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Personality 1. Structure of Personality Freud’s Theory 2. Personality Assessment.

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Presentation on theme: "Personality 1. Structure of Personality Freud’s Theory 2. Personality Assessment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Personality 1. Structure of Personality Freud’s Theory 2. Personality Assessment

2 What is Personality?  How people differ at the individual level  Personality  An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting

3 The Psychoanalytic Perspective Freud’s Theory Unconscious motivations influence personality

4 The Psychoanalytic Perspective  Psychoanalysis - Freud  Theory of personality that attributes our thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts  People are motivated by unacceptable passions for sex and aggression, so we repress those motivations from consciousness, causing conflict  Techniques used in treating psychological disorders that seek to expose and interpret unconscious conflicts

5 The Psychoanalytic Perspective  Free Association  Dream Interpretation  Jokes

6 Psychoanalytic Structure of the Mind The mind is divided into 3 parts: -Conscious mind contains things that occupy one’s current attention -Preconscious mind contains things that aren’t currently in consciousness, but can be accessed -Unconscious mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings and memories that are beyond awareness

7 Psychoanalytic Personality Structure Personality is also divided into 3 structures: -Id: Governed by inborn instinctual drives, especially those related to sex and aggression -Obeys the pleasure principle -Superego: Motivates people to act in an ideal fashion, according to moral customs of parents and culture -Obeys the idealistic principle -Ego: Induces people to act with reason and deliberation, and to conform to the requirements of the outside world -Obeys the reality principle Id is entirely in unconscious mind superego and ego are divided between conscious and unconscious mind

8 Psychoanalytic Personality Structure  Freud’s “iceberg” idea of the mind’s structure  Abstract concepts for understanding the mind’s conflicts between pleasure- seeking and social restraint Preconscious

9 Psychoanalytic Personality Structure  Id (unconscious psychic energy)  strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives  operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification (think of an infant)  Must be restrained by reality  “id-dominated” people more often use tobacco, alcohol, drugs

10 Psychoanalytic Personality Structure  Superego (conscience)  Internalized ideals (how we ought to behave)  The conscience  Idealized Self  Internalized Parent  At odds with the id

11 Psychoanalytic Personality Structure  Ego (personality executive)  the largely conscious, “executive mediator” part of personality  In charge of coping with reality by constraining our perceptions, thoughts, judgments and memories  Struggles to reconcile the id and the superego  operates on the reality principle, satisfying the id’s desires in ways that will realistically bring long-term pleasure rather than pain

12 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Some Defense Mechanisms  Ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality Different parts of personality are in constant conflict, especially with regard to the id Defense mechanisms ward off the resulting anxiety from these conflicts, often through self-deception Repression Denial Reaction formation Projection Rationalization Displacement Sublimation

13 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Repression  Cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory  the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety- arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness  Incomplete repression when urges seep out in dream symbols and “Freudian slips”

14 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Denial  defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety denies the source of the anxiety

15 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Reaction Formation  defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites  people may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings  e.g., if you are jealous of someone, you may try to become their friend to suppress the jealousy

16 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Projection  defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others  You accuse your mate of cheating on you because you have been fantasizing about another person

17 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Rationalization  defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one’s actions  “It’s okay for me not to vote, because one vote doesn’t matter anyway”  Disguises “I’d rather sleep late/hang out with my friends”, “I haven’t bothered to find out where to vote or the issues or candidates on the ballot” etc.

18 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Displacement  defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person  as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet  You’re mad at your boss, so you punch the wall/kick the dog/yell at your friend, etc.

19 Psychoanalytic Defense Mechanisms  Sublimation  defense mechanism similar to displacement, but has positive (pro-social) consequences

20 Assessing the Unconscious  If personality emerges from the unconscious, how can we measure it?  Projective Test  a personality test, such as the Rorschach, that provides ambiguous stimuli designed to trigger projection of one’s inner dynamics  People interpret unstructured or ambiguous stimuli -Idea is that you “project” true thoughts, feelings into the interpretation, revealing your personality

21 Assessing the Unconscious  Rorschach Inkblot Test  the most widely used projective test  a set of 10 inkblots designed by Hermann Rorschach  seeks to identify people’s inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots


23 Assessing the Unconscious  Is the Rorschach a good test of personality?  Most scientists say no  Subjective  Not reliable (consistency of results)  Different raters may interpret a patient’s response quite differently  Not valid (do not predict accurately)  Cannot identify who is suicidal and who isn’t  However, some therapists still use these tests today

24 Problems with Freud Extremely influential on Western culture, but not accepted by many modern psychologists Criticisms: -Ideas are not testable, nor do they predict behavior -His observations were not scientific -Over-reliance on case studies of disturbed individuals -Biased against women -Freud attributed women’s reports of childhood sexual abuse to unconscious conflicts and a weak superego

25 Neo-Freudians  They Accept:  notions of id, ego, superego  dynamics of anxiety and defense mechanisms  importance of unconscious  shaping of personality in childhood  In addition, they recognize:  the importance of conscious motivations and social interaction  Instead of strictly sex and aggression, higher motives also underlie motivation

26 TAT: Thematic Apperception Test 1.Who are these people? 2.What are they doing? 3.What are they thinking & feeling? 4.What will happen?


28 Eysenck’s Trait Dimensions





33 Humanistic Perspective  Maslow (1908-70)  studied self- actualization processes of productive and healthy people (e.g., Lincoln)  Focuses on people’s unique capacity for choice, responsibility and growth

34 Humanistic Perspective Personality reflects where you are in the hierarchy of needs - if your physiological needs are met, you become concerned with personal safety, then love, and so on… -Problems arise from failure to satisfy needs

35 Humanistic Perspective  Self-Actualization  the ultimate psychological need that arises after basic physical and psychological needs are met and self-esteem is achieved  the motivation to fulfill one’s potential

36 Humanistic Perspective  Rogers’ Person-Centered Humanistic Approach  Unconditional Positive Regard  an attitude of total acceptance toward another person  Conditions of growth  People nurture our growth by being  Genuine, accepting, empathic  Self-Concept  all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in an answer to the question, “Who am I?” -Positive when ideal self and actual self are similar -Problems when ideal and actual are incongruent  Personality comes from self-concept

37 Also influential on western culture Emphasizes individuality Optimistic view of human potential for positive growth Criticisms: Too optimistic? Drives for growth and self-actualization are sometimes expressed and sometimes not Focus on self can lead to self-indulgence, selfishness, erosion of moral restraints Were the humanists right?

38 Contemporary Research - The Trait Perspective  Descriptive approach to personality  Contrasts with the explanatory psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches  Classifies personality according to “types”  Uses objective questions to identify personality traits that determine a type profile

39 Contemporary Research - The Trait Perspective  Trait  a characteristic pattern of behavior  a disposition to feel and act, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports  Personality Inventory  a questionnaire (often with true-false or agree-disagree items) on which people respond to items designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors  used to assess selected personality traits

40 The Trait Perspective  Eysenck – uses two primary personality factors to describe personality variation  Stable-unstable  Introverted- extroverted UNSTABLE STABLE choleric melancholic phlegmaticsanguine INTROVERTED EXTRAVERTED Moody Anxious Rigid Sober Pessimistic Reserved Unsociable Quiet Sociable Outgoing Talkative Responsive Easygoing Lively Carefree Leadership Passive Careful Thoughtful Peaceful Controlled Reliable Even-tempered Calm Touchy Restless Aggressive Excitable Changeable Impulsive Optimistic Active

41 The Trait Perspective  Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)  the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests  People answer groups of questions about how they typically think, act, and feel -Responses compared to averages compiled from large groups of prior test takers (standardized!)  originally developed to identify emotional disorders (still its most appropriate use)  now used for many other screening purposes, such as job placement – hmmm…

42 The Trait Perspective  Empirically Derived Test  a test developed by testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminate between groups (e.g., suicidal and not)  such as the MMPI  Have you stopped beating your wife?

43 The Trait Perspective MMPI  Example MMPI test profiles  Higher T scores indicate problems  Group differences are evident

44 The Trait Perspective The “Big Five” Personality Factors Trait Dimension Description Emotional Stability Calm versus anxious Secure versus insecure Self-satisfied versus self-pitying Extraversion Sociable versus retiring Fun-loving versus sober Affectionate versus reserved Openness Imaginative versus practical Preference for variety versus preference for routine Independent versus conforming Extraversion Soft-hearted versus ruthless Trusting versus suspicious Helpful versus uncooperative Conscientiousness Organized versus disorganized Careful versus careless Disciplined versus impulsive

45 The Big Five The best (so far) index of personality Big 5 traits are stable*, 50% heritable, culturally generalizable Outcomes are reasonably valid and reliable

46 Views behavior as influenced by the interaction between persons and their social context Experience, plus how people interpret experience, determine personality growth and development Emphasizes learned behaviors over innate nature Social-Cognitive Perspective

47  Reciprocal Determinism  the interacting influences between personality and environmental factors  Beliefs, behavior, and environment interact to shape what you learn from experience


49 Social-Cognitive Perspective

50  Personal Control  our sense of controlling our environments rather than feeling helpless  External Locus of Control  the perception that chance or outside forces beyond one’s personal control determine one’s fate

51 Social-Cognitive Perspective  Internal Locus of Control  the perception that one controls one’s own fate  Learned Helplessness  the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events  Dog experiments

52 Social-Cognitive Perspective  Learned Helplessness Uncontrollable bad events Perceived lack of control Generalized helpless behavior

53 Social-Cognitive Perspective  Positive Psychology  the scientific study of optimal human functioning  aims to discover and promote conditions that enable individuals and communities to thrive

54 Idea that some personality traits are learned is widely accepted, as is the role of cognitive factors in learning - Example: Expectations and beliefs Criticisms: - Over-emphasizes how a person responds in particular situations rather than on traits of person as a whole - Under-emphasizes biological, genetic factors in development Is the social-cognitive approach right?

55 Exploring the Self  Spotlight Effect  overestimating others noticing and evaluating our appearance, performance, and blunders  Self Esteem  one’s feelings of high or low self-worth  Self-Serving Bias  readiness to perceive oneself favorably

56 Exploring the Self  Individualism  giving priority to one’s own goals over group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications  Collectivism  giving priority to the goals of one’s group (often one’s extended family or work group) and defining one’s identity accordingly

57 Exploring the Self Morality Defined by individuals Defined by social networks (self-based) (duty-based) Attributing Behavior reflects one’s personality Behavior reflects social behaviors and attitudes and roles Value Contrasts Between Individualism and Collectivism Concept Individualism Collectivism Self Independent Interdependent (identity from individual traits) identity from belonging) Life task Discover and express one’s Maintain connections, fit in uniqueness What matters Me--personal achievement and We-group goals and solidarity; fulfillment; rights and liberties social responsibilities and relationships Coping method Change reality Accommodate to reality Relationships Many, often temporary or casual; Few, close and enduring; confrontation acceptable harmony valued

58 Do people really behave consistently across situations, or is behavior just determined by the situation? - Evidence suggests there’s more consistency in behavior within the same kind of situation, less across situations - Self-monitoring is one determinant of consistency - High self-monitors tend to adjust behavior to situation Most psychologists believe that personality and situation interact The Person-Situation Debate

59 Are identical twins highly similar in personality, even when raised apart? - And: Are identicals more similar than fraternals? - MMPI scores indicate yes, irrespective of raising environment At least some traits are genetically determined - However: How they are expressed may depend on environment What about genetic factors?


61 Why personality traits develop: - Psychodynamic, humanistic, and social-cognitive approaches offer very different views of human nature, how personality develops - Varied emphasis on biological urges, optimistic view of growth potential, role of environment Are personality characteristics expressed in a way that is independent of the environment? - People are not always consistent in how they behave across situations; personality and situation may interact - Genetics contribute to personality, as suggested by studies of identical and fraternal twins Personality Summary

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