Theories of personality


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  • The ‘Nature of Personality’ material relates to APA goal 1.2: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in selected content areas in Psychology . In particular, the ‘personality’ component of section A(2): Individual differences, psychometrics, personality, and social processes, including those related to sociocultural and international dimensions , is relevant here.
  • Theories of personality

    1. 1. <ul><li>Theories of Personality </li></ul>
    2. 2. The Nature of Personality, continued <ul><li>Personality is “an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioral traits”. </li></ul><ul><li>A personality trait is “a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations”. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Common personality traits include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>honest </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Moody </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>impulsive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>friendly </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. The Nature of Personality, continued <ul><li>Robert McCrae and Paul Costa (1987, 1997, 1999) state that there are five “higher-order” traits that are known as the “ Big Five ” (see Figure 2.1): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extraversion (or positive emotionality) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neuroticism (or negative emotionality) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Openness to experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreeableness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conscientiousness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>However, this is but one of many perspectives on human personality. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Psychodynamic Perspectives <ul><li>Psychodynamic theories include a variety of theoretical models derived from the work of Sigmund Freud. </li></ul><ul><li>All focus on unconscious mental forces that shape our personalities. </li></ul><ul><li>Well known psychodynamic theorists include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jung </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Erikson </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. The Big Five
    6. 6. Sigmund Freud
    7. 7. Psychodynamic Perspectives, continued <ul><li>Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory of personality is somewhat controversial and is based on three main assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personality is governed by unconscious forces that we cannot control. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Childhood experiences play a significant role in determining adult personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personality is shaped by the manner in which children cope with sexual urges. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, continued <ul><li>Freud argued that personality is divided into three structures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The id is “ the primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ego is “the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The superego is “the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong”. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, continued <ul><li>The id, ego and superego are arranged into different layers of awareness including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The conscious layer – this includes thoughts or feelings we are fully aware of. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The preconscious layer – this includes information just beneath the surface of our awareness. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The unconscious layer – this includes thoughts, memories, feelings and desires that we are not aware of, but that greatly influence our behavior (see Figure 2.2). </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, continued <ul><li>Freud believed that behavior is the result of ongoing internal conflict among the id, ego and superego. </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts stemming from sexual and aggressive urges are especially significant. </li></ul><ul><li>Such conflicts arouse anxiety and we use defense mechanisms – “largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from painful emotions such as anxiety and guilt”. </li></ul>
    11. 12. Defense Mechanisms DEFENSE DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE denial arguing against an anxiety provoking stimuli by stating it doesn't exist denying that your physician's diagnosis of cancer is correct and seeking a second opinion displacement taking out impulses on a less threatening target slamming a door instead of hitting as person, yelling at your spouse after an argument with your boss intellectualization avoiding unacceptable emotions by focusing on the intellectual aspects focusing on the details of a funeral as opposed to the sadness and grief
    12. 13. Defense Mechanisms DEFENSE DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE projection placing unacceptable impulses in yourself onto someone else when losing an argument, you state &quot;You're just Stupid;&quot; homophobia rationalization supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason stating that you were fired because you didn't kiss up the the boss, when the real reason was your poor performance reaction formation taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety having a bias against a particular race or culture and then embracing that race or culture to the extreme
    13. 14. Defense Mechanisms DEFENSE DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE regression returning to a previous stage of development sitting in a corner and crying after hearing bad news; throwing a temper tantrum when you don't get your way repression pulling into the unconscious forgetting sexual abuse from your childhood due to the trauma and anxiety sublimation acting out unacceptable impulses in a socially acceptable way sublimating your aggressive impulses toward a career as a boxer; becoming a surgeon because of your desire to cut; lifting weights to release 'pent up' energy suppression pushing into the unconscious trying to forget something that causes you anxiety
    14. 15. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, continued <ul><li>Personality development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freud believed that the basic elements of adult personality are in place by age five and result from the outcome of five psychosexual stages . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In each stage, children must cope with distinct immature sexual urges that influence adult personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixation results if the child fails to move forward from one stage to another, and is usually caused by excessive gratification , or frustration of needs at a particular stage. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 16. Carl Jung
    16. 17. Psychodynamic Perspectives, continued <ul><li>Jung’s Analytical Psychology. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jung also focused on the role of the unconscious in shaping personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, he argued that the unconscious is comprised of two layers: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The personal unconscious (this contains the same material as Freud’s unconscious layer), and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The collective unconscious – this contains traces of memories, shared by the entire human race, inherited from our ancestors. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 18. Jung’s Analytical Psychology, continued <ul><li>The collective unconscious does not contain memories of distinct, personal experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Rather, it contains archetypes – “emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning”. </li></ul>
    18. 20. <ul><li>Jung was also the first to describe the: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introverted (inner-directed), and the </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extroverted (outer-directed) personality types. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 21. Alfred Adler
    20. 22. Psychodynamic Perspectives, continued <ul><li>Adler’s Individual Psychology. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adler believed that the most important human drive is not sexuality, but our drive for superiority . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adler stated that we use compensation - “efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing one’s abilities”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If we are unsuccessful, we may develop an inferiority complex – “exaggerated feelings of weakness and inadequacy”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adler also believed that birth order may contribute to personality. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 23. Evaluating Psychodynamic Perspectives <ul><li>Psychodynamic theory contributed the following important ideas : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unconscious forces may contribute to personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal conflict may play a key role in psychological distress. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Early childhood experiences can influence adult personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People may rely on defense mechanisms to reduce unpleasant emotions. </li></ul></ul>
    22. 24. Evaluating Psychodynamic, continued <ul><li>Psychodynamic theory has also been criticized on the following grounds : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor testability – it is too vague to subject to scientific tests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inadequate evidence – the theories depend too much on case studies of clients whose recollections may have been distorted to fit the theory. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexism – the theories have a male-oriented bias and do not adequately address women’s issues. </li></ul></ul>