CH 14: Personality PSYA02 1
Trait Theories of Personality
• Personality is a particular pattern of behavior and thinking and determines how
we act or react in a variety of situations.
• Humoural Theory (by Galen): earliest theory to explain individual differences in
personality. (Body contains 4 humours)
o Choleric ppl – excess yellow – bad tempered/irritable.
o Melancholic ppl – excess black – gloomy/pessimistic.
o Phlegmatic ppl – excess phlegm- sluggish/calm/unexcitable.
o Sanguine ppl – excess blood – passionate/cheerful
• Personality types – different categories into which personality characteristics
can be assigned based on factors (developmental exp for eg)
o This is an obviously rejected theory, today we conceive of individual
differences personality as being in degree, not kind.
• Personality trait – enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a
particular pattern of behavior in different situations.
o Ppl vary in the extent to which they are one or the other (analogous to a
o Traits have both biological and learning outside of body.
Dynamic organization – integrated and unified
whole, we have a sense of having a unified
• organization occurs within the individual.
• Exists in terms of psychophysical systems
• These systems determine(implying cause
• Personality has causal impact on our
behaviour – knowing somebody’s
personality has an EXPLANATORY power
• Personality helps us makes adaptations to CH 14: Personality PSYA02 2
world around us.
• Allport (Important in Personality Traits)
o Believed that people react the same in all situations
Cardinal Traits – rare, but strong unifying influence on person’s
behavior. (eg. Hitler)
Central Traits – less singular than cardinal (eg. Honest, warm)
used to distinguish from others.
Secondary Traits – minor influence in behavior (eg. freq to change
• He believes “we only know how to explain a person’s
personality once we can describe it!”
• Cattell (16 Personality factors)
o Used Allports information to bring Allports 18 000 trait words into 171
adjectives (using factor analysis)
o He referred his 16 PF as source traits, to which personality was built.
• Eysenck (3 Factors) of bipolar dimensions. (ENP)
o Extroversion – outgoing nature (opp to introversion) – requires more
external stimulation than introvert to maintain optimum arousal.
Introversion – shy, reserved, careful (opp to extroversion) –
requires little to maintain his lower arousal lvl.
o Neuroticism – always tense, worrying, moody and unstable (opp to
o Psychoticism – aggressive, anti social, egocentric (opp of self control)
• 5 Factor Model (P is composed of 5 primary dimensions)
o the original 3 were Neuro,Extra(big two) and Openness. CH 14: Personality PSYA02 3
o Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness.
o They are measured by the NEO-PI-R (Neuroticism, Extraversion and
Openness Personality Inventory) R standing for revised.
Reliability: alphas from .87 to .92, N = 1,539.
Validity: self-peer r’s from .36 to .53, N = 250.
Consists of 240 items to describe a person.
McCrae, Costa, and Busch performed Factor Analysis on a list of
adjectives contained in a test called the California Q-Set – resulting
in the same 5 factors.
• Identical twins correlate more than fraternal twins in terms of personality
• Heredity is responsible for b/w 50-70 % of variability in these 3 personality traits.
The remaining % is caused by diff in environment.
• Identical twins were much more likely to have experienced similar family
• Heredity plays a large role in determining the nature of environment
P458 to p460 needs reading again.
Social Learning Approach
Social Learning Theory – personality is determined by consequences of behavior and
the beliefs of those consequences. Skinner believed that personality was determined
Expectancy – specific action leads to a specific consequence. Yet consequences can
change depending on when the action is dealt. (aggressiveness to get a toy, but do this
in front of your parents and you get into trouble).
Observational Learning – a derivative to expectancy - allows ppl to learn actions
vicariously (not directly re-inforced). For eg. watching your mom put on deodorant, and
then mimicking them. CH 14: Personality PSYA02 4
*More complex behaviours = more times it needs to be observed/executed = more
practice = learn it well.
Reciprocal Determinism – idea that personal variables (cognitive, expectations etc),
behavior and environment interact with each other in determining one’s personality.
Self-Efficacy – how well you can perform a task – related to optimism and pessimism –
optimists have better chances of performing a task even when the circumstances don’t
look too successful.
Person Variables – favoured by Mischel – 5 of them –
1) Competancies – reinforced skills + behaviours will be likely engaged in future.
2) Encoding Strats and Personal Construct – we process info differently than
others – therefore we perceive situations differently than others.
3) Expectancies – one action to one expectancy of our behavior
4) Subjective Values – degree to which we value certain reinforcers (seek most
5) Self-Regulatory Systems and Plans – to achieve our goals we monitor
ourselves by reinforcement and punishment.
Locus of Control – belief that consequences are controlled by person variables
External Locus = events in life are determined by envi variables.
Internal Locus = events in life determined by their own variables.
The I-E Scale measures locus of control (0-23) Low score=Internal, High
Evaluating Scientific Issues
• Mischel’s beliefs – situations, not traits, best predict behavior.
Eg. comparing introversion/extroversion when events are party vs. funeral.
• Many disagreed – some situations are weak to determine ppl’s behavior
• CAPS Approach (Cognitive-Affective Processing System) look at powerpoint
PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH CH 14: Personality PSYA02 5
A term used to describe the Freudian notion that the mind is in a state of conflict among
instincts, reason, and conscience.
• Freud and Breuer called the release of energy to relief the original experiences a
• Freud concluded all behavior is motivated by instinctual drives, when activated,
supply psychic energy. Failure to release this can cause the person to express
the emotion neurotically – with excessive anxiety. In this stage you are in the
unconscious – (inaccessible part of mind) Eg. Somebody has died and you want
to deny this.
• He also believed that we are constantly trying to prevent unconscious memories
of traumatic events from reaching conscious awareness.
Structures of Mind (Id + Ego + SuperEgo)
• Id = present at birth – most primitive – houses the Libido – the basic energy of
the mind – drives all mental operations and behaviours. Any life sustaining need
satisfying or pleasure oriented urge
• Follows only the Pleasure Principle rule – engage in anything pleasurable right
• Ego = 2 3 year of life – executive of mind/personality – constrains the Id to
reality.(reality principle). Aka the mediator- compromises between the Id and
• SuperEgo = 5 year of life – internalized morality – stands up to law’s principle
and represents society
• Id and Superego are both NOT tied to reality. When making a decision, conflict
always arises between the Id and Superego.
• Conflict leads to anxiety – the sense that the Ego is losing control of things
between Id and Superego.
• 3 Types of Anxiety are 1)Realistic (gun to your face), 2)Neurotic (conflicting Id
and Ego), and 3)Moral Anxiety (conflicting ego and SuperEgo).
• Conscience = internalization of rules and restrictions of society.
• Ego Ideal = internalization of what society values and what person will strive to
get. CH 14: Personality PSYA02 6
• Internalized Prohibitions = rules to protect one from guilt he would feel if
instinctual drives were allowed to express themselves.
• Compromise formation – between demands of Id and suppressive Superego.
(Great course – I’d like to break your hand! , other egs are Freudian slips, and
1) In dreams the actual storyline (manifest content) is disguised by the
hidden message (latent content, made by unconscious
• Free Association – Freud’s method in which individual is asked to relax, clear
mind and report on any images or thoughts that come to mind. – helps with
• Defence Mechanisms respond to experiences of anxiety.
• 1 line of defence = Repression (mentally keeping anxiety-provoking events out
of conscious aka intentional forgetting)
• 2 line of defense = Auxiliary Defense
1) Denial (least sophisticated)
2) Projection –taking something that pisses you off and projecting it onto
something else – this contradicts with SuperEgo in terms of morals.
3) Sublimation – redirecting pleasure seeking/aggressive instincts towards
socially acceptable goals. When successful, eg. sexual desire drawing,
this is an example of sublimated neurotic energy.
4) Rationalization (textbook) = justifies an unacc