Psychoanalytic theory of
• Freud –
– believed that the unconscious mind really
ruled our behavior
– personality traits can be traced back to our
– people’s behavior is governed by the
unconscious mind and that many people are
unaware of why they do things
Structure of personality
• THE ID:
– functions in the irrational and emotional part
of the mind.
– At birth - all Id - want want want. The Id is the
– the “pleasure principle”: “I want it and I want it
– Id equates to "Child".
– Evident at birth
• THE EGO:
– functions with the rational part of the mind.
– The Ego develops out of growing awareness that
you can’t always get what you want.
– “reality principle”.
– Compromiser-negotiates between the Id and the
– Ego equates to "Adult".
– Evident at 2 to 3 years of age
• THE SUPEREGO:
• The Superego is the last part of the mind to
develop-around ages 3-5.
• moral part of the mind.
• Represents parental and societal values. It
stores and enforces rules.
• It constantly strives for perfection, even though
this perfection ideal may be quite far from reality
• Can be equated to the parent.
Eros and Thantos
– Eros represents the life instinct sourcing from
the libido, which stands for creativity, sexual
desires and pleasure seeking
– Thantos is the "death instinct", which signals a
desire to give up the struggle of life and return
to the grave. Produces aggressive and
Freud Psychosexual Development
• Stage 1 – Oral Stage (Birth-18 months) –
erotic focus is the mouth.
– Pleasure seeking activities include sucking,
– If needs are gratified too much or too little
they continue to seek gratification as an adult
• Stage 2 – Anal Stage – Anal Stage
(1 ½ years to 3) – erotic
focus is on the anus –
expelling or retaining
– If child gets locked into
this stage, they continue
to engage in behaviors
associated with retention
or elimination. They may
become anal retentive or
• Stage 3 – Phallic Stage (3 to 6 years) – erotic
focus is on the genital area.
– Oedipal/Electra complex
– Problems resolving the complex may lead to feelings
of inferiority toward their own sex and having to prove
something to the opposite sex.
• Stage 4 – Latency Stage – (6 to puberty) – no
erotic focus, represses sexuality
– Child represses sexual urges and thoughts and
engages in nonsexual activities such as developing
social and intellectual skills
• Stage 5 – Genital Stage
adulthood) – Erotic focus
is on genitals once again,
but more about becoming
sexually intimate with
– If other stages have been
adolescent will now be able
to form loving, successful
Freud’s Defense Mechanisms
• Repression – pushing negative events back into
• Regression – when the person acts much
younger than their age
• Denial – when the person acts like there is no
problem when they know that there is
• Identification – when people who would not
ordinarily bond do for a common goal
• Reaction formation – when one acts in a way
that is opposite of what they really think
• Projection – when one accuses others of feeling
how they actually feel
• Displacement – taking one’s feelings out on
• Rationalization – making excuses for one’s
behavior so as not to look bad
• Each of us is born into the
world with a sense of inferiority.
• We start as a weak and helpless child and
strive to overcome these deficiencies by
become superior to those around us.
• Called this struggle a striving for superiority
he saw this as the driving force behind all
human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
• This excessive feeling of inferiority can
also have the opposite effect.
• Says we can develop an inferiority
• This belief leaves us with feeling incredibly
less important and deserving than others,
helpless, hopeless, and unmotivated to
strive for the superiority that would make
An exaggerated feeling of being superior to
A psychological defense mechanism in
which feelings of superiority counter or
conceal feelings of inferiority.
Adler and birth order
• Believed that the order in which you
are born to a family affects your
• First born children who later have
younger siblings may have it the
worst. These children are given
excessive attention and pampering by
their parents until the little brother or
• Suddenly they are no longer the center of
attention and wondering why everything
• They are left feeling inferior, questioning
their importance in the family, and trying
desperately to gain back the attention they
suddenly lost. The birth order theory holds
that first born children often have the
greatest number of problems as they get
• Middle born children may have it the easiest,
and interestingly, Adler was a middle born child.
• These children are not pampered as their older
sibling was, but are still afforded the attention.
• As a middle child, they have the luxury of trying
to dethrone the oldest child and become more
superior while at the same time knowing that
they hold this same power over their younger
• Adler believed that middle children have a high
need for superiority and are often able to seek it
out such as through healthy competition.
• The youngest children, like the first born, may be
more likely to experience personality problems
later in life.
• This is the child who grows up knowing that he
has the least amount of power in the whole
• He sees his older siblings having more freedom
and more superiority.
• He also gets pampered and protected more than
any other child did.
• This could leave him with a sense that he can
not take on the world alone and will always be
inferior to others.
Karen Horney – Neurotic Needs
• 1. The neurotic need for
affection and approval - need
to please others and be liked
• 2. The neurotic need for a
partner, for someone who will
take over one's life. This
includes the idea that love will
solve all of one's problems.
• 3. The neurotic need to restrict
one's life to narrow borders, to
be undemanding, satisfied with
little, to be inconspicuous.
• 4. The neurotic need for
power, for control over others,
for a facade of omnipotence.
Looks down on those who are
• 5. The neurotic need to exploit
others and get the better of
them -it can become
manipulation and the belief
that people are there to be
• 6. The neurotic need for social
recognition or prestige -
with appearances and
• 7. The neurotic need for personal
• 8. The neurotic need for personal
achievement - have to be number
one at everything they and
devalue anything they cannot be
number one in
• 9. The neurotic need for self-
sufficiency and independence –
tend to refuse help from anyone
• 10. The neurotic need for
perfection - driven to be perfect
and scared of being flawed. They
can't be caught making a mistake
and need to be in control at all
Behavioral theories of personality
• States that personality is nothing more
than a collection of learned behavior
• Personality is acquired through classical
and operant conditioning
Behavior is deterministic
• The underlying assumption of the learning
perspective is that all behavior is learned
through experiences and by interaction
with the environment.
• Reciprocal determinism – we impact our
environment and our environment impacts
• Believe you are a product of all the
choices you have made in your life
• They also emphasize the subjective
experience which is each person’s private
perception of reality
Congruence vs. Incongruence
• Congruence is when our perceptions of
ourselves matches what others see in us
• Incongruence is when our perceptions of
ourselves does not match what others see
• The incongruent person often has a wide
discrepancy between their image of
themselves and what others see in them
• This often leads to the person to become
confused, vulnerable, dissatisfied, or
• Rogers also felt that one must have
congruence between one’s self-image and
the ideal self.
• That is who we see ourselves as and who
we want to be should be closely related
• Rogers also believed that what others say and
how they act towards you may develop
conditions of self-worth.
• Children learn that some actions will win love
and approval from parents and others will lead
• This may lead to a positive self-regard or a
• A positive self-regard may be achieved by
parent’s unconditional positive regard
McCrae and Costa
• Introversion vs. extroversion: describes the
extent to which people are shy (introverted) or
outgoing (extraverted). Extroverted people tend
to be talkative, sociable, enthusiastic, lively,
cheerful, and adventurous.
• Neuroticism: describes the extent to which
people are unstable and emotional. People high
in neuroticism may have difficulty controlling
their impulses and may be seen by others as
being somewhat negative. People who are high
in neuroticism are worriers and complainers.
• Agreeableness: describes the extent to which people are
good-natured, gentle, secure, and friendly. People who
are low in agreeableness tend to be stubborn, irritable,
headstrong, abrasive, and suspicious; they tend also to
have hostile relationships.
• Conscientiousness: describes the extent to which people
are responsible, persevering, scrupulous, dependable,
and tidy. People who are low in conscientiousness tend
to be irresponsible, undependable, unscrupulous, and
• Openness to experience: describes the extent to which
people are original, imaginative, questioning, artistic, and
capable of creative thinking. People who are low in
openness to experience tend to be conforming,
unimaginative, and predictable.
• Paper-and-pencil tests
– Tend to be more objective than other tests
– Questions, administration and scoring is
– Test must be reliable and valid
– One measure consistently used is the MMPI –
the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
MMPI asks you to rate statements
• I would enjoy the work of the chicken
• My eyes are always cold
• Frantic screams make me nervous
• I believe I smell as good as most others
• Most of the time I go to sleep without
• I use shoe polish to an excess
• The sight of blood no longer excites me
• I salivate at the sight of mittens
• As an infant I had very few hobbies
• Spinach makes me feel alone
• I stay in the bathtub until I look like a raisin
• I like to put chameleons on plaid cloth
• I never finish what I
Potential Questions on MMPI
• Some of the actual questions are:
– Everything tastes the same
– There is something wrong with my mind
– I enjoy animals
– Whenever possible I avoid being in a crowd
– Someone has been trying to poison me
– I daydream often
– These seem to be questions that people with
disorders will commonly answer similarly