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Psych 1000 personality

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Personality What is Personality?  Distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations  Typically have three characteristics o Components of identity that distinguish that person from another o Behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors o Person’s behaviours seem to fit together in a meaningful fashion – suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour  Guided by psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural perspectives Psychodynamic Perspective  Look for causes of behaviour in interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another  Focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour Freud Psychoanalytic Theory  Neurologist Jean Charcot o Treating patients who suffered from disorder called conversion hysteria o Symptoms: paralysis & blindness appeared suddenly and with no cause  Freud - patients convinced him that symptoms were related to painful memories & feelings that seemed to have been repressed  When patients were able to re-experience traumatic memories & unacceptable feelings - often sexual or aggressive - symptoms often disappeared or improved Psychic Energy and Mental Events  Considered personality to be an energy system  Instinctual drives generate psychic energy  Which powers mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release o Ex. Build-up of energy from sexual drives might be discharged directly through sexual activity or indirectly through sexual fantasies, farming, or painting  Mental events may be: o Conscious  Presently aware of o Preconscious  Unaware of at the moment but that can be called into conscious awareness  Ex. 16 birthday – mentioning it brings it to conscious mind o Unconscious  Freud believed that it was bigger in size and importance  Wishes, feelings, & impulses that lie beyond awareness  Impulses discharged in some way – dreams, slips of tongue, disguised behaviours The Structure of Personality  Freud divided personality into three separate structures o Id  Exists totally within unconscious mind  Innermost core of personality  Only structure present at birth  Source of all psychic energy  Functions in an irrational manner  Operates according to Pleasure Principle  Seeks immediate gratification or release regardless of rational considerations  No contact with outer world - cannot directly satisfy itself by obtaining what it needs from environment  leads to ego o Ego  Functions primarily at conscious level  Operates according to Reality Principle  Tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge impulses and satisfy needs  Must achieve a compromise between demands of the id and moral constraints of superego  “Executive of the personality” o Superego  Last to develop - developed by age 4-5  Moral arm of personality  Repository for values and ideals of society  Ideals are internalized by the child through identification with parents – explicit training as to what is right and wrong  Self-control takes over from the external controls of rewards & punishments  Strives to control instincts of the id – particularly sexual and aggressive impulses  Tries to block gratification permanently –impulses condemned  Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones, regardless of the potential cost to the individual  Ex. Cause a person to experience intense guilt over sexual activity even within marriage because it internalized idea: sex is “dirty” Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence  Dynamics of personality - never-ending struggle between id & opposing forces  Observable behaviour represents compromises  Anxiety o Ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control or is faced with dangers from the environment o Serves as a danger signal o Motivates ego to deal with problem o Reduced by realistic coping o Defense Mechanisms  Used when realistic coping is not effective  Deny or distort reality  Some permit release of impulses from id in disguised forms that will not conflict with limits imposed  Operate unconsciously – unaware that they are using self-deception to ward of anxiety  Excessive reliance on defence mechanism – primary cuase of maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviour  Repression o Primary means by which ego keeps the lid on the id o Ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings and impulses from entering consciousness o Repressed thoughts & wishes  Remain in unconscious  Strive for release  Expressed indirectly  Can be channelled into socially desirable behaviours through defence mechanism of sublimation  Completely masking the forbidden underlying impulses  Ex. hostile impulses used in tracking down criminals or being a successful trial lawyer Major Defence Mechanisms Defence Description Example Mechanism Repression memories are pushed into unconscious mindxiety-arousing impamnesia for the evently abused in childhood develops Denial Person refuses to acknowledge anxiety-arousing aspects of tMan who is told he has terminal cancer refuses to consider environment. Denial may involve either the emotions connectpossibility that he will not recover the event or the event itself Displacement An unacceptable or dangerous impulse is repressed, and thenMan who is harassed by boss experiences no anger at work, directed at a safer substitute target but abuses his wife and children Intellectualizatdealt with as intellectually interesting eventepressed Situtalks in a highly rational manner about “unpredictability of love relationships.” Projection Unacceptable impulse is repressed, and then attributed to (Woman with strong repressed desires to have an affair onto) other people. accuses her husband of being unfaithful to her Rationalization Person constructs a false but plausible explanation or excuStudent caught cheating on an exam justifies act by pointing anxiety-arousing behaviour or event that has already occurrout that professor's tests are unfair & everybody was cheating Reaction Anxiety-arousing impulse is repressed, & its psychic energyMother who harbours feelings of hatred for her child Formation release in an exaggerated expression of the opposite behavirepresses them & becomes overprotective of child Sublimation Repressed impulse is released in a socially acceptable or eMan with strong hostile impulses becomes an investigative admired behaviour reporter who ruins political careers Psychosexual Development  Freud believed personality is powerfully moulded by experiences in the first years of life  Children pass through series of psychosexual stages during which id's tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive areas of body called erogenous zones  Potential deprivations or overindulgences - results in fixation o State of arrested psychosexual development in which instincts are focused on a particular psychic theme  Theory of psychosexual development - most controversial Research on Psychoanalytic Theory  Believed careful observations of everyday behaviour & clinical phenomena – best source of evidence  Opposed experimental research - complex phenomena he had identified could not be studied under controlled conditions  Research continues to address aspects of psychodynamic theory  Many concepts are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure  Cognitive Psychologists o Developed methods to identify & measure nonconscious o Growing body of research - shown a lot of moment-to-moment mental and emotional life does occur outside our awareness  Cognitive Neuroscience o Provided methods for tapping into mental processes as they occur by measuring brain activity Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory  Criticized on scientific grounds o Many of its specific propositions have not held up under the scrutiny of research o Hard to test - often explains too much to allow clear-cut behavioural predictions o Ex.  Predict that participants in experimental condition will behave aggressively – but behave instead in a loving manner  Is the theory wrong, or is the aggression being masked by the defence mechanism: reaction formation (produces exaggerated behaviours that are opposite of impulse)  Research shows that nonconscious mental and emotional phenomena do indeed occur and can powerfully affect our behaviour Freud's Legacy: Neoanalytic & Object Relations Approaches  Generated disagreement within his own circle of analysts  Neoanalysts o Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, Erik Erickson, & Carl Jung o Believed Freud  Did not give social & cultural factors sufficiently important role in development and dynamics of personality  Believed that he stressed infantile sexuality too much  Laid too much emphasis on the events of childhood as determinants of adult personality o Agreed  Childhood experiences are important  Erikson  Personality development continues throughout the lifespan  Adler  Humans are inherently social beings - motivated by social interest o Desire to advance the welfare of others  General motive of striving for superiority o Drives people to compensate for real or imagined defects in themselves (inferiority complex) o Strive to be ever more competent in life  Jung  Developed Analytic Psychology o Expanded notion of the unconscious o Believed humans possess:  Personal unconscious  Based on their life experiences  Collective unconscious  Consist of memories accumulated throughout the entire history of the human race  Memories represented by archetypes o Inherited tendencies to interpret an experience a certain way o Find expression in symbols, myths, and beliefs that appear across many cultures  Object Relations o Focus on mental representations - people form as a result of early experience with caregivers o Internal representations – become working models through which social interactions are viewed o Relational themes exert an unconscious influence on a person's relationships throughout life o People have difficulties forming & maintaining intimate relationships  Mentally represent in negative ways  expecting pain & attributing rejection o Often create self-fulfilling prophesies, influencing recurring relationships people form with others  Attachment Theory o Outgrowth of object relations o Related early attachment experiences to later adult relationships o Ex.  People with history of positive early attachments tend to have longer & satisfying romances  Child-abusing parents often have mental representations of their own parents as punitive, rejecting, and abusive o Study  Avoidant and anxious-ambivalent attachment predicted depressive symptoms  Anxious attachment predicted anxiety symptoms  Anxious and avoidant attachment also predict poorer response to psychotherapy o Some forms of early attachment – associated with personality disorders in later years Humanistic Perspective  Part a reaction to Freud’s perspective  Positive view that affirms inherent dignity and goodness of human spirit  Emphasize central role of conscious experience  Emphasize individual's creative potential and inborn striving for self-actualization o Total realization of one's human potential  Maslow – considered self-actualization to be ultimate, human need & expression human nature Carl Rogers’s Self Theory  Most influential humanistic theorists  Believed that behaviour is not a reaction to unconscious conflicts but a response to immediate conscious experience of self and environment  Believed that forces that direct behaviour are within - when not distorted or blocked by environment - can lead to toward self-actualization Self  Organized, consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about oneself  Plays a powerful role in guiding our perceptions and directing our behaviour  Children cannot distinguish between themselves and their environment o Interact with their world  begin to distinguish between the “me” and the “not-me” o Continues to develop in response to life experience – but some aspects remain stable  Once established – tendency to maintain it – helps with understanding relation to the world  Have need for Self-consistency o Absence of conflict among self-perceptions  Have need for Congruence o Consistency between self-perceptions and experience  Any experiences that is inconsistent with self-concept  provokes threat and anxiety o Well-adjusted individuals respond to threat  modifying self-concept so that experiences fit o Some individuals deny or distort experience to remove incongruence  termed problems in living  Example o Man thinks he’s irresistible o Meets a woman who has no interest o Changes his self-concept  thinks he might not be irresistible to all women o Changes incongruence by distorting reality  might say she’s playing hard to get  Example o Man thinks he’s unattractive o If woman expresses interest  might appropriately revise self-concept positively o Often difficult with negative self-concepts to accept success  People behaves in ways that will lead others to respond them into self-confirming fashion  People are pushed by self-consistency needs to behave in accord to self-concepts  Degree of congruence between self-concepts and experiences help to define one’s level of adjustment  More inflexible = less open to experiences = more maladjusted Need for Positive Regard  Believed that individuals are born with innate need for positive regard o For acceptance, sympathy and love for others o Essential for healthy development o Need for Positive Self-Regard  Need positive regard from others but also from themselves  Fosters development of Conditions of Worth  Dictate when we approve or disapprove of ourselves  May tyrannize people – cause incongruence between self & experience  Unconditional Positive Regard o Independent of how children behave o Communicates that the child is inherently worthy of love  Conditional Positive Regard o Dependent on how child behaves o Only when the child behaves as the parents want Fully Functioning Persons  Fully functioning persons o People who achieve self-actualization o Do not hide behind masks or adopt artificial roles o Feel a sense of inner freedom, self-determination, and choice in direction of their growth o Have no fear of behaving spontaneously, freely, and creatively o Fairly free of conditions of worth o Accept inner & outer experiences - without modifying them defensively to suit a self-concept Research on Self  Development of self-esteem and its effects on behaviour  Roles played by self-enhancement and self-consistency motives Self-Esteem  Self-esteem o Refers to how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves o Important aspect of personal well-being, happiness, and adjustment o Two types of items – measures of self-esteem o Adulthood – small differences in self-esteem between geners o Teen years – males report higher self-esteem than females o Levels seem relatively stable across development o Related to many positive behaviours and life outcomes o High self-esteem  Less susceptible to social pressures  Have fewer interpersonal problems  Happier with lives  Achieve at a higher more persistent level  More capable of forming satisfying love relationships  Most often associated with:  Parental unconditional acceptance and love  Parent established clear guidelines for behaviour  Reinforce compliance while giving the child freedom to make decisions and express opinions within those guidelines  Can be detrimental if too high – more vulnerable to ego threats o Low self-esteem  More prone to psychological problems – anxiety or depression  More prone to physical illness  Poor social relationships and underachievement Self-Verification and Self-Enhancement Motives  Self-Verification o People are motivated to preserve their self-concept by maintaining self-consistency and congruence o People selectively attend to and recall self-consistent information o Expressed in people's tendency to seek out self-confirming relationships  Negative self-views  marry individuals who agree with negative view  Self-Enhancement o People have a need to regard themselves positively o Strong and pervasive tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image o People show a marked tendency to attribute their successes to their own abilities and effort, but to attribute their failures to environmental factors Culture, Gender, and the Self  Culture influences concept of self  Individualistic Cultures o Emphasis on independence and personal attainment o Far more likely to list personal traits, abilities or dispositions (Ex. I am honest)  Collectivistic Cultures o Emphasis connectedness between people and achievement of group goals o Far more likely to list social identity (Ex. I am an oldest son)  Gender Schemas o Gender-role socialization o Organized mental structures that contain understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females o Western cultures  Men  Achievement, emotional strength, athleticism, and self-sufficiency  More individualistic self-concept  Women  Interpersonal competencies, kindness, and helpfulness to  More collectivistic self-concept Evaluating Humanistic Theories  Critics believe: o Relies too much on individuals' reports of their personal experiences o Impossible to define an individual's actualizing tendency except in terms of the behaviour that it supposedly produces (circular reasoning)  Rogers’s Studies o Process of self-growth that occur in psychotherapy o Measured discrepancy between clients' ideal selves (how they would like to be) and their perceived selves (their perceptions of what they are actually like) o When clients first enter therapy  discrepancy typically is large o Gets smaller as therapy proceeds  therapy helps client become self-accepting & realistic o Discovered important therapist characteristics that either aid or impede process of self- actualization in therapy Trait & Biological Perspectives  Starting point for trait researcher is identifying behaviours that define a particular trait  Two major approaches for building blocks of personality – Allport o Propose traits (dominance, friendliness, self-esteem) on basis of intuition or theory of personality o Statistical tool – factor analysis – identify clusters of specific behaviours that are correlated with one another so highly that they can be viewed as reflecting a basic dimension, or trait, on which people vary  Ex.  Socially reserved – avoid parties & like quiet activities  Sociable – like parties & dislike solitary activities  Behavioural patterns define general factor or dimension - label introversion- extraversion Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors  Identified 16 basic behaviour clusters, or factors  Developed personality test called the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) o Measure individual differences on each of the dimensions and provide a comprehensive personality description  Able to develop personality profiles not only for individuals, but also for groups of people Eysenck’s Entraversion-Stability Model  Proposed surprisingly few basic traits  Original – proposed only two basic dimensions - later added a third  Original Basic Dimensions o Intersect at right angle – two dimensions are independent or uncorrelated o Introversion-Extraversion  Extraversion  Tendency to be sociable and active & willing to take risks  Introversion  Tendency toward social inhibition, passivity & caution o Stability-Instability (first referred to as Stability-Neuroticism)  Stability  Continuum from high emotional stability and poise  Instability  Moodiness, worry excessively, provoked guilt feelings and anxiety  Third Dimensions o Psychoticism-Self Control  Creative and had tendency toward nonconformity, impulsivity & social deviance Big
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