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What is personality

   Depends on our theory or view of the
    world, i.e., our way of understanding
    how things work
Could be:

   Manifestation of biological processes
    (genetically determined)
   Constellation of "self-descriptors" or
    what we say about ourselves
   Pervasive behavioral repertoire under
    environmental control

   An individual’s unique and relatively stable
    patterns of behavior, thoughts and feelings –
    these stable patterns usually characterize
    persons in a number of situations over time.

   Also refers to the enduring, inner
    characteristics of individuals that organize their
    Is Personality real?

   In the past this was one of the debates that
    psychologists had
   They questioned whether or not the individual
    could display enough consistency in their
    behaviour over time and across situations, for
    us to say that this is personality
   With the growing evidence of consistency,
    psychologists felt that there was enough basis
    to state that personality is real
   Our behaviour in any situation is a function of
    our personality and situational factors
   This resulted in the term interactionism or
    transactional approach – this approach says that
    how one behaves is a function of an interaction of
    stable personality characteristics and the
    individual’s perception of the situation (situation-
    bound reaction).

   Psychoanalytic Approach
   Behavioural- Learning Approach-            Classical Conditioning,
    Operant Conditioning, Observational Learning
   Humanistic Approach
   Cognitive Approach
   Trait/ Biological Approach
Psychoanalytic Approach

   Sigmund Freud 1856-1939

   The Freudians and neo-Freudians, who for the
    most part, attribute significance to unconscious

   Levels of Consciousness

   Basic Instincts

   Structures of Personality-   ID, EGO and SUPEREGO

   Defense Mechanisms
   Psychosexual stages of development
    Levels of Consciousness

   Conscious level- Mental events of which we are actively
    aware at the moment.

   Preconscious level- Aspects of our mental life of which
    we are not conscious of at the moment but that can be
    easily brought to awareness are stored at this level.

   Unconscious level- Cognitions, feelings, and motives
    that are not available at the conscious or preconscious
    level. Here we keep ideas, memories, and desires of
    which we are not aware and cannot easily become

   According to Sigmund Freud, there are only two basic
    drives that serve to motivate all thoughts, emotions,
    and behavior.
   Freud said that a large measure of life is an
    attempt to resolve conflicts between these two
    natural but diametrically opposed instincts.
   These two drives are, simply put, sex and
    aggression. Also called Eros and Thanatos, or life and
    death, respectively, they underlie every motivation we
    as humans experience.
   Life instincts (eros) – impulses for survival, including
    those that motivate sex, hunger and thirst. Each instinct
    has its own energy that drives it. The psychic energy that
    drives the sexual instinct is called the libido.

   Death instincts (thanatos) – impulses of destruction.
    Directed inward, they give rise to feelings of depression
    or suicide; directed outward, they result in aggression.
Lets look at a few examples.
   Why would an adult decide to get a college
   According to Freud, we are driven to improve
    ourselves so that we may be more attractive to the
    opposite sex and therefore attract a better mate.
   With a better mate, we are more likely to produce
    offspring and therefore continue our
    bloodline. Furthermore, a college degree is likely to
    bring a higher income, permitting advantages over
    others who may be seen as our adversaries

   Freud suggested that personality consist of
    3 separate, though interacting, structures or
    subsystems: the id, ego, and superego.

   Each system has its own job to do and its
    own principle to follow.

   We are born with our ID.
   It is an important part of our personality
    because as newborns, it allows us to get our
    basic needs met.
   The id is based on our pleasure principle. In
    other words, the id wants whatever feels
    good at the time, with no consideration for
    the reality of the situation.
   The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of
    anyone else, only its own satisfaction.
   If you think about it, babies are not really considerate of
    their parents' wishes. They have no care for time,
    whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating
    dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something,
    nothing else is important.
   It resides in the unconscious level of the mind, and it is
    through the id that basic instincts develop.

   Driving force behind the ID is the libido.
   Within the next three years, as the child interacts more
    and more with the world, the second part of the
    personality begins to develop.
   The part of the personality that develops through one’s
    experience with reality.

   It is the rational, reasoning part of our personality.

   Operates on the reality principle.
   The ego understands that other people have needs and
    desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish
    can hurt us in the long run.
   Its the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking
    into consideration the reality of the situation.
   The ego may delay gratification of some libidinal
    impulse or may need to find and acceptable outlet for
    some need.

   According to Freud, “the ego stands for reason and
    good sense while the id stands for untamed passions.”

   Delay gratification – the MAYBE of the personality.
   By the age of five, or the end of the phallic stage of
    development, the Superego develops.
   The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due
    to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our
   Many equate the superego with the conscience as it
    dictates our belief of right and wrong.

   The superego operates on the idealistic principle.

   Like the id, the superego has no contact with reality
    and, therefore, places unrealistic demands on the
   It demands that we do what is right and proper, no
    matter the circumstances.

   Failure to do so may lead to guilt and shame.

   Never – the NO of the personality.
   In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is
    the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the
    id, not upset the superego, and still take into
    consideration the reality of every situation.
   Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too
    strong, impulses and self gratification take over the
    person's life.
   If the superego becomes to strong, the person
    would be driven by rigid morals, would be
    judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions
    with the world.
   When the ego has a difficult time satisfying
    both the id and the superego, it gets help.
   The ego has some tools it can use in its job
    as the mediator, tools that help defend the
   These are called Ego Defense
    Mechanisms or Defenses.
   When the ego has a difficult time making
    both the id and the superego happy, it will
    employ one or more of these defenses:
   Repression
   Sublimation
   Denial
   Rationalization (Intellectualization)
   Fantasy
   Projection
   Regression
   Displacement
   Reaction Formation
   Compensation
DEFENSE               DESCRIPTION                              EXAMPLE

denial                arguing against an anxiety provoking     denying that your physician's
                      stimuli by stating it doesn't exist      diagnosis of cancer is correct and
                                                               seeking a second opinion
Displacement          taking out impulses on a less            slamming a door instead of hitting as
                      threatening target                       person, yelling at your spouse after
                                                               an argument with your boss
Intellectualization   avoiding unacceptable emotions by        focusing on the details of a funeral as
                      focusing on the intellectual aspects     opposed to the sadness and grief
Projection            placing unacceptable impulses in         when losing an argument, you state
                      yourself onto someone else               "You're just Stupid;" homophobia
Rationalization       supplying a logical or rational reason   stating that you were fired because
                      as opposed to the real reason            you didn't kiss up the the boss, when
                                                               the real reason was your poor
reaction formation    taking the opposite belief because the   having a bias against a particular race
                      true belief causes anxiety               or culture and then embracing that
                                                               race or culture to the extreme
regression            returning to a previous stage of         sitting in a corner and crying after
                      development                              hearing bad news; throwing a temper
                                                               tantrum when you don't get your way
repression            pulling into the unconscious             forgetting sexual abuse from your
                                                               childhood due to the trauma and
Sublimation           acting out unacceptable impulses in a    sublimating your aggressive impulses
                      socially acceptable way                  toward a career as a boxer; becoming
                                                               a surgeon because of your desire to
                                                               cut; lifting weights to release 'pent up'
      Two things to know about defense

    Using DM is a normal reaction. You shouldn’t be alarmed if
     you find that some of these mechanisms sound like reactions
     you have used. They help us cope with anxieties and
     conflicts of everyday life.

    Although they are normal they can become maladaptive. As
     long as defense mechanism are successful in easing the
     unpleasant feelings of anxiety, we may no longer feel a need
     to search for the true sources of anxiety and we will be less
     likely to resolve the conflict that is producing the anxiety.
Five stages

   Oral Stage- Birth to 1 yr

   Anal Stage- 1- 3yrs

   Phallic Stage- 3- 5 yrs

   Latency Period- 6- puberty

   Genital Stage- 11- 18 yrs

   Major criticism is the over-reliance on innate biological/sexual
    drives as being our central motivator for our personality and

   Freud seems to have ignored the social approach to
    personality development.

   Freud in the development of his theory relied on case studies –
    and this form of research in not generalizable.

   He mainly used persons from wealthy background and these
    persons are not representational of human beings in general.
    The Psychoanalytic Approach After

   Neo- Freudians- they had their own theory.
    They didn’t agree with everything that Freud
    proposed so they had to part from Freud. He would
    not accept disagreement – you either accepted all
    of Freudian theory or you had to leave the inner
    Carl Jung – (1875-1961)
   The main disagreement was his belief that there was more to the
    unconscious than Freud theorized.
   There were fears, behaviors, and thoughts that children and adults exhibit
    that are remarkably similar across time and culture.
   He believed that this was more than coincidence and represented what he
    called the collective unconscious.
   He argued that it was made up of what he termed archetypes which are
    primordial images inherited from our ancestors. As support for such a
    theory, he spoke of the immediate attachment infants have for their
   In his view, infants are drawn to their mother because of the unconscious
    image of mother that is alive in all of us and that we fear the dark because
    of the unconscious image of darkness. He also spoke about
   The animus is the masculine side of the female and the anima is the
    feminine side of the male. According to Jung, we all have an unconscious
    opposite gender hidden within us and the role of this archetype is to guide
    us toward the perfect mate.
   Another approach of Jung was that we are born with innate tendencies
    that has to do with our inner selves and the outside world.
   He believed that there are introverts (hesitant cautious and do not make
    friends easily) and extroverts (individuals who are open and confidents
    and make friends easily)
    Alfred Adler – (1870-1937)

   According to Adler's theory, 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.
   He called this struggle a striving for superiority, and like Freud's
    Eros and Thanatos, he saw this as the driving force behind all
    human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
   For those of us who strive to be accomplished writers, powerful
    business people, or influential politicians, it is because of our
    feelings of inferiority and a strong need to over come this negative
    part of us according to Adler. This excessive feeling of inferiority
    can also have the opposite effect. As it becomes overwhelming and
    without the needed successes, we can develop an inferiority
    complex. Leaving us with feeling incredibly less important and
    deserving than others, helpless, hopeless, and unmotivated to strive
    for the superiority that would make us complete.
      Karen Horney – (1885-1952)

   Trained, as a psychoanalyst in Germany and came to the US in 1934.
    Horney theorized that the prime impulses that motivate behavior are
    not biological and inborn or sexual and aggressive, but basic anxiety,
    which grows out of childhood when the child feels alone and isolated in
    a hostile environment.

   If the child receives proper parental nurturance the child is able to
    overcome basic anxiety. If parents are overly punishing, inconsistent,
    or indifferent, however, children may develop basic hostility and may
    feel very hostile and aggressive toward their parents. However, young
    children cannot express hostility toward their parents openly, so the
    hostility gets repressed, building even more anxiety. Emphasized early
    childhood experiences, but from a perspective of social interaction and
    personal growth.
   Which of Erikson’s eight stages seems most
    important? Why?
   2. What aspects of Erikson’s theory are most
    important for educators to understand?
   3. What aspects of Erikson’s theory are most
    important for parents to understand?\
   4. What are some of the most crucial differences
    between Freud’s theory and Erikson’s theory?
   5. Which developmental theory do you prefer,
    Freud’s or Erikson’s? Why?
   Claims that people have the ability to shape their own
    destiny, and this is not driven by biological, instinctive

   Emphasize the wholeness or completeness of
    personality, rather than focusing on its structural parts.

   What matters is how people view themselves.
Themes of Humanistic Theories
   Emphasis on personal responsibility and free will –
    each of us is responsible for what happens to us.

   The importance of the here and now rather than the

   Also emphasize personal growth and fulfillment–
    moving towards bigger goals – self-actualizing
Humanistic Theorists

   Carl Rogers (1902-1986)

   Abraham Maslow – (1908-1970)
Carl Rogers (1902-1987)
   Approach to psychology was based on self- concept.
    Each individual has a self- concept, which consists of
    his or her conscious thoughts and beliefs about himself
    or herself. View referred to as person-centered.
   He spoke about the real and ideal self

   Believed that the most powerful drives are the ones to
    become fully functioning.

   To be fully functioning is to achieve “optimal
    psychological adjustment”, to live in the present, getting
    the most from each experience.

   To help children become fully functioning requires that
    we offer them unconditional positive regard.
   Unconditional Positive Regard means showing a child
    that they are loved, respected, and accepted (this is
    positive regard) with no conditions attached.

   This does NOT mean that parents must always agree with
    their child’s behaviour choices. But they must never use
    love and acceptance as a means of pressuring the child
    into accepting their views.

   Rogers said we should separate the child’s behaviors from
    the child’s self. We punish a child for doing a bad thing, but
    never for being a bad child.

   Helping people achieve positive self-regard is one of the
    major goal of Roger’s person-centered therapy.
Abraham Maslow – (1908-1970)
   People’s needs are positive and our major
    goal is to realize and put into practice those
    needs, or to self-actualize

   We have to master our lower needs before
    we could move to the highest need.

   Our personality and subsequently behaviors
    are driven by or ability to master these
   Biological and Physiological needs - air, food, drink,
    shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

   Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order,
    law, limits, stability, etc.

   Belongingness and Love needs - work group, family,
    affection, relationships, etc.

   Esteem needs - self-esteem, achievement, mastery,
    independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial
    responsibility, etc.

   Self-Actualization needs - realizing personal potential,
    self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak
Self - Actualization

   A musician must make music, and
    artist must paint, a poet must write, if
    he is to ultimately be at peace with
    himself. What a man can be, he must
    be. This need we may call self-
      (Maslow 1970)
    Evaluating the Humanistic-
    Phenomenological Approach

   Critics argue against the humanist psychologist strong
    emphasis on personal responsibility or free will.

   This conflicts with the deterministic view that says that
    behavior and personality is influenced by many factors –
    external factors.

   Also concepts are loosely defined. What is self-
    actualization, fully functioning? Hard to do systematic
    research b/c concepts cannot be defined or tested. How
    do you measure self-actualizing, self-concept etc?
   Cognitive therapy is based on a theory of personality
    which maintains that how one thinks largely determines
    how one feels and behaves.

   What matters most are the client’s beliefs, thoughts,
    perceptions and attitudes about him/herself and the

   They don’t deny the importance of behavior (stimulus-
    response), but they argue that A (activating events –
    stimulus) doesn’t just lead to C (consequences or
    behavior – response), but there is an intervening
    process B (beliefs).
   These beliefs can be rational or irrational. The way a
    person processes stimulus events is critical in
    determining what responses are produced and
    subsequently one’s personality.

   In Cognitive therapy it is not the stimuli (A) activating
    events that are crucial, but rather the person’s
    perceptions and interpretation of the events.

   Individuals make themselves emotionally healthy or
    emotionally upset by the way they think, not by the
   Personality trait is defined as the stable dimensions of
    personality along which people vary from very low to very
   According to Allport personality traits can be divided into
    several categories; there are secondary traits (exert
    relatively weak and limited effect on behaviour), central
    traits (5-10 traits account for our uniqueness) and cardinal
    traits (few people are dominated with a single important
   In Allport’s theory he spoke about Functional Autonomy,
    which is defined as maintenance of patterns of behaviour
    by motives other than the ones originally responsible for
    the behaviour occurence
Assessment tools
   Many of us have taken some sort of psychological test,
    whether for mental health reasons, potential employment, job
    evaluations, or research.
   Objective tests do not have the biases that are common
    among subjective measures, but they also don't provide the
    breadth of information.
   Some of the most common objective tests include the
    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Second Edition
    (MMPI-2), Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI), NEO
    Personality Inventory (NEO-PI).
   Projective techniques are designed to uncover thoughts,
    emotions, and desires that may not be known to the test
    taker. In other words, unconscious impulses that may be
    driving current behaviors. The most common of this type
    include the Rorschach Inkblot Test, The Thematic
    Apperception Test (TAT) and the Incomplete Sentences
Other measures
   Interview the person and ask subjective
    questions about his or her feelings, thoughts
    and behaviors. This will gather information
    in the person's own words, allowing the
    interview to better understand the
    person. This could also alert the interview
    to associated issues such as anxiety.
   Biological measures of personality PET