Personality Theory


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  • This type of personality is called individual differences. Personality is the central issue for some theories. Considerable attention through theories is given to traits, types, and test for the categorizing and comparison of people.
  • Skinner asserts ‘‘a person does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him’’ (as cited in McAdams, 2009). Behaviorism also known as behavioral psychology isa theory of learning that is based on ideas ofbehaviors are acquired through certain conditions such as the environment. Example: If one wants their child to achieve all A’s in school then every A receives five dollars, but if no A’s then no five dollars.
  • First form of learning. In classical conditioning an unconditionedstimulusthat naturally gives rise to anunconditioned response, (McAdams, 2009). Just might be implicated in certain developments such as phobias, neurotic symptoms, and ontogeny of behavior systems and more complex attitudes. McAdams(2009), “in some cases, such complex associations are achieved through higher-order conditioning. Example: One’s romantic partner always wears sweet smelling perfume. Eventually the smell of the perfume makes that one feel happy.
  • Second form of learning. Positive consequences for a behavior increase the likelihood of its recurrence, and reinforce the association between the behavior and the various stimuli in the environment during the present time the behavior occurred (McAdams, 2009). Negative consequences decreases the likelihood of behavior recurring and weakening stimulus–response connections (McAdams, 2009). Operant conditioning involves more than increasing certain behaviors through reinforcement and decreasing others through punishment or lack of reinforcement (McAdams (2009). One must learn where and when to refrain or perform certain behaviors. Example: One is givena credit card at the end of thefirst year of high school because of good grades. As a result, that person’s grades continue to get better during the second year.
  • Positive reinforcer is a stimulus that, because of its presentation after a response, strengthens and increases the probability of the response (McAdams, 2009). Negative reinforcer is a stimulus that, because of its removal after a response, strengthens and increases the probability of the response (McAdams, 2009). Positive punishment is a stimulus that, because of its presentation after a response, weakens and decreases the probability of the response (McAdams, 2009). Negative punishment is a stimulus that, because of its removal after a response, weakens decreases the probability of the response (McAdams, 2009).Extinction is a previously reinforced behavior which is no longer reinforced; eventually the behavior decreases and drops to baseline levels (McAdams, 2009).Shaping means getting an organism to emit a complex response by reinforcing successive approximations to the behaviors that make up the complex response (McAdams, 2009). Continuous reinforcement is to deliver a reinforcement after every instance of a certain response (McAdams, 2009).Partial reinforcement is to not always reinforce every instance of the behavior, but rather deliver reinforcement intermittently according to a particular schedule (McAdams, 2009).
  • Reinforcement comes in many different forms. Certain behaviors can be increased through reinforcement. Partial reinforcement is rewarding but not all the time. Examples: Buying lottery tickets and gambling. Continuous reinforcement is reinforcement every single time. Example: Every time a child draws a picture they are told they did well. Conditioned generalized reinforcers is a reinforcer that is paired with other reinforcers such as money, flowers, and candy. Example: A student receiving praise and money for good grades.
  • One learns through observing behaviors of others and throughoutcomes of those behaviors. Isom (1998), “Albert Bandura believed aggression reinforced by family members was the most prominent source of behavior modeling” (para. 5). Example: One who sees a group dressing a certain way will dress the same way to fit into that group.
  • People normally learn through observing, and will often perform or behave by imitating what they see, (McAdams, 2009). This type of learning does not require reinforcement or the satisfaction biological needs. Example: If one cannot ride a bike they observe their friend in order to learn how to ride their own bike.
  • Attentional processes is the first step of observational learning and certain features of the model may increase the likelihood that the person will notice or pay attention to what a certain model is doing (McAdams, 2009).Retention processes is second step of observational learning and one must be able to encode, make sense of, and remember what one observes if learning is to occur (McAdams, 2009).Motor reproduction processes is the third step of observational learning and it’s concern is capabilities of performing what is observed and the availability of such performance in the observer’s repertoire of behavior (McAdams, 2009).Motivational processes is the fourth step in observational learning and the observer must want to imitatebehavior if imitation is to occur (McAdams, 2009). This is the point where punishments and rewards play their strongest roles (McAdams, 2009).
  • Is the belief in one’s own behavioral competence in a particular situation (McAdams, 2009). If one posses high self-efficacy one believes they can achieve, but if one posses low self-efficacy one may believe they cannot achieve. Self-efficacy needs to be distinguished from outcome expectancies (McAdams, 2009) Example: A college student with high self-efficacy will achieve the success of good grades in school. One with low self-efficacy will receive poor grades.
  • Performance accomplishments are past experiences of failure and success in attempts to accomplish goals are the mostimportant regulators of self-efficacy (McAdams, 2009).Vicarious experience is to witness another’s successes and failures which provide one with a basis of comparison bywhich to estimate one’s own personal competence in similar situations (McAdams, 2009).Verbal persuasion can increase or decrease self-efficacy, depending on what one is telling another.Emotional arousal is one’s feelings of self-efficacy that are influenced by the degree and quality of emotional arousal feels in a given performance situation (McAdams 2009).
  • Personality Theory

    1. 1. Personality TheoryShura Steven WhitakerPSY 230May 26, 2012Linda Grant
    2. 2. Understand Personality and TheoryFreud consideredpersonality to be like aniceberg; most of theimportant personalityprocesses exists andoccur below our level ofconsciousawareness, just as themassive part of aniceberg is beneath thesurface of the water("Essortment", 2011).Personality is what makes oneperson different from othersor unique.Which areindividual differences.A theory is a model of realitywhich allows one topredict, explain, understand, and control that reality.Key concepts of personality arebehaviorism and Bandura’ssocial-learning theory.
    3. 3. BehaviorismMcAdams, (2009), stated “behaviorism is abrand of psychologythat explores the waysin which observablebehavior is learnedand shaped by theenvironment” (p.68). Basically a theory of learning. Environment shapes behaviorthrough learning. One’s environment shapestheir behavior. Environment shapes one’spersonality. One’s personality is not inborn.
    4. 4. Key Concepts of Behaviorism Classical Conditioning. Operant Conditioning. Reinforcement.
    5. 5. Classical ConditioningMcAdams (2009), “inPavlov’s well-knownexamples of classicalconditioning, a hungrydog learns to salivate inresponse to a neutralstimulus (a tone)because that neutralstimulus has becomeassociated with astimulus (meat) thattypically elicitssalivation naturally” (p.70). Traditionally, simple, low-level of learning Now, complicated, high-levellearning process. A cornerstone of humanlearning. Implicated in certaindevelopments. Enables forming accurateworldly representations.
    6. 6. Operant ConditioningNaik (n.d.), “althoughevidence of classicalconditioning wasthere, E. L.Thorndike didnot believe that it wascomprehensive becausemost behavior in thenatural environment wasnot simple enough to beexplained by Pavlovstheory” (para. 11). Behaviors are modified byconsequences. Positive and negativeconsequences. Affected by reinforcementand punishment. Importance of learningaffects behaviors.
    7. 7. Key Concepts of OperantConditioning Positive and negative reinforcer. Positive and negative punishment. Extinction. Shaping. Continuous and partial reinforcement.Positive andNegativeReinforcerPositive andNegativePunishmentExtinction ShapingContinuous/PartialReinforcement
    8. 8. ReinforcementMcAdams(2009), “reinforcementcomes in manydifferent forms” (p. 73). Partial reinforcement. Continuous reinforcement. Conditioned generalizedreinforcers.
    9. 9. Bandura’s Social-Learning TheoryIsom (1998), “AlbertBandura believed thataggression is learnedthrough a processcalled behaviormodeling” (para. 1). Bridges behaviorist andcognitive learning theories. People learn from otherpeople. Throughobservation, imitation, andmodeling. Will encompassmotivation, attention, andmemory.
    10. 10. Key Concepts of Bandura’s Social-Learning Theory Observational learning. Self-efficacy.KeyConceptsObservationalLearningSelf-Efficacy
    11. 11. Observational LearningMcAdams (2009), “Thetraditional principles oflearning that arederived frombehaviorism—such asthe laws ofreinforcement andpunishment—havemore to do withperformance than withlearning per se” (p. 76) Based on traditionalprinciples of learning. Derived from behaviorism. Learning withoutreinforcement orsatisfaction.
    12. 12. Four Steps of ObservationalLearning Attentional processes. Retention processes. Motor reproduction processes. Motivational processes.
    13. 13. Self-EfficacyBandura and Schunkassert “self-efficacy isa person’s belief thathe or she cansuccessfully carry out‘‘courses of actionrequired to deal withprospective situationscontaining manyambiguous, unpredictable, and oftenstressful elements’’(as cited in McAdams(2009). Belief in one’s behavioralcompetence. High self-efficacy is strongbeliefs. Low self-efficacy is non-beliefs. Distinguished from outcomeexpectancies.
    14. 14. Four Sources of Self-Efficacy Performance accomplishments. Vicarious experience. Verbal persuasion. Emotional arousal.PerformanceAccomplishmentsVicariousexperienceVerbal Persuasion EmotionalArousal
    15. 15. ConclusionBehaviorism focuses on how environmentsshape the observed behaviors of organisms(McAdams 2009). Behaviorism is composedof key concepts such as classicalconditioning, operant conditioning, andreinforcement.Albert Bandura’s sociallearning theory is a pervasive phenomenon inhuman life. It bridges the gap betweenbehaviorist and cognitive learning theories.Composed of key concepts such asobservational learning and self-efficacy.
    16. 16. Why Citing Sources inPsychology is ImportantCiting sources in psychology is key for psychological terminology tokeep it’s meaning. Rewording of said terminology affects it’sunderstanding and meaning. Psychology is also a complexscience that has scientific terminology that cannot be replacedby non-scientific terms, words, or phrases.As well as clearpresentation of arguments and evidence in a manner that clearlydifferentiates between the students own ideas and argumentsand those derived from published authors either as directquotations or as summary or précis ("University OfHuddersfield", n.d.). Another reason citation and referencing areimportant is the presentation of material allows the reader tofollow and find the original source (whether the reader is themarker of a students work or a fellow psychologist as a reviewer)("University Of Huddersfield", n.d.).
    17. 17. ReferenceEssortment. (2011). Retrieved from, C.G. (1997, 2006). PersonalityTheories. Retrievedfrom, D. P. (2009). The person: A new introduction topersonality psychology. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ:Wiley.Isom, M.D. (1998).The Social LearningTheory. Retrievedfrom of Huddersfield. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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