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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 study guide: Personality

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Professor
Michael Inzlicht
Semester
Winter

Description
CHAPTER TWELVE: PERSONALITY -we are constantly trying to figure people out, so that we can understand why they behave the way they do, so we can predict their future behaviour -an important question for researchers who study personality is the extent to which personality changes throughout a persons life -shy people, spend a great deal of time worrying about what others think of them -most people feel shy on some occasions, but some people feel shy all the time that it interferes with making friends or achieving their goals -understanding personality may be among the oldest quests in psychology -Personality refers to an individuals characteristics, emotional responses, thoughts and behaviours that are relatively stable over time and across circumstance -personality psychologists study the basic processes that influence the development of personality on a number of different levels of analysis -influence of culture, learning, biology, cognitive factors -those who study personatliy are most interested in understanding whole persons -try to understand what makes each person unique -people differ greatly in many ways -some are hostile, loving, withdrawn -Personality Trait is a characteristic, a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and acros s circumstances How have Scientists Studied Personality? -Dan McAdams (a leading personality researcher) has posed the interesting question: What must we know to know a person well? -ways of answering this question varies greatly, depending on their overal l theoretical ap proach -some emphasize culture, patterns of reinforcement, or mental and unconscious processes -to really understand people is to understand everything about them -from their biological make-ups to their early childhood experiences to the way they think to the cultures in which they were raised -all these factors work together to shape a person in a unique way -Gordon Allport (published the first major textbo o k on personality) gave the best working definition of personality -DEF: the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behaviour and thought -the definition includes many of concepts most important to a contemporary understanding of personality -the notion of organization indicates that personality is not just a list of traits but a coherent whole -this organized whole is dynamic -it is goal seeking, sensitive to context and adaptive to the environment -by emphasizing psychophysical systems, Allport highlights the psychological nature of personality while clearly recognizing that personality arises from basic biological processes -Allports definition stresses that personality causes people to think, behave and feel in relatively consistent ways over time. www.notesolution.com-psychological researchers use diverse approaches to explore different aspects of personality Psychodynamic Theories Emphasize Unconscious and Dynamic Processes -Sigmund Freud, developed one of the most influential theories of human personality -focused on the individual level of analysis -developed many of his ideas about personality by observing people he was treating for various psychological disturbances -such as patients who experienced paralysis without any apparent physical cause -the central premise of Freuds Psychodynamic Theory of personality is that unconscious forces, such as wishes and motives, influence behaviour -referred to these psychic forces as instincts, defining them as mental representations arising out of biological or physical need -proposed that people have a life instinct that is satisfied by fol lowing the pleasure principle, which directs people to seek pleasure and avoid pain -Instincts can be viewed as wishes or desires to satisfy libidinal urges for pleasure -Libido is the energy that drives the pleasure principle -Freud used this term to refer more generally to the energy that promotes pleasure seeking -these psychological forces can be in conflict, which was what Freud viewed as the essential cause of mental il lnes s A Topographical Model of Mind -Freud believed that most of the conflict betwe en various psychological forces oc cur red below the level of conscious awareness -proposed that the structure of the mind, the topography as it were, was divided into 3 different zones of mental awareness -at the conscious level, people are aware of their thoughts -the preconscious level consists of content that is not currently in awareness but could be brought to awareness -roughly analogous to long-term memory -the unconscious contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieve -believed that much of human behaviour was influenced by unconscious processes -Freud said that the unconscious mind contains wishes, desires, and motives that are associated with conflict, anxiety or pain and are therefore not accessible to protect the person from distress. -however, this information can leak into consciousness, such as occurs during a Freudian slip, in which a person accidentally reveals a hidden motive -ie. Someone introducing themselves to someone attractive by saying Excuse me, I dont think weve been properly seduced Development of Sexual Instincts -Freud believed that early childho od experiences had a major impact on the development of personality -believed that children went through developmental stages that corresponded to their pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urges www.notesolution.com
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