PSYC 2201
Personality
Chapter 11 Outline for Weiten (2005)
Bill Hill
Kennesaw State University
Defining Personality
An individual’s unique combination of
attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.
Personality is generally assumed to be
 Consistent
 Distinctive
Trait Approaches
Characteristic behavior patterns (and
ways of thinking) that are relatively
consistent across similar situational
contexts
Traits are often described using
common adjectives such as friendly,
outgoing, moody, trustwothy, etc.
Trait Approaches
The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits
(McCrae & Costa)
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Agreeableness
Conscientiousness
Openness to experience
Extraversion
Neuroticism
Trait Approaches
Contemporary Research on Traits
 Sensation-Seeking
 Self-Monitoring
Evaluating Trait Approaches
Primarily descriptive model that does
not adequately either explain why a
behavior occurs or predict behavior
Questions as to whether the Big Five
Traits are too many or not enough
Theories of Personality
The major theories that we will discuss are
primarily focused on identifying the origins
of personality, not the relationship between
personality and behavior.
Personality theories are also key to
understanding both the origins of abnormal
behavior and the approaches to the treatment
of abnormal behavior.
Theories of Personality
The four basic theories of personality
• Psychodynamic
• Behavioral
• Humanistic
• Biological
Psychodynamic Theories
All of these approaches originate from Freud
and emphasize unconscious processes that
influence traits and behaviors
The basic element in common is conflict. The
resolution of these conflicts between the
individual and either unconscious or societal
pressures, determines personality.
Psychodynamic Theories
The Big Four
 Freud
 Jung
 Adler
 Erikson
Freud
Basic assumptions underlying
Freud’s approach to personality:
 Behavior (personality) is determined and
controlled by unconscious factors
 Foundations for adult personality laid
during childhood
 Primary role of sexual urges
Freud
Structures of Personality
 Id
 Ego
 Superego
It is the dynamic interaction
between these three structures that
results in observed behavior
Freud
Levels of Consciousness
 Conscious
 Preconscious
 Unconscious
Freud
Stages of Personality Development
 Oral (mouth)
 Anal (anus)
 Phallic
Oedipal Complex
Penis Envy
 Latency
 Genital
Freud
Defense Mechanisms
 Repression
 Projection
 Displacement
 Reaction Formation
 Regression
 Rationalization
 Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
John thought that almost everyone but
himself was cheating on the psychology
exam.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
Lisa was embarrassed when she kept
forgetting her appointment with the dentist.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
Although Joan had not been close to her
mother during her childhood she was now so
oversolicitous of her mother’s health that
her marriage was being threatened.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
Curt began assuming many of the behaviors
and characteristics of the professor he most
feared.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
After her new baby brother came home
from the hospital the parents discovered
Cheryl had dismembered her favorite doll.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
A student attributed his flunking out of the
university to the poor quality of teaching
there.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
What is the Defense Mechanism?
Tommy began wetting his pants again
after the birth of his baby brother.
a. Repression
b. Projection
c. Displacement
d. Reaction Formation
e. Regression
f. Rationalization
g. Identification
Jung
Although also emphasizing the
unconscious like Freud, he proposed
different layers:
 Personal Unconscious
 Collective Unconscious
Adler’s Individual Psychology
De-emphasizing the sexual focus of
Freud, Adler believed the energy
driving personality development is a
striving for superiority
 Compensation
 Inferiority Complex
 Emphasis on social context (e.g., birth
order)
Evaluating Psychodynamic
Approaches
Vague and untestable
Lack of objective supporting evidence
Claims of sexism in Freud’s theory
Behavioral Approaches
Premise from behaviorism that
behaviors that constitute one’s
consistent traits and actions are learned
through behavioral principles of
conditioning (operant and classical) and
observational learning
Radical Behaviorism &
Personality
(Skinner)
Internal processes omitted
Focus is solely on environmental factors
that shape and determine observed
behaviors
Personality (as defined by response
tendencies) can easily change across
one’s life
Social Learning Theory
(Bandura)
Although out of the behavioral tradition,
Bandura incorporates cognitive influences
Reciprocal Determinism
Perspective that behavior tendencies are the
result of an interaction between cognition,
environment and observed behavior
Social Learning Theory
(Bandura)
Observational Learning
 Ability to imitate
 Role of the model
o Consequences of model’s behavior (Vicarious
conditioning)
o Attention to model (higher when model liked or
respected and seen as similar to observer)
 Self-Efficacy
Social Learning Theory
(Mischel)
Emphasized role of situational factors, thus
raising questions as to whether behavior is
consistent (person emphasis) or varies with one’s
perception of the situational context
Response choices are a function then of the
person’s perception of the consequences
associated with a response and consequence
likelihood for the same behavior varies across
situations
Evaluating Behavioral
Approaches
Question of application of fundamental
principles developed through animal
research to humans
De-emphasis of role of cognitive factors
and free will by radical behaviorists
Lack of unifying structure of
personality—it is simply characterized
as set of acquired behaviors
Humanistic Approaches
Key Elements:
 Emphasis on human uniqueness and
potential for personal growth.
 As counterpoint to both
Psychodynamic and Behavioral
approaches, also includes strong
emphasis on human free will
 Adopts phenomenological approach to
understanding human behavior
Person-Centered Theory
(Rogers)
Key personality construct is the self
or Self-Concept, which is one’s
collection of beliefs about
 who he or she is (often described using
traits)
 typical behavior patterns
Person-Centered Theory
(Rogers)
Personality (self-concept) is largely developed
as a function of childhood and adolescent
experiences that are related to the interplay
between an individual’s need for affection
and acceptance and parenting practices.
 Conditional love
 Unconditional love
Person-Centered Theory
(Rogers)
Subjectively we try to maintain a match
between our self-concept and our
behavioral experiences.
The degree of congruence (match) or
incongruence (mismatch) between selfconcept and experience that determines
one’s mental health.
Self-Actualization Theory
(Maslow)
Hierarchy of Needs (Human Motivations)
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





Physiological
Safety & Security
Belongingness & Love
Esteem
Cognitive
Aesthetic
Self-Actualization
Evaluating Humanistic
Approaches
Vague and untestable
Lacks strong research base to
support claims
Idealized view of human nature that
may be overly optimistic (e.g.,
Maslow’s self-actualized person)
Biological Approaches
Basic premise is that personality
tendencies (traits) may be
genetically influenced
Biological Approaches
(Eysenck)
Eysenck’s theory combines elements
from trait and behavioral approaches to
personality
Although basically a trait approach, his
premise is that trait tendencies are
genetically determined. Actual observed
traits are then shaped through
conditioning.
Biological Approaches
(Eysenck)
Eysenck’s Fundamental Traits
 Extraversion-Introversion
 Neuroticism
 Psychoticism
Behavioral Genetics
Evidence that suggests personality
traits are inherited:
 Twin studies
 Variability in personality traits despite
shared family environment
 Possibility of detecting specific genes
related to traits
Evolutionary Perspectives
Traits, such as the Big Five, have
emerged through natural selection.
Supporting evidence includes:
 Cross-cultural consistency in the Big
Five
 Adaptive viability of the Big Five for
survival
Evaluating Biological
Approaches
Limitations on accuracy of heritability
ratios
Fails to adequately address the
interaction between nature and nurture
No unifying theory
Culture & Personality
Cultural and sociohistorical factors have
influenced many of the major theories
discussed, particularly the
Psychodynamic and Humanistic
approaches.
What may be characterized as a
personality ideal in one culture is not
necessarily to same in another.
Culture & Personality
Variations in Self-Concept
 Western Ideal: independent self
 Asian Ideal: interdependent self
Imagine that several psychologists are
having lunch together, and that you are
eavesdropping on their conversation.
Which type of psychologist is MOST likely
to have made each of these comments?
Aggression is a human instinct. Although
society may control it somewhat, we can
never eliminate it.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Humanistic
Biological/evolutionary
Psychoanalytic
Behavioral
Imagine that several psychologists are
having lunch together, and that you are
eavesdropping on their conversation.
Which type of psychologist is MOST likely
to have made each of these comments?
Your student may be under a lot of
pressure, but that is no excuse for cheating.
We are personally responsible for what we
do.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Humanistic
Biological/evolutionary
Psychoanalytic
Behavioral
Imagine that several psychologists are
having lunch together, and that you are
eavesdropping on their conversation.
Which type of psychologist is MOST likely
to have made each of these comments?
There are not any values inherent in human
nature. Values are acquired in the same
way we learn to say “please” and “thank
you.”
a.
b.
c.
d.
Humanistic
Biological/evolutionary
Psychoanalytic
Behavioral
Imagine that several psychologists are
having lunch together, and that you are
eavesdropping on their conversation.
Which type of psychologist is MOST likely
to have made each of these comments?
People just don’t want to believe that
infants get sexual pleasure from sucking
and exploring anything they get in their
hands with their mouth.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Humanistic
Biological/evolutionary
Psychoanalytic
Behavioral
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