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Chapter 14

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Psychology 1000

Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 1 WHAT IS PERSONALITY? − Personality= the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations − Thoughts, feelings, and actions that reflect personality have 3 characteristics: 1. Seen as components of identity that distinguish that person from others 2. Behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal factors 3. The person’s behaviours seem to ‘fit together ‘ in a meaningful fashion, suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour − Theorists have their own personalities that influence how they perceive and understand themselves and their world − For personality psychologists, their ‘usefulness’ as scientific theories is MOST IMPORTANT − A theory is scientifically useful to the extent that it: 1. Provides a comprehensive framework within which known facts are incorporated 2. Allows us to predict future events with some precision 3. Stimulates the discovery of new knowledge THE PSYCHODYNAMIC PERSPECTIVE − Psychodynamic theorists look for the causes of behaviour in a dynamic interplay of inner forces that conflict with each other − They focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour − Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was the first and most influential theory Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory − Conversion hysteria= physical symptoms like paralysis and blindness appear suddenly and have no apparent physical cause − Based his theory on careful clinical observation Psychic Energy and Mental Events: − Instinctual drives generate psychic energy powers the mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release − Mental events may be conscious, preconscious, or unconscious − Conscious mind= mental events we are presently aware of − Preconscious= memories, thoughts, feelings,, and images we are unaware of at the moment but can be called into conscious awareness (ex. Memory of 16 birthday) − Only when impulses from the unconscious are discharged some way (ex. In dreams, slips of the tongue, or some disguised behaviour) the unconscious reveals itself The Structure of Personality: − Freud divided personality into 3 structures: id, ego, and superego Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 2 − Id= exists totally within the unconscious mind • Innermost core of the personality • Only structure present at birth • Source of all psychic energy • Has no direct contact with reality and functions in a totally irrational manner • Operates according to pleasure principle seeks immediate gratification or release • Dictum = ‘want… take’ • Cannot directly satisfy itself by obtaining what it needs from the environment b/c it has NO CONTACT WITH THE OUTERWORLD − Ego functions primarily at a CONSCIOUS LEVEL  operates according to the reality principle • Tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy its needs • Tries to delay gratification until conditions are safe and appropriate • Executive of the personality b/c it must achieve compromise b/w demands of the id, constraints of the superego, and demands of reality − Superego= the moral arm of personality • Developed by the age of 4-5 • Repository for the values and ideal of society • Ideals are internalized by the child through identification with his/her parents, and by training about what is right/ wrong and how the child SHOULD be • Development of superego self- control takes over from the external controls of rewards and punishments • Superego strives to control the instincts of id (JUST LIKE THE EGO) particularly the sexual and aggressive impulses that are destined by society • In its quest for perfection, tries to block gratification permanently • Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones • Might cause person to feel intense guilt over sexual activity even within marriage b/c it has internalized idea that sex is dirty Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence: − When ego has impulses that threaten to get out of control or is faced with dangers from the environment anxiety results − Anxiety serves as a danger signal and motivates the ego to deal with the problem − The anxiety can be reduced through realistic coping behaviours − When realistic strategies don’t reduce anxiety, ego resorts to defence mechanisms deny or distort reality Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 3 − Some defence mechanisms permit release of impulses of id in disguised forms that WON’T conflict with the limits imposed by the external world or with the prohibitions of the superego − Repression is the primary way ego controls id − Repression ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-rousing memories, feelings, and impulses from entering consciousness − Repressed thoughts may be channelled into socially desirable behaviours through the defence mechanism= sublimation completely mask the forbidden underlying impulses − Defence mechanisms operate unconsciously, so people are unaware that they are using self-deception to ward off anxiety − LOOK AT PAGE 547 TABLE 14.1 Psychosexual Development: − Children pass through as series of psychosexual stages during which the id’s pleasure-seeking tendencies are focused on specific pleasure- sensitive areas of the body = erogenous zones − Potential deprivations or overindulgences can rise during any of these stages fixation a state of arrested psychosexual development where instincts are focused on a specific psychic theme − Most controversial part of Freud’s work= Freud’s theory of psychosexual development Research on Psychoanalytic Theory: − Freud opposed experimental research b/c complex phenomena could not be studied under controlled conditions − Many of the concepts of the psychoanalytic theory are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure − Much of our moment-to-moment mental and emotional life occurs outside our awareness Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory − Problem with psychoanalytic theory is hard to test b/c it explains too much to allow clear-cut behavioural predictions − Reaction formation= a defence mechanism; produces exaggerated behaviours that are the opposite of the impulse − Freud had an emphasis on the unconscious Freud’s Legacy: Neoanalytic and Object Relations Approaches − Neoanalysts were psychoanalysts who disagreed with aspects of Freud’s thinking developed their own theories − Thought Freud didn’t give social & cultural factors important role in development of personality − Believed he stressed infantile sexuality a bit much − Freud laid too much emphasis on the events of childhood as determinants of adult personality Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 4 − Alfred Adler humans are inherently social beings who are motivated by social interest (desire to advance the welfare of others); care about others, cooperate with them, and place general social welfare above selfish personal interests • General motive of striving for superiority drives people to compensate for real or imagined defects in themselves (inferiority complex) and to strive to be ever more competent in life − Freud viewed people as savage animals caged by the bars of civilization − Jung’s theory of analytic psychology humans possess not only a personal unconscious but also a collective unconscious (memories throughout the entire history of the human race) − Archetypes= inherited tendencies to interpret experience in certain ways; find expression in symbols, myths, and beliefs across many cultures − Object relations= focus on the images or mental representations that people form of themselves and other people as a result of early experience with caregivers − Attachment theory is an extension of the object relations approach − When relationship b/w adult attachment dimensions and symptoms of emotional distress were examined: Avoidant and anxious-ambivalent attachment predicted depressive symptoms, and anxious attachment predicted anxiety symptoms THE HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE − Humanists embrace a positive view that affirms the inherent dignity and goodness of the human spirit emphasize central role of conscious experience and the individuals’ creative potential − Self-actualization total realization of one’s human potential; ultimate human need and highest expression of human nature Carl Rogers’s Self Theory − Believed that our behaviour is not a reaction to unconscious conflicts but a response to our immediate conscious experience of self and environment − The forces that direct behaviour are within us and when they’re not distorted, they can be trusted to direct us towards self actualization The Self − Central concept in Rogers’s theory= self= organized, consistent set of perceptions of an beliefs about oneself − Children cannot distinguish between themselves and their environment − Self- consistency= an absence of conflict − Congruence= consistency b/w self- perceptions and experience − We have needs for self consistency and congruence Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 5 − To preserve their self-images, people not only interpret situations in self-congruent ways, but they also behave in ways that will lead others to respond to them in a self-confirming fashion − People are pushed by self-consistency needs to behave in accord with their self- concepts The Need for Positive Regard − We are born with an innate need for positive regard essential for healthy development − People need positive regard from others AND FROM THEMSELVES − When people think that they are only worthy when they live by other peoples’ standards development of conditions of worth = dictate when we approve or disapprove of ourselves Fully Functioning Persons − Fully functioning persons= people who achieved self-actualization − They are free of conditions of worth Research on the Self Self- Esteem − Self esteem= how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves − Levels of self- esteem are stable across development, with correlations between +0.50 and +0.70 from childhood to old age − Unstable or unrealistically high self-esteem may be even more dangerous to the individual and society than low self- esteem − The higher one’s self-esteem, the greater the vulnerability to ego threats − The pursuit of self-esteem can be a source of problems − If a goal is enhanced self-esteem, achieving the goal imparts a feeling of worth and value, but the emotional benefits may be only temporary − A failure when the goal is enhanced self-esteem is more damaging to the individual than a failure when the goal is to master the task − If the goal is enhanced self-esteem, people feel particularly challenged to succeed and may react to threats or perceived threats in ways that are destructive/ self-destructive − If the pursuit of self-esteem is successful it does have emotional benefits, but it can also have costs like decreasing learning and leading to poor self-regulation & poor mental & physical health Self- Verification and Self- Enhancement Motives − Rogers said: people are motivated to preserve their self-concept by maintaining self-consistency and congruence self-verification − Self-verification needs = expressed in people’s tendency to seek out self-confirming relationships − Self-enhancement= Rogers suggested that people have a need to regard themselves positively, and research confirms a strong and pervasive tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 6 − As evidence on self-serving biases in self-perception continues to accumulate, researchers are concluding that positive illusions of this sort are the rule rather than the exception in well-adjusted people and that these self-enhancement tendencies, or ‘positive illusions,’ contribute to their psychological well –being Culture, Gender, and the Self − Americans are more likely to list personal traits, abilities, or dispositions − The social embeddedness of the collectivist Japanese culture was reflected in their self-perceptions, as was cultural individualism in the Americans’ self-concepts − Gender schemas= organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females Evaluating Humanistic Theories − Humanistic theorists focus on the individual’s subjective experiences − What matters most is how people view themselves and the world − Psychoanalytic theorists maintain that accepting what a person says at face value may easily lead to erroneous conclusions b/c of the always- present influence of unconscious factors − Critics believe that it is impossible to define an individual’s actualizing tendency except in terms of the behaviour that it supposedly produces example of circular reasoning − To assess the effectiveness of psychotherapy, Rogers measured the discrepancy between clients’ ideal selves and their perceived selves • Discrepancy is large at the beginning but gets smaller as therapy proceeds therapy may help the client to become more self- accepting/ realistic FRONTIERS: Stressed By Success − Whether success makes a person feel good or anxious and whether or not someone acts to improve a bad mood depends importantly on their self-esteem − Success helps to bolster the self-esteem of those already high in self- esteem − Success generates self-doubt and anxiety among those low in self- esteem − Positive life events are associated with better physical health among those with high self-esteem but with more illness, not less, among those with low self-esteem − Subjects low in self-esteem did not have their self esteem improve when told that they had done very well; instead, such comments made them anxious Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 7 − High and low self-esteem participants did not differ in their expectations or self-relevant thoughts in the neutral condition, but they did differ in the success condition − Success increased positive thoughts about self for those who already had high self-esteem but not for those with low self-esteem − Success had a negative impact on those with low self-esteem − Success increases the anxiety of those with low self-esteem and that robs the experience of success of much of its positive impact TRAIT AND BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES − 2 major approaches to define the building blocks of personality: propose traits on the basis of intuition or a theory of personality − More systematic approach uses the statistical tool of factor analysis to identify clusters of specific behaviours that are correlated with each other so highly that they can be viewed as reflecting a basic dimension on which people vary Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors − Was able to develop personality profiles not only for individuals, but also for groups of people EySenck’s Extraversion- Stability Model − Call his original basic dimensions of personality Introversion- Extraversion and Stability- Instability (first referred to as Stability – Neuroticism) − Stability-Instability dimension represents a continuum from high emotional stability and poise at the Stability end, to moodiness, a tendency to worry excessively, and anxiety at the instability end − Extraversion/ Introversion and Stability/Instability are uncorrelated and independent dimensions − The third factor = psychoticism-Self Control  scoring high on this scale does not mean that someone is developing some type of psychosis − Psychoticism= someone who was creative and has a tendency toward nonconformity, impulsivity, and social deviance The Five Factor Model − 5 ‘higher-order’ factors, including several of Cattell’s more specific factors are all that are needed to capture the basic structure of personality − These factors are universal to the human species − OCEAN Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism − 2 factors overlap with Eysenck’s theory= Extraversion and Neuroticism − 2 factors are SIMILAR to Eysenck’s Psychoticism factor= Conscientiousness and Agreeableness Traits and Behaviour Prediction Psych 1000 Chapter 14 Notes 8 − The big five model includes 6 subcategories or facets under each of
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