Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Phobia, Mental Disorder, Hypomania

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13 Apr 2012
Chapter 12- Personality
Personality: distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling and acting that
characterize a person’s responses to life situations
o Components of identity that distinguish them
o Behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental
o Behaviours seem to fit together, suggesting an inner personality
Personality theories:
o Psychodynamic (Freud): unconscious drives, early experiences
o Humanistic (Maslow, Rogers): humans have a drive towards self-improvement
o Social-cognitive (Bandura, Rotters): consequences of our behaviour, and our perception
of the consequences
The Psychodynamic Perspective
Looking for the causes of behaviour in an interplay of inner forces, and unconscious
Freud (1856-1939): awarded a fellowship to study with French neurologist Jean Charcot
o Treated patients with conversion hysteria (physical symptoms appear suddenly with no
apparent cause)
o Freud thought it was due to repressed painful memories, and after patients were able to
re-experience the memories, they showed improvement
Freud began to experiment with techniques to access the unconscious mind: hypnosis, free
association, dream analysis he suffered severe depression, so self-analysed his own dreams
Instinctual drives generate psychic energy, which powers the mind and constantly presses for
direct or indirect release
Conscious, preconscious, and unconscious
Id: exists within the unconscious mind the only structure present at birth, the source of
psychic energy
o No direct contact with reality, totally irrational behaviour
o Operates according to the pleasure principle, seeks immediate gratification
Ego: conscious level, reality principle tests reality to decide when the id can safely discharge
its impulses
Superego: moral arm developed by age 4 or 5, repository for the values and ideals of society
o Allows for self-control to take over from the external controls of rewards and
o Strives to control instincts of the id: tries to block it completely, while the ego tries to
block it until there is a safe outlet
o Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones
Ego must now achieve compromise between the demands of the id, the constraints of the
superego, and reality ego cannot always control id, which leads to conflict and anxiety
Observable behaviour is often a compromise between motives, needs and impulses defence
mechanisms arise when strategies are ineffective at reducing anxiety
o Repression: ego keeps a lid on the id ego prevents anxiety-arousing memories,
remain in the unconscious, but may be expressed indirectly
o Sublimation: memories are channelled into socially desirable behaviour, masking the
underlying impulses
o Denial: refusal to acknowledge the situation
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o Displacement: finding a ‘safe target’ to outlet on
o Projection: an unacceptable impulse is repressed and then projected onto another
person (sometimes seen in therapy)
o Rationalization: you construct a false, but reasonable explanation for an event that
already occurred
Excessive reliance on these defence mechanisms was a primary cause of dysfunctional
Freud: personality is powerfully moulded by experiences in the first years of life Psychosexual
Stages where the id is focussed on a specific erogenous zone
o If there is excessive or inadequate gratification at a particular stage, fixation at that
stage occurs, and adult personality is affected
o Oral: 0-2
o Anal: 2-3
o Phallic: 4-6
o Latency: 7- puberty
o Genital: puberty onwards
Freud’s most infamous stage was the Phallic Stage
o Oedipal crisis: move from sexual attachment to opposite parent to identify with same-
sex parent
o Castration anxiety: all boys are afraid that someone will cut off their penis
o Penis envy: every girl wants a penis
Freud tested his theories through case studies and clinical observations (not experiments)
o Psychoanalytic theory has often been criticized on scientific grounds, because it is often
hard to test
o For example, his theories of development were not based on observing children
o Hysterical women in Vienna not representative
Reaction formation: producing exaggerated behaviours that are the opposite of the impulse
Neoanalysts: through Freud didn’t give social and cultural factors a sufficiently important role,
thought he stressed infantile sexuality too much, also believes that personality develops over a
o Alfred Adler: humans are inherently social beings who are motivated by social interest
striving for superiority: drives people to compensate for real or imagined defects in
themselves (inferiority complex), and strive to be more competent in life
o Carl Jung: theory of analytic psychology: people have a personal unconscious based on
life experiences, a collective unconscious that consists of memories of the human race
Object relations: focus on the images or mental representations that people form of themselves
of others as a result of early experience with caregivers exert an unconscious influence on a
person’s relationships throughout life
The Humanistic Perspective
Individuals have creative potential and an inborn striving for self-actualization a reaction to
Freud’s ideas
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: once basic needs have been satisfied, people seek psychological
needs and growth
Carl Rogers Self Theory: behaviour is a response to our immediate conscious experience of self
and environment
o The forces that direct behaviour are within us and when they are not distorted or
blocked by the environment, they can be trusted to direct us to self-actualization
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Self-concept develops in response to life experience tendency to maintain it, have needs for
self-consistency and congruence
Threat: when experience is inconsistent with self-concept
o Healthy adjustment: individuals modify self-concept
o Maladjustment: individuals distort reality
To preserve their self-image, people behave in ways that will lead others to respond to them in a
self-confirming fashion
The degree of congruence between self-concept and experience helps define one’s level of
adjustment Inflexible = less open = maladjusted
Need for positive regard: acceptance, sympathy, love from others
o Unconditional positive regard: communicates to a child that they are inherently worthy
of love
o Conditional positive regard: dependent on behaviour, creates conditions of worth (when
we approve or disapprove of ourselves)
Fully functioning persons do not hide/adopt artificial roles, are fairly free of conditions of worth
Self-esteem is an important aspect of well-being, happiness, and adjustment
o Children develop higher self-esteem when their parents communicate unconditional
acceptance, establish clear guidelines for behaviour, give child freedom to make
decisions and express opinions. These children are less susceptible to social pressure,
fewer interpersonal problems, high achievement
Self-verification: people are motivated to preserve their self-concept by maintaining self-
consistency and congruence people have a tendency to seek out self-confirming relationships
Self-enhancement: tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image ‘positive illusions’
Culture provides a learning context in which the self develops
o Collectivist = achievement of group goals is most important
o Individualist = independence/ personal attainment
Gender schemas: organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes
and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females
Psychotherapy may help a client to be more self-accepting, realistic
Trait and Biological Perspectives
Describe the basic classes of behaviour that define personality
Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors: 16PF, used to measure individual differences on each of the
o The dictionary identifies 18000 personality descriptors, Cattell narrowed this to 170
o Had subjects rate themselves on each one, and used factor analysis to group them
derived 16 source traits each person can be placed at some point along a continuum
Esyenck’s Extraversion-Stability Model: knowing how introverted a person is tells nothing about
their stability
o Later added a third dimension, psychoticism- self-control
The 5-Factor Model: the 5 factors are universal to the human species
o Openness
o Conscientiousness
o Extroversion
o Agreeableness
o Neuroticism
Trait theorists try to predict real-life behaviours 16PF is far superior in its ability to predict
specific behaviours
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