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Chapter 12 Notes - Personality: Theory, Research and Assessment

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Ayesha Khan

CH 12: Personality: Theory, Research and Assessment  Emphasis on Freud, Skinner, and Rogers’ theory The Nature of Personality Defining Personality: Consistency and Distinctiveness  Personality: individual’s unique and consistent behavioural traits 1. No one is consistent in behaviour, but the consistency across situations defines the concept of personality 2. Each have distinctive set of personality traits that react differently to the same situation Personality Traits: Dispositions and Dimensions  Personality Trait: durable nature to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations  There are 16 basic dimensions of personality  Factor Analysis: correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely related clusters of variables  When the measurements of a number of variables correlate highly with one another, the assumption is that a single factor is influencing all of them  Hidden factors are identifies and it considered the very basic and high-ordered traits that determine less basic and more specific traits  Using factor analysis, Cattell said an individual’s personality can be described completely by measuring just 16 basic traits The Five Factor Model of Personality Traits  High-order traits known as the “big five”:  Extraversion, Neuroticism, Openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness  Characterized as “latitude and longitude” as personality should be mapped  Relationship between the “big five” and socioeconomic status  Some argue that there ought to be more/less than five fundamental factor in personality Extraversion:  Outgoing, sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertible, gregarious  Predictive of specific aspects of behaviour  Positive Correlations between the traits and interpersonal/academic performance Neuroticism  Anxious, hostile, self-conscious, insecure, emotionally unstable  Overreacts to stress than others Openness to Experience  Openness is associated with: curiosity, flexibility, imaginativeness, unconventional attitudes  Key trait for political attitudes and ideology, since openness fosters liberalism Agreeableness  Sympathetic, trusting, cooperative, modest, straightforward, helping behaviour  Associated with constructive approaches to conflict resolution, making agreeable people less quarrelsome than others Conscientiousness  Diligent, disciplined, well-organized, punctual, dependable  Associated with constraint, strong self-discipline  Related to impression management  Correlated with less illness and reduce mortality  Probability of being strongly conscientious rises dramatically as social class goes up, and gradually for openness and extraversion  Extraversion and Conscientiousness are positive predictors of occupational attainments Psychodynamic Perspectives  Psychodynamic Theories: include all the diverse theories of Freud, focusing on unconscious mental forces Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory  Freud is Jewish, lived in Vienna and in the Victorian era(sexual repression era)  Psychoanalysis lacks objectivity and testability of the theory in the science world Structure of Personality  Behaviour is the interaction 3 personality structures: id, ego and superego  Id: Primitive/instinctive component of personality that acts upon the pleasure principle  Pleasure principle: demands immediate gratification of its urges  Primary-process thinking: primitive, illogical, irrational and fantasy orientated  Satisfies biological urges that energize behaviour = reservoir of psychic energy  Ego: decision making component that act upon the reality principle  Reality Principle: delay gratification of the id’s urges until appropriate situations can be found  Secondary-process thinking: relatively rational, realistic and oriented toward problem solving  Mediates between id and the external social world (social norms like etiquette, rules)  Attempt to achieve long term goals but putting off gratification  Superego: moral component of personality that incorporates social standards of what represents right and wrong  Especially’ during childhood, people receive training about good and bad behaviour, morality becomes internalized  Emerges out of ego around 3-5 years of age  Sometimes irrationally demanding for moral perfection Levels of Awareness  Freud thought “slips of tongue” often revealed true feelings and dreams were often hidden desires  Through psychoanalysis, patients discovered unaware feelings and conflicts  Three levels of awareness: 1. Conscious: whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time  Ex) at this moment you are aware of the text and a dim awareness of your hunger 2. Preconscious: material just beneath the surface of awareness that could be easily retrieved  Ex) what you had for supper last night 3. Unconscious: thoughts, memories, and desires below the surface of conscious awareness but exerts great influenced on behaviour  Ex) forgotten trauma, repressed sexual desires  Unconscious is much larger than conscious/preconscious  Ego and superego operate at all 3 levels of awareness; id is entirely unconscious Conflict and the Tyranny of Sex and Aggression  Freud assume behaviour is the outcome of internal conflict  Our lives are dominated by conflict between id, ego and superego  He emphasized sexual and aggressive impulses that are especially likely to have far stretch consequences  more complex/ambiguous because its behaviour is subtle as people are inconsistent about what is appropriate  thwarted more regularly than other biological urges Anxiety and Defence Mechanisms  Prolonged conflicts that involve sexual and aggressive impulses are often from the unconscious that can produce anxiety when slipped into consciousness  Anxiety when: id dominating and leading to negative consequences OR superego makes you feel guilty about a real/imagined transgression  People try to rid themselves of anxiety using defence mechanisms  Defence Mechanisms: largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt Defence Definition Example Mechanism Repression Keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried Traumatic experiences are forgotten by the in the unconscious (“motivated forgetting”) victim Projection Attributing one’s own thoughts. Feelings or A women who dislikes her boss thinks she motives to another likes her boss but the boss does not like her Displacement Diverting emotional feelings from their original After getting in trouble, a young girl might source to a substitute target take her anger out on her little brother Reaction Behaving in a way that is exactly the opposite of A parent who unconsciously resents a child formation one’s true feelings. Guilt about sexual desires spoils the child with outlandish gifts often leads to reaction formation Regression A reversion to immature patterns of behaviour An adult has a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way OR when anxious about their self-worth, some respond with childish boasting/bragging Rationalization Creating false but plausible excuses to justify student watches TV instead of studying, unacceptable behaviour saying that additional study won’t do any good anyway Identification Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary An insecure man joining a fraternity to boost or real alliance with some people or group his self esteem Sublimation Occurs when unconscious, unacceptable A young man’s longing for intimacy is impulses are channelled into socially acceptable, channeled into his artwork perhaps even admirable, behaviours. (Healthy) Development: Psychosexual Stages  Freud believed 5 year olds has the basic foundation of personality  Children go through psychosexual stages where their sexual urges (physical pleasure) shift in focuss after each stage  Psychosexual Stage: developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality  Fixation: failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected  Can be caused by excessive gratification of needs OR excessive frustration of those needs at particular stage  Can lead to overemphasis of those needs in adulthood Stage Approximate Erotic Focus Key Tasks and Experience Ages Oral 0-1 Mouth (sucking, biting) Weaning (from breast or bottle) Fixation can form the basis of obsessive eating or smoking Anal 2-3 Anus (expelling or retaining Toilet training feces) Pleasure from bowel movement Severely punitive toilet training can lead to hostile feeling towards the trainer, often the mother, and later towards women in general It can cause genital anxiety evolving into anxiety about sexual activities later in life Phallic 4-5 Genitals (masturbating) Identifying with adult role models; coping with Age oedipal crisis, electra complex for girls. The child has to resolve the oedipal dilemma by purging the sexual longings for the opposite sex parent and crushing the hostility felt toward the same sex parent Resolution leads to healthy psychosexual development Latency 6-12 None(sexually repressed) Expanding social contacts Sexual urges reappear and this time focuses on peers rather than oneself Genital Puberty Genitals (being sexually Establishing intimate relationships; contributing to onwards intimate) society through working  Freud believed the foundation for adult personality are rooted in early formative experiences  Unconscious sexual conflicts rooted in childhood experiences cause most personality disturbances Jung’s Analytical Psychology  Jung also emphasized the unconscious determinant of personality  Personal unconsciousness: houses material within one’s conscious awareness because it has been repressed or forgotten  Collective unconsciousness: storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people’s ancestral past - each person shared the collective unconscious with the entire human race  Archetypes: emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning, ancestral memories - Ex) mandala/magic circle is a symbol for unified wholeness of the self in many cultures  Introvert: those preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings and experiences  Extravert: those who tends to be interested in the external world of people and things Adler’s Individual Psychology  Alfred Alder was in Freud’s Vienna Psychoanalytic Society and left the circle because he did not want to be dominated by Freud like how it has been with his older brothers  Individual psychology: Striving for superiority is the universal drive to adapt, improve oneself, and master life’s challenges  Inferiority feelings motivate people to acquire new skills and develop new talents, so superiority is the prime goal in life  Compensation: involves efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing one’s abilities  Inferiority complex: excessive/exaggerated inferior feelings that are thought to be caused by parental pampering pr neglect - Sometimes cause people to engage in overcompensation, to conceal their feelings of inferiority even on an unconscious level - Worries more about appearance than reality by flaunting their success  Alder stressed social context of personality development - Such as birth order, like only children are often spoiled by excessive attention from parents - But there are insufficient evidence of an existing correlation between birth order and personality  Sulloway claimed that birth order shapes the “Big Five” from competition amongst siblings to find a niche in the family environment Evaluating Psychodynamic Perspectives  “Grand” theories of psychodynamic approach to personality: 1. Unconscious forces can influence behaviour 2. Internal conflict often plays a key role in generating psychological distress 3. Early childhood experiences can have powerful influences on adult personality 4. People do use defence mechanisms to reduce their experience of unpleasant emotions  Criticism of psychodynamic approach to personality: 1. Poor testability: Sometimes too vague and conjectural for a scientific test 2. Inadequate evidence: Psychodynamic theories depend too heavily on clinical case where expectations are clear; distortion is prominent 3. Sexism: Bias against women, Freud believed that female’s penis envy made them feel inferior to males 4. Unrepresentative Samples: Freud’s theories were based on narrow samples of upper-class, neurotic, sexually repressed Viennese women. Culture/sex bias Behavioural Perspectives  Behaviourism: theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behaviour Skinner’s Ideas Applied to Personality  Skinner’s concepts of operant conditioning were never meant to be a theory of personality Personality Structure: A View from the Outside  Skinner thought "inside" of people is useless to speculate about because it is private and unobservable cognitive process  External environment/stimuli moulds overt behaviour  Free will is an illusion  People show consistent patterns of behaviour because they have some stable response tendencies that they have acquired through experience  Response tendencies may change from experience but still maintain its consistency Personality Development as a Product of Conditioning  Skinner believed that most human responses are shaped by op
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