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Lecture 2

Week 21 - Personality Psychology

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PSYC 100
Dr.Ada Mullett

Week 21 Notes: Personality Traits How do psychologists explain personality and organize its components?  Distinguish between personality types and traits  Evaluate personality test by applying scientific criteria  Personality: a particular pattern of behaviour and thinking that prevails across time and situations and differentiates one person from another  Standardization, reliability, and validity make a good personality test  Personality theroies… o Psychodynamic Theory (Sigmund Freud): three components of personality, ego (compromise), superego (morals) and id (childish desire). Personality largely determined unconsciously by conflicts between the superego and id and the ego  Resulting psychodynamic theories explain personality in terms of inner drives and forces  Behavioural Theory (BF Skinner) o Operant conditioning + classical conditioning = personality o Social learning theorists revised; operant condition + classical conditioning + thoughts and cognition = personality  Watching and learning  Humanistic Theories (Rogers and Maslow) o Free will + self development = personality o Drives based on hierarchy of needs o Impediments to self-actualization (expectations of others) may distort our personalities o Not much empirical evidence  Trait Theories (Raymond Cattell) o The “big five”: openness to experience, contentiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism o Criticized for only describing, not explaining  Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory (MMPI-2) is an objective personality test that asks true/false questions about you as an individual  NEO (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience) objective test that measure personality factors using statements a person agrees/disagrees with on a 5-point scale o NEO-PI-3 measure the big five  Rorschach test, or inkblot test, is a projective test where the person describes what they see, project their own personality. Used primarily to diagnose psychosis  Myers-Briggs Indicatory (MBTI) has limited reliability and validity but a popular way to measure personality and cognitive styles  Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT) projective test where participant is to create story based on ambiguous picture. More a starting point to understanding personality The Trait Perspective  Gordon Allport identified 18,000 words used to describe characteristics and narrowed them down to 171 English adjectives  Factor Analysis: statistical analysis examining all correlation between all items and determines any highly correlated pairings  Raymond Cattell used these and got them down to 16 core personality traits that he believed described all possible personalities  He developed the 16 PF Questionnaire containing 200 statements used to measure aspects of behaviour o Criticised for containing redundant traits  Revised to a 3 factor model (NEO) then 5 (NEO-PI-3)  Uses the “Big Five” (5 personality dimensions derived from analysis of natural-language terms people use to describe themselves)  The big 5 are: neuroticism, openness to experience, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness  This test is valid and we can generally predict behaviour using it Interactions  Personality is also affected by both generics and environment, sometimes personality also affects environment How do Psychologists explain personality and organize its components? To what extent can you change who you are?  Distinguish between personality types and traits  Explain research to identify personality traits by Allport, Cattell, and the 5-factor model  Explain the psychobiological approach to personality, the effects of heredity and environment and the brain mechanisms that may be responsible for differences in personality traits  Summarize the social cognitive approach to personality  Summarize the psychodynamic theory of personality  Summarize the humanistic approach to the study of personality and the contributions of Maslow and Rogers  Evaluate personality tests by applying scientific criteria Freud  Sigmund Freud: Viennese physician who proposed all human behaviour is motivated by instinctual drives triggered by events in a person’s life  Freud thought a large part of our minds were unconscious, which he said explained some human behaviours  Psychodynamic Theory: theory of personality based on conflict between the conscious and unconscious mind and on developing mental stages tied to various bodily functions  Three parts of the mind interact, influencing us… o Id: completely unconscious, works on the pleasure principle and strives to satisfy sexual and aggressive drives o Ego: largely conscious, mediates between the id and superego o Superego: partly conscious, strives to abide to a strong standard of ethics and morals  Both conscious and unconscious interactions of the three determine our behaviour  Personality develops through different stages that present challenges to us in childhood (we become focused on zones of the body at each stage)  When trials were failed, fixation (energies remained focused on particular stage) occurred o Oral fixation -> smoking, drinking, eating  We handle fixations through defense mechanisms  Freuid’s theory has since been largely dismissed Defense Mechanisms  Defense mechanisms are actually widely accepted, popularized by Anna Freud (daughter)  Defense mechanism include repression, displacement, sublimation, raction formation, projection, rationalization, and regression  George Valliant divided mechanisms into three categories o Immature defenses distort reality and lead to ineffective behaviour (projection, regression, displacement) o Intermediate defense distorts reality less and leads to somewhat more effective behaviour (repression, reaction formation, sublimation) o Mature defense systems distort reality least and are associated most with adaptive coping (humour, suppression). In suppression, person is able to ignore negative feelings/information  Mature defense systems harbour richer friendships, harmonious marriages, greater job satisfaction, and greater overall happiness Assessing the Unconscious  Psychoanalysis therapy to provide the client with insights into his or her unconscious motivations and impulses  Free Association: individual relaxes and clears mind, then reports all thoughts, images, perceptions, and feeling that come to mind  Dream Analysis: evaluation of the underlying meaning of dreams Humanistic Theories  Emphasize conscious part of mind, and capacity to choose your self-fulfillment  Outlines how healthy people develop through life  Phenomenological Reality: how each individual views their own world  Carl Rogers thought many people were striving for self-fulfillment, but were distracted by judgments of others  Proposed we should have an Unconditional Positive Regard (worth as a human doesn’t depend on anything you do, say, feel, or think, total acceptance) from others  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: passing through several levels of need, with entrance to subsequent levels depending on fulfillment of previous levels o Physiological (minimum essentials like water, food) o Safety (protection from danger in environment, shelter) o Belonging (competence, self-respect) o Self-Actualization (discovering and fully enjoying the true meaning of life) To what extent can you change who you are?  Distinguish between personality types and traits  Explain the psychobiological approach to personality: the effect of heredity and environment and the brain mechanisms that may be responsible for differences in personality traits  Summarize the social cognitive approach to personality Social-Cognitive Perspectives  We have a cyclical connection with the environment, it affects and shapes us, and our behaviour and personality affects it  Personality is the result of Cognitive Constructs; a general belief system that affects how people understand events and select appropriate behaviours  Julian Rotter theorized Locus of Control; the extent to which people believe outcomes are predicted by either their actions or some outside force  Internal Locus of Control: you can control your destiny  External Locus of Control: someone else controls your destiny  Test of 20 paired items, leaning towards either internal or external  People who have internal locusts of control are more likely to take care of their health, succeed in weight-loss programs, resist pressure of group conformity, achieve strong academic goals, less anxious, and more content, and more fond of games of skill than chance  Learned Helplessness: belief system in which someone learns hopelessness and passive resignation when unable to avoid repeated aversive events  Learned helplessness may develop simply through the belief that you can’t control outcomes even when you can  Albert Bandura proposed Self Efficacy; an individual’s belief about that ability to perform a task  Self efficacy is good predictor of task performance  When raising children, promote self-efficacy by giving support and giving positive feedback  Chapter 14: Personality Trait Theories of Personality Personality Types and Traits  Personality Type: category where different characteristics may be assigned based on developmental experience and physical factors  We’ve moved from types to traits, as they more accurately reflect people (no two people fit into the same category exactly) Identification of Personality Traits  Gordon Allport took 18,000 adjectives to describe personality from the English dictionary, eliminating any temporary words like flustered  He believed we had to be able to describe personality before understanding it  Most powerful and influential terms called cardinal traits, with central traits being secondary in importance  Stimulated other psychologists to think of personality in terms of
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