’s theory had an enormous impact on society during the 20th century, his influence within psychology is waning.His theory is very difficult to test empirically.Although many psychologists find nothing useful in the Freudian paradigm, its tenets are still utilized by some mental health practitioners.
9Freud’s view of the mind conscious-- what you’re aware of, can verbalize and think about in a logical fashion.preconscious -- ordinary memory. Not conscious, but can be easily brought into conscious.unconscious -- not directly accessible. A dump box for urges, feelings and ideas that are tied to anxiety, conflict and pain. These feelings and thoughts still exert influence on our actions and our conscious awareness.
10Psychodynamic approach: Where does personality come from? shaped by internal conflicting forces.individual may be unaware of these.conscious vs. the unconsciousthe unconscious =stuff in our minds that we’re not aware of.includes some memories, thoughts, & emotions that are illogical or socially unacceptable.often at odds with our conscious mindsaffects our behavior
11Three Portions of Personality in Psychosexual Theory Id--(unconscious)-- sexual and aggressive impulses -- represents biological needs and desires, and requires immediate gratificationSuperego--(mainly unconscious) moral ethical principles -- represents values of society and conscience; a primitive and unconscious sense of morality; it is the internalization of the world view and norms a child absorbs from parents and peers. A primitive knowledge of right and wrong.Ego (mainly conscious) reality oriented functions develops in early infancy and is the conscious, rational part of personality It is the mediator between the id and the superegoIDSUPEREGOEGOconsciousunconscious
12The psychodynamic approach: How does a child’s personality develop? Stages of Psychosexual DevelopmentAccording to Freud people have a libido (psychosexual energy) = all the sensations of excitement that arise from body stimulation.He believed that how we manage this aspect of our development influences nearly all aspects of our personalityas we grow up, we go through 5 psychosexual stageshow we deal with the stages ultimately determines personality (“fixation”)
13Personality Freud’s psychosexual stages of development The Oral Stage (The first year of life)The infant derives intense psychosexual pleasure from stimulation of the mouth, particularly from breastfeeding but from oral contact with other objects as well.Oral fixation might involve problems with eating, drinking, substance use, and issues of dependence on/independence from others.
14Freud’s psychosexual stages of development The Anal Stage (About 1 to 3 years old)The child derives intense psychosexual pleasure from stimulation of the anal sphincter, the muscle that controls bowel movements. This is partly related to toilet training, which usually occurs at this stage.Anal fixation might involve problems with:.Anal retentive traits--being obsessively clean, overly tidy, very orderly, controlled, punctual, stingy and possessive. due to strict attitudes towards toilet training.Anal expulsive traits-- poorly organized and perhaps aggressive. Due to lax attitudes towards toilet training.
15Freud’s psychosexual stages of development The Phallic Stage (About 3 to 6 years of age)The child derives intense psychosexual pleasure from stimulation of the genitals, and becomes attracted to the opposite-sex parent.Phallic fixation might involve fear of being castrated (in boys) or “penis envy” in girls.
16Freud’s psychosexual stages of development The Latent Period (About 6 years to adolescence)The child in this period suppresses his or her psychosexual interest. Children in this age group tend to play mostly with same sex peers.There is some evidence that the “latent period” is a cultural artifact. Children in some non-industrialized societies do not experience a period of “latency.”
17Freud’s psychosexual stages of development The Genital Stage (Adolescence and beyond)The individual in this period has a strong sexual interest in other people. If he or she has completed the other stages successfully, primary psychosexual satisfaction will be gained from sexual intercourse.The individual who is fixated in an early period of development has little libido left for this stage.
18Table 13.1 Freud’s stages of psychosexual development.
19Name that fixation!Your friend Oscar can’t seem to go more than 30 minutes without lighting up a cigarette. Freud would say that he…Is fixated in the oral stage.
20Name that fixationYour friend Annie can’t seem to hang on to a cent. She spends her money wildly. Her roommates are always threatening to call the health department because she never cleans up after herself and her room always looks like a “pigsty.” Freud would say that she…Is fixated in the anal stage.
21Evaluation of Freud’s stages Difficult to test empirically.Research inconclusive.Personality attributes for people who are “fixated” at certain stages do seem to correlate, there is no evidence that they result from the difficulties that Freud hypothesized occur at those ages (i.e. “penis envy” in the Phallic Stage).
22The psychodynamic approach: What else did Freud say?excessive anxiety may be due to libido problems:lack of sexual gratificationexcessive masturbationtraumatic childhood sexual experiencesTo deal with anxiety: defense mechanismstricks used by ego to push unpleasant things unconscious; they reduce anxiety & are usually healthy
23The psychodynamic approach: Common defense mechanisms 1. Rationalization (making excuses): Reframing unpleasant events as actually good, justifiable or rational2. Repression (motivated forgetting): Forgetting painful or upsetting thoughts/feelings/events3. Regression: Returning to a more juvenile way of thinking or acting4. Reaction formation: Presenting your ideas/feelings as the opposite of what they really are5. Projection: Attributing your own undesirable characteristics/motives to someone else6. Denial: Refusing to acknowledge an unpleasant event/thought7. Displacement (scapegoating): Diverting your thoughts/impulses from their actual target to a less threatening target8. Sublimation: Transforming sexual or aggressive energies into more acceptable, pro-social behaviors
24Name that defense mechanism! You promised yourself that you would exercise regularly, but you haven’t exercised in about 3 months. You think: “Well, I can justify this because I have been very busy … and if I had exercised I probably would have gotten injured and done poorly in my classes.”Rationalization
25Name that defense mechanism! Your boss yells at you. You come home and yell at your spouse. Your spouse yells at your child. Your child goes out to the yard and yells at the dog.Displacement
26The psychodynamic approach & psychoanalysis Expanded to psychoanalysis: therapeutic process:bringing parts of the unconscious into consciousness catharisis (therapeutic release of pent-up emotions)
27The psychodynamic approach: Freud’s legacy Freud generally did not use the “scientific method”And many of his findings discredited. However …There is an unconscious mind.People do often have conflicting motives.Childhood experiences and sexual development do affect later outcomesRelationships with people in our family do influence relationships we have with others.
28Neo-FreudiansPsychologists and others who adopted some parts of Freud’s theory and modified others.Karen Horney believed Freud exaggerated the role of sexuality, and misunderstood the motivations of women and the dynamics of family relationships.
29Neo-Freudians Carl Jung Greater emphasis on continuity of human experience and need for spiritual meaning.Fascinated by similar images and themes (e.g., in art, stories) and themes across culturesIn addition to personal conscious and unconscious mind Jung proposed idea of “collective unconscious.”Present at birth, reflects cumulative experiences of all of our ancestors.Contains archetypes -- figures and themes that emerge repeatedly in human history and across world cultures (e.g., Anima/Animus)
30Neo-Freudians Alfred Adler “individual psychology.” “individual” -- understanding the whole person, not partitioned as in Freudian framework.striving for superiority -- natural desire to seek personal excellence and fulfillmentWe create a style of life, which is our plan for achieving a sense of superiorityMany paths to superiorityCompetition in business, sports, etc.Self sacrificingCommitting crimes for attentionComplaining to get controlMaking excuses for lack of achievement (“if only ….”)People who do not succeed may suffer from an inferiority complex, an exaggerated feeling of inadequacy, throughout
31Neo-FruediansAdlerSocial Interest -- sense of belonging and identification with othershealthy striving for superiority involved concern for the needs and welfare of others.Mental Health:Social interestEffective striving for superiorityPsychopathology:Lack of social interestSetting inadequate goals,Faulty style of life
32Neo-Fruedians Adler’s Legacy Mental health as a positive state (not just the absence of neurosis)Inferiority complexApproaches to therapy based on how people’s assumptions influence behaviorEmphasis on social interest
33Summary of Neo-Fruedians Adopted some parts of Freud’s thinking and modified other parts.Note: Still did not generally use “the scientific method”
34The Learning Approach How do you develop a personality? You learn it! Questions concept of personality.People frequently behave differently depending on social context.E.g., We may act differently with our parents, coworkers, friends.Learning approach relates specific behaviors to specific experiences. Often the experiences from which we learn are those of other people in our environment.Helps explain variations in behavior across people and situations
35The Learning Approach How do people learn? Social Learning Theories Imitating modelsWe are most likely to imitate models with perceived similarityPrinciple of vicarious reinforcementExample -- gender roles psychological aspect of being male or female (as opposed to your biological sex.)Cross-cultural research suggests that components of the male and female gender roles are learned.Boys can be observed to imitate men, and girls to imitate women.
36The humanistic approach people are essentially good (in contrast to neutral stance of behaviorism or negative view of psychoanalytic theories)people strive toward self-actualizationstate of achieving one’s full potential.personality depends on what people believebehavior is not determined by “simple” causeslook at “peak experiences”two Major People: Carl Rogers & Abraham Maslow
37Humanistic psychology: Carl Rogers People strive toward self-actualization: a state of achieving one’s full potential.Children develop a self-concept, an image of the person that they really are and an ideal self, an image that represents the person they would like to be.Psychological distress is generated from mismatch between self-concept and the ideal self.
38Humanistic psychology: Carl Rogers human welfare best served in atmosphere of unconditional positive regard.Unconditional positive regard involves the acceptance of the person as he or she is.Most people receive conditional positive regard in their important relationships.This means that the person is only held in esteem when they fulfill certain requirements set for them by the other person or society.
40Humanistic psychology Abraham Maslowproposed that people have a hierarchy of motivating needs and that the highest need of these is the need to become self-actualized.Maslow developed a list of characteristics of the self-actualized person based on people who, in his opinion, had achieved the state.
41Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self Actualization--growth- oriented motive that sits atop a pyramid of needsAs more basic needs are met people direct themselves towards higher level needs (e.g., love and esteem).If those needs are met people direct their needs towards self- actualization--Self Actualization -- a motive that urges the person to make optimal use of his or her full potential, to become a more effective, creative participant in daily life
42Maslow’s hierarchy of needs SELF-ACTUALIZED PEOPLE(anecdotal evidence):perceive reality accuratelyenjoy lifeare independent, spontaneous, creativetreat others with unconditional positive regardCritics correctly point out that this is not a scientific list, and merely represents characteristics that Maslow admired in people.
43PersonalityPersonality theory in many ways seeks to describe human nature. It raises some fascinating questions that do not seem easily answerable.Many researchers in the area of personality are working on these questions in small steps in hopes of eventually synthesizing an accurate larger picture of who we as humans really are.
44The Trait Approach Personality Traits The main idea of the trait approach to personality is that there exists in people consistent personality characteristics that can be identified, measured and studied.
45Traits vs. States Personality traits and states A trait is a consistent, long-lasting tendency in behavior,E.g., sociability, shyness or assertiveness.A state is a temporary activation of particular behavior.E.g., getting angry when someone cuts you off on the freeway
46Concept Check:You become very, very nervous whenever you have a psychology test scheduled. Are you experiencing “trait anxiety” or “state anxiety?”State anxiety
47Types of Traits: Locus of Control Table 13.2 Sample items from the Internal–External scale.
48Types of Traits: Locus of Control The search for broad personality traitsLocus of controlIndividual’s perception of the amount of control that he or she has over the course of life events.People who believe that their lives are controlled by external forces are said to have an external locus of control.People who believe that they are in charge of their lives have an internal locus of control.Implications for how people go about their lives.
49Personality The search for broad personality traits The Big Five personality traitsCattell identified 35 different personality traitsPsychologists used factor analysis to determine which traits overlapped and which did not. Based on this approach, researchers identified what are termed the “Big Five” personality traits:These are: neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to new experience.
50The Big Five personality traits Neuroticism-- tendency to experience unpleasant emotions very easily.Extraversion-- tendency to seek stimulation and enjoy the company of other people.Agreeableness--tendency to be compassionate rather than antagonistic towards others.Conscientiousness--tendency to show self-discipline, to be reliable, and to strive for competence and achievement.Openness to Experience -- tendency to enjoy new experiences and new ideas.
51Personality The search for broad personality traits Criticisms of the Big Five description:It was based on a study of the English language, not on observations of human behavior.There are too few traits included.There are too many traits included.It has limited applicability cross-culturally.
52Personality characteristics Why do different people have different personalities?Some miscellaneous factors:Heredity: Twin & family studies strongly suggest a genetic component to things like extroversion.Older Age more consistency in personalityHistorical Era anxiety is increasing
53PersonalityPsychologists are still grappling with the enigma of human personality. People are not just different from each other; the same people are different depending on the situation.We are complex creatures and this area of research is very challenging.