Lecture 9: Personality
o Intro to Shyness
• Psychodynamic view of personality
o Personality as a conflict
o Shyness as a symptom
• Behavioural View of Personality
o Personality as Response tendencies
o Shyness as faulty learning
• Socio-cognitive view of personality
o Personality as self-efficacy
o Shyness as low perceived self-efficacy
• Humanistic view of personality
o Personality as growth
o Shyness as social strategy
• Trait view of personality
o Personality as trait hierarchy
o Shyness as descriptive
Personality (personality trait): something that is relatively stable, consistent across time
and situations; individual differences are shown (people will differ in the extent to which
they possess the trait);
o Trait vs. state: example of shyness.
State Shyness Trait Shyness
“garden” variety “personality” variety
80% of population 25% of population
Shy in certain situations only (i.e.: Pervasive shyness:
strangers, authority, opposite sex, public 1. across situations
appearance). 2. across time
Minimal negative consequences and Severe consequences:
possibly positive consequences (i.e.: may • enjoying social events/meeting new
elicit empathic response).
• inhibits communication, expression,
• promotes excessive self consciousness
and self preoccupation (i.e.:
• prone to low self esteem, stress,
loneliness, and depression
• Psychodynamic viewpoint:
o Shyness is a result of an unresolved oedipal conflict “His unfulfilled longing for his mother’s affection and oedipal
strivings led to castration fear, aggravated by the fact that his father
was realistically a threatening figure. With the stimulation of sexual
drive at puberty, John’s wishes assumed incestuous implications. All
sexual interest consequently became taboo, and shyness ensues, the
result of repression.”
“In shyness the traumatic force of the social event begins with a
displacement of a dangerous grandiosity from elsewhere in the
patient’s life where it is active in a subjectively more benign form.
The torment embodied in the symptom of shyness (the dread of being
overlooked, ignored, rejected) is also displaced onto the social event
from subjectively more benign expressions of derogation and disdain
elsewhere in the patient’s life.”
o Resolution of shyness is discovering the initial cause of the unresolved
Get to the unconscious mind to find the issue, and then through
therapy help to fix the conflict. In turn, they should lose their shyness
once the conflict is resolved.
• Behaviourist viewpoint:
o No such thing as a personality trait.
Person x’s environment behaviour (shy) outcomes
o Shyness is simply a set of learned behaviours that are faulty or maladaptive.
Thorndike’s law of effect: in the past, shy behaviour has been
reinforced by outcomes/more socially outgoing behaviours have been
punished. Eventually it generalizes across all environments, and you
find yourself in a consistently shy state.
o Anything that has been learned can be unlearned. Behavioralist will try to
find the contingencies that are influencing the shy and undermining the
outgoing behaviours and alter them (transferring the positive outcomes to the
outgoing behaviour and the negative to the shy).
o Shyness is the disorder, not a symptom of something sepa