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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter FourteenPersonalityPersonality the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking feeling and acting that characterize a persons responses to life situationsThe Psychodynamic PerspectivePsychodynamic theorists look for the causes of behaviour in a dynamic interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another They also focus on unconscious determinants of behaviourFreuds Psychoanalytic Theory To Freud the mind consists of the conscious preconscious and unconscious Conscious mental events that we are presently aware of Preconscious memories thoughts and feelings that we are unaware of but can be recalled Unconscious a dynamic realm of wishes feelings and impulses that lie beyond our awareness These can be discharged through dreams slips of the tongue or some disguised behaviour Freud divided personality into three separate but interacting structures Id exists totally in the unconscious mind It is the innermost core of the personality the only structure present at birth and the source of all psychic energy It has no direct contact with reality and functions in a totally irrational manner The id operates according to the pleasure principle it seeks immediate gratification or release regardless of rational considerations and environmental realities Wanttake Ego developed by the id to have contact with the real world The ego functions primarily at a conscious level and it operate according to the reality principle it tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy its needs Superego developed last and is known as the moral arm of personality The superego is internalized by the child through identification with its parents right from wrong It strives to control the instincts of the id particularly the sexual and aggressive impulses that are condemned by society The ego can resort to using defence mechanisms that deny or distort reality they release impulses from the id that will not conflict with the external world Repression is when the ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety arousing memories feelings and impulses from entering consciousness Sublimation completely masks the forbidden underlying impulsesEvaluating Psychoanalytic Theory Research has shown that nonconscious mental and emotional phenomena do indeed occur and can have a powerful effect on our behaviour However the nonconscious processes that have been experimentally demonstrated are far different from those proposed by Freud Object relations theorists focus on the images or mental representations that people form of themselves and other people as a result of early experiences with caregivers People who have difficulties forming and maintaining intimate relationships tend to mentally represent themselves and others in negative ways expecting painful interaction and attributing malevolence or rejection to others These working models often create selffulfilling prophesies influencing the recurring relationships people form with others In Review Freuds psychoanalytic theory views personality as an energy system Personality dynamics involve modifications and exchanges of energy within this system Mental events may be conscious preconscious or unconsciousFreud divided the personality into three structures id ego and superego The id is irrational and seeks immediate instinctual gratification on the basis of the pleasure principle The ego operates on the reality principle which requires it to rest reality and mediate between the demands of the id the superego and realityThe dynamics of personality involve a continuous conflict between impulses of the id and counterforces of the ego and superego When dangerous id impulses threaten to get out of control or when danger from the environment threatens the result is anxiety To deal with threat the ego may develop defence mechanisms which are used to ward off anxiety and permit instinctual gratification in disguised forms Freuds psychosexual theory of personality development held that adult personality is basically moulded by how children deal with instinctual sexual urges Neoanalytic theorists modified and extended Freuds ideas in important ways stressing social and cultural factors in personality development Modern object relations theorists focus on the mental representations that people form of themselves others and relationships The Humanistic Perspective Humanists embrace a positive view that affirms the inherent dignity and goodness of the human spirit They emphasize the central role of conscious experience as well as the individuals creative potential and inborn striving for selfactualization the total realization of ones human potential Carl Rogers believed that the forces that direct behaviour are within us and that when they are not distorted or blocked by our environment they can be trusted to direct us toward selfactualizationThe central concept of Rogerian theory is that of the self an organized consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about oneself Selfconcept continues to develop in response to our life experiences Selfconsistency is the absence of conflict among selfperceptions and congruence is the consistency between selfperceptions and experience Incongruence between selfconcept and experiences produces threat and anxiety because a persons basis view of themselves has been challenged The more inflexible peoples self concepts are the less open they will be to their experience and the more maladjusted they will becomeRogers believed that we are born with a need for positive regard for acceptance sympathy and love from others Lack of unconditional positive regard from parents and other significant people in the past teachers people that they are worthy of approval and love only when they meet certain standardsSelfesteem refers to how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves Selfesteem is related to many positive behaviours and life outcomes Children develop high selfesteem when their parents communicate unconditional acceptance and love establish clear guidelines for behaviour and reinforce compliance while giving the child freedom to make decisions and express opinions within those guidelines Unstable or unrealistically high selfesteem may be even more dangerous to the individual and society than low selfesteem Indeed the higher ones selfesteem the greater the vulnerability to ego threats If the goal is enhanced selfesteem achieving your goal imparts a feeling of worth and value but the emotional benefits may be only temporarySelfverification is the motivation to preserve you selfconcept by maintaining self consistency and congruence A need to regard oneself positively and preserve positive selfimage is known as selfenhancement People show a marked tendency to attribute their successes to their own abilities and effort but to attribute their failures to environmental factors Furthermore most people rate themselves as better than average on virtually any socially desirable characteristic that is subjective in natureIn Review Humanistic theories emphasize the subjective experiences of the individual and thus deal with perceptual and cognitive processes Rogers theory attaches central importance to the role of the self Experiences that are incongruous with the established selfconcept produce threat and may result in a denial or distortion of reality Conditional positive regard may also result in realistic conditions of worth that can conflict with selfactualization Traits and Biological Perspectives Hans Eysenck developed original basic dimensions of personality called IntroversionExtroversion and StabilityInstability Extroversion reflects the tendency to be sociable active and willing to take risks the Introversion and of the scale represents a tendency toward social inhibition passivity and caution Knowing how extraverted a person is tells us nothing about their level of emotional stability they could fall anywhere along the StabilityInstability continuum By psychoticism Eysenck meant someone who was creative and had a tendency toward nonconformity impulsivity and social deviance
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