psychology Chapter 12.docx

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11 Apr 2012
Chapter 12: Personality
The Psychology of Personality:
Personality: a person’s unique and relatively stable behaviour pattern,
consistency in who you are, have been and will become
Character: person characteristics that have been judged or evaluated; a person’s
desirable or undesirable qualities
Temperament: the hereditary aspects of personality, including sensitivity,
activity levels, prevailing mood, irritability, and adaption
Personality Traits: a stable, enduring quality that a person shows in most situations
Influence our health, marital and occupational success
Personality states to stabilizes around age 3 and continues to harden through age
Do we Inherit Personality:
Behavioral Genetics: the study of inherited behavioral traits and tendencies
Hereditary has a sizeable affect on us 25-50 % of personality traits
Environment plays a bigger part
Personality Type: people who have several traits in common
Introvert: a person whose attention is focused inward; a shy, reserves and self-
centered person
Extrovert: a person whose attention is directed outward; bold and outgoing
Self-Concept: a person’s perception of his or her own personality traits
Build self concepts out of out daily experiences
Affect our behaviour and personal adjustment
Self-Esteem: regarding oneself as a worthwhile person; a positive evaluation of oneself
People who have low self-esteem suffer from poor self knowledge
Personality Theories: a system of concepts, assumptions, ideas, and principles used to
understand and explain personality
1. Trait Theories: attempt to learn what traits make up personality and how they
relate to actual behaviour
2. Psychodynamic Theories: focus on the inner workings of personality, especially
internal conflicts and struggles
3. Behavioristic and Social Learning Theories: place importance on the external
environment and on the effects of conditioning and learning, social learning
theories attribute differences in personality to socialization, expectations, and
mental process
4. Humanistic Theories: stress private, subjective experience, and personal growth
The Trait Approach:
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Dominant method for studying personality
Introversion and extroversion can be thought of as a trait, this can allow you to
predict how you will behave in a variety of settings
Trait Theorist: a psychologist interested in classifying, analyzing, and
interrelating traits to understand personality
Classifying Traits:
Common Traits: personality traits that are shared by most members of a
particular culture
Individual Traits: personality traits that define person’s unique individual
Cardinal Traits: a personality trait so basic that all of a persons activities relate
to it (few people have cardinal traits)
Central Traits: the core traits that characterize an individual personality
Secondary Traits: traits that are inconsistent or relatively superficial person
Source Traits: basic underlying traits or dimensions of personality; each source
trait is reflected in a number of surface traits (core of one’s individual personality)
Surface Traits: the visible or observable traits of one’s personality
Factor Analysis: a statistical technique used to correlate multiple measurements
and identify general underlying factors (looks at connections among traits)
o If you have one trait you most likely automatically know other traits you
have as well
There are 16 source traits, all are needed to fully describe personality
Five-Factor Model: proposes that there are five universal dimensions of personality
Extroversion, agreeableness, conscientious, neuroticism and openness to
Any trait can be related to one of the 5 factors
Predicts how people will act in certain situations
Traits, Consistency, and Situations:
Personality traits and external circumstances will affect how a person will act
Personality traits are consistent
Trait-situation Interaction: the influence that external settings or circumstances
have on the expression of personality traits
Psychoanalytic Theory:
Psychoanalytic Theory: Freudian theory of personality that emphasizes
unconscious forces and conflicts
Actions based on hidden, or unconscious thoughts, needs and emotions
Structure of Personality:
Three mental structure, id, ego and super ego
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Id: made up of innate biological instincts and urges, it is self serving and demands
o Operates on the pleasure principle which desires for immediate
o Libido underlies our efforts to survive as well as our sexual desires and
pleasure seeking
o Thanatos is the death instinct which produces aggressive and destructive
Ego: part of the personality that directs rational behaviour
o Guided by the reality principle which delays action until it is appropriate
o System of thinking, planning, problem solving and deciding
Superego: acts as a judge or sensor for the thoughts and actions of the ego
o Ego Ideal: represents ideal behaviour; a source of pride when standards
are met (reflects behaviours parents approved of or rewarded)
The Dynamics of Personality:
Delicate balance of power between the id, ego and super ego, conflicting mental
Internal struggles and rechanneled energies typify most personality functioning
Impulses from the Id cause neurotic anxiety when the ego can barely keep it
under control
Threats of punishment from the super ego cause moral anxiety
Our behaviour expresses unconscious forces
Can move memories from the preconscious to the conscious mind
Personality Development:
Psychosexual Stage: stages when various personality traits are formed
Core of personality is formed before age 6
The four stages oral, anal, phallic and genital are a time where a different part of
the body becomes the child’s primary erogenous zone, each area the serves as the
main source of pleasure, frustration, and self-expression
Many adult personality traits can be traced to fixation (unresolved conflict) in one
or more of the stages
Oral Stage: the period when infants are preoccupied with the mouth as a source of
pleasure and means of expression
Oral Dependent Personality: a person who wants to passively receive attention,
gifts, love and so forth
o Nail biting, gullible, passive and need lots of attention
Oral Aggressive: uses mouth to express hostility, and exploits others
Anal Stage: takes place during the period of toilet training (1-3)
Anal-retentive: (holding on) a person who is obstinate, stingy, or compulsive,
and who generally has a difficult of letting go
Anal-expulsive: (letting go) a disorderly, destructive, cruel or messy person
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