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Chapter 12

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Joordens, Steve

Chapter 12 Personality: is an individual’s characteristic style of behaving, thinking, and feeling  prior events that can shape an individual’s personality  anticipated events that might motivate the person to reveal particular personality characteristics Personality psychologists study questions of how our personalities are determined by the forces in our minds and in our personal history of heredity and environment and by the choices we make and the goals we seek Self-report—a series of answers to a questionnaire that asks people to indicate the extent to which sets of statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behavior or mental state. Actuarial method can be used to gauge personality even when the self-report items are not clearly related in content to the characteristic being measured Actuarial method is the basis of the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), a well- researched, clinical questionnaire used to assess personality and psychological problems  includes validity scales that assess a person’s attitudes toward test taking and any tendency to try to distort the results by faking answer they don’t always agree or always Disagree—a phenomenon known as response style Projective techniques: a standard series of ambiguous stimuli designed to elicit unique responses that reveal inner aspects of an individual’s personality Rorschach Inkblot Test: a projective personality test in which individual interpretations of the meaning of a set of unstructured inkblots are analyzed to identify a respondent’s inner feelings and interpret his or her personality structure  Captures some of the more complex and private aspects of personality, the test is open to the subjective interpretation and theoretic biases of the examiner Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a projective personality test in which respondents reveal underlying motives, concerns, and the way they see the social world through the stories they make up about ambiguous pictures of people In Summary  In psychology, personality refers to a person’s characteristic style of behaving, thinking, and feeling.  Personality psychologists attempt to find the best ways to describe personality, to explain how personalities come about, and to measure personality.  Two general classes of personality tests are Personality inventories o MMPI-2  Projective techniques o Rorschach Inkblot Test o TAT. Trait A relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent way. Preexisting dispositions: causes of behavior that reliably trigger the behavior Big Five: The traits of the five-factor model:  Conscientiousness  agreeableness  neuroticism  openness to experience  Extraversion 2 reasons why:  modern factor analysis techniques strikes the right balance between variation in personality  people’s descriptions of their own personalities, other people’s descriptions of their personalities o Genetics seems to influence most personality traits o current estimates place the average genetic component of personality in the range of .40 to .60 Anthropomorphizes: attribute human characteristics to nonhuman animals Active (extraverts) quiet (introverts)  Extraverts pursue stimulation because their reticular formation is not easily stimulated  Introverts may prefer reading or quiet activities because their cortex is very easily stimulated to a point higher than optimal Behavioral activation system (BAS): essentially a “go” system activates approach behavior in response to the anticipation of reward. Behavioral inhibition system (BIS): a “stop” system, inhibits behavior in response to stimuli signaling punishment In summary  The trait approach tries to identify personality dimensions that can be used to characterize an individual’s behavior. Researchers have attempted to boil down the potentially huge array of things people do, think, and feel into some core personality dimensions.  Many personality psychologists currently focus on the Big Five personality factors: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion.  To address the question of why traits arise, trait theorists often adopt a biological perspective, seeing personality largely as the result of genetic influences on brain mechanisms. Psychodynamic approach: An approach that regards personality as formed by needs, strivings, and desires largely operating outside of awareness—motives that can also produce emotional disorders. Ego: the component of personality, developed through contact with the external world, that enables us to deal with life’s practical demands Id: is the part of the mind containing the drives present at birth; it is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives Superego: the mental system that reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly learned as parents exercise their authority The id force of personal needs, the superego force of social pressures to quell those needs, and the ego force of reality’s demands together create constant controversy Anxiety: an unpleasant feeling that arises when unwanted thoughts or feelings occurring Repression is sometimes referred to as “motivated forgetting”; decreased activation of the hippocampus Defense mechanisms: Unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses; help us overcome anxiety Rationalization: A defense mechanism that involves supplying a reasonable-sounding explanation for unacceptable feelings and behavior to conceal (mostly from oneself) one’s underlying motives or feelings Reaction formation: A defense mechanism that involves unconsciously replacing threatening inner wishes and fantasies with an exaggerated version of their opposite Projection: A defense mechanism that involves attributing one’s own threatening feelings, motives, or impulses to another person or group. Regression: A defense mechanism in which the ego deals with internal conflic
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