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Chapter 12

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Chapter 12PersonalityPersonality characteristics emotional responses thoughts and behaviors that are relatively stable over time and across circumstances Personality trait a characteristic a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and across circumstancesDan McAdams believes that to know people well we need to know everything about them including the personal narratives of their whole livesGordon Allport believed that the best working definition of personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behaviour and thoughtAllport highlights the psychological nature of personality while clearly reorganizing that personality arises from the basic biological processAllports definition stresses that personality causes people to think behave and feel in relatively consistent ways over timeAllport published the first major textbook of personality psychology which defined the field He also championed the stud of individuals and established traits as a central concept in personality researchContemporary understanding of personality the notion of organization indicates that personality is not just a list of traits but a coherent wholethis organized whole is dynamic in that it is goal seeking sensible to context and adaptive to the environmentSigmund FreudPsychology theory Freudian theory that unconscious forces such as wishes and motives influences behaviour Referred to these psychic forces as instinctsdefining them as mental representationsarising out of biological or physical needProposed that people have a life instinct that is satisfied by following the pleasure principle which directs people to seek pleasure and avoid plainThe energy that drives the pleasure principle is called libidoPsychological forces can be in conflict which was what Freud viewed as the essential cause of mental illness with most of the conflicts between various psychological forces occurring below the level of conscious awarenessTopographical model proposed that the structure of the mind was divided into three different zones of mental awarenessoConscious level people are aware of their thoughtsoPreconscious consists of content that is not currently in awareness but could be brought to awareness it is roughly analogous to longterm memoryoUnconscious contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieve contains wishes desires and motives that are associated with conflict anxiety or pain and are therefore not accessible to protect the person from distress But sometimes this info leaks into consciousness such as occurs during a Freudian slip in which a person accidently reveals a hidden motiveBelieved that early childhood experiences had a major impact on the development of personalityBelieved that children went though developmental stages that corresponded to their pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urgesAt each psychosexual stage libido is focused on one of the erogenous zones mouth anus and genitalsoOral stage lasts from birth to approximately 18 months during which time pleasure is sought through the mouthoAnal phase when children are 2 or 3 years old toilet training leads them to focus on the anus therefore learning to control the bowels is the key focus of the anal phase
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