Chapter 12: Theory, Research and Assessment
Ex: astronauts, interview. Based on personality.
Defining Personality: Consistency & Distinctiveness
Distinctiveness- central to the concept of personality
• Personality explain why people don’t act the same= varied reaction due to distinctive set of
personality traits, although some traits in people might be the same.
1) Stability in a person’s behaviour over time and across situations (consistency)
2) Behavioural differences among people reacting to the same situation (distinctiveness)
Personality: refers to an individual’s 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. EX:
honest, dependable, moody, friendly. **fundamental traits determine others
Raymond Cattell statistical procedure of factor analysis shortened Gordon Allport’s list to 16
dimensions of personality.
Factor analysis: correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely related clusters
of variables. *correlate highly= single factor influences them
Five- Factor Model of Personality Traits
Robert McCrae and Paul Costa- personality traits derived from “Big Five”
1. Extraversion: (Positivity emotionality), tend to be happier-outgoing, sociable,
upbeat=extraverts. Positive outlook, motivated.
• Correlated with Dating variety of people
2. Neuroticism: Overreact in response to stress, anxious, hostile, self-conscious, emotional
instability and impulsiveness. *negative
3. Openness to experience: Curiosity, imaginativeness, flexibility. Tolerant of ambiguity & less
need for closure, less prejudice, determines political attitudes.
• Corrlated with playing musical instrument
4. Agreeableness: sympathetic, trusting, cooperative, straight forward. Associaed with conflict
resolution, empathy and helping behaviour.
• Correlates with honesty 5. Conscientiousness: (constraint) Disciplined, punctual, organized. Associated with self-
• Correlates with low alcoholism, high paying jobs. Honesty, good grades
• Live longer then neuroticism
Psychodynamic theories include all of the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund
Freud, which focus on unconscious mental forces.
Freud’s psychoanalytic Theory
• Born in 1856, Czech Republic. Middle class Jewish home in Vienna Austria.
• Victorian era- sexual repression
• Initially a medical doctor, then neurology, psychiatric cases= psychoanalysis on patients.
• Trained with Ernst Bucke
• Psychoanalytic theory attempts to explain personality, motivation and psychological
disorders by focusing on ealy childhood experiences, unconscious motives and conflicts and
on methods people use to cope with their sexual aggressive urges.
Contemporaries were uncomfortable with his theory:
1. Peoples behaviour are governed by unconscious factors= individuals are not masters of
their own minds
2. Shaped by childhood experiences= people are not masters of their own destinies
3. How people cope with sexual urges= offended those who held conservative, Victorian
Structure of Personality
Id: primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle.
• Reservoir of psychic energy= houses raw biological urges ( Eat, sleep, etc). Operates
according to pleasure principle: demands immediate gratification of its urges.
• Engages in primary-process thinking; primitive, illogical, irrational, fantasy oriented.
Ego: decision making componenet of personality that operates according to the reality principle.
• Mediates between the id and external social world (norms & expectations)
• Reality Principle: seeks delay gratification of id’s urges until appropriate outlets and situation
can be found.
• Engages in secondary-process thinking; rational, realistic, problem solving. • Avoids negative consequences (punishment parents), also attempts to achieve long-range
goals, concerns itself with practical realities.
Superego: moral component of personality that incorporates social standards, about what represents
right and wrong
• Emerges from ego around 3-5 years old
Levels of Awareness- 3 levels
Conscious: consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time.
Preconscious: contains material just beneath the furface of awareness that can be easily retrieved
(middle name, what you had for supper last night)
Unconscious: contains thoughts, memories, desires that are well below the surface of conscious
awareness but that exert great influence on behaviour. (Trauma from childhood, hidden feelings
toward a parent, sexual desires)
Conflict and the Tyranny of Sex and Aggression
• People’s lives dominated by conflict
EX: Alarm rings you shut it off, ID (operating according to pleasure principle) urges you to go back to
bed. EGO( operating according to reality principle) points out you really must go to class. ID assures
you, you will get the A grade you want and suggests going back to bed. SUPEREGO tries to make
you feel guilty, how much tuition costs.
Emphasis on Sex and Aggression?
• Subject to more complex ambiguous social controls than other basic motives. Source of much
• These can’t be satisfied as easily, social norms dictate that they be routinely frustrated.
Anxiety and Defence Mechanisms
• Conflicts often played out entirely in unconscious= can produce anxiety. ( Ego worrying about ID &
Defence mechanisms: Largely unconscious reaction that protect a person from unpleasant emotions
such as anxiety and guilt. (mental manoeuvres that work through self-deception.
Repression Keeping distressing thoughts and EX: Traumatized soldier has no
feelings buried in the unconscious recollection of a close brush with
Projection Attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings EX: Woman dislikes boss, thinks
or motives to another.(guilt) she likes her boos but boss dislikes
Displacement Diverting emotional feelings (usually EX: Hard time at work, come home
anger) from their original source to a and take it out on husband, or substitute target others.
Reaction formation Behaving in a way that is exactly the EX: males who ridicule
opposite of one’s true feelings (guilt of homosexuals are defending their
sexual desires) own homosexual impulses.
Regression A reversion to immature patterns of EX: Adult has temper tantrum when
behaviour he doesn’t get his way.
Rationalization Creating false but plausible excuses to EX: Student watched TV instead of
justify unacceptable behaviour. studying. “+ study wouldn’t do any
Identification Bolstering self-esteem by forming an EX: Insecure young man joins a
imaginary or real alliance with some fraternity to boost his self- esteem,
person or group. country club.
Sublimation Occurs when unconscious, EX: longing for intimacy channelled
unacceptable impulses are channelled into artwork. Aggression
into social acceptable, perhaps even rechanneled through boxing/football.
admirable behaviour (DaVinci- mother)
Development: Psychosexual Stage
“the chid is father to the man”- personality made by age 5.
Psychosexual stages: are developmental periods with a characteristic sexual focus that leave their
mark on adult personality. **sexual= urges for physical pleasure
Fixation: failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected. Effects personality
1. Oral stage: (0-1): Mouth(sucking, biting). Key task: Weaning fro breast to bottle. Fixation
during this stage can form the basis of obsessive eating or smoking later on in life.
2. Anal Stage: (2-3): Anus(expelling or retaining feces). Key task: toilet training. Anxiety
about sexual activities later on in life.
3. Phallic Stage: (4-5): Genitals( masterbating) Oedipal complex emerges. Little boys like
their mom, Little girls like their dad, develop “penis envy” blame mom so their anatomical
Oepidipal complex: children manifest erotically tinged desires for their opposite sex
parent, accompanied by feelings of hostility toward same sex parent.
• Tragic myth from ancient Greece-Oedipus killed father married mother. Girls-electra complex
4. Latency:(6-12): None(sexually represented. Expand social contracts.
5. Genital: (puberty+): Genitals(being sexually intimate). Establishing intimate relationships Jung’s Analytical Psychology
• Wrote to Freud in 1906- first meeting talked for 13 hours, later stopped talkin in
• Analytical Psychology to differentiate from Freud’s theory.
• Focused on unconscious as well- said it has 2 layers.
Personal unconscious houses material that is not within one’s conscious awareness because it has
been repressed or forgotten.
Deeper layer= Collective unconscious: storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people’s
ancestral past. Shares with the entire human race.
Archetypes= ancestral memories= not memories of personal experiences, instead emotionally
charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning.
• Dreams contain important messages from the unconscious.
First to describe- Introverts: tend to be preoccupied with the internal world of their own thoughts,
feelings and experiences.(contemplative, aloof) Extraverts: tend to be interested in the external
world of people and things.(outgoing, talkative, friendly)
Adler’s Individual Psychology
• Almost died from rickets and pneumonia
• Practised ophthalmology and general medicine
• Member of Freud’s in