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Chapter 12

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Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 12: PERSONALITY > WHAT IS PERSONALITY? - ppl behave somewhat consistently over time and over different situations, but more consistent in adulthood - personality: the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations - three characteristics of personality o components of identity that distinguish that person from others o behaviours are viewed as being caused primary by internal rather than environmental factors o the person’s behaviours seem to fit together in a meaningful way, suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviours > THE PSYCHODYNAMIC PERSPECTIVE Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Psychic Energy and Mental Events - instinctual drives generate psychic energy, which powers the mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release - mental events may be conscious, preconscious, or unconscious o conscious: everything we are presently aware of o preconscious: memories and thoughts we aren’t aware of, but can be recalled o unconscious: wishes, feelings, and impulses that lie beyond our awareness  come out in verbal slips and dreams The Structure of Personality - Freud divided personality into 3 separate but interacting structures: - The id: o exists totally within the unconscious mind  no contact w/ reality o innermost core of personality o present at birth o source of all psychic energy o pleasure principle: it seeks immediate gratification, regardless of rational considerations and environmental realities - The ego: o since the id cannot directly satisfy itself, ego develops to help it o functions primarily at a conscious level o reality principle: tests reality to decide when/where the id can express its impulses and satisfy its needs o “executive of the personality”  compromise between id’s needs and superego’s constraints - the superego: o last to develop  around 4 or 5 o moral part of the personality  contains traditional values/ideas of society o strives to control the id  tries to block gratification permanently o moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones Conflict, Anxiety, and Defense - when the ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control anxiety results - when realistic strategies are ineffective in reducing anxiety, the ego may resort to defense mechanisms that deny or distort reality - some permit the release of impulses from the id in disguised forms that will not conflict w/ the external world or w/ with the prohibitions of the superego - repression: ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings and impulses from entering consciousness  only slip out in dreams and slips of tongue - sublimation: repressed impulse is released in the form of a socially acceptable behaviour - reaction formation: impulse is repressed, and its psychic energy finds release in exaggerated expression of the opposite behaviour Psychosexual Development - children pass through series of psychosexual stages during which the id’s pleasure- seeking tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive areas of the body erogenous zones o oral stage: 0-2  focused on mouth; key task is weaning o anal stage: 2-3  focused on process of elimination; key task is toilet training o phallic stage: 4-6  kids derive pleasure from sexual organs  Oedipus conflict: desire to kill father and have sex with mother  Electra complex: stems from girls’ penis envy  want to kill mother and have fathers children  This stage is milestone in gender identity  identify w/ same-sex parent o Latency stage: 7-puberty  sexuality becomes dormant o Genital stage: puberty on  erotic impulses find expression in sexual relations Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory - often criticized on scientific grounds - may of its concepts are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure - explains too much to allow clear-cut behavioural predictions Neoanalytic and Object Relations Approaches - Neoanalysts: psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain areas of Freud’s thinking o Believed he did not give social and cultural factors a sufficiently important role in the development of personality o Too much emphasis on child sexuality and effects of childhood experiences o Alfred Adler believed humans are motivated by social interest: the desire to advance the welfare of others, and we strive for superiority o Carl Jung  analytic psychology: expanded Freud’s notion of the unconscious – believed humans possess not only a personal unconscious based on life experiences, but also a collective unconscious that consists of memories accumulated throughout the entire history of the human race represented by archetypes, inherited tendencies to interpret an experience in certain ways - Object relations theorists focus on the images or mental representations that ppl form of themselves and other ppl as a result of early experience w/ caregivers o The way we see our caregivers influence our later relationships o More psychoanalysts claim to rely more heavily on the concepts of object relations than on classical psychoanalytic theory > THE HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE - emphasize the central role of conscious experience, as well as the creative potential and inborn striving for self-actualization, the total realization of one’s human potential Carl Rogers’s Self Theory - believed our behaviour is a response to our immediate conscious experience of self and environment The Self - self: an organized, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself o plays a powerful role in guiding our perceptions and directing our behaviour - children learn to distinguish between “me” and “not-me” through interaction w/ environ. - Once the self is established, we tend to maintain it, for it helps us to understand ourselves in relation to the world  self-consistency: absence of conflict among self-perceptions - Any experience we have that is inconsistent w/ our self-concept evokes threat & anxiety - ppl interpret situations in self-congruent ways and behave in ways that will lead others to react to them in a self-confirming fashion - the more inflexible ppl’s self-concept are, the less open they will be to their experience and will become more maladjusted The Need for Positive Regard - need for positive regard: need for acceptance, sympathy, and love from others - unconditional positive regard: independent from how the child behaves  always given positive regard  communicates that the child is inherently worthy of love - we also have a need for positive self-regard - if we only receive positive regard when we meet certain standards, we develop conditions of worth: dictate when we approve or disapprove of ourselves o can cause major incongruence between self and experience Fully Functioning Persons - fully functioning persons: those who have achieved self-actualization - do not hide behind masks or adopt artificial roles - feel inner-freedom, self-determination, and choice in the direction of their growth - can accept inner and outer experiences as they are, without modifying them defensively to suit a rigid self-concept or the expectations of others Research on the Self - two main topics of research: 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 - ppl 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 have more satisfying love relationships - develop high self esteem when parents communicate unconditional acceptance and love, establish clear guidelines for behavior, and reinforce compliance while giving the child freedom to make decisions and express opinions - those with high self-esteems are most prone to ego threats Self-Verification and Self-Enhancement Motives - self-verification: the tendency to try to verify or validate one’s existing self-concept o ppl have tendency to seek out self-verifying relationships  those who view themselves highly marry ppl who also view them highly - self-enhancement: the tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image o eg, ppl attribute success to their own abilities and effort, but attribute failures to environmental factors o ppl tend to rate themselves as better than average for virtually any socially desirable trait that is subjective in nature Culture, Gender, and the Self - culture provides the learning context in which the self develops o ppl in America more likely to describe themselves in terms of personal traits, while those in Japan more likely to describe themselves in terms of their social roles and positions - gender schemas: organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females o define what self “should” be for men and women Evaluating Humanistic Theories - may rely too heavily on individual’s reports of physical experi
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