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Chapter 13

Chapter 13

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Dan Dolderman

Chapter Thirteen: Personality personality:the characteristic thoughts, emotional responses, and behaviors that are relatively stable in an individual over time and across circumstances whole persons: it's what makes each person unique personality trait: a characteristic; a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time and across circumstances How have psychologists studied personality? Gordon Allport + notion of organization indicates that personality is not just a list of traits but a coherent whole. This organized whole is dynamic in that it is goal seeking, sensitive context, and adaptive to environment. By emphasizing psychophysical systems, Allport highlights psychological nature of personality while recognizing that personality arises from basic biological process. Personality causes people to have characteristic behaviors and thoughts (and feelings) = they do and think and feel things relatively consistently over time. Psychodynamic theories emphasize unconscious and dynamic processes: psychodynamic theory: Freudian theory that unconscious forces, such as wishes and motives, influence behavior + referred to these psychic forces as instincts, defining them as mental representations arising out of biological/physical need - ie: prorposed that people satisfy the life instinct by following the pleasure principle, which directs people to seek pleasure and to avoid pain + energy that drives pleasure principle is libido. + life instinct can be viewed as desire to satisfy libidinal urges for pleasure + multiple forces can be in conflict essential cause of mental illness A topographical model of mind: Freud believed most of conflict between psychological forces occurs below level of conscious awareness + topographical model: proposed the structure of the mind/its topography, is divided into three zones of mental awareness conscious level: people aware of their thoughts + preconscious level: content that is not currently in awareness but could be brought to awareness; roughly analogous to long-term memory + unconscious level: contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieve - contains wishes, desires, and movies; associated with conflict, anxiety, or pain not accessible to protect the person from distress - sometimes, information leaks into consciousness in which a person accidentally reveals a hidden motive Freudian slip Development of sexual instincts: Freudian idea: early childhood experiences have major impact on development of personality + believed children go through developmental stages corresponding to their pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urges psychosexual stage: according to Freud, the developmental stages that correspond to the pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urges + libido focused on one of the erogenous zones: the mouth, anus/genitals oral stage: lasts from birth 18 months, during which time pleasure is sought through the mouth + hungry infants experience relief when breastfed associate pleasure with sucking anal phase: 2 3 years old; toilet training leads children to focus on the anus; learning to control the bowels is the focus. Phallic stage: 3 5 years old; children directs their libidinal energies toward the genitals + often discover pleasure of rubbing their genitals although they have no sexual intent most controversial Freudian theories applies to children in phallic stages + children desire an exclusive relationship with opposite-sex parent + same-sex parent considered a rival = children develop hostility toward that parent - in boys, known as Oedipus complex - believed children develop unconscious wishes to kill one parent in order to claim the other and that they resolve their conflict through identification with same-sex parent, taking on many of their values and beliefs. Following phallic stage, children enter a brief latency stage; libidinal urges suppressed/channeled into doing schoolwork/building friendships final stage, genital stage, adolescents and adults attain mature attitudes about sexuality and adulthood + libidinal urges centered on capacity to reproduce and contribute to society progression through these psychosexual stages affects personality + ie: some people become fixated at a stage during which they receive excessive parental restriction/indulgence + those fixated at oral stage develop oral personalities; continue to seek pleasure though the mouth such as smoking & are excessively needy + anal phase have anal-retentive personalities, being stubborn and highly regulating. May arise from overly strict toilet training/excessively rule-based child rearing Structural model of personality: Freud proposed an integrated model of how mind is organized, consisting of three theoretical structures that vary in degree of consciousness + id: most basic level and completely submerged in the unconscious. - operates according to pleasure principle, acting on impulses & desires - innate forces driving the id are sex & aggression + superego: acts as brake on id - internalization of parental & societal standards of conduct - developed during phallic phase, it's a rigid structure of morality/conscious + ego: mediating between superego and id - tries to satisfy the wishes of the id while being responsive to the dictates of superego - operates according to reality principle, involves rational thought & problem solving defense mechanisms: unconscious mental strategies the mind uses to protect itself from conflict and distress + the method ego uses to cope the anxiety which resulted from conflicts between the id and superego + ie: people often rationalize their behavior by blaming situational factors over which they have little control telling parents they did not call them because too busy studying for exams reaction formation occurs when a person wards off an uncomfortable thought about the self by embracing the opposite thought object relations theory: object of attachment is another person, such as a parent/spouse Humanistic approaches emphasize integrated personal experience: humanistic approaches: approaches to studying personality that emphasize personal experience and belief systems; they propose that people seek personal growth to fulfill their human potential self-actualization: humans seek to fulfill their potential for personal growth through greater self-understanding humanism focuses on subjective human experience, phenomenology, and views each person as inherently good Carl Rogers: + person-centred approach: emphasizes people's personal understandings/phenomenology + therapist would create a supportive & accepting environment and would deal with clients' problems and concerns as clients understood them + his theory highlights importance of how parents show affection for their children and how parental treatment affects personality development + speculated most parents provide love and support that is conditional: parents love their children as long as the children do what the parents want them to do - parents who disapprove of their children's behavior may withhold their love children abandon true feelings, dreams & desires and accept only those part of themselves that elicit parental love and support lose touch with their true selves in their pursuit of positive regard for others counteract: encouraged parents to raise their children with unconditional positive regard: children are accepted, loved, and prized no matter how they behave. - parents may express disapproval of bad behavior, but in a context that ensures children feel loved + a child raised with unconditional positive regard will develop a healthy sense of self-esteem and become a fully functioning person subjective well-being: degree of happiness and satisfaction people feel + wealthiest countries have highest levels of satisfaction broaden-and-build theory: positive emotions prompt people to consider novel situations to their problems resilient people tend to draw on their positive emotions in dealing with setbacks/negative life experiences Type and trait approaches describe behavioral dispositions: psychodynamic and humanistic approaches seek to explain mental processes that shape personality personality types: discrete categories based on global personality characteristics + people fill in gaps in their knowledge about individuals with their beliefs about the behaviors and dispositions associated with these types + the tendency to assume certain personality characteristics go together & make predictions about people based on minimal evidence = implicit personality theory + ie: think introverts dislike parties, like books traits are behavioral dispositions that endure over time and across situations + exists on a continuum most people fall toward middle and relatively few at extremes trait approach: an approach to studying personality that focuses on extent to which individuals differ in personality dispositions + provides a method for assessing the extent
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