PSYCH1010 PERSONALITY CHAPTER FOURTEEN
WHAT IS PERSONALITY?
People seem to behave somewhat consistently over time & across different situations.
Notion of personality traits
consistency becomes greater as we enter adulthood
Personality: distinctive & relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, & acting that
characterize a person's responses to life situations.
Thoughts, feelings, & actions that reflect a individual's personality have 3 characteristics.
1. Components of identity that distinguish that person from other people.
2. Behaviours are viewed as caused by internal rather than environmental factors.
3. Person's behaviours seem to fit together, suggesting an inner personality that
guides & directs behaviour
FREUD'S PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY
Treating conversion hysteria convinced him that their symptoms were related to painful
memories & feelings that seemed to have been repressed/out of awareness.
Unconscious part of the mind exerts great influence on behaviour.
Conducted an extensive self-analysis based on his own dreams.
Based theory on careful clinical observation & constantly sought to expand it
Psychoanalysis: theory of personality, approach to studying the mind & method
for treating psychological disorders.
Psychic Energy and Mental Events
Inspired by hydraulic models of 19th-century physics: exchanges and releases of physical
energy, Freud considered personality to be an energy system
Instinctual drives generate psychic energy, which powers the mind & constantly
presses for either direct/indirect release.
Conscious mind mental events that we are presently aware of.
Preconscious memories, thoughts, feelings & images that we are unaware of at the
moment but that can be called into conscious awareness.
Freud believed these areas are dwarfed in both size & importance by the unconscious
mind, dynamic realm of wishes, feelings & impulses that lies beyond our awareness.
The Structure of Personality
Freud divided personality into 3 separate but interacting structures: id, ego & superego.
Id: unconscious mind, innermost core of personality, only structure present at
birth, basis of psychic energy, no direct contact with reality& works in irrational
manner. Effective to the pleasure principle, seeks immediate gratification/
release, regardless of normal considerations & environmental realities.
Ego: conscious level; operates to the reality principle. Tests reality to decide
when & under what conditions the id can safely discharge its impulses & satisfy
Superego (moral arm of personality): developed by age of 4/5, source for values
& ideals of society. With development of superego, self-control takes over from
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external controls of rewards and punishments, Moralistic goals take precedence
over realistic ones, regardless of potential cost to the individual.
Ego is squarely in eye of a psychic storm. Must achieve compromise between
demands of id, constraints of superego, & demands of reality. Called the
executive of the personality.
Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence
When ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control/faced with dangers
from environment, anxiety results.
Anxiety serves as danger signal, motivates ego to deal with problem at hand.
When realistic strategies are ineffective in anxiety, ego may resort to defence
mechanisms that deny/distort reality.
Psychoanalysts believe that repression where ego keeps the lid on the id.
Ego uses some energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings &
impulses from entering consciousness. Repressed thoughts & wishes remain in
unconscious, striving for release, may be expressed indirectly (slips of the
Freud described several defence mechanisms, primary interest was in
Repression An active defensive process through which anxiety-arousing impulses or
memories are pushed into the unconscious mind. A person who was sexually abused in
childhood develops amnesia for the event.