Personality Chapter 14 03/26/2014
What is Personality?
The distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s
responses to life situations.
Characteristics are seen as components of identity that distinguish that person from other people
The behaviors are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors
The persons behaviors seem to fit together in a meaningful fashion suggesting an inner personality that
guides and directs behavior.
The Psychodynamic Perspective
Inner forces that conflict with one another. Unconscious determinants of behavior.
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
Worked with Charcot and dealt with patients who would experience physical symptoms such as paralysis
with no physical cause. Freud believed that their painful memories were linked to traumatic experiences that
they had repressed.
Psychic Energy and Mental Events
Events may be conscious, preconcious or unconscious.
Slips of the tongue, dreams, and other disguised behavior are the unconscious revealing itself.
The Structure of Personality
Id exists within the unconscious mind. It’s the core of ones personality. Acts like a child at mcdonalds
behaves completely irrationally. Operates according to the Pleasure Principal; seeks immediate
Egofunctions on the conscious level and it operates according to the reality principal. It test reality to
decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy needs. Acts as
the middle man and mediator finding the happy medium between the superego and the id.
Superego the moral arm of personality. Develops around the age of 4 or 5. Knows what is wrong and what
is right. Self control takes over from rewards and punishments. Strives to control sexual and aggressive
impulses. Moralistic goals take precedent over realistic goals.
Conflict, Anxiety, and Defense
Defense mechanisms deny or distort reality. Operate unconsciously, excessive reliance on these was a
primary cause of maladaptive or dysfunctional behavior.
Repressionanxietyarousing impulses or memories are pushed into the unconscious mind.
Sublimation completely masking the forbidden underlying impulses.
Displacementanger directed at a safer substitute
Intellectualization emotion connected with an upsetting event is repressed.
Rationalization a person constructs a false but plausible explanation or excuse for an anxiety arousing
behavior or event that has occurred. Projectionan unacceptable impulse repressed and then projected onto other people.
Reaction formation arousing impulse is repressed and its psychic energy finds release in an exaggerated
expression of the opposite behavior.
He believed that experiences in the first year shaped the personality of a person. Children pass through
stages during which the id’s pleasure sensitive areas of the body called erogenous zones. Deprivation or
overindulgence can result in a fixation.
Research on Psychoanalytic Theory
300 Uni students asked to think about two people they knew and instructions were given to suppress the
thought of one of them and when they would dream they would dream more about the suppressed target
rather than the unsuppressed target.
Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory
It is nearly impossible to test theories
Doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny
Explains too much to allow clearcut behavioral predictions.
Freud’s Legacy: Neoanalytic and Obj