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 Psychoanalytic
 Humanistic
 Trait
Theories
Theories
Theories
 Social-Cognitive
 Personality
Theories
Assessment
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
Personality
• characteristic patterns of behaving, thinking, and feeling

Psychoanalysis
• theory and therapy that focuses on unconscious processes

Freud proposed 3 levels of consciousness.
• Conscious
 what we are aware of at any given moment
 thoughts, feelings, sensations, or memories
• Preconscious
 memories we are not aware of but can easily bring to mind
• Unconscious
 repressed memories, instincts, wishes, desires
 have never been conscious
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
Id
• contains life and death instincts
• operates according to the
pleasure principle

Ego
• logical, rational part of
personality
• operates according to the
reality principle

Superego
• moral system of the personality
• consists of conscience and ego
ideal
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
Used by ego to:
• Maintain self-esteem
• Defend against anxiety created by conflict between the
id and superego
 The id’s demands for pleasure often conflict with the superego’s
desires for moral perfection.

All individuals use defense mechanisms.

Overuse can lead to psychological problems.

Repression is the most commonly used
mechanism.
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
The sex instinct is an important factor influencing
personality.

Develops through a series of stages
• Each stage involves the erogenous zone and conflict.
• if the conflict is not resolved:
 Child develops a fixation.
 A portion of the libido (psychic energy) remains invested at that stage.
• central theme of phallic stage is controversial
 love of opposite-sex parent
 Oedipus complex: boys
 Electra complex: girls
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 Oral
Stage
• Takes place from birth to 1 year of age
• conflict: weaning
• Fixation can lead to dependency and passivity or sarcasm
and hostility.
 Anal
Stage
• Takes place between 1 to 3 years of age
• conflict: toilet training
• Fixation can lead to excessive cleanliness and stinginess or
messiness and rebelliousness.
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
Phallic Stage
• Takes place between 3 to 5 or 6 years of age
• conflict: Oedipus complex
• Fixation can lead to flirtatiousness and promiscuity or excessive
pride and chastity.

Latency Stage
• Lasts from the age of 5 or 6 years to puberty
• period of sexual calm

Genital Stage
• puberty and beyond
• revival of sexual interests
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 Contributions
• recognized importance of childhood experiences in shaping
personality
• identified role of defense mechanisms
• called attention to the unconscious
 Critics Argue
• People do not typically repress painful memories.
• Dreams do not have symbolic meaning.
• Freud’s ideas are difficult to test scientifically.
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
Carl Jung (1875–1961)
 Sexual instinct is not the main factor in personality.
 Felt that personality was not almost completely formed in early childhood.
 archetypes
 inherited tendencies to respond to universal human situations
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 Alfred
Adler (1870–1937)
• predominant force of personality is not sexual in
nature
• emphasized unity of personality
• The drive to overcome feelings of inferiority motivates
most human behavior.
 When feelings of inferiority prevent personal development, they
constitute an inferiority complex.
• Theory is referred to as individual psychology.
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 Karen
Horney (1885–1952)
• Work centered on 2 main themes.
 The neurotic personality
 Feminine psychology
• rejected Freud’s psychosexual stages, the Oedipus
complex, and penis envy
• Women’s difficulties arise from the failure to live up to
idealized versions of themselves.
• For their own psychological health, women and men
must overcome irrational beliefs about the need for
perfection.
• Her influence can be seen in modern cognitivebehavioral therapy.
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 Humanistic
Psychology
• People have a natural tendency toward growth and
realization of their fullest potential.
• Humanistic theories are more optimistic about human
nature than Freud’s.
• Humanistic theories are difficult to test scientifically.
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 Abraham
Maslow (1908–1970)
• proposed a hierarchy of needs that motivates behavior
• The highest need is self-actualization.
• self-actualizers
 Accurately perceive reality and quickly spot dishonesty
 Tend not to depend on external authority
 Are internally driven, autonomous, and independent
 Frequently have peak experiences
 experiences of deep meaning, insight, and harmony within themselves
and with the universe
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 Carl Rogers (1902–1987)
• conditions of worth
 conditions on which positive regard depends
 Conditions of worth force us to live according to someone
else’s values.
• In efforts to gain positive regard, we deny the true self.
• person-centered therapy
 The goal is to enable people to live by their own values.
 The therapist gives client unconditional positive regard.
 unqualified caring and nonjudgmental acceptance
 brings the person back in tune with self
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
How does self-esteem develop?
• Variations in self-esteem can arise from comparisons of actual to
desired traits.
• Self-esteem is fairly stable from childhood through late adulthood.
• By age 7, most children have global self-esteem.
 Judgments come from both actual experiences and information provided by
others.

To develop high self-esteem, children need to:
• Experience success in domains they view as important
• Be encouraged by parents, teachers, and peers to value
themselves
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 Attempt
to explain differences among
people
 Trait
• personal characteristic that is stable across
situations
• used to describe or explain personality
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
Allport (1936)
• proposed 2 kinds of traits
 cardinal traits
 so pervasive that almost every act can be traced to their influence
 central traits
 traits which we would “mention in writing a careful letter of
recommendation”

Cattell (1950)
• surface traits
 the observable qualities of personality
• source traits
 underlie surface traits
 cause certain surface traits to cluster together
 Cattell identified 23 source traits.
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 Eysenck
(1916–1997)
• proposed 3 personality factors
 psychoticism
 an individual’s link to reality
 extraversion
 a dimension ranging from outgoing to shy
 neuroticism
 emotional stability, ranging from stable to anxious and irritable
• Factors are rooted in neurological functioning.
• The idea has been supported by modern brain-imaging
studies.
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
Attempts to explain personality using 5 broad dimensions

This model has become most closely associated with the
research of Robert McCrae and Paul Costa.

The model varies from the Big Five model of Goldberg.

Each factor is composed of a constellation of personality
traits.
•
•
•
•
•
Openness
Conscientiousness
Extraversion
Agreeableness
Neuroticism
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
Openness
• open to new experiences, curious, and broadminded versus
having narrow interests and preferring the familiar

Conscientiousness
• reliable, orderly, and industrious versus undependable and lazy

Extraversion
• outgoing, prefer to be around other people versus shy, prefer to be
alone

Agreeableness
• easygoing and friendly versus unfriendly and cold

Neuroticism
• pessimistic and irritable versus optimistic, take things in stride
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
Five-Factor Theory of Personality
• McCrae and Costa (2003)
• behavioral genetic theory
 asserts that heredity is largely responsible for individual differences

Rushton and colleagues (1986)
• Nurturance, empathy, and assertiveness are influenced by
heredity.


The heritability of aggressiveness may be as high as .50
Carey (1997).
Genes constrain the ways in which environments affect
personality traits (Kagan, 2003).
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
Culture influences personality.
• may not be captured in the 5-factor model

Cultures differ in individualism/collectivism.
• individualist cultures
 Emphasis is placed on independence and individual achievement.
• collectivist cultures
 emphasis on social connectedness
 define the self in terms of group membership

Psychologists warn against overemphasizing cultural
differences in personality.
• The goal for all individuals should be to enhance self-esteem.
• A sense of personal control over one’s life predicts well-being in all
cultures.
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
Social Cognitive Theory
• Personality is defined as a collection of learned behaviors
acquired through social interactions.

The Situation-Trait Debate: Walter Mischel (1968)
• stresses the importance of factors within the situation and
person in accounting for behavior
• views trait as conditional probability
 A particular action will occur in response to a particular situation.
 Situations can modify personality traits.
 example: lack of social support can increase neuroticism
• Evidence suggests that traits are stable over time and across
situations.
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
Internal, environmental, and behavioral variables interact to influence
personality.

Self-Efficacy
• a person’s perception of his or her ability to perform competently whatever is
attempted
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
Self-Efficacy
•
Bandura (1997)
• the perception people have of their ability to perform competently
whatever they attempt
• high self-efficacy
 persist in efforts, belief in success
• low self-efficacy
 expect failure, avoid challenges

Locus of Control
• Rotter (1966, 1990)
• internal locus of control
 see selves as primarily in control of their behavior and its consequences
• external locus of control
 perceive events as in the hands of fate, luck, or chance
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
Observation
• used in hospitals, clinics, schools, and workplaces
• behavioral assessment
 Psychologists count and record the frequency of particular behaviors.
 often used in behavior modification programs in treatment
 time-consuming; behavior may be misinterpreted

Interviews
• used to help in diagnosis and treatment
• structured interview
 The content of the questions and the manner in which they are asked are
carefully planned ahead of time.
 Comparisons can be made between different subjects.

Rating Scales
• provide standardized format , focus on relevant traits
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 Inventory
• paper and pencil test with questions about a person’s thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors
• scored according to a standard procedure
• used to measure several dimensions of personality

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
• now revised as MMPI-2
• used to screen for and diagnose psychiatric problems and
disorders
• the most extensively researched and widely used personality test
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

Consists of 10 clinical scales
and 3 validity scales
Validity Scales
• discerns those who are attempting
to look healthier than they are and
those attempting to appear
disturbed


psychologist-evaluated clinical
scales in light of validity scales
more than 115 translations of
the MMPI are in use
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 California Personality Inventory (CPI)
• developed to assess personality in normal individuals
• does not include any questions designed to reveal psychiatric
illness
• useful in predicting school achievement, leadership, and
executive success
 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
• based on Jung’s theory of personality
• measures normal individual differences on 4 personality
dimensions
• popular in business and educational settings
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 Projective
Tests
• consist of inkblots, drawings of ambiguous human situations, or
incomplete sentences
• no correct or incorrect responses
• inner thoughts, feelings, fears, or conflicts are projected onto the
test materials
• include Rorschach Inkblot Test and Thematic Apperception Test
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
The test taker is asked to
describe 10 inkblots.

Responses can be used to
diagnose disorders.

Critics argue that results are
too dependent on the
judgment of the examiner.

Exner (1993) developed the
comprehensive system for
scoring.
 provides normative data for
comparison of responses
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


Developed by Henry Murray (1935)
Consists of 1 blank card and 19 cards showing
vague or ambiguous black-and-white drawings of
human figures
The test taker describes the drawings.
• The descriptions are thought to reveal inner feelings,
conflicts, and motives.

Critics argue that:
• The test relies too heavily on the interpretation of the
examiner.
• Responses may reflect temporary states and may not
indicate more permanent aspects of personality.
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PSY110 Week 7 Personality Theory and Assessment