What is personality? an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting
five major approaches to personality… 1. psychoanalytic (childhood experiences; unconscious motives; sexual instincts) 2. humanistic (conscious awareness; the self; subjective feelings) 3. cognitive (interpretations of experience; organization of reality; expectations) 4. trait (temperament; abilities; enduring characteristics) 5. learning (external environment; rewards and punishments; observable behavior)
Two Historic Perspectives 1. psychoanalytic (Freud) 2. humanistic (Maslow and Rogers)
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Psychoanalysis Freud’s theory of personality that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts free association
unconscious: thoughts, wishes, feelings, memories of which we are unaware and many of which we are ashamed of; these thoughts we repress, but they drive many of our life decisions
Freudian slips of the tongue… the president of the Austrian parliament opens a session by thundering, “I declare this meeting closed!” answering his phone, a preoccupied business executive picks up the receiver and bellows, “Come in” at a copying machine, a secretary counts copies: “eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, king” a jogger, just finishing her run, tosses her shirt into the toilet instead of the laundry hamper
Freud’s view… personality is a combination of the conflict between aggressive, pleasure-seeking biological impulses and internalized social restraints id egosuperego
ego- operates on reality principle, seeking to gratify the id’s impulses in realistic ways that bring long-term pleasure id- operates on the pleasure principle; contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives superego- part of personality that represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment and for future aspirations
Psychosexual Stages personality develops during the first few years childhood stages of development during which the id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital)
Oedipus complex/Electra complex identification process by which children incorporate their parents’ values into their developing superegos fixation lingering focus of pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage, in which conflicts were unresolved
Defense Mechanisms the ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality 1. repression 2. regression 3. reaction formation 4. projection 5. rationalization 6. displacement *all of these happen unconsciously
repression-banishes anxiety- arousing thoughts, feelings and memories from consciousness regression-individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated reaction formation-ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites rationalization-offers self- justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons projection-people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others displacement-shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person
Which defense mechanism is this? Lisa was embarrassed when she kept forgetting her appointment with the dentist. After her new baby brother came home from the hospital, the parents discovered Cheryl had dismembered her favorite doll. John has a lot of unconscious hostility toward his father but he is very affectionate toward his father and tells other people that he and his father have a wonderful relationship.
Mark slams the door to the classroom after failing the exam. A student attributed his flunking out of the university to the poor quality of teaching there. George feels that his younger son, Gary, is unattractive and not very smart. He accuses his wife of picking on Gary and favoring their other son. Trixie was homesick and anxious when she moved into the dormitory and started her first year in college. She began to sleep with her old teddy bear again because it made her feel better.
The Neo-Freudian and Psychodynamic Theorists Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Karen Horney (1885-1952) Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Alfred Adler agreed that childhood is important, but focused on social, not sexual tensions human motivation comes from striving for superiority compensation is normal, but excessive feelings of inferiority can lead to an inferiority complex
stressed the importance of cultural and social factors in personality development and importance of social relationships basic anxiety “womb envy” Karen Horney
like Freud, he emphasized the unconscious two levels: personal unconscious (repressed or forgotten) collective unconscious (shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species’ history) Carl Jung
Today’s Psychodynamic Theory much of our mental life is unconscious we often struggle with inner conflicts among wishes, fears and values childhood shapes our personalities and ways of becoming attached
Projective Tests leads to unconscious; provides ambiguous stimuli designed to trigger projection of one’s inner dynamics Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Rorschach Inkblot Test Sentence Completion Test
Sentence Completion Test: 1. I secretly wish… 2. I fear… 3. I get angry when… 4. My best friend doesn’t know… 5. If only I could… 6. I wish I could forget… 7. It is hard for me to…
“Many aspects of Freudian theory are indeed out of date, and they should be: Freud died in 1939, and he has been slow to undertake further revisions.” ~Drew Westen What do we think of the psychoanalytic theory today?
What did Freud get right? we have limited access to what goes on in our minds we do defend ourselves against anxiety
An overall analysis… Freud’s theory “offers after-the-fact explanations of any characteristic yet fails to predict such behaviors and traits”. ~Myers Freud’s supporters argue that some of his ideas are lasting. His influence in scientific circles is waning, but his influence in popular culture is still strong!
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) Carl Rogers (1902-1987) The Humanistic Perspective
Abraham Maslow and Self-Actualization self-actualization- 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
Carl Rogers people basically good and have self-actualizing tendencies self-concept- all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves in answer to the question “Who am I?” a positive self-concept leads to a positive world view a negative self-concept causes us to feel we fall short of our ideal self
Assessing the Self using the Humanistic Perspective questionnaires interviews/conversations Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective Legacy: people understanding the importance of self-concept/self-image Criticism: 1. concepts are vague and subjective 2. its individualism can lead to selfishness, etc. 3. fails to recognize the reality of human capacity for evil
The Trait Perspective Hans Eysenck (1916-1997) Sybil Eysenck
The trait perspective tries to define personality using terms of stable and enduring behavior patterns. ttraits- characteristic patterns of behavior or a disposition to feel and act ddescribe rather than explain behavior/traits
Hans Eysenck personality structure is a hierarchy of traits, derived from three higher-order traits extraversion-involves being sociable, assertive, active and lively neuroticism- involves being anxious, tense, moody, having low self- esteem psychoticism- involves being egocentric, impulsive, cold antisocial extraversion sociablelivelyactiveassertive sensation- seeking
How do we assess personality using the trait theory? personality inventories-questionnaire covering a wide range of feelings and behaviors; designed to measure several traits at once Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
conscientiousness; agreeableness; neuroticism; openness; extraversion These traits seem pretty stable in adulthood and they apply pretty well to various cultures. The Big Five Factors
Albert Bandura (b. 1925) The Social-Cognitive Perspective
Highlights of the social-cognitive perspective… behavior is influenced by the interaction between people, their thinking and their social context reciprocal determinism internal vs. external locus of control learned helplessness How do we assess behavior in the social-cognitive perspective? What do critics say?