PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes -Big Five Personality Traits, Social Cognitive Theory, Albert Bandura

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9 Jan 2013
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Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment
Personality- refers to an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits
Personality Trait- is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations
Key Points
The concept of personality explains the consistency in people’s behaviour over time and across
situations while also explaining their distinctiveness. Factor analysis can be used to identify
higher-order traits form which specific traits are derived. There is considerable debate as to how
many trait dimensions are necessary to account for the variation in personality.
Nonetheless, the five factor model has become the dominant conception of personality
structure. The big five personality traits are extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience,
agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
Psychodynamic theories- include all the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud,
which focus on unconscious mental forces
Defense mechanisms- are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant
emotions such as anxiety and guilt
**Figure 12.1 on Page 497**
Psychosexual stages- development periods with a characteristic sexual forces from one stage to another
as expected
Fixation- is a failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected
Jung’s analytical psychology
Personal unconscious- houses material that is not within one’s conscious awareness because it has been
repressed or forgotten
Collective unconscious- a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people’s ancestral past
Archetypes- emotionally charged images & thought forms that have universal meaning
Introverts- tend to be preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts, feelings, and
experiences (generally lost in thought & distant)
Extraverts- tend to be interested in the external world of people & things (mostly outgoing, talkative, &
friendly instead of reclusive)
Alfred Adler- approach to individual psychology
Striving for superiority- as a universal drive to adapt improve oneself, and master life’s challenges
Compensation- involves efforts to overcome imagined or real inferiorities by developing one’s abilities
(people work to overcome feelings of inferiority this is the process)
Key Points
Psychodynamic approaches include all the theories derived from Freud’s insights. Freud
described personality structure in terms of three components id, ego, superego- which are
routinely involved in ongoing series of internal conflicts
Freud described three levels of awareness: the conscious, the preconscious, and the
unconscious. His theory emphasized that conflicts centering on sex and aggression are
especially likely to lead to significant anxiety. According to Freud, anxiety and other unpleasant
emotions such as guilt are often warded off with defense mechanisms.
Freud believed that the first five years of life are extremely influential in shaping adult
personality. He described a series of five psychosexual stages of development: oral, anal, phallic,
latency, and genital. Certain experiences during these stages can have lasting effects on adult
personality. Resolution of the Oedipal complex is thought to be particularly to healthy
development.
Jung’s most innovative concept was the collective unconscious, a store house of latent memory
traces inherited from people’s ancestral past. Archetypes are emotionally charged images that
have universal meanings. Jung also provided the first description of introversion & extraversion.
Adler’s individual psychology emphasizes how people strive for superiority to compensate for
their feelings of inferiority. He explained personality disturbances in terms of overcompensation
& inferiority complexes.
Overall, psychodynamic theories have produced many groundbreaking insights about the
unconscious, the roles of internal conflict, ant the importance of early childhood experiences in
personality development. However, psychodynamic theories have been criticized for their poor
testability, their inadequate base of empirical evidence, and their male-centered views.
Behaviourism- is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology
should study only observable behaviour
Albert Bandura- Social Cognitive Theory
Reciprocal determinism- is the idea that internal mental events, external environmental events
and over behaviour all influence one another
Observational Learning- occurs when an organism’s responding is influenced by the
observation of others, who are called models
Model- is a person whose behaviour is observed by another
Self-efficacy- refers to one’s belief about one’s ability to perform behaviors that should lead to
expected outcomes
Key Points
Behavioural theories explain how personality is shaped through learning. Skinner had
little interest in unobservable cognitive processes and embraced a strong determinism.
Skinner’s followers view personality as a collection of response tendencies tired to
specific stimulus situations. They assume that personality development is a lifelong
process in which response tendencies are shaped and reshaped by learning, especially
operant conditioning.
Social learning theory focuses on how cognitive factors such as expectancies regulate
learned behaviour. Bandura’s concept of observational learning accounts for the
acquisition of responses from models. High self-efficacy has been related to successful
health regimes, academic success, and athletic performance, among other things
Mischel has questioned the degree to which people display cross-situational
consistency in behaviour. Mishel’s arguments have increased psychologists’ awareness
of the situational determinants of behaviour
Behavioural approaches to personality are based on rigorous research. They have
provided ample insights into how environmental factors and learning mould
personalities. The behaviourists have been criticized for their overdependence on
animal research, their fragmented analysis of personality and radical behaviorism’s
dehumanizing view of human nature.
Humanism- is a theoretical orientation that emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially their
freedom and their potential for personal growth
Phenomenological approach- which assumes that one has to appreciate individual’s personal subjective
experiences to truly understand their behaviour
Self-concept –is a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature, unique qualities, and typical behaviour
Incongruence- is the degree of disparity between one’s self-concept and one’s actual experience
Key Points
Humanistic theories are phenomenological and take an optimistic view of people’s conscious,
rational ability to chart their own courses of actions. Rogers focused on the self-concept as the
critical aspect of personality. Incongruence is the degree of disparity between one’s self-concept
and actual experience.
Rogers maintained that unconditional love fosters congruence, whereas conditional love fosters
incongruence. Incongruence makes one vulnerable to recurrent anxiety, which tends to trigger
defensive behaviour that protects one’s inaccurate self-concept.