Intro to Psychology Personality Personality What is personality? enduring, inner characteristics of individuals that organize their behavior. What are people like? Personality: consistent patterns of behavior What personality is not People often use the word personality to refer to “social skill” in interacting with others Ex. “They have a lot of personality.” Ex. “They have no personality” – means lacking in social skills Approaches to the Study of Personality Psychodynamic approach (also called psychoanalytic) Sigmund Freud and others Personality as the interplay of conflicting forces within the individual may not consciously recognize. Included in this category are Freud, Jung, and Adler. All of these theories talked about the role of conflict in shaping personality. For Freud, most of this conflict was sexual in nature Humanistic approach Led by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow People have an innate motivation for personal growth. People will strive under optimal conditions to fulfill their potentials. Humanists often study peak experiences- moments in which a person feels truly fulfilled and content. Carl Rogers- human nature is basically good. People have a natural drive toward self-actualization- the achievement of one’s full potential People develop personalities over time First, they form a self-concept, an image of what they really are. Then they form an ideal self- an image of what they would like to be. To Rogers, personality arose through trying to reach the ideal self. The learning approach- Our experiences and day to day life shape our personality. Two learning theories: Operant conditioning (Skinner) - believed that people learn what is rewarded and what is punished. The law of effect A person behaves consistently (i.e., their personality) due to learning what is rewarded or not or punished Based on this, all of behavior can be explained by operant conditioning. Social learning- especially Bandura. This emphasizes that people’s personalities are shaped by others. We notice how others act and behave in a similar fashion. Imitation Trait approach- people have consistent personality characteristics that can be measured and studied. A predisposition or tendency to act in a certain way. Goal: identify these independent personality dimensions. Common approach today Prediction of behavior based on the traits. Nominal fallacy- the belief that by giving something a name you have explained it. Sigmund Freud Was a psychotherapist Treated many emotionally disturbed patients. General approach to treatment was called psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis believed that personality was the interplay of conscious and unconscious forces. Unconsciousness was a place where thoughts, memories, and emotions were stored within an individual, but the person was not aware of them. Our minds often tried to protect us by taking information that is detrimental to us and placing it in the unconscious. Any sort of traumatic experience was placed in the unconscious. - repression It was Freud’s view that this information in the unconscious and in particular, the conflicts between the unconscious and the conscious are what make up our personality. Freud initially believed that psychopathology was caused by not having enough sex. Soon abandoned this idea People have mental problems because of too much masturbation. He thought that normal, healthy people did not masturbate. He was way off Freud finally decided that psychological disorders are caused by early traumatic experiences, particularly sexual Freud set out to treat patients by trying to resolve their unconscious conflicts. Analyzed dreams. He thought that the unconscious manifested itself in dreams. Sex was the main theme All children go through specific stages of sexual development People enter the world as unbridled pleasure seekers. Specifically, people seek pleasure from a series of erogenous zones Everyone is born with libido- psychosexual energy The nature of libido changes as a child ages. Freud believed that a person’s personality is often a result of a person becoming fixated in a certain stage. That is, they continue to be preoccupied with the pleasure area associated with that stage Freud’s Stages of Development 1. Oral stage (Birth-first year)- Libido is focused on the stimulation of the mouth, particularly while sucking at the mother’s breast. Fixation- receives great pleasure from eating, drinking, and smoking. Likes to chew on things (gum, fingernails, etc.) 2. Anal stage (1-3 years old) – gets pleasure from stimulation of the anus. This is the time of toilet training First encounter with rules and regulations Fixation- person goes through life “holding things back”. They are stingy, stubborn, and orderly. This is where the term anal-retentive comes from. 3. The Phallic stage (3 –5 yrs)- child begins to play with their genitals. This is where the child becomes attracted to the parent of the opposite sex. Oedipal complex – Boys initially begin to sexually desire their mother. They see their father as a competitor that may try to castrate them. Castration anxiety The boys soon identify with their father and begin to mimic him. Girls must resolve the Electra complex Girls realize that they do not have a penis and get envious and angry – develop penis envy. The girl blames the mother and seeks to possess her father. Soon, she begins to identify with her mother and penis envy becomes sexual desire. Identification occurs Fixation- Men have fear of being castrated. Women have penis envy throughout life. 4. Latent period (5- adolescence)- psychosexual interest is suppressed. a period of rest 5. Genital period (puberty onward)- sexual intercourse is pleasure source. Involves the development of the genitals Libido is sought to be fulfilled by sexual intercourse Structure of Personality To Freud, personality consisted of 3 factors, the id, the ego, and the superego. The id consists of all biological drives The id is governed by the pleasure principle all processes operate to achieve the maximum amount of pleasure. The little devil on your shoulder Almost completely unconscious. The superego contains all of the moral lessons the person has learned in their life. The internalized voice of authority. Our conscience. The little angel on our shoulder The superego is also partially unconscious. Ego - rational decision maker The mediator between the id and the superego The ego tries to reconcile the wishes of the id, and the moral attitudes of the superego The ego is governed by the reality principle the person gets as much satisfaction from the world as possible The ego protects the person. Ego defends itself against conflicts and anxieties by relegating unpleasant thoughts and impulses to the unconscious. He called these defense mechanisms. Their goal was to defend the individual against potentially damaging material. Defense Mechanisms • Habits of thought that people use to protect their minds from anxiety • Two qualities: • 1. They can operate unconsciously • 2. They can distort, transform, or falsify reality is some way. • Repression: keeps anxiety arousing thoughts out of consciousness. Repression may be voluntary or involuntary. • Person has memories or thoughts that are painful to consider. • Those experiences are repressed, or pushed out of the person's consciousness. Projection: A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. We project our own unpleasant feelings onto someone else and blame them for having thoughts that we really have. Ex. Guy who unconsciously wants to cheat on his wife blames her for infidelity. Denial – refusing to believe something that is difficult to deal with. Someone is in a “state of denial” Alcoholics Mother has son killed and refuses to believe he is dead. Rationalization - process of constructing a logical justification for a decision I should be studying instead of watching TV, but I need to reward myself for this past week. We rationalize any behavior to make us look good. Self-serving Bias : The tendency to interpret success as inwardly achieved and to ascribe failure to outside factors. Current Research in Personality Factor analysis has identified 5 major components of personality All of these traits are along a continuum. Some people are very high in the trait Some people are very low Most people are in the middle Think of the bell curve “The Big 5” 1. Neuroticism - tendency to experience unpleasant emotions relatively easily. People high in neuroticism overreact to situations. They usually experience hostility, anxiety, and are more likely to be depressed. People low in neuroticism are more emotionally stable. 2. Extraversion versus Introversion – personality dimension dealing with a person’s source of drive and pleasure Extraversion - tendency derive motivation from external needs, primarily the company of other people. Watch TV, playing video games, etc. Introversion- individuals who derive motivation from internal needs and are preoccupied with inner life. E.g., reading, meditation Extraverts are more warm, assertive, impulsive. They enjoy meeting new people. They are more prone to heavy use of alcohol. More easily distracted, smaller attention spans. Introverts - not the same thing as being shy! 3. Agreeableness- tendency to be compassionate toward others and not antagonistic. Tend to be very modest Like to help others High people are more likely to trust other people. Perhaps even to extreme gullibility. 4. Conscientiousness- tendency to show self-discipline and try to achieve. Tend to be very competent Very self-disciplined and desire success 5. Openness to experience - tendency to enjoy new intellectual experiences and new ideas. High people: Likes to try new things. Experiment more. More likely to try drugs, especially hallucinogens. More likely to try new food. Low people – have more stable patterns of behavior. Authoritarianism- initially began in an attempt to understand fascism: Test for this trait is known as the California F scale Idealization of authority combined with fear and submission of it. High are followers. The military personality. Low are very independent people that are very impulsive. Note, the authoritarian is the follower, not the leader. Not the belief that you should tell people what to do, but rather to listen. Machiavellianism- self-serving personality The ability to manipulate, to handle others effectively, to have a high level of interpersonal competence. Get what they want at all costs. The used car salesman. They tell people what they want to hear to get them to buy a car. Narcissism- Liking one’s self. People high in narcissism: No matter how bad they are at something, they think that they are awesome Narcissism is considered a personality trait, not a mental disorder Locus of control- External vs. Internal- The amount of perceived control that they have over their lives. Internal feel they have total control on everything that happens to them. They reap what they sow. External- most things are out of their hands. Heredity determines most of a person's personality. A. Strongly disagree B. Disagree C. Partially agree/disagree D. Agree E. Strongly agree If I study hard enough, I can succeed on any exam. A. Strongly disagree B. Disagree C. Partially agree/disagree D. Agree E. Strongly agree Sensation seeking- a dimension that describes the variation between organisms in the degree to which they actively seek stimulation. Very similar to openness for experience. Likes to try new things, drugs. Much more likely to smoke. Much higher frequency of sex. Likes dangerous activities, roller coasters, etc. Spicy and sour foods preferred. Increased rates of daydreaming. Personality testing Many situations in which we might want to know someone’s personality Predictability of future behavior Employers Counselor, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist Family planning Methods for assessing personality Interviews Observation Inventories – most common method for assessing personality Many tests were developed after WWI to measure emotional function Obstacles to personality testing Social desirability bias – People try to make themselves look good when answering questions. Detection of deception – Lie Scale “I like every person I have ever met” and “occasionally I get angry at someone.” Response consistency Tests must not be overly vague in questions and results T or F: 1. I have never met a cannibal I didn’t like. 2. Robbery is the only major felony I have ever committed. 3. I eat “funny mushrooms” less frequently than I used to 4. Sex with vegetables no longer disgusts me 5. I generally lie on questions like this one 6. Some of my friends don’t know what a rotten person I am. Results of personality tests: P. T. Barnum You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times, you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept other’s statements without satisfactory proof. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic. Experiments have found that if given a description like that, most people say that it fits them. The Barnum Effect - if a statement is vague, positive, or flattering enough to apply to anyone, almost anyone will accept it Two categories of personality tests Objective tests vs. Projective tests Objective tests – Questionnaires Examples of objective tests MMPI Cattell’s 16PF NEO-PI-R MMPI- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Used to assess psychopathology Used to measure certain personality dimensions. It can also be used to identify clinical conditions such as depression. Very long – 567 questions. True or False Many subscales – depression, schizophrenia, self-esteem The test has a lie scale 16-PF (personality factors) by Cattell It measures 16 factors, or traits, of personality. The results of the 16 PF come in a personality profile Initially designed to assess normal personality, it does allow clinicians to identify various abnormalities. This is because each disorder is associated with a characteristic personality profile. FACTOR LOW SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 HIGH SCORES Reserved A Outgoing TABLE 3: THE HIGH AND LOW Dull B Bright FACTORS OF THE 16-PF Easily Upset C Calm Submissive E Dominant Serious F Impulsive Frivolous G Responsible Shy H Bold Tough-minded I Tender-minded Trusting L Suspecting Practical M Fanciful Forthright N Calculating Secure O Apprehensive Conservative Q1 Liberal Group-dependent Q2 Self-sufficient Uncontrolled Q3 Controlled Relaxed Q4 Tense NEO Personality Inventory - Revised (NEO-PI-R) – Based on the “Big Five” Other facets measured within the Big 5 Neuroticism Anxiety, Hostility, Depression, Self-Consciousness, Impulsiveness, Vulnerability Extraversion Warmth, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity, Excitement-Seeking, Positive Emotions Openness to Experience Fantasy, Aesthetics, Feelings, Actions, Ideas, Values Agreeableness Trust, Modesty, Compliance, Altruism, Straightforwardness, Tender-Mindedness Conscientiousness Competence, Self-Discipline, Achievement-Striving, Dutifulness, Order, Deliberation Two forms of the exam Form S is designed for self-reports. Form R is designed for observer reports Answers are on a five-point Likert scale Very accurate, somewhat accurate, neither accurate or inaccurate, somewhat inaccurate, very inaccurate. Example questions I love large parties. I like to solve complex problems I worry sometimes The NEO-PI-R is used extensively today. It shows excellent intertest reliability It has excellent long-term reliability Has been found to have excellent validity Projective tests - Test that asks a subject to interpret some ambiguous stimuli Encourage people to project their personality characteristics onto ambiguous stimuli. A person’s personality can be revealed by how they respond. Examples: Rorschach inkblot Thematic apperception test Rorschach inkblots - based on people’s interpretations of ten ambiguous inkblots. Assumption: everything you do in an ambiguous situation will reveal something significant about your personality. The psychologist administering the test can then make a judgment about the individual based on the answers that they give. 2 Major Problems: 1. Interpretations depend on the psychologist’s expectations at least as much as they do on what the client actually says. 2. A patient will usually respond as they think the psychologist wants them to. e.g. depressed patient. In general, the Rorschach is not a good test of personality. Low validity Low reliability, both from the test taker and person giving the test. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – make up a story for each picture. Describe what is happening What events led up to the scene? What will happen in the future? Usefulness: can tell you something if you analyze the overall response pattern. esp. empathy. Can be very useful. Still must be interpreted by a psychologist Other personality tests Many available online. Look for the tests that assess the big 5. http://www.colorquiz.com/ Other tests just focus on certain traits.
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