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Chapter 12

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Mamdouh Shoukri

Lesson 12 1) The nature of personality a. Defining personality: consistency and distinctiveness i. Although no one is entirely consistent in behavior, this quality of consistency across situations lies at the core of the concept of personality. ii. Distinctiveness is central to the concept of personality. iii. Personality refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioral traits. iv. The concept of personality is used to explain 1. The stability in a person’s behavior over time and across situations (consistency) 2. The behavioral differences among people reacting to the same situation (distinctiveness) b. Personality traits: dispositions and dimensions i. Personality trait is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations. Adjectives such as honest and so on describe dispositions that represent personality traits. ii. Factor analyses, correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely related clusters of variables. Factor analysis is used to identify these hidden factors. In factor analyses of personality traits, theses hidden factors are viewed as very basic, higher-order traits that determine less basic, more specific traits. iii. Raymond Cattell used the statistical procedure of factor analysis to reduce a huge list of personality traits compiled by Gordon Allport to just 16 basic dimensions of personality. c. The five-factor model of personality traits i. Robert McCrae and Paul Costa have used factor analysis to arrive at even simpler, five-factor model of personality. ii. The “big five”: extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. 1. Extraversion: people who score high in extraversion are characterized as outgoing, sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertive, and gregarious. Refer as positive emotionality in some trait. 2. Neuroticism: tend to be anxious, hostile, self-conscious, insecure, and vulnerable. People tend to overreact more in response to stress than others. 3. Openness to experience: curiosity, flexibility, vivid fantasy, imaginativeness, artistic sensitivity, and unconventional attitudes. It is the key determinant of people’s political attitudes and ideology. 4. Agreeableness: tend to be sympathetic, trusting, cooperative, modest, and straightforward. Opposite of this are suspicious, antagonistic, and aggressive. Agreeableness is associated with constructive approaches to conflict resolution, making agreeable people less quarrelsome than others. 5. Conscientiousness: tend to be diligent, disciplined, well organized, punctual, and dependable. Referred to as constraint in some trait models, conscientiousness is associated with being highly diligent in the workplace. iii. Extraversion correlates positively with popularity and with dating a greater variety of people. Conscientiousness correlates with greater honesty, higher job performance ratings, and relatively low alcohol consumption, openness to experience is associated with playing a musical instrument, whereas agreeableness correlates with honesty. iv. Higher GPA is associated with higher conscientiousness. v. Extraversion and conscientiousness are positive predictors of occupational attainment, whereas neuroticism is a negative predictor. Neuroticism elevates the probability of divorce, whereas agreeableness and conscientiousness reduce it. vi. Neuroticism is associated with an elevated prevalence of physical and mental disorders, whereas conscientiousness is correlated wit the experience of less illness and with reduced mortality. vii. Five-factor model has become the dominant conception of personality structure in contemporary psychology. viii. Critical: five-factor model is more arbitrary than widely appreciated. Also more than five traits are necessary to account for most of the variation seen in human personality. 2) Psychodynamic perspectives psychodynamic theories: include all of the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud, which focus on unconscious mental forces. a. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory i. Psychoanalysis: required lengthy verbal interactions with patients during which Freud probed deeply into their lives. ii. Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation, and psychological disorders by focusing on the influence of early childhood experiences, on unconscious motives and conflicts, and on the methods people use to cope with their sexual and aggressive urges. iii. Most of Freud’s contemporaries were uncomfortable with his theory for at least three reasons: 1. In arguing that people’s behaviour is governed by unconscious factors of which they are unaware, Freud made the disconcerting suggestion that individual are no masters of their own minds. 2. In claiming that adult personalities are shaped by childhood experiences and other factors beyond one’s control, he suggested that people are not master of their own destinies. 3. By emphasizing the great importance of how people cope with their sexual urges, he offended those ho held the conservative, Victorian values of his time. iv. Structure of personality: three 1. The id is the primitive instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle. Freud referred to the id as the as the reservoir of psychic energy. By this he meant that the id houses the raw biological urges that energize human behavior. The id operates according to the pleasure principle, which demands immediate gratification of its urges. The id engages in primary-process thinking, which is primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy-oriented. 2. The ego is the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle. The ego mediates between the id, with its forceful desires for immediate satisfaction, and the external social world, with its expectations and norms regarding suitable behavior. The ego considers social realities—society’s norms, etiquette, rules, and customs—in deciding how to behave. The ego is guided by the reality principle, which seeks to delay gratification of the id’s urges until appropriate outlets and situations can be found. In short, to stay out of trouble the ego often works to tame the unbridled desires of the id. In the long run, the ego wants to maximize gratification, just as the id does. However, the ego engages in secondary-process thinking, which is relatively rational, realistic, and oriented toward problem solving. Thus, the ego strives to avoid negative consequences from society and its representatives. By behaving “properly”. It also attempts to achieve long- range goals that sometimes require putting off gratification. 3. The superego is the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong. Throughout their lives, but especially during childhood, people receive training about what constitutes good and bad behavior. Many social norms regarding morality are eventually internalized. The superego emerges out of the ego at around three to five years of age. In some people, the superego can become irrationally demanding in its striving for moral perfection. Such people are plagued by excessive feelings of guilt. v. Levels of awareness 1. Freud contrasted the unconscious with the conscious and preconscious, creating three levels of awareness. 2. The conscious consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time. 3. The preconscious contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can easily be retrieved. 4. The unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior. 5. Freud believes that the unconscious is much larger than the conscious or preconscious. He proposed that the ego and superego operate at all three levels of awareness. In contrast, the id is entirely unconscious, expressing its urges at a conscious level through the ego. The id’s desires for immediate satisfaction often trigger internal conflicts with the ego and superego. vi. Conflict and the Tyranny of sex and aggression 1. Freud assumed that behavior is the outcome of an ongoing series of internal conflicts. 2. The id wants to gratify its urges immediately, but the norms of civilized society frequently dictate otherwise. 3. Freud believed that conflicts centering on sexual and aggressive impulses are especially likely to have far- reaching consequences. 4. Two reasons for emphasizing sex and aggression: a. He thought that se and aggression are subject to more complex and ambiguous social controls than other basic motives. The norms governing sexual and aggressive behavior are subtle, and people often get inconsistent messages about what’s appropriate. b. He noted that the sexual and aggressive drives are thwarted more regularly than other basic biological urges. Freud ascribed great importance to these needs because social norms dictate that they be routinely frustrated. vii. Anxiety and defense mechanisms 1. The anxiety can be attributed to your ego worrying about a. The id getting out of control and doing something terrible that leads to severe negative consequences b. The superego getting out of control and making you feel guilty about a real or imagined transgression. c. Defense mechanisms are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt. They’re mental manoeuvres that work through self-deception. d. Rationalization, which is creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behaviour. e. Repression is keeping distressing thoughts are feelings buried in the unconscious. Repression is the flagship in the psychoanalytic fleet of defense mechanisms. Repression has been called “motivated forgetting”. f. Self-deception can also be seen in projection and displacement. i. Projection is attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another. ii. Displacement is diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target. g. Other prominent defense mechanisms: i. Reaction formation is behaving in a way that’s exactly the opposite of one’s true feelings. Guilt about sexual desires often leads to reaction formation. The telltale sign of reaction formation is the exaggerated quality of the opposite behavior. ii. Regression is a reversion to immature patterns of behavior. When anxious about their self-worth, some adults respond with childish boasting and bragging. Such bragging is regressive when it’s marked by massive exaggerations that virtually anyone can see through. iii. Identification is bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group. Youngsters often shore up precarious feelings of self-worth by identifying with rock stars, movie stars, or famous athletes. h. Repressive coping style and shown that “repressors” have an impoverished memory for emotional events and negative feedback and those they habitually avoid unpleasant emotions by distracting themselves with pleasant thoughts and memories. i. People actively work to suppress thoughts about the possibility that they might have an undesirable trait, but this ongoing effort makes thoughts about the unwanted trait highly accessible, so they chronically use this trait concept to explain others’ behavior and end up routinely attributing the trait to others. j. Reaction formation underlies homophobia in males. When homophobic men are shown erotic videotape depicting homosexual activity, they exhibit sexual arousal not seen in non-homophobic subjects. viii. Development: psychosexual stages 1. Psychosexual stages are developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their mark on adult personality. 2. Fixation is a failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected. Fixation can be caused by excessive gratification of needs at a particular stage or by excessive frustration of those needs. Generally, fixation leads to an overemphasis on the psychosexual needs prominent during the fixated stage. Five psychosexual stages: a. Oral stage: this stage encompasses the first year of life. (0-1) During this period, the main source of erotic stimulation is the mouth. The handling of the child’s feeding experiences is crucial to subsequent development. The child is weaned from the breast or the bottle. According to Freud, fixation at the oral stage could form the basis for obsessive eating or smoking later in life. b. Anal stage: in their second year, (2-3) children get their erotic pleasure from their bowel movements, through either the expulsion or retention of feces. The crucial event at this time is toilet training, which represents society’s first systematic effort to regulate the child’s biological urges. Severely punitive toilet training leads to a variety of possible outcomes. Excessive punishment might produce a latent feeling of hostility toward the “trainer,” usually the mother. This hostility might generalize to women as a class. Another possibility is that heavy reliance on punitive measures could lead to an association between genital concerns and the anxiety that the punishment arouses. c. Phallic stage: (4-5) at this stage, the genitals become the focus for the child’s erotic energy, largely through self-stimulation. During this pivotal stage, the Oedipal complex emerges. They also feel hostility toward their father, whom they view as a competitor for Mom’s affection. Similarly, little girls develop a special attachment to their father. Young girls feel hostile toward their mother because they blame her for their anatomical “deficiency”. The complex in girls is sometimes referred to as the Electra complex but Freud himself did not endorse this. The child has to resolve the Oedipal dilemma by purging the sexual longings for the opposite sex parent and by crushing the hostility felt toward the same-sex parent. In Freud’s view, healthy psychosexual development hinges on the resolution of the Oedipal conflict. Because continued hostility toward the same-sex parent may prevent the child from identifying adequately with that parent. Without such identification, sex typing, conscience, and many other aspects of the child’s development won’t progress, as they should. d. Latency stages: (6-12) from around age six through puberty, the child’s sexuality is largely suppressed. Important events during this latency stage center on expanding social contacts beyond the immediate family. e. Genital stages: (puberty) Sexual urges reappear and focus on the genitals once again. At this point, sexual energy is normally channeled toward peers of the other se, rather than toward oneself, as in the phallic stage. b. Jung’s analytical psychology i. Jung and Freud’s relationship was ruptured irreparable in 1913 by a variety of theoretical disagreements. ii. Jung called his new approach analytical psychology. iii. Like Freud, Jung emphasized the unconscious determinants of personality. However, he proposed that the unconscious consists of two layers: 1. Personal unconscious: houses material that is not within one’s conscious awareness because it has been repressed or forgotten. Essentially the same as Freud’s version of the unconscious. 2. Collective unconscious: a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people’s ancestral past. Each person shares the collective unconscious with the entire human race. It contains the “whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.” iv. Archetypes (ancestral memories) are emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning. v. Jung was the first to describe the introverted (inner-directed) and extraverted (outer-directed) personality types. 1. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 2. Extraverts tend to be interested in the external world of people and things. c. Adler’s individual psychology i. Adler’s new approach to personality was christened individual psychology. ii. According to Adler, the foremost source of human motivation is a striving for superiority. iii. Striving for superiority as a universal drive to adapt, improve oneself, and master life’s challenges. iv. Compensation involves efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing one’s abilities. v. Inferiority complex: exaggerated feelings of weakness and inadequacy. vi. Adler thought that either parental pampering or parental neglect could cause an inferiority complex. Thus, he agreed with Freud on the importance of early childhood experiences. vii. Some people engage in overcompensation to conceal, even from themselves, their feelings of inferiority. viii. Instead of working to master life’s challenges, people with an inferiority complex work to achieve status, gain power over others, and acquire the trappings of success. They tend to flaunt their success in an effort to cover up their underlying inferiority complex. However, the problem is that such people engage in unconscious self-deception, worrying more about appearances than reality. ix. Adler who was the first focused attention on the possible importance of birth order as a factor governing personality. He noted that first-borns, second children, and later-born children enter varied home environments and are treated differently by parents and that these experiences are likely to affect their personality. The studies he made generally failed to support his hypotheses and did not uncover any reliable correlations between birth order and personality. x. Frank Sulloway, however, has argued persuasively that birth order does have an impact on personality. 1. To evaluate his hypotheses, Sulloway re-examined decades of research on birth order 2. First born tend to be conventional and achievement oriented, whereas later-borns tend to be liberal and rebellious. d. Evaluating psychodynamic perspectives i. Unconscious forces can influence behavior. ii. Internal conflict often plays a key role in generating psychological distress iii. Early childhood experiences can have powerful influences on adult personality. iv. People do use defense mechanisms to reduce their experience of unpleasant emotions. v. Criticized on several grounds: 1. Poor testability. Scientific investigations require testable hypotheses. Psychodynamic ideas have often been too vague and conjectural to permit a clear scientific test. 2. Inadequate evidence. The empirical evidence on psychodynamic theories has often been characterized as “inadequate.” Psychodynamic theories depend too heavily on clinical case studies in which it’s much too easy for clinicians to see what they expect to see. Re-examinations of Freud’s own clinical work suggest that he frequently distorted his patients’ case histories to make them mesh with his theory. 3. Sexism. Many critics have argued that psychodynamic theories are characterized by a sexist bias against women. 3) Behavioral perspectives a. Behaviorism is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behavior. b. Since 1913, when john. B Watson began campaigning for the behavioral point of view. It focused largely on learning. c. John Dollard and Neal Miller attempted to translate selected Freudian ideas into behavioral terminology. They showed that behavioral concepts could provide enlightening insights about the complicated subject of personality. d. Skinner’s ideas applied to personality i. Personality structure: a view from the outside 1. Skinner showed little interest in what goes on “inside” people. He argued that it’s useless to speculate about private, unobservable cognitive processes. He focused on how the external environment moulds overt behavior. He argued for a strong brand of determinism, asserting that behavior is fully determined by environmental stimuli. He claimed that free will is but an illusion; there is no place in the scientific position for a self as a true originator or initiator of action. According to his view, people show some consistent patterns of behavior because they have some stable response tendencies that they have acquired through experience. These response tendencies may change in the future, as a result of new experiences, but they’re enduring enough to create a certain degree of consistency in a person’s behavior. Implicitly, Skinner viewed an individual’s personality as a collection of response tendencies that are tied to various stimulus situations. A specific situation may be associated with a number of response tendencies that vary in strength, depending on past conditioning. ii. Personality development as a product of conditioning 1. Skinner’s theory accounts for personality development by explaining how various response tendencies are acquired through learning. 2. He believed that most human responses are shaped by the type of conditioning. He described: operant conditioning. 3. Skinner maintained that environmental consequences— reinforcement, punishment, and extinction—determine people’s patterns of responding. 4. On the one hand, when responses are followed by favorable consequences (reinforcement), they are strengthened. 5. Because response tendencies are constantly being strengthened or weakened by new experiences, Skinner’s theory views personality development as a continuous, lifelong journey. Unlike Freud and many other theorists, Skinner saw no reason to break the developmental process into stages. Nor did he attribute special importance to early childhood experience. 6. He assumed that conditioning strengthens and weakens response tendencies mechanically—that is, without the person’s conscious participation. Thus, skinner was able to explain consistencies in behavior (personality) without being concerned about individuals’ cognitive processes. e. Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory i. Cognitive processes and reciprocal determinism 1. Albert Bandura agrees with the fundamental thrust of behaviorism in that he believes that personality is largely shaped through learning. However, he contends that conditioning is not a mechanical process in which people are passive participants. He maintains that “people are self- organizing, proactive, self-reflecting, and self-regulating, not just reactive organisms shape and shepherded by external events. 2. Bandura also emphasizes the important role of forward directed planning, noting that “people set goals for themselves, anticipate the likely consequences of prospective actions, and select and create courses of action likely to produce desired outcomes and avoid detrimental ones”. 3. Bandura advocates a position called reciprocal determinism. (Compare to Skinner’s highly deterministic view) 4. According to this notion, the environment does determine behavior. However, behavior also determines the environment. Moreover, personal factors determine and are determined by both behavior and the environment. 5. Reciprocal determinism is the idea that internal mental events, external environmental events, and overt behavior all influence one another. ii. Observational learning 1. Observational learning occurs when an organism’s responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models. 2. Bandura maintains that people’s characteristic patterns of behavior are shaped by the models that they’re exposed to. 3. A model is a person whose behavior is observed by another. 4. Bandura’s key point is that many response tendencies are the product of imitation. 5. Both children and adults tend to imitate people they like or respect more than people they don’t. 6. People are also especially prone to imitate the behavior of people whom they consider attractive or powerful. In addition, imitation is more likely when people see similarity between models and themselves. Thus, children tend to imitate same sex role models somewhat more than opposite sex models. Finally, people are more likely to copy a model if they observe that the model’s behavior leads to positive outcomes. iii. Self-efficacy 1. Self-efficacy refers to one’s belief about one’s ability to perform behaviors that should lead to expected outcomes. When self-efficacy is high, individuals feel confident that they can execute the responses necessary to earn reinforce. ‘Perceptions of self-efficacy are subjective and specific to certain kinds of tasks. 2. Perception of self-efficacy can influence which challenges people tackle and how well they perform. f. Walter Mischel and the person-situation controversy i. According to social learning theory, people try to gauge the reinforcement contingencies and adjust their behavior to the circumstances. Social learning theory predicts that people will often behave differently in different situation. ii. People exhibit far less consistency across situations than had been widely assumed. iii. Mischel maintains that behavior is characterized by more situational specificity than consistency. iv. Mischel’s position has generated great controversy because it strikes at the heart of the concept of personality itself. v. Critics: 1. Epstein argued that the methods used in much of the research reviewed by Mischel led to an underestimate of cross-situational consistency, 2. Robert and Pomerantz: Studies have often used young people as subjects, but personality doesn’t fully stabilize until middle age. 3. Kenrick and Funder: It is unreasonable to expect complete cross-situational consistency, because specific traits are more easily expressed in some situations than others.
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