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PSYC 1010
Myriam Mongrain

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
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