• What is Personality?
The pattern of enduring characteristics that
produce consistency and individuality in a
The pattern of psychological and behavioral
characteristics by which each person can be
compared and contrasted with other people.
• Approaches that assume that personality is motivated by
inner forces and conflicts about which people have little
awareness and over which they have no control.
• Psychodynamic Theory: Freud’s theory that unconscious
forces act as determinates of personality.
• A view developed by Freud emphasizing unconscious
mental processes in explaining human thoughts, feelings,
• Freud believed that we are all born with basic needs and
instincts. Each person has the task of figuring out how to
meet these needs. According to Freud the personality
develops out of each person’s struggle with this task.
The Structure of Personality
• Id: The raw, unorganized, inborn part of
personality whose sole purpose is to reduce
tension created by primitive drives related to
hunger, sex, aggression, and irrational impulses.
– A personality component containing basic instincts,
desires, and impulses with which all people are born.
• Contained in the Id is the Pleasure Principle, the
operating principle of the id which guides people
toward whatever feels good regardless of
society’s rules or the rights and feelings of others.
EX: the hungry person who pushes to the front of
the line at Burger King would be satisfying an id
• Ego: The part of the personality that provides a buffer
between the id and the outside world. The part of the
personality that makes compromises and mediates
conflicts between and among the demands of the id,
the super ego, and the real world.
• The ego is responsible for organizing ways to get what
a person wants in the real world, as opposed to the
fantasy world of the id. The ego makes decisions,
controls actions, and allows thinking and problem
solving of a higher order than the id’s.
• Operates on the Reality Principle, the operating
principle of the ego, which takes into account the
constraints of the social world.
• EX: the ego would influence the hungry person at
Burger King to wait in line and think about what to
order rather than risk punishment by pushing ahead.
• Superego: The final personality structure to
develop; it represents the rights and wrongs of
society as handed down by a person’s parent’s,
teachers, and other important figures. The
component of the personality that tells people
what they should or should not do.
• Represents our sense of morality.
• The process of internalizing parental and societal
values creates the superego. The superego, if left
to operate without constraint, would create
perfectionists unable to make the compromises
that life requires.
• EX: would make the pushy person at Burger King
feel guilty for even thinking about violating
culturally approved rules about standing in line
and taking turns.
• Defense Mechanisms: Unconscious tactics
that either prevent threatening material from
surfacing or disguise it when it does. Pg. 261
• Reaction Formation
Freud’s Stages of Personality
• Psychosexual Stages: Developmental periods
that children pass through during which they
encounter conflicts between the demands of
society and their own sexual urges. Periods of
personality development in which internal and
external conflicts focus on particular issues.
• Failure to resolve the conflicts that appear at
any of these stages can leave a person fixated.
Freud believes that these fixations can be seen
in an adults personality characteristics.
• Occurs during the first year of life in which the
mouth is the center of pleasure.
• Freud says that personality problems arise
when oral needs are either neglected or
• Early or late weaning from breastfeeding
/bottle feeding = an adult who talks too much,
overeats, smokes, drinks excessively or uses
• Occurs during the second year of life in which the
focus of pleasure shifts from the mouth to the
anus and when the child’s ego develops to cope
with parental demands for socially appropriate
behavior. Gratification from expelling and
withholding feces; coming to terms with society’s
controls relating to toilet training.
• Toilet Training: too harsh or begins too early =
adult who is stingy or preoccupied with neatness;
too late or too lax = adults who are disorganized
• Ages 3-5 or 6 in which the focus of pleasure shifts to
the genital area.
• Oedipus Complex: The notion that young boys
impulses involves sexual feelings for the mother and
the desire to eliminate the father.
• Electra Complex: The notion that young girls develop
an attachment to the father and compete with the
mother for the father’s attention.
• A child fixated in this stage as an adult can have
problems with authority figures and have an inability
to maintain a stable love relationship.
• Starts around age 5 through childhood, in
which sexual impulses become dormant and
the child focuses on education, same sex peer
play, and the development of social skills.
• Begins during adolescence through the rest of
a person’s life, when sexual impulses begin to
appear at the conscious level. Establishment
of mature sexual relationships.
• Freud believes the quality of relationships and
the degree of fulfillment experienced during
this stage are directly affected by how
intrapsychic conflicts were resolved during the
• A model of personality that seeks to identify the
basic traits necessary to describe personality.
• A perspective on personality that views it as the
combination of stable characteristics that people
display overtime and across situations.
• Personality traits remain stable and therefore
predictable over time.
• Personality traits remain stable over situations.
• People differ from one another in how much of a
particular personality trait they possess.
The Big 5 Model
• A view based on factor analytic studies
suggesting the existence of 5 basic
components of human personality. Pg 265
Social Cognitive Approach
• Theories that emphasize the influence of a person’s
cognitions-thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values- as
well as observation of other’s behavior, in determining
• An approach to personality that views personality as a label
summarizing the unique patterns of thinking and behavior
that a person learns.
• Believes that personality is something we learn through our
• Self-Efficacy: Belief in one’s personal capabilities. Self-
efficacy underlies people’s faith in their ability to carry out
a particular behavior or produce a desired outcome.
• Self-Esteem: The component of personality that
encompasses our positive and negative self-evaluations.
• Theories that emphasize people’s innate goodness and
desire to achieve higher levels of functioning.
• A view of behavior as controlled by the decisions that
people make about their lives based on their
perceptions of the world.
• View human behavior as motivated mainly by an
innate drive toward growth that prompts people to fill
their unique potential.
• To explain people’s actions, it is more important to
understand their view of the world than their instincts,
traits, or learning experiences.
Roger’s Self Theory
• Those who accurately experience the self-with all its preferences,
abilities, fantasies, shortcomings, and desires-are on the road to self
• Self-Actualization: A state of self-fulfillment in which people realize
their highest potential, each in a unique way.
• Self Concept: the way one thinks of oneself.
• Conditions of Worth: Circumstances in which an individual
experiences positive regard from others only when displaying
certain behaviors or attitudes.
• Incongruence is likely when parents and teachers lead children to
believe that their worth as a person depends on displaying the
“right” attitudes, behaviors, and values.
• Unconditional Positive Regard: An attitude of acceptance and
respect on the part of an observer, no matter what a person says or
• Objective Personality Test: asks clear
questions about a person’s thoughts, feelings,
• A form listing clear, specific questions,
statements, or concepts to which people are
asked to respond.
• NEO-PI-R(measure the Big 5 Personality Traits)
• MMPI(10 clinical scales plotted as a profile)
• Projective Personality Tests: personality tests
made up of relatively unstructured stimuli in
which responses are seen as reflecting the
individual’s unconscious needs, fantasies,
conflicts, thought patterns, and other aspects
• Can be interpreted in more than one way.
• Drawing or word associations
• Rorschach Inkblot Test