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PSYC 1010

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Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 492-494) - The concept of personality explains the consistency in peopleʼs behaviour over time and across situations while also explaining their distinctiveness. Factor analysis can be used to identify higer-order traits from which specific traits are derived. There is considerable debate as to how many trait dimensions are necessary to account for the variation in personality - Nonetheless, the five-factor model has become the dominant conception of personality structure. The Big Five personality traits are extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The Nature of Personality Defining Personality: Consistency and Distinctiveness - The concept of personality is used to explain (1) the stability in a personʼs behaviour over time and across situations (consistency) and (2) the behavioural differences among people reacting to the same situations (distinctiveness) - personality - an individualʼs unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits Personality Traits: Dispositions and Dimensions - personality trait - a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations - most approaches to personality assume that some traits are more basic than others and that a small number of fundamental traits determine other, more superficial traits - Factor analysis can be used to identify basic, higer-order traits, from which specific traits are derived - factor analysis - correlations among many variables are analysed to identify closely related clusters of variables - Cattell used this method and concluded that an individualʼs personality can be described completely by measuring just 16 traits - There is considerable debate as to how many trait dimensions are necessary to account for the variation in personality The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits - the five-factor model has become the dominant conception of personality structure - McCrae and Costa used factor analysis to arrive at this model - The Big Five personality traits are: - Extraversion - outgoing, sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertive and gregarious --> referred to as positive emotionality in other trait models - Neuroticism - anxious, hostile, sef-conscious, insecure, and vulnerable - people scoring high in this trait tend to overreact more in response to stress - Openness to experience - associated with curiosity,flexibility, vivd fantasy, imaginativeness, artistic sensitivity, and unconventional attitudes - McCrae argues that this trait is key determinant of peopleʼs political attitudes and ideology - Agreeableness - sympathetic, trusting, co-operative, modest and straightforward - people who score at opposite end of this personality dimension are characterized as suspicious, antagonistic, and aggressive. Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment - Conscientiousness - conscientious people tend to be diligent, disciplined, well- organized, punctual, and dependable --> referred to as constraint in other trait models - associated wit living longer - supported in many studies by other researchers - Some theorists have been critical of the five model - the model is purely descriptive and provides no insight in to the causes or development of personality - questioned the generality of the model - assert that higher-order traits that emerge in factor analyses depend to some extent on the exact mix of the much larger set of specific traits that are measured in the first place - maintain that more than five traits are necessary to account for most of the variation seen in human personality KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 494-503) - Psychodynamic approaches include all the theories derived from Freudʼs insights. Freud described personality structure in terms of three components - the id, ego and superego- which are routinely involved in an ongoing series of internal conflicts - Freud described three levels of awareness: the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. His theory emphasized the importance of unconscious processes. Freud theorized that conflicts centring on sex and aggression are especially likely to lead to significant anxiety. According to Freud, anxiety and other unpleasant emotions such as guilt are often warded off with defence mechanism. - Freud believed that the first five years of life are extremely influential in shaping adult personality. He described a series of five psychosexual stages of development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. Certain experiences during these stages can have lasting effects on adult personality. Resolution of the Oedipal complex is thought to be particularly critical to healthy development. - Jungʼs most innovative concept was the collective unconscious, a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from peopleʼs ancestral past. Archetypes are emotionally charged images that have universal meaning. Jung also provided the first description of introversion and extraversion - Adlerʼs individual psychology emphasizes how people strive for superiority to compensate for their feelings of inferiority. He explained personality disturbances in terms of overcompensation and inferiority complexes - Overall, psychodynamic theories have produced many ground-breaking insights about the unconscious, the role of internal conflict, and the importance of early childhood experiences in personality development. However, psychodynamic theories have been criticized for their poor testability, their inadequate base of empirical evidence, and their male-centred views Psychodynamic Perspectives - Psychodynamic theories - include all the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud, which focus on unconscious mental forces Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment Freudʼs Psychoanalytic Theory - lived in the Victorian era which was marked by sexual repression - life also affected by WWI which devastated Europe, and by the growing anti-Semitism of the times (he was Jewish) - was a physician specializing in neurology at first - eventually devoted himself to the treatment of mental disorders using an innovative procedure he developed called psychoanalysis --> required lengthy verbal interactions with patients during which Freud probed deeply into their lives - his psychoanalytic theory - attempted to explain personality, motivation and psychological disorders by focusing on the influence of early childhood experiences, on unconscious motives and conflicts, and on the methods people use to cope with their sexual and aggressive urges - most contemporaries uncomfortable with his theory for atleast 3 reasons: - in arguing peopleʼs behaviour governed by unconscious factors, suggest that individuals are not masters of their own minds - in claiming adult personalities are shaped by childhood experiences and other factors beyond oneʼs control, suggested that people are not masters of their own destinies - by emphasizing the great importance of how people cope with their sexual urges, offended those with conservative Victorian values of time STRUCTURE OF PERSONALITY - divided personality structure into three components: id, ego and superego - id - the primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle - reservoir of psychic energy (housed raw urges that energize human behaviour) - operates according to pleasure principle which demands immediate gratification of its urges - engages in primary-process thinking - primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented - ego - the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle - mediates between the id, with its forceful desires for immediate satisfaction and its external social world, with expectations and norms regarding suitable behaviour - guided by reality principle which seeks to delay gratification of the idʼs urges until appropriate outlet and situations can be found - engages in secondary-process thinking which is relatively rational, realistic and oriented toward problem solving. - superego - the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong - emerges out of the go at around three to five years of age - Freud says the id, ego and superego are distributed differently across three levels of awareness LEVELS OF AWARENESS - inferred existence of unconscious mind from observations made with his patients - noticed “slips of the tongue” often revealed a personʼs true feelings Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment - realized that his patientsʼ dream often expressed hidden desires - psychoanalysis often helped patients to discover feelings and conflicts of which they had previously been unaware - contrasted the unconscious with the conscious and preconscious = three levels of awareness - conscious - consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time - preconscious - contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can easily be retrieved - unconscious - contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour - believed unconscious is much larger than the conscious or preconscious - proposed that the ego and superego operate at all three levels of awareness but id is entirely unconscious, expressing its urges at a conscious level through the ego CONFLICT AND THE TYRANNY OF SEX AND AGGRESSION - Freud assumed that behaviour is the outcome of an ongoing series of internal conflicts (internal battles between the id, ego and superego) - id wants to gratify urges immediately but the norms of civilized society frequently dictate otherwise - Freud believed that conflicts centring on sexual and aggressive impulses are especially likely to have far-reaching consequences - emphasized sex and aggression because he thought that they are subject to more complex and ambiguous social controls than other basic motives and he noted that the sexual and aggressive drives are thwarted more regularly than other biological urges ANXIETY AND DEFENCE MECHANISMS - occasionally, a conflict will linger for days, months, or even years, creating internal tension - played out in the unconscious - although not aware of unconscious battles, can produce anxiety that slips to the surface of conscious awareness - anxiety can be attributed to your ego worrying about (1) id getting out of control and doing something terrible that leads to severe negative consequences (2) superego getting out of control and making you feel guilty about a real or imagined transgression - arousal of anxiety = crucial event in Freudʼs theory of personality function - is distressing, so people try to rid themselves of this unpleasant emotion any way they can - often use defence mechanisms - largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt --> rationalization - creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behaviour --> repression - keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious (“motivated forgetting” Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment --> Self deception can also be seen in projection and displacement - projection - attributing oneʼs own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another - displacement - diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target --> reaction formation - behaving in a way thatʼs exactly the opposite of oneʼs true feelings --> regression - a reversion to immature patterns of behaviour --> identification - bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group - Recent years- series of studies have identified a repressive coping style and shown that “repressors” have an impoverished memory for emotional events and negative feedback and that they habitually avoid unpleasant emotions by distracting themselves with pleasant thoughts and memories - Other research - new light on cognitive dynamics of projection - people actively work to suppress thoughts about the possibility that they might have an undesirable trait but this ongoing effort makes thoughts about the unwanted trait highly accessible, so they chronically use this trait concept to explain othersʼ behaviour and end up routinely attributing the trait to others - Another study provided support for the Freudian hypothesis that reaction formation underlies homophobia in males DEVELOPMENT: PSYCHOSEXUAL STAGES - Freud made startling assertion that the basic foundation of an individualʼs personality has been laid down by the tender age of five. - Formulated stage theory of development - emphasized how young children deal with their immature but powerful sexual urges - these sexual urges shift in focus as children progress from one stage of development to another - psychosexual stages - developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality - Freud theorized that each psycho sexual stage has its own, unique developmental challenges or tasks - way they are handled shapes personality - Fixation - a failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected - can be caused by excessive gratification of needs at a particular stage or by excessive frustration of those needs - generally leads to an overemphasis on the psychosexual needs prominent during the fixated stage 1) Oral Stage - Approximate Ages : 0-1 - Erotic Focus: Mouth (sucking, biting) - Key Tasks and Experiences: Weaning (from breast or bottle) - Fixation at the oral stage could form the basis for obsessive eating or smoking later in life (among many other things) Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment 2) Anal Stage - Approximate Ages : 2-3 - Erotic Focus: Anus (expelling or retaining faeces) - Key Tasks and Experiences: Toilet training - Severely punitive toilet training leads to a variety of possible outcomes -might produce a latent feeling of hostility toward the “trainer” which might generalize - heavy reliance on punitive measures could lead to an association between genital concerns and the anxiety that the punishment aroused 3) Phallic Stage - Approximate Ages : 4-5 - Erotic Focus: Genitals (masturbating) - Key Tasks and Experiences: Identifying with adult role models; coping with Oedipal crisis - Oedipal complex - children manifest erotically tinged desires for their opposite-sex parent, accompanied by feelings of hostility toward their same-sex parent - complex in girls is sometimes referred to as the Electra complex - Child must successfully purge the sexual longings for the opposite-sex parent and crush the hostility felt toward the same-sex parent - if donʼt, may prevent the child from identifying adequately with that parent which may result in issues with progress in identification, sex typing, conscience, etc. 4) Latency and Genital Stages - Approximate Ages : 6-12 / Puberty onward - Erotic Focus: None (sexually repressed) / Genitals (being sexually intimate) - Key Tasks and Experiences: Expanding social contacts / Establishing intimate relationships; contributing to society through working - Freud believed that unconscious sexual conflicts rooted in childhood experiences cause most personality disturbances - His colleagues Carl Jung and Alfred Adler both argued that Freud overemphasized sexuality Jungʼs Analytical Psychology - Jung called his new approach analytical psychology to differentiate it from Freudʼs psychoanalytic theory - like Freud, emphasized the unconscious determinants of personality but he proposed that the unconscious consisted of two layers - first called the personal unconscious - houses material that is not within oneʼs conscious awareness because it has been repressed or forgotten - second was a deeper layer called the collective unconscious - a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from peopleʼs ancestral past --> each person shares the collective unconscious with the entire human race - Call ancestral memories archetypes - emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment - show frequently in dreams and are often manifested in a cultureʼs use of symbols in art, literature and religion - provided the first description of introversion and extraversion - introverts - tend to be preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings and experience - extraverts - tend to be interested in the external world of people and things Adlerʼs Individual Psychology - Adlerʼs new approach to personality was christened individual psychology - argued that Freud had gone overboard in centring his theory on sexual conflicts - according to him, the for most source of human motivation is a striving for superiority - a universal drive to adapt, improve oneself, and master lifeʼs challenges - rather than physical gratification (Freud) - compensation - involves efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing oneʼs abilities - in some people, inferiority feelings can become excessive, resulting in what is widely known today as an inferiority complex - exaggerated feelings of weakness and inadequacy - Agreed with Frued on the importance of early childhood experience, although he focused on different aspect of parent-child relations (pampering and neglect) - overcompensation - people tend to flaunt their success in an effort to cover up their underlying inferiority complex - his theory stressed the social context of personality development - first to focus attention on possible improtance of birth order as a factor governing personality Evaluating Psychodynamic Perspectives - Overall, psychodynamic theories have produced many ground-breaking insights about the unconscious (and how they can influence behaviour), the role of internal conflict (in generating psychological distress), the importance of early childhood experiences in personality development and the use of defence mechanism to reduce the experience of unpleasant emotions - However, psychodynamic theories have been criticized for their poor testability, their inadequate base of empirical evidence, and their male-centred views - Poor Testability - scientific investigations require testable hypotheses - Inadequate evidence - depend too much on clinical case studies in which itʼs much too easy for clinicians to see what they expect to see - Sexism - psychodynamic theories are characterized by a sexist bias against women KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 504-508) - Behavioural theories explain how personality is shaped through learning. Skinner had little interest in unobservable cognitive processes and embraced a strong determinism Chapter 12: Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment - Skinnerʼs followers view personality as a collection of response tendencies tied to specific stimulus situations. They assume that personality development is a lifelong process in which response tendencies are shaped and reshaped by learning, especially operant conditioning - Social learning theory focuses on how cognitive factors such as expectancies regulate learned behaviour. Banduraʼs concept of observational learning accounts for the acquisition of responses from models. High self-efficacy has
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