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COURSE NOTES: Introductory Psychology

Psych101 graphic

Chapter 12:

Personality

Notes for Psychology 101: based on Myers's text, Exploring Psychology, with supplements and modifications by the instructor, Prof. Cloninger.

term denotes a term that you should know how to define, and to recognize and give examples.

person denotes an important person. You should remember this person's name and what (s)he has done.

findingdenotes an important research finding.

issuedenotes an issue that you should be able to discuss or explain.


termPERSONALITY: an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting (Myers, 2005, p. 429)
example: a person's characteristic outgoing, extraverted personality; another person's hard-driving, competitive style

4 MAJOR PERSPECTIVES ON PERSONALITY

The Psychoanalytic Perspective
The Trait Perspective
The Humanistic Perspective
The Social-Cognitive Perspective

[Myers labels two of these as "historic perspectives": psychoanalytic and humanistic, and two as "contemporary": trait and social-cognitive.]


THE PSYCHOANALYTIC PERSPECTIVE

EXPLORING THE UNCONSCIOUS: FREUD

personSigmund Freud
The "father of psychoanalysis"

termpsychoanalysis: a method for exploring the unconscious and a treatment techniquetermfree association

Say whatever comes into your mind ...
Don't censor.
Don't try to be logical.
Don't try to be creative, or to give "good answers."
Just say whatever comes into your mind.
(Harder than it sounds.)

  • Free association helps to reveal the repressed fears and hidden wishes of the unconscious.

termunconscious

not conscious, but influences behavior and experience
... according to "Dr. Fraud" (oops--a classic "Freudian slip")

repression of sexual and aggressive urges

the two major instincts, which provide motivation for all of personality: sex and aggression

Freud's termiceberg metaphor

termconscious
termpreconscious
termunconscious

Dreams provide evidence of the unconscious, through symbols.

Dream Interpretation

"the royal road to the unconscious"
manifest content (recalled story)
latent content (symbolic interpretation)

Personality Structure

termid: the pleasure principle
termsuperego: ideals; guilt
termego: the reality principle

PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

termpsychosexual stages

  1. termoral stage
  2. termanal stage
  3. term phallic stage
  4. termlatency stage
  5. term genital stage

fixation at various psychosexual stages

oral fixation

    • passive dependence
    • counterdependence

anal fixation

    • messy, disorganized
    • highly controlled, compulsively neat

THE PHALLIC STAGE

termOedipus complex
Electra complex
identification
gender identity


DEFENSE MECHANISMS

termrepression
Putting unpleasant or anxiety-provoking thoughts out of your conscious thought. (Is involved in all defense mechanisms.)
ex: Most people don't think about the possibility of a nuclear war; it would cause overwhelming anxiety if we thought about it.

termregression
Functioning at an earlier stage of development.
ex: Child who has been toilet trained starts having "accidents" after a new brother or sister is born.

termreaction formation
Doing the opposite of what you unconsciously wish.
ex: Acting very nurturant toward a younger sibling, when actually you are (unconsciously) angry because of the competition for the parents' love.

termprojection
Seeing undesirable qualities in others that are actually in you.
ex: Thinking other people are doing "naughty" sexual things (but not realizing that these are your own unconscious desires).

termrationalization
Giving plausible, but false, reasons for what you do.
ex: A parent punishes a child, saying it is for the good of the child, unaware of his/her own aggressive impulses toward the child.

termdisplacement
Expressing unacceptable impulses against substitute targets.
ex: You are really angry with your teacher for giving you a low grade, but you act grumpy toward your roommate instead.

termsublimation
Expressing sexual or aggressive impulses in transformed, socially acceptable ways.
ex: Playing a highly competitive game of volleyball, instead of acting in some directly aggressive way.


ASSESSING THE UNCONSCIOUS

termprojective tests

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
termRorschach inkblot test


EVALUATING THE PSYCHOANALYTIC PERSPECTIVE

FREUD'S EARLY DESCENDANTS AND DISSENTERS

childhood is important, but conflict is social (not sexual)

personAdler

compensation for inferiority (term"inferiority complex")
sibling relationships

personHorney

helplessness (the child's dependency)
love (parents don't give enough)
security (children are insecure)
role of women (culture; not only biology)

personJung

termcollective unconscious; spirituality


FREUD'S IDEAS IN THE LIGHT OF MODERN RESEARCH

repression of traumatic events? Doesn't occur as predicted
People REMEMBER trauma; they don't repress it generally.

unconscious mind: information processing view instead of repression
the "cognitive unconscious" is currently accepted, instead of Freud's "dynamic unconscious"

as scientific theory: failure to predict


THE HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE

termThe humanistic perspective emphasizes:

healthy people

personMASLOW: termself-actualization

fulfilling our potential
peak experiences

personROGERS: termperson-centered perspective

unconditional positive regard
self-concept

termUNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD: an attitude of total acceptance toward another person
example: being accepted and loved even if your grades are low, your weight is wrong, and your attitude is questionable

People nurture others' growth in these ways:
(applies to therapists, friends, family, etc.)
according to Carl Rogers's theory:


being genuine (open with feelings; self-disclosing)
being accepting (offering unconditional positive regard)
being empathic (sharing and mirroring our feelings; reflecting our meanings)

importance of the self-concept

assessing the self

  • questionnaires
  • discrepancy between actual self and ideal self

Evaluating the Humanistic Perspective:

  • impact on popular culture
  • consistency with Western emphasis on the individual self
  • vague, subjective concepts
  • underestimates evil

THE TRAIT PERSPECTIVE

Allport's trait approach

termtrait: a characteristic pattern of behavior or a disposition to feel and act, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports (Myers, 2005, p. 443)

examples of traits:

extraverted
shy
conscientious

types or traits

  • types: categories
  • traits: dimensions

termfactor analysis to identify traits

Eysenck's factor model

introverted-extraverted
the INTROVERSION factor

stable-unstable
the NEUROTICISM factor

[and a 3rd factor...]
the PSYCHOTICISM factor
(better called "creativity")

term5-factor model: the Big Five

N: emotional stability ("neuroticism")
E: extraversion
O: openness
A: agreeableness
C: conscientiousness

MNEUMONIC: "OCEAN"

high NEUROTICISM

worrying
emotional
vulnerable
anxious

low NEUROTICISM

calm
unemotional
hardy
self-controlled
sense of well-being

high EXTRAVERSION

talkative
passionate
active
dominant
sociable

low EXTRAVERSION

quiet
unfeeling
passive

high OPENNESS

creative
imaginative
prefers variety

low OPENNESS

uncreative
down-to-earth
prefers routine

high AGREEABLENESS

good-natured
soft-hearted
trusting

low AGREEABLENESS

irritable
ruthless
suspicious

high CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

conscientious
hardworking
ambitious
responsible

low CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

negligent
lazy
aimless
irresponsible

The Big Five are stable, heritable, cross-cultural, and predictive of other characteristics.

Genetic predispositions influence personality (such as shyness).


ASSESSING TRAITS

personality inventories

termMinnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

  • empirically derived (comparison of groups)
  • yields a profile of scores on several scales

EVALUATING THE TRAIT PERSPECTIVE

What determines behavior? [graphic: personality and situations both influence behavior]

The Person-Situation Controversy

apparent consistency of traits
behaviors, though, may be inconsistent
tests don't predict specific behaviors very well (but do predict average behaviors, in a variety of situations)

Consistency of Expressive Style

findingBrief "slices" from films of expressive behavior predict lasting impressions.


THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE

personBandura

termRECIPROCAL DETERMINISM: the mutual influences of situations, personality factors (thoughts and feelings), and behavior [diagram as a triangle]

  • example: being in the library (situation); value of achievement (personality); and studying (behavior) all influence one another

Individuals and environments interact:

  • Different people choose different environments.
  • Our personalities shape how we interpret and react to events.
  • Our personalities help create situations to which we react.

Personal Control

terminternal locus of control
termexternal locus of control

termLearned Helplessness

findingSeligman's studies of dogs
findingexperience with inescapable punishment leads to giving up, hopelessness, helplessness, depression
Rodin's studies of nursing home patients

Optimism

leads to persistence
leads to health
must be balanced by realistic pessimism

Assessing Behavior in Situations

findingBehavior predicts behavior better than personality tests do.

Evaluating the Social-Cognitive Perspective

research-based

may over-emphasize situations (compared with traits)


Exploring the Self

termpossible selves: images of what we might become
example: I could become a doctor, or an Olympic athlete, or a college graduate, or an alcoholic, or ...

More examples of possible selves:

  • a college graduate
  • a drop-out
  • a wife
  • a single mother
  • a candidate for political office
  • a contented suburban housewife

spotlight effect: overestimating others' noticing and evaluating our appearance, performance, and blunders (as if we presume a spotlight shines on us). (Myers, 2005, p. 457)

termSELF-ESTEEM: feeling of self-worth

  • example: I'm great! I can be proud of who I am!

BENEFITS OF HIGH SELF-ESTEEM

better sleep
more independence from pressures to conform
less drug use
more persistence on difficult tasks
greater happiness

issueSelf-esteem could be cause, or it could be effect.


CULTURE AND SELF-ESTEEM

Does society's racism reduce self-esteem of minorities?

  • African and Hispanic Americans do NOT have reduced self-esteem, compared with Whites.

possibly because...

  • They value things at which they excel.
  • They attribute problems to prejudice.
  • They compare themselves with others in their own group.

termSELF-SERVING BIAS

We take credit for our successes and good deeds.
We blame our failures and bad deeds on reasons outside ourselves.
We see ourselves as "better than average."


CULTURE AND THE SELF

termINDIVIDUALISM

independence

termCOLLECTIVISM

interdependence


Students: You can also use resources for this text supplied by the publisher. These include a chapter overview, self-tests, and other resources.


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Ch. 1: Introduction
Ch. 2: Neuroscience
Ch. 3: Nature & Nurture
Ch. 4: Development
Ch. 5: Sensation & Perception
Ch. 6: Consciousness
Ch. 7: Learning
Ch. 8: Memory
Ch. 9: Thinking
Ch. 10: Motivation
Ch. 11: Emotion
Ch. 12: Personality
Ch. 13: Disorders
Ch. 14: Therapy
Ch. 15: Social
additional notes