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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 PS101.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

PS101 Chapter 12 Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment Week 10 The Nature of Personality Defining Personality: Consistency and Distinctiveness -Although no one is entirely consistent in behaviour, this quality of consistency across situations lies at the core of the concept of personality -Distinctiveness is also central to the concept of personality -Personality is used to explain why not everyone acts the same way in similar situations -Each person has traits that are seen in other people, but each individual has his or her own distinctive set of personality traits -The concept of personality is used to explain (1) the stability in a persons behaviour over time and across situations (consistency) and (2) the behavioural differences among people reacting to the same situation (distinctiveness) -Personality refers to an individuals unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits Personality Traits: Dispositions and Dimensions -Personality trait is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations -In Factor analysis, correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely related clusters or variables -If the measurements of a number of variables correlate highly with one another, the assumption is that a single factor is influencing all of them - factor analysis is used to identify these hidden factors -An individuals personality can be described completely by measuring just 16 traits: reserved/outgoing, intelligence, affected by feelings/emotionally stable, submissive/dominant, serious/happy-go-lucky, etc. (p587) The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits -Robert McCrae and Paul Costa -Big Five (OCEAN) 1. Extraversion - Outgoing 2. Neuroticism Anxious, self-conscience 3. Openness to experience curiosity, artistic 4. Agreeableness sympathetic, trusting 5. Conscientiousness well organized, and dependable -Big five traits are predictive of specific aspects of behaviour as one would expect -Big five traits have been correlated with a variety of important life outcomes -The Big Five have been found to be related to feelings of subjective well-being Psychodynamic Perspectives -Psychodynamic theories include all of the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud, which focus on unconscious mental forces Freuds Psychoanalytic Theory -Requires lengthy verbal interactions with patients during with Freud probed deeply into their lives -Grew out of his decades of interactions with his clients in psychoanalysis -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 PS101 Chapter 12 Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment Week 10 -Freud made the disconcerting suggestion that individuals are not masters of their own minds -He suggested that people are not masters of their own destinies -By emphasizing he great importance of how people cope with their sexual urges, he offended those who held the conservative, Victorian values of his time Structure of Personality -Freud divided personality structure into three components: the id, the ego, and the superego -The id is the primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle -Freud referred to the id as the reservoir of psychic energy -By this he meant that the id houses the raw biological urges that energize human behaviour -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 -The ego is the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle -The ego is guided by the reality principle, which seeks to delay gratification of the ids urges until appropriate outlets and situations can be found -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 -The ego engages in secondary-process thinking which is relatively rational, realistic, and oriented toward problem solving -The superego is the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong -According to Freud, the id, ego, and superego are distributed differently across three levels of awareness Levels of Awareness -Freud contrasted the unconscious with the conscious and preconscious, creating three levels of awareness -The conscious consists of whatever one is ware of at a particular point in time -The preconscious contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can easily be retrieved -The unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behaviour -Freud`s conception of the mind is often compared to an iceberg that has most of its mass hidden beneath the water`s surface -The ego and superego operate at all three levels of awareness Conflict and the Tyranny of Sex and Aggression -Freud assumed that behaviour is the outcome of an ongoing series of internal conflicts -Freud believed that peoples lives are dominated by conflict -He asserted that individuals careen from one conflict to another -Freud believed that conflicts centring on sexual and aggressive impulses are especially likely to have far- reaching consequences -Sex and aggression are subject to more complex and ambiguous social controls than other basic motives -Sexual and aggressive drives are thwarted more regularly than other basic biological urgesPS101 Chapter 12 Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment Week 10 Anxiety and Defence Mechanisms -Most internal conflicts are trivial and are quickly resolved one way or the other -Such prolonged and troublesome conflicts involve sexual and aggressive impulses that society wants to tame these conflicts are often played out entirely in the unconscious -Although you may not be aware of these unconscious battles, they can produce anxiety that slips to the surface on conscious awareness -The anxiety can be attributed to your ego worrying about (1) the id getting out of control and doing something terrible that leads to severe negative consequences or (2) the superego getting out of control and making you feel guilty about a real or imagined transgression -The effort to ward off anxiety often involves the use of defence mechanisms -Defence mechanisms are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt -Rationalization is creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behaviour -Repression is keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious -People tend to repress desires that make the feel guilty, conflicts that make them anxious, and memories that are painful -Projection is attributing ones own thoughts, feelings or motives to another -Usually, the thoughts one projects onto others are thoughts that would make one feel guilty -Displacement is div
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