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Chapter 14

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 102
Russell Day

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: PERSONALITY What is Personality? - People behave somewhat consistently over time and across different situations o Consistency becomes greater as we enter adulthood  Even in adulthood there’s a capacity for meaningful personality change Personality – the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterizes a person’s response to life situations - Personality has 3 characteristics: o 1) Allows you to distinguish that person from other people o 2) The behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors o 3) The person’s behaviours seem to ‘fit together’ in a meaningful fashion, suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour - Is guided by the psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behavioural, cognitive, and sociocultural perspective The Psychodynamic Perspective These look for causes of behaviour in a dynamic interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another Focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour Sigmund Freud was first and most influential theory Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Freud – 1856 – 1939 - Conversion Hysteria – where physical symptoms like paralysis and blindness appear suddenly and with no apparent physical cause - Believed that an unconscious part of the mind exerts great influence on behaviour So psychoanalysis became a theory of personality, an approach to studying the mind Psychic Energy and Mental Events Freud considered personality to be an energy system - Believed instinctual drives generate psychic energy - Psychic energy – powers the mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release Mental events may be: 1) Conscious mind – consists of mental events that we are presently aware of 2) Pre-coconscious mind – contains memories, thoughts, feelings, and images that we are unaware of at the moment but that can be called into conscious awareness 3) Unconscious mind – a dynamic realm of wishes, feelings, and impulses that lies beyond your awareness a. Only when impulses from the unconscious are discharged some way, like dreams, slips of the tongue, or some disguised behaviour, is the unconscious revealed The Structure of Personality Freud divided personality into 3 separate but interacting structures: 1) Id – exists totally within the unconscious mind a. Is the innermost core of the personality 1 i. the only structure present at birth ii. the source of all psychic energy b. has no direct contact with reality and functions in a totally irrational manner c. Operates according to pleasure principle i. Pleasure Principle – seeks immediate gratification or release, regardless of rational considerations and environmental realities d. Cannot directly satisfy itself by obtaining what it needs from the environment i. Because it has no contact with the outer world 2) Ego – has direct contact with reality a. Functions primarily at a conscious level b. Operates according to realty principle i. It tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy its needs 3) Superego – the moral arm of the personality a. Develops by the age of 4 or 5 b. Is the repository ‘for values and ideals for society’ c. These ideals are internalized by the child through identification with his or her parents i. by explicit training about what is ‘right’, what is ‘wrong’, and how the child ‘should’ be d. self-control takes over from the external controls of rewards and punishments e. strives to control the instincts of the id i. particularly the sexual and aggressive impulses that are condemned by society ii. ego tries to delay gratification until conditions are safe and appropriate iii. superego tries to block gratification permanently 1. moralistic goals take procedure over realistic ones, regardless of the potential cost to the individual 2. causes people to experience intense guilt over sexual activity Ego must achieve a compromise between demands of the id, the constraints of the superego, and the demands of reality Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence Observable behaviour often represents compromises between motives, needs, impulses, and defences Anxiety – serves as a danger signal and motivates the ego to deal with the problem at hand - can be reduced through realistic coping behaviours - when realistic strategies are ineffective in reducing anxiety, the ego may use defense mechanisms o Defense Mechanisms – deny or distort reality  Some permit the release of impulses from the id in disguised forms that will not conflict with the limits imposed by the external world or with the prohibitions of the superego Believes that repression is the primary means by which the ego keeps the lid on the id - Repression – the ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings, and impulses from entering the consciousness o Repressed thoughts and wishes remain in the unconscious, striving for release, but they may be expressed indirectly Sublimation – defense mechanism - Completely masks the forbidden underlying impulses 2 Defense mechanisms operate unconsciously and Freud argues that excessive reliance on defense mechanisms was a primary cause of maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviour Psychosexual Development Freud believed that personality is powerfully moulded by experiences in the first years of life Proposed that children pass through a series of psychosexual stages during which the id’s pleasure-seeking tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive areas of the body called erogenous zones Potential DEPRIVATIONS OR OVERINDULGENCES CAN ARISE DURING ANY OF THESE STAGES result in fixation  a state of arrested psychosexual development in which instincts are focused on a particular psychic theme Research on Psychoanalytic Theory Much of our moment-to-moment mental and emotional life occurs outside our awareness When supressing thoughts of someone/something you are more likely to think of them Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory Criticized: 1) Many of its specific propositions have not held up under the scrutiny of research 2) It is heard to test, not because it doesn’t explain enough, but because it often explains too much to allow clear- cut behavioural prediction a. Reaction Formation – produces exaggerated behaviours that are the opposite of the impulse b. The difficulty in making clear-cut behavioural predictions means that some psychoanalytic hypotheses are untestable Freud’s Legacy: Neoanalytic and Object Relations Approaches Neoanalysts – psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain aspects of Freud’s thinking and developed their own theories - Believed Freud did not give social and cultural factors a sufficiently important role in the development and dynamics of personality - Major criticism: o Believed he stressed infantile sexuality too much o Freud put too much emphasis on the events of childhood as determinants of adult personality - Believed that childhood experiences are important but personality development continues throughout the lifespan as individuals confront challenges that are specific to particular phases in their lives (Erik Erikson) - (Alfred Adler) humans are inherently social beings who are motivated by social interest – the desire to advance the welfare of others o They care about others, cooperate with them, and place general social welfare above selfish person interests - (Adler) general motive of striving for superiority – drives people to compensate for real or imagined defects in themselves (the inferiority complex) Carl Jung (1875-1961) - Analytic Psychology – expanded Freud’s notion of unconscious in unique directions - Believes that humans possess not only a personal unconsciousness (based on life experiences) but also a collective consciousness (consists of memories accumulated throughout the entire history of the human race) o These memories are represented by archetypes  Archetypes – inherited tendencies to interpret experience in certain ways  Find expression in symbols, myths, and beliefs that appear across many cultures, like the image of God, an evil force, the hero, etc 3 Object Relations theorists – focus on the images or mental representations that people form of themselves and other people as a result of early experience with caregivers - Whether realistic or distorted, these internal representations of important adults becomes lenses or ‘working models’ through which later social interactions are viewed and these relational themes exert an unconscious influence on a person’s relationships throughout life o People who have difficulties forming and maintain intimate relationships tend to mentally represent themselves and others in negative ways, expecting painful interaction and attributing malevolence or relation to others John Bowlby’s attachment theory is an outgrowth of the object relations approach Research relating early attachment experiences to later adult relationships is yielding provocative results Avoidant and anxious-ambivalent attachment predicted depressive symptoms, and anxious attachment predicted anxiety symptoms Anxious and avoidant attachment also predict poorer response to psychotherapy Some forms of early attachment are associated with personality disorders among both adolescents and adults Concepts of object relations theories are easier to define and measure, making them more amendable to research - And are relied more on nowadays The Humanistic Perspective Humanists embrace a positive view that affirms the inherent dignity and goodness of the human spirit - Emphasizes the central role of conscious experiences as well as the individual’s creative potential and inborn striving for self-actualization – the total realization of one’s human potential o Maslow considered self-actualization to be the ultimate human need and the highest expression of human nature Carl Rogers’ Self Theory Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) – was one of the most influential humanistic theorists - Believed our behaviour is not a reaction to unconscious conflicts but a response to our immediate conscious experience of self and environment - 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 self-actualization The Self Central concept in Rogers’ theory is the self Self – an organized, consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about oneself - Once formed, the self plays a powerful role in guiding our perceptions and directing our behaviour Rogers theorized: - At the beginning of their lives, children cannot distinguish between themselves and their environment - As they interact with their world, children begin to distinguish between the ‘me’ and the ‘not-me’ - Self-concept continues to develop in response to our life experience 4 Once self-concept is established, there is a tendency to maintain it – because it helps to understand ourselves in relation to the world - So have needs for self-consistency – an absence of conflict among self-perceptions o And congruence – consistency between self-perceptions and experience  Any experience we have that is inconsistent with our self-concept, including our perceptions of our own behaviour, evokes threat and anxiety Well-adjusted individuals can respond to threat adaptively by modifying the self-concept so that the experiences to remove the incongruence – termed problems in living Two options to settle incongruence: 1) He could react adaptively by modifying his self-concept 2) Distort reality To preserve their self-images, people interpret situations in self-congruent ways and behave in ways that will lead others to respond to them in a self-confirming fashion - The degree of congruence between slef-concept and experience helps to define one’s level of adjustment o The more inflexible people’s self-concepts are, the less open they will be to their experience and the more maladjusted they will become - If there is a significant degree of incongruence between self and experience, and the experiences are forceful enough, the defenses used to deny and distort reality may collapse o Resulting in extreme anxiety and a temporary disorganization of the self-concept The Need for Positive Regard Roger believed we are born with an innate need for positive regard (for acceptance, sympathy, and love from others) - Viewed it as essential for healthy development - Ideally when received by the parents is unconditional – it is independent of how the child behaves Unconditional Positive Regard – communicates that the child is inherently worthy of love Conditional Positive Regard – is dependent on how the child behaves There is a need for positive self-regard – we all want to feel good about our selves Lack of unconditional positive regard from parents and other significant people teaches people that they are worthy of approval and love only when they meet certain standards - This fosters the development of conditions of worth – which dictates when we approve or disapprove of ourselves Fully Functioning Persons Fully Functioning Persons – do not hide behind masks or adopt artificial roles - Have achieved self-actualization - Feel a sense of inner freedom, self-determination, and a choice in the direction of their growth - Have no fear of behaving spontaneously, freely, and creatively because they are fairly free of conditions of worth, they can accept inner and outer experiences as they are, without modifying them defensively to suit a rigid self-concept or the expectation of other 5 Research on the Self Two topics at the forefront: 1) The development of self-esteem and its effects on behaviour 2) The roles played by self-enhancement and self-consistency motives Self-Esteem Self-Esteem – how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves - In adulthood, there are only small differences in overall self-esteem between men and women - Its related to many positive behaviours and life outcomes - People with high self-esteem are less susceptible to social pressure, have fewer interpersonal problems, are happier with their lives, achieve at a higher and more persistent level, and are more capable of forming satisfying love relationships - People with poor self-image are more likely to psychological problems like anxiety and depression, to physical illness, and to poor social relationships and underachievement Children develop higher self-esteem 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 When unstable or inflated self-esteem is threatened, individuals may react aggressively, even violently to protect their self-esteem - The higher one’s self-esteem, the greater the vulnerability to ego threats If the pursuit of self-esteem is successful it has emotional benefits - But in the pursuit, it can also have negative effects – like decreasing learning and leading to poor self-regulation and poor mental and physical health Self-Verification and Self-Enhancement Motives Self-Verification – Rogers proposed that people are motivated to preserve their self-concept by maintaining self- consistency and congruence - These needs are expressed in people’s tendency to seek out self-confirming relationships Self-Enhancement – He suggested that people have a need to regard themselves positively, and research confirms a strong and persuasive tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image Several self-enhancement strategies have been identified - Ex: 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 provides a learning context in which the self develops Individualistic cultures place emphasis on independence and personal attainment Collectivist Cultures emphasize connectedness between people and the achievement of group goals Gender-role socialization provides us with gender schemas Gender Schemas – organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females 6 - In Western culture, men tend to develop a individualistic self-concept and woman tend to develop a more collectivistic self-concept Evaluating Humanistic Theories Humanistic theorists focus on the individual’s subjective experiences - What matters most is how people view themselves and the world Critics – relies too much on individual’s reports of their personal experiences - It is impossible to define an individual’s actualizing tendency except in terms of the behaviour that it supposedly produces Traits and Biological Perspectives Goal of trait theorists is to describe the basic classes of behaviour that define personality, to devise ways of measuring individual differences in personality traits, and to use these measures to understand and predict a person’s behaviour - Starting point: to identify the behaviours that define a particular trait Two Major approaches to define what Allport (1937, went through dictionary and recorded words to describe personal traits) – Building Blocks of Personality: 1) To propose traits (ex: dominance, friendliness, self-esteem) on the basis of intuition or a theory of personality 2) More systemic approach  uses Factor Analysis to 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 Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors He identified 16 basic behaviour clusters, or factors Eysenck’s Extraversion-Stability Model Hans Eysenck (1916-1997) proposed few basic traits - In his original theory, he proposed only 2 basic dimensions of personality: o 1) Introversion-Extroversion  Extraversion reflects the tendency to be sociable, active, and willing to take risks  Introversion represents a tendency toward social inhibition, passivity, and caution o 2) Stability – Instability  Stability – high emotional stability and poise  Instability – moodiness, a tendency to worry excessively, easily provoked guil
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