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Personality Reading: Ch 15 Myers James Neill Centre for Applied Psychology Rm 3B32; x2536;

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Presentation on theme: "Personality Reading: Ch 15 Myers James Neill Centre for Applied Psychology Rm 3B32; x2536;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Personality Reading: Ch 15 Myers James Neill Centre for Applied Psychology Rm 3B32; x2536;

2 Overview Part 1 Introduction to Personality Psychoanalytic Perspective Trait (or Dispositional) Perspective Part 2 Humanistic Perspective Social-cognitive Perspective Comparing Different Perspectives

3 Why study personality? Personality is a central topic in psychology. Aims to understand causes of behaviour in ourselves and others by attributing unique individual characteristics.

4 Why study personality? ‘Personality’ asks ‘big questions’ e.g.,: – Who are you? – How did you become who you are? – What are your unique patterns of doing, thinking, and feeling?

5 “An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.” What is Personality?

6 A person’s general style of interacting with the world. Differences between people which are relatively consistent over time and place.

7 Personal-ity Mask (latin)

8 Personality Applications Personality is closely related/applied to: –Developmental psychology –Clinical, forensic and neuropsychology –Social psychology –Vocational counselling –Personnel selection

9 Psychoanalytic Trait Humanistic Social-Cognitive Biological (not covered) Major theoretical perspectives

10 Psychodynamic Perspective Freud (1856 - 1939)

11 Psychodynamic Perspective Developed by Sigmund Freud Psychoanalysis is both: – an approach to therapy and – a theory of personality Emphasises unconscious motivation

12 Psychodynamic Perspective: Early Development Freud encountered patients suffering nervous disorders whose complaints could not be explained in terms of purely physical causes. This led Freud to develop the first comprehensive theory of personality, which included the unconscious mind, psychosexual stages, and defense mechanisms.

13 Model of Mind Causes of behaviour can be either conscious or unconscious Mind is like an iceberg: –Conscious (tip) –Pre-conscious (just below waterline) –Unconscious (bulk of iceberg below waterline)

14 Model of Mind

15 Personality arises from one’s efforts to resolve conflicts between 3 interacting systems of the mind: Id (Biological – aggression & pleasure- seeking) Ego (Rationality) Superego (Social) Psychodynamic Personality Structure

16 Id, Ego, Superego


18 Instinctual drives present at birth Seeks to satisfy basic biological urges Operates on the ‘pleasure principle’, unconstrained by logic or reality D oes not distinguish between reality and fantasy Id

19 Develops ~ 6-8 months, out of the Id Operates on the ‘reality principle’ Seeks to satisfy urges in a realistic way Understands reality and logic Mediates between Id and Superego Ego

20 Develops ~ 5 years Represents internalised societal and parental morals, values, ideals Strives for the ideal Responsible for guilt Its sole focus is on how one ought to think and behave Superego

21 Id, Ego, Superego

22 “The twig of personality is bent at an early stage.” (Myers, 1998, p.423) Personality Development

23 Freud identified 5 stages of personality development (psychosexual stages): –Oral –Anal –Phallic –Latency –Genital  During these stages the Id focuses on pleasure sensitive body areas called erogenous zones. Personality Development

24  Personality reflects unresolved conflicts during the psychosexual stages.  Fixation - an attempt to achieve pleasure as an adult in ways that are equivalent to how it way achieved in earlier stages Personality Development

25 0 to 18 months Pleasure centres on the mouth – sucking, biting, chewing Weaning can lead to fixation if not handled correctly Unresolved conflicts can lead to oral activities in adulthood Oral

26 18 to 36 months Pleasure focuses on coping with demands to control bowel & bladder elimination Toilet training can lead to anal fixation (anal-retentive or expulsive behaviours in adulthood) if not handled correctly Anal

27 3 to 6 years Pleasure is in the genitals Coping with incestuous sexual feelings (Oedipus or Electra complex can occur) Fixation can lead to excessive masculinity in males and the need for attention or domination in females Phallic

28 7 years to puberty Sexuality is repressed and dormant Children participate in hobbies, school and same-sex friendships Latency

29 Puberty onwards Maturation of sexual interests Sexual feelings re-emerge and are oriented toward others Healthy adults find pleasure in love and work Fixated adults have their energy tied up in earlier stages Genital

30 Failure to resolve psychological conflict amongst Id, Ego, and Superego -> anxiety -> unconscious mental processes employed by the ego to reduce anxiety (i.e., defence mechanisms) Defence Mechanisms

31 Repression Regression Displacement Reaction Formation Projection Rationalisation Sublimation Defence Mechanisms

32 B locks anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, etc. from conscious awareness Underlies other defence mechanisms Repression

33 Retreats to earlier, more infantile mode of behaviour which is characteristic of an earlier stage of psychosexual development e.g., thumb-sucking on 1 st day of school Regression

34 A drive towards an activity by the Id is redirected to a more acceptable activity by the Ego. e.g., shifting sexual or aggressive impulses to more acceptable objects or people, e.g., “kicking the dog” when angry with something else.) Displacement

35 Replacing an unacceptable wish with its opposite (e.g., love -> hate) e.g., A man who is overly obsessed with pornographic material who utilises reaction formation may take on an attitude of strong criticism about the topic. Reaction Formation

36 Reducing anxiety by attributing one’s unacceptable impulses to someone else. e.g. “You’re moody today!” Projection

37 Intellectualising/reasoning away anxiety-producing thoughts The process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process Rationalisation

38 Displacement to activities that are valued by society Sublimation is the process of transforming libido into ‘socially useful’ achievements Psychoanalysts often refer to sublimation as the only truly successful defence mechanism Sublimation

39 Access to unconscious is via –free association, –dreams, –slips of the tongue –Ideal: ‘Psychological x-Ray’ Projective Tests: –Presents ambiguous stimuli and then ask person to describe or tell a story about it Limited scientific validity, but wide use in clinical settings Psychoanalytic Assessment

40 A fixation (and the need for defence mechanisms) can be ‘resolved’ by bringing the original source of the psychological conflict into conscious awareness.  Free association (chain of thoughts) leads to painful, embarrassing unconscious memories surfacing. Once these memories are retrieved and released (psychoanalysis) the patient feels better. Psychoanalysis

41 Dream Analysis Another psychoanalytic method to analyse the unconscious mind is through interpreting manifest and latent contents of dreams. The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli (1791)

42 Rorschach Inkblot Test

43 Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

44 Projective Tests: Criticisms Critics argue that projective tests lack reliability and validity: 1.When evaluating the same patient, even trained raters come up with different interpretations (reliability). 2..Projective tests may misdiagnose a normal individual as pathological (validity).

45 Carl Jung: Collective Unconscious  Collective unconscious: a common reservoir of images derived from our species’ past.  Many cultures share certain myths and images such as the mother being a symbol of nurturance. Carl Jung (1875-1961)

46 CRITICISMS Personality development is lifelong Overemphasis on sexual urges (We have motives other than sex and aggression) Underemphasises peer influence Sexual inhibition has decreased, but psychological disorders have not. Good scientific theory? Evaluating the Psychodynamic Perspective

47 CRITICISMS  Theory rests on repression of painful experiences into the unconscious mind, but the majority of children, death camp survivors, and war veterans are unable to repress painful experiences into their unconscious mind. Evaluating the Psychodynamic Perspective

48 CONTRIBUTIONS Importance of unconscious Defense mechanisms Development of psychoanalysis Enormous cultural impact Evaluating the Psychodynamic Perspective

49 Trait (or Dispositional) Perspective Personality is: the dynamic organisation of traits Trait: “a characteristic pattern of behaviour or a disposition to feel or act” (Myers, 1998, p.431) Traits are stable & consistent

50 Trait Perspective Personality is an individual’s unique constellation of durable dispositions and consistent ways of behaving (traits) e.g., Honest Dependable Moody Impulsive

51 Type vs. Trait Type Labels each person as a single “type” Trait Identifies the degree to which several different personality characteristics occur within an individual

52 Assessing Personality Personality inventories are questionnaires designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors assessing several traits at once. e.g.,  EPQ (Eysenck)  16PF (Cattell)  MMPI  NEO (Big 5)

53 Proposed that there were two super personality traits Based on genetics and physiology: –Extraversion-Introversion : baseline brain arousal level –Emotional Stability-Instability : reactivity of the autonomic nervous system Eysenck’s Supertraits


55 Personality Type

56 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Extraversion-Introversion (E-I) Sensing-INtuition (S-N) (style of gathering data) Thinking-Feeling (T-F) (style of making decisions) Judging-Perceiving (J-P) (outward preference for structure or flexibility)

57 16 Personality Factors Using Factor Analysis, Cattell analysed relationships amongst many clusters of personality adjectives which he reduced to 16 core traits.

58 16 Personality Factors

59 MMPI  Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory  The most widely researched and clinically used personality test.  Originally developed to identify emotional disorders.  Developed by empirically testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminated between diagnostic groups.

60 MMPI Test Profile

61 The Big 5 Factors There is reasonable consensus now that: Eysencks’ 2 supertraits are too narrow Cattell’s 16PF too large. 5 factors does a better job of assessment

62 Currently the best summary of personality factors: Neuroticism (Emotional Stability) Extraversion Openness Agreeableness Conscientiousness The Big 5 Factors

63 The Big Five Factors

64 Questions about the Big 5 Yes. Conscientious people are morning type and extraverted are evening type. 4. Can they predict other personal attributes? These traits are common across cultures. 3. How about other cultures? 50% or so for each trait. 2. How heritable are they? Quite stable in adulthood. However, they change over development. 1. How stable are these traits?

65 The Person-Situation Controversy Walter Mischel (1968, 1984, 2004) points out that traits may be enduring, but the resulting behavior in various situations is different. Therefore, traits are not good predictors of behavior.

66 The Person-Situation Controversy Trait theorists argue that behaviors in different situations may be different, but average behavior remains the same. Therefore, traits matter.

67 CRITICISMS Do people really have traits that are consistent across time/situation? (person-situation controversy?) Describes personality rather than explains it CONTRIBUTIONS Objective approach to personality assessment Evaluating the Trait Perspective

68 Humanistic Perspective Emphasis on humans’: uniqueness, freedom & growth potential

69 Humanistic Perspective By the 1960s, psychologists became discontent with Freud’s negativity and the mechanistic psychology of the behaviorists. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

70 Theoretical Developments in Modern Psychology 1st Force = Psychoanalysis (1900’s-) 2nd Force = Behaviourism (1950’s-) 3rd Force = Humanistic (1960’s-) 4th Force = Transpersonal? Social-Cognitive (1980’s-)

71 3rd Force Psychology Humanistic Perspective says: Psychoanalytic too -ve & deterministic Traits too narrow & objective Behaviourism too deterministic

72 “...must deal with the highest capacities of the healthy and strong person as well as the defensive maneuvres of crippled spirits.” (Maslow, 1970) Humanistic Psychology

73 Studied the ‘healthiest’ individuals Humans as motivated by a ‘hierarchy of needs’ That we strive for ‘self-actualisation’ (although 1% are self-actualised) Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

74 Hierarchy of Needs

75 Weakest of needs - easily impeded by lower level needs Jonah Complex - fear and doubt our own abilities and potentialities Cultural environment may stifle growth Childhood experiences may inhibit personal growth Why aren’t more people self- actualised?

76 Accepts self & others Originality in thinking & behavior Devoted to solving a 'mission' Independent of cultural influence Peak experiences Small number of close friends Sense of humour Some Traits Of Maslow’s Self-Actualised People

77 Human potential for growth Growth environment has: Y Genuineness - open feelings, self-disclose Y Acceptance - unconditional +ve regard Y Empathy - nonjudgemental listening Self-concept - mental picture of yourself Behaviour consistent with self-concept Actual vs. ideal self -> self-esteem Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

78 Actual Ideal Low Self- esteem Actual Ideal High Self- esteem

79 Humanistic perspective: ‘self’ = pivotal centre of personality Many possible selves Positive illusions Collectivist vs. Individualist culture Q: If the self is so malleable, is it really personality? Is the ‘Self’ Personality?

80 Self-concept questionnaires Interviews Self-esteem, congruence, etc. Humanistic Assessment

81 CRITICISMS Concepts are vague & subjective Encourages self-absorption and oversubscribes to the Western “cult of the self” Unrealistically +ve view of human nature Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective

82 CONTRIBUTIONS  Pervasive impact on counseling, education, child-rearing, and management.  Optimistic view of whole person Allows for growth & change Basis of person-centred therapy

83 Social-Cognitive Perspective (Cognitive Social Learning Perspective) Combines social learning & cognition Behaviour emerges from the interplay between: person & environment

84 Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism Bandura believes that personality is the result of an interaction that takes place between a person and their social context. i.e., reciprocal determinism or “you choose it, & it shapes you” Albert Bandura

85 Bandura called the process of interacting with our environment reciprocal determinism. Reciprocal Influences


87 Individuals & Environments How we view and treat people influences how they treat us. Our personalities shape situations. Anxious people react to situations differently than calm people. Our personalities shape how we react to events. The school you attend and the music you listen to are partly based on your dispositions. Different people choose different environments. Specific ways in which individuals and environments interact

88 Learned Helplessness When unable to avoid repeated adverse events an animal or human learns helplessness.

89 Learned Helplessness When unable to avoid repeated adverse events an animal or human learns helplessness.

90 Learned Helplessness

91 Learned Optimism More recently, Seligman has turned his attention to “positive psychology” and the opposite notion of “learned optimism”.

92 Do you believe your life is controlled by: – A. fate, chance, government, other people, etc. – B. self, goals, motives, determination, effort, etc. A = external locus of control B = internal locus of control Self-efficacy – belief that one has the ability to perform a particular behaviour Personal Control

93 Past behaviour predicts future behaviour Observe behaviour in different situations Questionnaire assessment of perceived control and self-efficacy Social-Cognitive Perspective Assessment

94 CRITICISMS Overemphasis on situation Underemphasis on stability in traits Ignores unconscious motives Evaluating the Social-Cognitive Perspective

95 CONTRIBUTIONS Considers person, environment & behaviour Allows for behaviour to vary Can be applied therapeutically

96 Summary Definition: Personality is an area of psychology which attempts to identify consistent variations in thinking, feeling and behaviour between people Related to other fields of psychology, other disciplines and to the everyday world such as career counselling

97 Role of unconscious Personality structure: id, ego, superego Battle between ‘biology’ and ‘social’ Importance of resolving personality conflicts in childhood Defense mechanisms used to prevent anxiety reaching consciousness Projective assessment techniques Massive cultural legacy Continuing clinical application Dwindling scientific interest The psychoanalytic perspective

98 Objective variations in behaviour Eysenck’s 2 main factors: extraversion and emotional stability Current best model, “The Big 5” What about the influence of situations? Descriptive rather explanatory The trait perspective

99 Reacts to psychoanalysis, trait theory & behaviourism Humans are motivated towards self-fulfillment when: X basic needs are satisfied X environment is genuine, accepting & empathic Sense of self-worth is pivotal to personality Is the self = personality? The humanistic perspective

100 personality arises from reciprocal interaction between person & environment important personality variables are acquired via reciprocal determinism: X locus of control X self-efficacy X learned helplessness / learned optimism Social Cognitive Perspective

101 Comparing Different Perspectives Personality is an abstract concept, thus each approach is arguably ‘correct’ Each perspective has evolved logically from an intellectual and cultural zeitgeist Advantages & disadvantages

102 Take-home Messages Personality is much more complex than is described by any single perspective Different perspectives describe different aspects of personality New perspectives will evolve, e.g. through biotechnology

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