Personality by alicejenny


									Intro to Psychology

 What is personality?
   enduring, inner characteristics of individuals that organize their
 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
   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
 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
 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
 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
 People enter the world as unbridled pleasure seekers.
   Specifically, people seek pleasure from a series of erogenous
 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
 Oedipal complex –
    Boys initially begin to sexually desire their mother.
    They see their father as a competitor that may try to castrate them. Castration
    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
 Identification occurs
 Fixation- Men have fear of being castrated. Women have penis envy
  throughout life.
 4. Latent period (5- adolescence)- psychosexual interest is
   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
•   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
 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
       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
       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
 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
   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
     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.
LOW SCORES         1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10    HIGH SCORES
      Reserved              A             Outgoing
            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
 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,
 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
 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.
 Other tests just focus on certain traits.

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