What is it? The branch of psychology that studies measurable differences between individuals This semester, we will be exploring personality and abnormal psychology.
Personality Refers to the consistent patterns of thought, feeling, motivation and behaviour originating within the individual. Personality psychologists construct general theories of the structure of personality (the way personality processes are organised) and individual differences (the way people vary in their personality characteristics)
Closer look at definition the consistent patterns of thought, feeling, motivation and behaviouroriginating within the individual. Consistency – must display some stability. Patterns of thought, feeling, motivation and behaviour – personality psychologists should examine the covert as well as the overt. Within – external sources influence personalities, but it is not solely a function of the situation. The individual – personality psychologists are more interested in understanding why people behave differently in the same situation.
Five Approaches to Personality Scenario: Meet John.Suppose you have observed that Johnoften behaves in an aggressive manner.As a youth, John constantly was introuble for fighting with otherchildren. When he gets in an argumentwith someone over some smalldetail, John frequently will threaten theother person with violence.You conclude from these observationsthat aggressive behaviour is part ofJohn’s personality
Psychoanalytic approach to John John is expressing an instinct that we all have to act in an aggressive manner. For John, the unconscious mechanism that holds this impulse in check is not functioning properly. A closer examination might show that John acts aggressively only in certain situations or people – e.g. middle-aged males. The psychoanalytic might speculate he is expressing some unconscious hostility toward his father.
Trait Approach The trait approach might describe John’s behaviour pattern in terms of an aggressive trait: Because of some past experiences or even some inherited tendency, John is more likely to respond to situations with aggression than people who are lower in this aggressive trait.
Humanistic Approach John’s aggressiveness is his response to the frustration of some basic needs. Aggression will cease as soon as John gets back on the road to self-fulfillment.
Behavioural/Social learning Approach John has been reinforced for aggressive behaviour in the past. Therefore, he has a habit of responding to certain types of situations with aggression. Having observed others be rewarded for acting aggressively, John expects that he too will be rewarded if he imitates this aggressive behaviour.
Cognitive Approach John frequently attends to aspects of his environment that stimulate him to act aggressively. Because he tends to process information along lines related to violence, he is more likely than most people to respond to events with aggression.
Biological Approach John’s brain examination shows that he has an damaged hypothalamus – a critical part of the brain that controls aggression.