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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 personality summary

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Psychology 1000

Personality What is Personality? Distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a persons responses to life situations Typically have three characteristics o Components of identity that distinguish that person from another o Behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors o Persons behaviours seem to fit together in a meaningful fashion suggesting an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour Guided by psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural perspectives Psychodynamic Perspective Look for causes of behaviour in interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another Focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour Freud Psychoanalytic Theory Neurologist Jean Charcot o Treating patients who suffered from disorder called conversion hysteria o Symptoms: paralysis & blindness appeared suddenly and with no cause Freud - patients convinced him that symptoms were related to painful memories & feelings that seemed to have been repressed When patients were able to re-experience traumatic memories & unacceptable feelings - often sexual or aggressive - symptoms often disappeared or improved Psychic Energy and Mental Events Considered personality to be an energy system Instinctual drives generate psychic energy Which powers mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release o Ex. Build-up of energy from sexual drives might be discharged directly through sexual activity or indirectly through sexual fantasies, farming, or painting Mental events may be: o Conscious Presently aware of o Preconscious Unaware of at the moment but that can be called into conscious awareness Ex. 16 birthday mentioning it brings it to conscious mind o Unconscious Freud believed that it was bigger in size and importance Wishes, feelings, & impulses that lie beyond awareness Impulses discharged in some way dreams, slips of tongue, disguised behaviours The Structure of Personality Freud divided personality into three separate structures o Id Exists totally within unconscious mind Innermost core of personality Only structure present at birth Source of all psychic energy Functions in an irrational manner Operates according to Pleasure Principle Seeks immediate gratification or release regardless of rational considerations No contact with outer world - cannot directly satisfy itself by obtaining what it needs from environment leads to ego o Ego Functions primarily at conscious level Operates according to Reality Principle Tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely discharge impulses and satisfy needs Must achieve a compromise between demands of the id and moral constraints of superego Executive of the personality o Superego Last to develop - developed by age 4-5 Moral arm of personality Repository for values and ideals of society Ideals are internalized by the child through identification with parents explicit training as to what is right and wrong Self-control takes over from the external controls of rewards & punishments Strives to control instincts of the id particularly sexual and aggressive impulses Tries to block gratification permanently impulses condemned Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones, regardless of the potential cost to the individual Ex. Cause a person to experience intense guilt over sexual activity even within marriage because it internalized idea: sex is dirty Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence Dynamics of personality - never-ending struggle between id & opposing forces Observable behaviour represents compromises Anxiety o Ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control or is faced with dangers from the environment o Serves as a danger signal o Motivates ego to deal with problem o Reduced by realistic coping o Defense Mechanisms Used when realistic coping is not effective Deny or distort reality Some permit release of impulses from id in disguised forms that will not conflict with limits imposed Operate unconsciously unaware that they are using self-deception to ward of anxiety Excessive reliance on defence mechanism primary cuase of maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviour Repression o Primary means by which ego keeps the lid on the id o Ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings and impulses from entering consciousness o Repressed thoughts & wishes Remain in unconscious Strive for release Expressed indirectly Can be channelled into socially desirable behaviours through defence mechanism of sublimation Completely masking the forbidden underlying impulses Ex. hostile impulses used in tracking down criminals or being a successful trial lawyer Major Defence Mechanisms Defence Description Example Mechanism Repression memories are pushed into unconscious mindxiety-arousing impamnesia for the evently abused in childhood develops Denial Person refuses to acknowledge anxiety-arousing aspects of tMan who is told he has terminal cancer refuses to consider environment. Denial may involve either the emotions connectpossibility that he will not recover the event or the event itself Displacement An unacceptable or dangerous impulse is repressed, and thenMan who is harassed by boss experiences no anger at work, directed at a safer substitute target but abuses his wife and children Intellectualizatdealt with as intellectually interesting eventepressed Situtalks in a highly rational manner about unpredictability of love relationships. Projection Unacceptable impulse is repressed, and then attributed to (Woman with strong repressed desires to have an affair onto) other people. accuses her husband of being unfaithful to her Rationalization Person constructs a false but plausible explanation or excuStudent caught cheating on an exam justifies act by pointing anxiety-arousing behaviour or event that has already occurrout that professor's tests are unfair & everybody was cheating Reaction Anxiety-arousing impulse is repressed, & its psychic energyMother who harbours feelings of hatred for her child Formation release in an exaggerated expression of the opposite behavirepresses them & becomes overprotective of child Sublimation Repressed impulse is released in a socially acceptable or eMan with strong hostile impulses becomes an investigative admired behaviour reporter who ruins political careers Psychosexual Development Freud believed personality is powerfully moulded by experiences in the first years of life Children pass through series of psychosexual stages during which id's tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive areas of body called erogenous zones Potential deprivations or overindulgences - results in fixation o State of arrested psychosexual development in which instincts are focused on a particular psychic theme Theory of psychosexual development - most controversial Research on Psychoanalytic Theory Believed careful observations of everyday behaviour & clinical phenomena best source of evidence Opposed experimental research - complex phenomena he had identified could not be studied under controlled conditions Research continues to address aspects of psychodynamic theory Many concepts are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure Cognitive Psychologists o Developed methods to identify & measure nonconscious o Growing body of research - shown a lot of moment-to-moment mental and emotional life does occur outside our awareness Cognitive Neuroscience o Provided methods for tapping into mental processes as they occur by measuring brain activity Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory Criticized on scientific grounds o Many of its specific propositions have not held up under the scrutiny of research o Hard to test -
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