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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