Chapter 12; Personality
Personality is used as a way of predicting what someone will do-to predict their behaviour
Dominated by “grand theories” that attempt to explain a great many facets of behaviour
Personality- an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits
Distinctiveness is central to the concept of personality; it is used to explain why not everyone acts the
same way in similar situations
Personality trait-a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations
Adjectives such as impulsive, suspicious, & moody describe dispositions that represent
Factor analysis-correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely related clusters of
5 factor Model of Personality Traits
Designed by McCrae & Costa, idea that personality traits are derived from just 5 higher-order traits
Extraversion; outgoing, sociable, upbeat
Neuroticism; anxious, hostile, self-conscious
Openness to experience; curiosity, imaginativeness, vivid fantasy
Agreeableness; sympathetic, trusting, co-operative
Conscientiousness; diligent, well organized, punctual
The Big 5 Model has been supported in many studies; these five traits have been characterized as the
‘longitude & latitude’ along which personality should be mapped
Psychodynamic theories-all of the diverse theories descended from the work of Freud which focus on
unconscious mental forces
Freud defined personality structure in terms of 3 components ; the id, ego, & superego which
are routinely involved in an ongoing series of internal conflicts
Described 3 levels of awareness: the conscious, preconscious, & unconscious processes. His
theory emphasized the importance of unconscious processes.
Theorized that conflicts centering on sex & aggression are especially likely to lead to significant
anxiety. According to Freud, anxiety and other unpleasant emotions such as guilt are often warded off by
defence mechanisms. (rationalization, repression, projection, displacement, reaction formation,
regression, identification, sublimation)
Believed that the first 5 years of life are extremely influential in shaping adult personality.
Described a series of 5 psychosexual stages of development:
Oral, Anal, phallic, latency, genital
Certain experiences during these stages can have lasting effects on adult
personality (fixation )
Resolution of the oedipal complex is thought to be particularly critical to healthy development
Jung’s most innovative concept was the collective unconscious, a storehouse of latent memory
traces inherited from people’s ancestral past.
Called these ancestral memories archetypes. Archetypes are emotionally charged images that
have universal meaning.
Jung provided the first description of introversion & extroversion
His approach was called individual psychology
Adler’s individual psychology emphasizes how people strive for superiority to compensate for
their feelings of inferiority.
Explained personality disturbances in terms of overcompensation & inferiority complexes.
Focused attention of the birth order as a factor governing personality
Psychodynamic theories have produced many ground breaking insights about the unconscious, role of
internal conflict, & importance of early childhood experiences in personality development.
Psychodynamic theories have been criticized for their:
1. poor testability
2. inadequate base of empirical evidence
3. male centred view
4. Unrepresentativeness of their samples
Behaviourism- a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study
only observable behaviour
Interest in personality began to pick up after Dollard & Miller’s attempt to translate Freudian ideas into
Behavioural theories explain how personality is shaped through learning Skinner
Little interest in unobservable cognitive processes & embraced a strong determinism
Skinner’s followers view personality as a collection of response tendencies ties to specific
Assumes that personality development is a lifelong process in which response tendencies are
shaped & reshaped by learning, especially operant conditioning.
Social cognitive theory; focuses on how cognitive factors such as expectancies regulate learned
Bandura’s concept of observational learning accounts for the acquisition of responses from
models (model: a person whose behaviour is observed by another)
High-self efficiency has been related to successful health regimens, academic success, athletic
Emphasized self-efficacy :one’s beli