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Psychology 1000 Final: Chapter 14

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Psychology 1000

1 Chapter 14: Personality What is Personality? Personality: the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations o Modest stability from childhood to adulthood o Consistency is greater as adulthood is entered Thoughts, feelings, and actions have 3 characteristics: 1. They’re components of identity that distinguish the individual from others 2. Behaviours are caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors 3. A person’s behaviour “fits together” in a meaningful fashion A theory is scientifically useful if it: o Provides a comprehensive framework within which known facts can be incorporated o Allows us the predict future events with some precision o Stimulates the discovery of new knowledge The Psychodynamic Perspective o Personality is an energy system Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Treated patients with conversion hysteria – physical symptoms like paralysis and blindness that appear suddenly with no apparent physical cause o Believed symptoms were related to painful memories/feelings that were repressed o Symptoms disappeared/improved when memories/feelings were re-experienced Theory: an unconscious part of the mind exerts great influence on behaviour Psychic energy: generated by instinctual drives and constantly presses for direct or indirect release 3 mental events: o Conscious – those we are presently aware of o Preconscious – those we are unaware of at the moment, but can be called into consciousness o Unconscious – wishes, feelings, and impulses beyond our awareness  Freud believes the unconscious is the largest and most important 3 structures of personality: o Id – innermost core (unconscious), only structure present at birth, source of all psychic energy  Functions irrationally -> pleasure principle (seeks immediate gratification)  Cannot directly satisfy itself b/c it has not contact with the outer world o Ego – primarily at a conscious level, second to develop  Functions according to reality principle – delays gratifications of id until conditions are safe/appropriate  Executive of personality: tries to balance demands of id and constraints of superego o Superego – last structure to develop, the moral arm of personality  Stores the values/ideals of society which are internalized through parents and society  Superego tries to block gratifications of id permanently -> guilt 2 Personality is a never-ending struggle between id, ego, and superego Anxiety: results when ego confronts impulses or is faced with dangers from the environment o Reality – fear of real world threats o Neurotic – fear of id’s desires o Moral – fear of superego’s guilt Defense Mechanisms: denies/distorts reality to relieve anxiety o Repression – ego uses energy to prevent anxiety-arousing things from entering consciousness  Repressed things constantly strive for release -> slips of the tongue, dreams o Denial – refusal to acknowledge anxiety-arousing aspects of the environment o Displacement – an unacceptable impulse is repressed then directed to a safer target  E.g. taking your anger out on someone else o Intellectualization – emotion connected with an upsetting event is repressed and event is treated as an intellectually interesting event  E.g. person is rejected -> talks about the interesting unpredictability of love o Projection – an unacceptable impulse is repressed then attributed to other people  E.g. person who desires cheating continually accuses partner of cheating o Rationalization – construct a false, but plausible, explanation for anxiety-arousing events  E.g. hitting kids is for their own good o Reaction formation – an anxiety-arousing impulse is repressed and leading to an exaggerated expression of the opposite behaviour  E.g. mom hates her child -> repression -> becomes overprotective o Sublimation – a repressed impulse is released in the form of a socially acceptable/admirable behaviour  E.g. hostile impulses -> track down criminals Psychosexual Development: o Freud proposed children pass through psychosexual stages o At each stage, id is focused on specific erogenous zones (pleasure-sensitive areas)  Potential deprivations and overindulgences -> fixation (state of arrested psychosexual development) -> affects adult personality o Not supported by evidence Research: o Tested through case studies and clinical observations o Not tested through experimental research -> cannot be studied under controlled conditions Evaluating: o Large influence, but criticized on scientific grounds o Limitations:  Concepts are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define/measure  E.g. how do you measure the strength of id?  Can’t make behavioural predictions  E.g. predict aggressive but they behave loving -> is theory wrong or is reaction formation taking place 3 Neoanalysts Psychoanalysts who disagree with certain aspects of Freud -> develop their own theories o Freud did not give social/cultural factors a sufficiently important role and stressed infantile sexuality too much Erikson: childhood experiences are important, but personality develops throughout lifespan Adler: humans are motivated by social interest (not sexual/aggressive instincts) o Striving for superiority – motive that drives people to compensate for real/imagined defects in themselves and strive to be more competent in life Jung: theory of analytic psychology o Humans possess a personal unconscious (their life experiences) as well as a collective unconscious (memories accumulated throughout history of human race) o Archetypes – inherited tendencies to interpret experiences in certain ways Object relations: focus on mental representations people form of themselves and others early in life o Whether realistic or distorted, they become lenses through which later social interactions are viewed -> exert an unconscious influence o Like attachment theory, if kids securely attached -> form better relationships The Humanistic Perspective o Inborn striving for self-actualization (total realization of one’s human potential) George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory Goal of people: make sense of the world and find personal meaning o If unable to do this -> anxiety/uncertainty Personal constructs: cognitive categories into which people sort things o Basis for individual differences in personality o If you understand an individual’s constructs and how they sort things into them, you understand their psychological world and can predict their behaviour Psychotherapy is a way of demonstrating to clients that their constructs are hypotheses, not facts Fixed-role therapy: try out role descriptions and behavioural scripts different than the individual o Clients gain firsthand appreciation for different ways of construing which can be more satisfying Carl Rogers’ Self Theory Behaviour is a response to our immediate conscious experience of self and environment o When our internal forces are not distorted by our environment, they direct us toward self- actualization Self: an organized, consistent set of perceptions/beliefs about oneself o When born, children can’t distinguish between self and environment o Once established, tendency to maintain so we can understand ourselves in relation to world o Self-consistency – an absence of conflict among self-perceptions o Congruence – consistency between self-perceptions and experience  Anything inconsistent evokes threat/anxiety  Well-adjusted individuals -> modify self-concept  Others -> deny/distort the experience to remove the incongruence 4  Often as difficult for those with negative self-concepts to accept success as it is for those unrealistically positive to accept failure Self-verification – motivation to preserve self-concept by maintaining self-consistency/congruence o People interpret situations in self-congruent ways and behave in ways that lead others to respond in a self-confirming fashion o Tendency to seek out self-confirming relationships  People tend to remain with spouses who agree with the image they have of themself o More inflexible self-concept = more maladjusted they will become Need for positive regard: innate need for acceptance/love people are born with o Unconditional positive regard – independent of behaviour  Lack of this from parents -> develop conditions of worth (only worthy if you meet certain standards)  Conditions dictate when we approve/disapprove of ourselves (like superego) o Conditional positive regard – dependent on behaviour Fully functioning persons: people who have achieved self-actualization o Don’t hide behind masks, sense of inner freedom, free of conditions of worth, Self-esteem: how positively/negatively we feel about ourselves o Sex-difference: small in adulthood, greater in men during adolescence o Stable across development (0.5-0.7 correlation) o High -> less susceptible to social pressure, fewer interpersonal problems, happier o Low -> prone to psychological problems, physical illness, poor relationships  After failure, less likely to express desire to improve even if they know how  Depresses good moods after positive events  Less expressive b/c expressive behaviours make you vulnerable to rejection o Unstable/unrealistic -> when threatened, individual may react violently/aggressively Self-enhancement: the need to regard yourself positively o Attribute successes to own abilities and failures to environmental factors o People rate themselves better than average on socially desirable characteristics Culture: provides a learning context in which the self develops o Individualistic -> independence and personal attainment -> people identify with personal traits  E.g. I am honest o Collectivistic -> connectedness and achievement of groups -> social identity terms  E.g. I am a brother, I am a student Gender schemas: our understanding of the attributes/behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females o Western:  Men -> achievement, emotional strength, athleticism, self-sufficiency -> individualistic  Women -> interpersonal competencies, kindness, helpfulness -> collectivistic o However, there are still significant individual differences within each gender group Evaluating: o This view relies too much on individuals’ reports of personal experiences (may be influenced by unconscious factors) o Impossible to define actualization in terms of behaviour without circular reasoning 5  E.g. cause of success -> self-actualization -> how do we know self-actualization is at work? -> b/c person achieved success o Therapy reduces discrepancy between clients’ ideal selves and perceived selve
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