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Personality Theories Text Notes 1-2.docx

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PSYC 2242
James Russell

Personality Theories 01/17/2014 CHAPTER QUESTIONS 1. How do scientific theories of personality differ from ideas about persons you develop in daily life? 2. Why are there multiple theories and generally how do they differ? 3. What aspects of personal and individual differences are psychologists trying to understand? What factors affect what to address? THE FIVE GOALS 1. Scientific Observation large and diverse groups of people consider social/cultural differences objective observations eliminate stereotypes/preconceptions research methods detailed, replicable, verifiable 2. Systemic Theory spell out the relation between statements interpersonal factors, biological factors relate all ideas to create organized theory 3. Testable Theory develop theoretical ideas that can be tested objective scientific evidence 4. Comprehensive Theory address all significant questions about personality functioning, development, individual differences 5. Applications: Theory to Practice convert theoretical ideas into beneficial applications to benefit individuals and society WHY STUDY PERSONALITY? Whole, intact person examination How different aspects of psychological life are related How they relate to society and culture DEFINING PERSONALITY Depends on how the term is used Value judgment: good or bad personality; charisma Psychological qualities that contribute to enduring and distinctive patterns Feeling (emotional), thinking (mental), and behaving (social) Consistency, uniqueness among others, influences task of psychologist: describe and explain patterns of functioning human nature aspects as well as idiosyncratic to individual WHAT, WHY,AND HOW? What: characteristics of person and the way they are organized in relation How: determinants of a person’s personality Why: causes of and reasons behind individual’s behavior FOUR WAYS TOANSWER THE WHAT, WHYAND HOW 1. Structure- stable, enduring aspects of personality, building blocks of theory Units of Analysis- different basic variables in scientific models Trait: consistent style of emotion/behavior across various situations; disposition “Implicit; on average; compared to others” Type: clustering of many different traits, combinations Adaptive and resilient; socially inhibited and emotionally over-controlled Alternate types seen as qualitatively distinct categories System: collection of interconnected parts, overal behavior reflects not only individual parts but the organization; complex vs simple; well integrated vs conflicting Hierarchy- some structural units higher in order, controlling function of others goals: regulate more specific lower-level goals and actions small set of basic traits organizes lower-level personality tendencies fluid, flexible system: little rigid, fixed hierarchical structure 2. Process- psychological reactions that change dynamically over brief periods of time rapid flow of motivation, emotion, and action a. role of conscious thinking processes ▯ motivation b. most important motivational processes ▯ unconscious c. motivation to enhance oneself ▯ human motivation 3. Growth and Development- how an individual got that way characterize patterns of development experienced by most persons (stages) understand developmental factors that contribute to individual differences nature (biological disposition) vs nurture (experiences in family and society) environmental factors activate genetic mechanisms: turn on/off experience and biology work together to shape organism Genetic Determinants Temperament: biological based emotions/behavior in early childhood; fear reactions and inhibited behavior Evolution: predisposed to engage in certain behavior for survival and reproductive success; genetic basis of human universals Environmental Determinants Make people similar to each other and also different Culture: religion, philosophy, role in community, needs/expression Social class: status, roles, duties, privileges Family: parental behavior, reward behavior, birth order Peers: socialize, acceptance of new rules/behavior 4. Psychopathology and Behavior Change crucial question to ask: are ideas of practical benefit to individuals and society? IMPORTANT ISSUES IN PERSONALITY THEORY 1. Philosophical View of the Person rational actors, reason about the world, weigh costs and benefits animals: irrational, animalistic forces, rational thought processes are weak information processors: store and manipulate symbolic representation personal factors, spirit fo time, philosophical assumptions of culture 2. Internal and External Determinants of Behavior Freud: humans controlled by internal forces, unconscious impulse/emotion Skinner: environmental rewards and punishments govern actions Today: acknowledge both aspects Trait theory: inherited, producers of patterns of behavior Social Cognitive: knowledge structures and thinking process acquired through interaction with social and cultural environment 3. ConsistencyAcross Situations and Over Time psychoanalytic theory: people you encounter may symbolically represent parents attraction towards opposite-sex parent: Oedipal complex individual differences are stable to a significant degree over periods of time exposure to same people and circumstances can contribute to consistency 4. The Unity of Experience andAction and the Concept of Self actions are patterned and organized ▯ unity to experiences and action multiple components of mind function as complex system ▯ interconnected experiences from a consistent perspective of ourselves 5. Varying States ofAwareness and Concept of the Unconscious whether motivations/actions occur outside of awareness conscious self reflection study 6. Influence of Past, Present, and Future on Behavior behavior only influenced by present factors but present influenced by past or thoughts about future still people have ability to change capabilities and tendencies 7. Can we have science of personality? What kind of science would it be? Reductionist: complex ▯ simple, whole ▯ part, humans are more than just many parts put together EVALUATING PERSONALITY THEORIES -organize existing information systematically -generate new knowledge about important issues -identify entirely new issues that are deserving of study THE CHALLENGE OF CONSTRUCTINGAPERSONALITY THEORY -different theoretical frameworks each with own strengths and limitations -each has unique virtues -explains why there are so many theories PRELIMINARY SKETCH 1. Psychodynamic theory (Freud): mind is an energy system, basic biological energies of body reside in the mind partly; behavior reflects conflict between biological desires and social constraints; strategic balance attempted to be reached 2. Phenomenological theory: people’s conscious experience of world, biologically based motives, but also higher motives involving personal growth and self fulfillment, higher than animalistic drives described by Freud; greater emphasis on SELF 3. Trait theory: determine which individual differences are most
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