trait theory approach by localh

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									CHAPTER OUTLINE – Unit 11
Personality reflects the consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that make you
different from, and in some ways, similar to others.
I. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH
     The psychodynamic approach, developed by Freud, emphasizes the interplay of
     unconscious psychological processes in determining human thought, feelings, and behavior.
     The basis of this approach is psychic determinism, the idea that psychological factors play a
     major role in determining behavior and shaping personality.
     A. THE STRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY
          According to Freud, personality develops out of each person’s struggle to satisfy needs
          for food, water, air, sex, and aggression. Personality is reflected in how each person
          goes about satisfying these needs.
           1. Id, Ego, and Superego. Personality is composed of three structures: the id, the ego,
                  and the superego. The id, which operates according to the pleasure principle,
                  contains the life instincts, called Eros, and death instincts, called Thanatos.
                  Libido, or psychic energy, is a product of the life instincts. The ego, which
                  operates according to the reality principle, attempts to satisfy id impulses while
                  obeying society’s rules. As we internalize parents’ and society’s rules, the
                  superego forms to tell us right from wrong.
           2. Conflicts and Defenses. The ego uses defense mechanisms to protect the individual
                  from feeling anxious about id impulses.
           3. Stages in Personality Development. Freud believed that personality develops in
                  psychosexual stages; in each stage, a part of the body becomes the child’s main
                  source of pleasure. Failure to resolve conflicts at any stage can cause fixation, an
                  unconscious preoccupation with the pleasure area associated with that stage.
                  Personality characteristics are a reflection of each person’s fixation(s).
                  The oral stage occurs during the first year of life because the mouth is the center
                  of pleasure. The anal stage occurs during the second year when toilet training
                  begins. The ego evolves during this stage as the child vacillates between id
                  impulses (defecation at will) and parental demands (only on the toilet). The
                  phallic stage emerges at three and lasts until age five. The boy experiences the
                  Oedipus complex; he sexually desires his mother and wants to kill his father out
                  of jealousy. The girl develops penis envy and begins to hate her mother for not
                  providing a penis. The girl then transfers her love to her father, which is known
                  as the Electra complex. After age five, the latency period ensues, during which
                  sexual impulses lie dormant. During the genital stage, which begins at
                  adolescence and lasts until death, sexual desires reappear.
     B. VARIATIONS ON FREUD’S PERSONALITY THEORY
         1. Jung’s Analytic Psychology. Jung viewed the libido as a general life force that
               included a productive blending of basic impulses and real-world demands, of
               creativity and growth-oriented resolution of conflicts. Personality develops as the
               person tends toward introversion or extraversion and toward reliance on specific
               psychological functions (such as thinking versus feeling or vice versa).
         2. Other Neo-Freudian Theorists. Alfred Adler proposed that personality development
               is influenced by striving for superiority, a drive for fulfillment as a person.
               Several neo-Freudians, including Erik Erikson, Erich Fromm, and Henry Stack
               Sullivan, proposed that personality was determined by how social needs were
                met. Karen Horney proposed that the inferiority that women may feel is caused
                by restrictions imposed by
          men, not penis envy, and that it is actually men who feel inferior when they experience
                womb envy.
     C. CONTEMPORARY PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORIES
          Object relations theorists believe that the early relationships between infants and
          significant objects (such as primary caregivers) shape personality.
      D. EVALUATION OF THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH
            1. Freud developed one of the most influential personality theories ever proposed; his
                  ideas shaped Western thinking from medicine to religion. Psychodynamic
                  therapies introduced the use of personality assessments, including projective
                  tests.
            2. Freud’s theory is criticized for being based on an unrepresentative sample: his own
                  patients, who were predominantly upper-class Viennese women with mental
                  problems. Freud never examined patients from, or his theory with regard to,
                  other cultures.
            3. Freudian scholars acknowledge that Freud may have modified reports of therapy to
                  fit his theory and that he may have asked leading questions during therapy.
            4. Finally, his belief that humans are driven mainly by instincts and the unconscious
                  ignores the role of conscious drives and learning as important behavior
                  determinants.
II. THE TRAIT APPROACH
      The trait approach has three basic assumptions: personality traits are relatively stable and
      therefore predictable; personality traits are consistent in diverse situations; and each person
      has a different set or degree of particular traits. The trait approach views personality as the
      combination of stable internal characteristics that people display consistently across time
      and across situations.
     Traits vs. Types. Hippocrates suggested that a temperament, or personality type, is
     associated with a bodily fluid: blood, phlegm, black bile, or yellow bile. Physiognomy is the
     study of the relationship between personality type and physique type. However, research has
     shown that personalities are much too varied to fit into types, or qualitative differences
     among people. Trait theorists believe that many personality characteristics are present in
     everyone, just in different amounts.
     A. ALLPORT’S TRAIT THEORY
         Personality can be seen as the combination of varying strengths of many qualities or
         traits. Gordon Allport believed that there are usually about seven basic or central
         traits. Secondary traits are more specific to certain situations and have less control
         over behavior.
     B. THE BIG FIVE MODEL OF PERSONALITY
          More recently, trait theorists have identified five cross-cultural factors (big five or
          five-factor model)—Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and
          Neuroticism—that make up personality. The big five model is supported by both
          Western culture and cross-cultural research.
     C. BIOLOGICAL TRAIT THEORIES
          1. Eysenck’s Biological Trait Theory. Hans Eysenck also utilized factor analysis to
               identify three basic personality factors: psychoticism, introversion-extraversion,
               and emotionality-stability (also often termed neuroticism). Eysenck proposed
                that the ease with which the nervous system can be aroused relates to positions
                on these personality dimensions.
          2. Gray’s Approach-Inhibition Theory. Jeffrey Gray believes that people exhibit
                differences in introversion-extraversion and emotionality-stability because of
                two systems in the brain: the behavioral approach system (BAS, reward
                sensitivity) and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS, punishment sensitivity).
                According to Gray,
          extraverts have a sensitive BAS and insensitive BIS and introverts are the opposite—
                insensitive BAS and sensitive BIS.
     E. EVALUATION OF THE TRAIT APPROACH
          Trait theories are better at describing behavior than at explaining it. Also, trait theories
          do not create a unique description of every individual. Nor can they reflect changes in
          a person’s behavior in different environments or situations.
III. THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE APPROACH
      The social-cognitive approach to personality, sometimes called the social-learning
      approach, equates personality with behavior. Social-cognitive theorists look to conscious
      thoughts and emotions to understand how people differ from one another and to understand
      behavior. Some theorists rely solely on operant and classical conditioning for explanations
      of behavior. Others believe that learned thought patterns play a role in behavior and that
      personality is learned in social situations.
     A. ROOTS OF THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE APPROACH
         B. F. Skinner employed functional analysis to understand behavior in terms of its
         function in obtaining rewards or avoiding punishment.
     B. PROMINENT SOCIAL-COGNITIVE THEORIES
          1. Rotter’s Expectancy Theory. Julian Rotter suggested that behavior is determined by
                 cognitive expectation—that is, what a person expects to happen following
                 behavior and the value the person places on the outcome. Rotter developed a test
                 that measures the degree to which people expect events to be controlled by their
                 own internal efforts or by external forces over which they have no influence.
          2. Bandura and Reciprocal Determinism. Personality evolves as a result of the
                 interaction among cognitive patterns, the environment, and behavior through a
                 process called reciprocal determinism. For example, Albert Bandura concludes
                 that people’s beliefs about the impact they have on the world and their perceived
                 self-efficacy (belief they will succeed) will determine emotions and behaviors.
          3. Mischel’s Cognitive/Affective Theory. According to Walter Mischel, cognitive
                 person variables as well as situation variables are important in explaining
                 behavior. The most important person variables are encodings, expectancies,
                 affects, goals and values, and competencies and self-regulatory plans.
                 Mischel’s views sparked a debate that led to several conclusions (note the
                 similarity to reciprocal determinism). First, traits influence behavior only in
                 relevant situations. Second, traits can lead to behaviors that alter situations that,
                 in turn, promote other behaviors. Third, people with different traits choose to be
                 in different situations. Fourth, traits are more influential in some situations than
                 in others.
     C. EVALUATION OF THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE APPROACH
          In its favor, this approach is objective, experimentally oriented, defined by operational
          concepts, and based on empirical data. However, some psychologists think that
          behaviorists’ narrow focus on behavior, the environment, and even cognitive factors
          still ignores other potential influences on behavior (unconscious thoughts and feelings,
          subjective experiences, genetic and physiological factors). Additionally, the social-
          cognitive approach is faulted for failing to present a general theory of personality and
          for failing to capture the complexities and uniqueness of human personality.
IV. THE HUMANISTIC APPROACH
     The phenomenological or humanistic approach defines personality as the unique way in
     which each individual perceives and interprets the world. The primary human motivator is
     an innate drive toward growth that prompts people to fulfill their unique and natural
     potential.
     A. PROMINENT HUMANISTIC THEORIES
          1. Rogers’s Self Theory. Carl Rogers emphasized the actualizing tendency, the innate
                inclination toward growth that motivates all human behavior. The self is what
                people come to identify as I or me. According to Rogers, the development of
                self-concept depends on self-evaluations and the positive regard shown by
                others. Incongruities between self-evaluations and others’ evaluations cause
                anxiety and other problems. Whenever people, instead of their behaviors, are
                evaluated, conditions of worth are created. People come to believe that they are
                worthy only under certain conditions—those in which rewarded behaviors are
                displayed.
          2. Maslow’s Growth Theory. Abraham Maslow saw personality as the tendency to
                grow toward self-actualization. People can approach the satisfaction of their
                needs with a deficiency orientation or growth orientation.
     B. EVALUATION OF THE HUMANISTIC APPROACH
          The humanistic approach has been instrumental in the development of many types of
          psychotherapy, short-term group experiences (such as encounter groups), child-rearing
          practices, and the growing field of positive psychology. However, the belief that all
          humans are driven by a positive and innate growth potential may be naive. Also, this
          approach ignores potential genetic, biological, learning, social, and unconscious
          motivational influences on personality. Most humanistic assessment methods are
          better at describing
          behavior than explaining it. Also, many humanistic concepts are difficult to measure
          and define scientifically. The humanistic approach is culturally confined to North
          America and other Western cultures. The definition of self is very different in Japan,
          Africa, and other parts of the world.
     C. LINKAGES: PERSONALITY, CULTURE, AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
          Recognition of the role of cultural factors in establishing ideals of personality
          development requires that various approaches to personality and to the achievement of
          self-esteem be evaluated in terms of the extent to which they apply to cultures
          different from the one in which they were developed.
          1. Western parents encourage independence and Western personality theorists see
                independence and self-esteem as important to mental health.
          2. Many non-western cultures, such as those of China and Japan, discourage people
                from developing a unique and independent self. Children are encouraged to get
                along with others and to avoid standing out in crowds, lest they diminish
                someone else. In fact, the Japanese word for “different” (tigau) also means
                “wrong.”
          3. In contrast to the independent self-system common in many Western cultures,
                cultures with a more collectivist orientation promote personality development
                that sees the self as interdependent on others, each person only a fraction of the
                whole. In the U.S. a sense of well-being is associated with having positive
                attributes whereas in Japan a sense of well-being is associated with having no
                negative attributes.
          4. Gender differences must also be evaluated. Females in the U.S. tend to have an
                interdependent self-system while males have an independent self-system.
V. ASSESSING PERSONALITY
    Psychologists describe people’s personalities using information from life outcomes,
    situational tests, observer ratings, and self-reports. Self-report personality tests are more
    standardized and economical than observations or interviews. A personality test must be
    reliable and valid.
     A. OBJECTIVE PERSONALITY TESTS
         Typical objective personality tests are paper-and-pencil forms containing clear,
         specific questions, statements, or concepts to which a person is asked to give yes-no,
         true-false, or multiple-choice answers. Scores can be compared mathematically. A
         widely used test for diagnosing disorders is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
         Inventory (MMPI). The Neuroticism Extraversion Openness Personality Inventory,
         Revised (NEO-PI-R) is given to measure personality variables in normal populations.
     B. PROJECTIVE PERSONALITY TESTS
          Tests consisting of unstructured stimuli that can be perceived and responded to in
          many ways are called projective personality tests. The Thematic Apperception Test
          (TAT) and the Rorschach Inkblot Test are examples of this format. Responses to
          projective tests reflect many aspects of an individual’s personality. These tests are
          relatively difficult to score and tend to be less reliable and valid than objective tests.
     C. PERSONALITY TESTS AND EMPLOYEE SELECTION
          Personality tests do seem to be useful in screening prospective employees; however,
          the tests can lead to incorrect predictions. Some employees believe that utilizing
          personality tests in the selection process is a violation of their privacy.

								
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