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The Pursuit of Personality Psychology’s central quest?

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Presentation on theme: "The Pursuit of Personality Psychology’s central quest?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Pursuit of Personality Psychology’s central quest?

2 personality Again, a concept we’ve all discussed, wondered about, made predictions on …. Again, a concept we’ve all discussed, wondered about, made predictions on …. But we cannot readily agree as to what it is. But we cannot readily agree as to what it is. Our characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting, or Our characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting, or The stable ways in which our mood and behaviors differ from one another The stable ways in which our mood and behaviors differ from one another

3 Four major approaches Psychodynamic – the interplay of conflicting forces, many unrecognized, within us Psychodynamic – the interplay of conflicting forces, many unrecognized, within us Trait – the study of consistent personal characteristics Trait – the study of consistent personal characteristics Humanistic – we make conscious decisions about the direction of our lives Humanistic – we make conscious decisions about the direction of our lives Learning – reinforcement shapes us Learning – reinforcement shapes us

4 psychodynamics Originated by Sigmund Freud ( ) Originated by Sigmund Freud ( ) Dreamed of being a scientist Dreamed of being a scientist Pushed into psychiatry Pushed into psychiatry Mainly treated middle-aged Jewish women Mainly treated middle-aged Jewish women Used “talking” therapy with patients Used “talking” therapy with patients Developed first theory of personality Developed first theory of personality Unsurpassed fame but little current influence? Unsurpassed fame but little current influence?

5 psychoanalysis A basic concept with two, related, meanings A basic concept with two, related, meanings 1) An explanation for how conscious and unconscious forces interact to produce personality, and 1) An explanation for how conscious and unconscious forces interact to produce personality, and 2) A method to treat psychological problems 2) A method to treat psychological problems

6 More basics The Unconscious – a pool of memories, emotions and thoughts, many illogical and irrational, that unknowingly affect behavior The Unconscious – a pool of memories, emotions and thoughts, many illogical and irrational, that unknowingly affect behavior Like an iceberg below the water-line Like an iceberg below the water-line Many of these hidden memories and desires have been repressed (purposely forgotten) due to their traumatic nature Many of these hidden memories and desires have been repressed (purposely forgotten) due to their traumatic nature

7 Developmental stages Psychosexual in nature Psychosexual in nature Traces how our basic desires, sex/libido and aggression, are changed and expressed as we grow Traces how our basic desires, sex/libido and aggression, are changed and expressed as we grow Freud claimed that we are obsessed with the pleasures of each stage Freud claimed that we are obsessed with the pleasures of each stage If thwarted at a stage, trouble follows due to a fixation at that stage, expressed through defense mechanisms If thwarted at a stage, trouble follows due to a fixation at that stage, expressed through defense mechanisms

8 At the beginning The Oral stage – pleasure derived through stimulation of the mouth The Oral stage – pleasure derived through stimulation of the mouth The first year or so The first year or so If fixated, problems show up through excessive talking, eating, smoking, or any other activity involving the mouth If fixated, problems show up through excessive talking, eating, smoking, or any other activity involving the mouth

9 The controversial anal stage Pleasure comes from retaining and expelling feces Pleasure comes from retaining and expelling feces If there is psychic trauma from the course of toilet training …. If there is psychic trauma from the course of toilet training …. Two types of fixations: Two types of fixations: Retentive – excessively neat & controlling Retentive – excessively neat & controlling Explosive – just the opposite Explosive – just the opposite

10 much more controversy The Phallic stage – pleasure from our genitals The Phallic stage – pleasure from our genitals Infantile sexuality – the claim that at the age of 5 we have powerful sexual desires Infantile sexuality – the claim that at the age of 5 we have powerful sexual desires The Oedipus complex – boys lust for their mothers The Oedipus complex – boys lust for their mothers Dad, standing in the way, is both resented and feared – castration anxiety Dad, standing in the way, is both resented and feared – castration anxiety

11 But what about girls? They are just as sexual They are just as sexual The Electra complex – girl’s desire for dad and ill-will towards mom The Electra complex – girl’s desire for dad and ill-will towards mom Girls also experience penis envy Girls also experience penis envy Freud was never satisfied with his explanation for female psychosexual development even though women were the great majority of his patients Freud was never satisfied with his explanation for female psychosexual development even though women were the great majority of his patients

12 A sudden halt From the ages of seven or eight, we suppress these raging desires and slowly begin to identify with our same-sex parent From the ages of seven or eight, we suppress these raging desires and slowly begin to identify with our same-sex parent From then until our early teens our sexual energies lie dormant in the Latent stage From then until our early teens our sexual energies lie dormant in the Latent stage

13 Finally.. At 14 or 15 our sexual capabilities are ripe At 14 or 15 our sexual capabilities are ripe The Genital Stage The Genital Stage But are we really ready for mature sexual relationships?!? But are we really ready for mature sexual relationships?!?

14 Could this be true? Questionable evidence Questionable evidence Small, non-representative sample Small, non-representative sample Very vague, cannot falsify Very vague, cannot falsify Never really looked at real children Never really looked at real children No verification No verification

15 Personality’s structure The id The id At birth, our considerable psychic energy resides in our id At birth, our considerable psychic energy resides in our id The inner reptile, composed of our basic biological drives The inner reptile, composed of our basic biological drives Completely selfish, it demands immediate gratification Completely selfish, it demands immediate gratification Never constrained by the limits of reality Never constrained by the limits of reality

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17 The ego Arises after the primal id Arises after the primal id The voice of reality The voice of reality Operates in the world of laws, morals and ethics Operates in the world of laws, morals and ethics Must postpone the id’s satisfaction to an appropriate time and place Must postpone the id’s satisfaction to an appropriate time and place As if that weren’t enough, it must pacify it’s other demanding “boss”, the …. As if that weren’t enough, it must pacify it’s other demanding “boss”, the ….

18 The super-ego Takes form during the long latent stage as we assimilate our same-sex parent’s world view Takes form during the long latent stage as we assimilate our same-sex parent’s world view The internalization of our parent’s and society’s morals The internalization of our parent’s and society’s morals Just as unreasonable and uncompromising as the id Just as unreasonable and uncompromising as the id More tyrant than conscience More tyrant than conscience

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20 Freud reconsidered Fraud or genius? Fraud or genius? Shortcomings: Shortcomings: 1) no empirical proof, not that he cared 1) no empirical proof, not that he cared 2) too much unconscious and sex 2) too much unconscious and sex 3) male-oriented 3) male-oriented 4) derived from work with mentally ill 4) derived from work with mentally ill 5) therapy – long and ineffective 5) therapy – long and ineffective

21 A genius First integrated, comprehensive theory First integrated, comprehensive theory Superb ability to organize and synthesize Superb ability to organize and synthesize First to pay attention to childhood and development First to pay attention to childhood and development Unrivalled in influence Unrivalled in influence Recent findings support some concepts Recent findings support some concepts

22 Stressed great care and Stressed great care and sensitivity towards patients sensitivity towards patients A devoted son A devoted son A father A father A motto that works for all of us: A motto that works for all of us: “To love and to work.” “To love and to work.”

23 The neo-Freudians Theorists who accepted some aspects of Freud’s approach but modified others Theorists who accepted some aspects of Freud’s approach but modified others Many fell under his magnetic influence only to drift (or be pushed) away Many fell under his magnetic influence only to drift (or be pushed) away Sex and the id declined in importance Sex and the id declined in importance

24 Karen Horney A feminine perspective A feminine perspective Rejected emphasis on sex – people talked to her about financial concerns Rejected emphasis on sex – people talked to her about financial concerns Anxiety caused sex problems, not reverse Anxiety caused sex problems, not reverse Destroyed concept of penis envy Destroyed concept of penis envy Stressed the importance of society and culture Stressed the importance of society and culture “Hostility” – preshadowing attachment? “Hostility” – preshadowing attachment?

25 Anna Freud Worked closely Worked closely with her father with her father Elaborated Elaborated defense mechanisms Actually Actually investigated childhood Coined the term Coined the term “separation anxiety”

26 Defense mechanisms Maladaptive techniques we use to ward off anxiety Maladaptive techniques we use to ward off anxiety Denial – refusing to believe information that causes anxiety Denial – refusing to believe information that causes anxiety Rationalization – nonsensically justifying bad decisions or outcomes Rationalization – nonsensically justifying bad decisions or outcomes Displacement – redirecting responses towards less threatening targets Displacement – redirecting responses towards less threatening targets

27 More defenses Regression – reverting to a more primitive level of behavior Regression – reverting to a more primitive level of behavior Projection – accusing another of having your faults Projection – accusing another of having your faults Reaction formation – presenting yourself as the opposite of what you are Reaction formation – presenting yourself as the opposite of what you are Sublimation – channeling undesirable desires into good works Sublimation – channeling undesirable desires into good works

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29 Carl Yung – Initially Freud’s Initially Freud’s “crown prince” Later, a bitter split Later, a bitter split Much more positive Much more positive Discussed the spiritual Discussed the spiritual and mystical and mystical Introduced intriguing concepts Introduced intriguing concepts

30 The collective unconscious From his exhaustive reading of world mythology, noticed similarities in many fundamental concepts From his exhaustive reading of world mythology, noticed similarities in many fundamental concepts Claimed that we all share a common pool of images and ideas accumulated through the centuries Claimed that we all share a common pool of images and ideas accumulated through the centuries Fascinating, but contradicted by genetics Fascinating, but contradicted by genetics The Mandala The Mandala

31 Introversion vs. extroversion Some people are just naturally outgoing Some people are just naturally outgoing Others are shy and reserved Others are shy and reserved He thought we possessed both qualities, in differing degrees He thought we possessed both qualities, in differing degrees Now viewed as traits, corroborated by the most demanding of statistical criteria Now viewed as traits, corroborated by the most demanding of statistical criteria

32 The inner journey towards development First to argue that we all strive to be more complete and unified First to argue that we all strive to be more complete and unified A life journey changes from a “Quest for Becoming” to a “Quest for Meaning” A life journey changes from a “Quest for Becoming” to a “Quest for Meaning” Composed of opposing forces, we strive for reconciliation and the merging of these opposing currents Composed of opposing forces, we strive for reconciliation and the merging of these opposing currents His final dream His final dream

33 Alfred Adler The first to depart The first to depart Again, sex Again, sex Invented Individual Invented Individual Psychology – the study Psychology – the study of a person as a whole of a person as a whole First - mental health as a positive state First - mental health as a positive state Social Interest – our desire for the welfare of others Social Interest – our desire for the welfare of others

34 Striving for superiority Adler, often injured as a child, claimed that we all possess a “Striving for Superiority” Adler, often injured as a child, claimed that we all possess a “Striving for Superiority” We all want to be better at what we do We all want to be better at what we do We are conscious of our needs and goal- directed We are conscious of our needs and goal- directed Trouble arises from “The Inferiority Complex” seeing ourselves as weak and ineffectual Trouble arises from “The Inferiority Complex” seeing ourselves as weak and ineffectual


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