Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Getting Started
Perspectives on Personality
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Copyright © 2007 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Getting Started
Topics Covered
•
•
•
•
•
What are Perspectives on Personality?
What is the Biopsychological perspective?
What is the Intrapsychic perspective?
What is the Sociocultural perspective?
What is the Temporal-Developmental
perspective?
• How does one cope with multiple perspectives?
Copyright © 2007 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
What Are Theoretical Perspectives?
Three Levels of Psychological Theory
• Personality Perspectives – Reflect broad areas of interest
such as:
– biological underpinnings
– psychological processes
• Personality Theories – Sets of related assumptions about
personality. (Possibly) familiar examples:
– Psychodynamic
– Humanistic
• Micro-Theories – Specific sets of testable hypotheses
– People repress uncomfortable memories
– People’s motives direct them in different ways
• All Theoretical Levels are Informed by Empirical Findings
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
What Are Theoretical Perspectives?
Major Perspectives
Concepts of
Personality
Biological
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
IntraPsychic
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Social
Developmental
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
What Are Theoretical Perspectives?
Major Perspectives and Theories
Concepts of
Personality
Biological
PsychoEvolutionary
BioSocial
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
IntraPsychic
PsychoDynamic
Developmental
Social
Trait
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
SocialCognitive
CrossCultural
PsychoSocial
HumanisticPositive
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
What Are Theoretical Perspectives?
Why Study Theoretical Perspectives?
• They collect together theoretical issues
concerning personality that have emerged
throughout history
• Understanding them provides a context
for what you will encounter.
• Personality psychologists are informed by
them
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Overview of Biopsychology
• Concerns biological explanations and substrates
for psychological phenomena
• Major Theories:
– Psychoevolutionary
– Biopsychological
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Central Ideas of Evolutionary Theory
• Organisms with certain features
are better able to adapt to hostile
forces of nature
• Behaviorally, we all face certain
questions: Who is my ally? My
foe? What food should I eat? Who
should I marry?
• Individuals who answer those
questions better than others are
better adapted.
• Because they better adapt, they
are better able to survive and
reproduce
• Their genes in the gene pool that
control behavioral differences
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
An Example
• Giraffes once had shorter
necks
• Giraffes with taller necks
better found food (highgrowing leaves)
• They are therefore more likely
to reproduce
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Second Example
• There was selection for larger
brains
• This led to greater capacity to
amass resources
• Greater reproductive success
• Pre Homo Sapien Examples:
– Austrolopithecus Afarensis
– Australopithecus Africanus
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Central Ideas of Biopsychology
• Genetics Influence the Brain
• The Brain Influences Behavior
Through:
–
–
–
–
Brain Structure
Neurotransmitters
Hormones
Immune Function
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Genetic Influences as Viewed
through Twin Studies
• Monozygotic twins….100% genetic
material in common
• Dizygotic twins…50% genetic material in
common
• Cousins, aunts, uncles…25%
• Strangers…0%
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Correlations Between Pairs of Individuals for Four
Personality Traits
Trait
Mono.
Twins
reared
together
Mono..
Twins
reared
apart
Sibs.
Reared
together
Sibs.
Reared
apart
Intell.
.86
.72
.47
.24
Extrav.
.54
.30
.06
.04
Neurot.
.41
.25
.24
.28
Open.
.51
.43
.14
.23
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Biological Perspective
Corpus Collusum: Relevant to Personality?
Corpus Collusum
• (Brain structure): The
corpus callosum permits
communication between
the two hemispheres
• When it is larger, it better
permits a person to
integrate emotion and
thought
• It is larger (on average) in
women.
• Women are better able to
integrate some emotional
information
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Intrapsychic Perspective
Central Ideas of the Trait Approach
• There are consistencies in personal
behavior
• These consistencies are important parts of
personality called traits
• Personality is the search for and
understanding of traits
• Key figure: Gordon Allport
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Intrapsychic Perspective
Openness
Example: The Big Five Traits
Agreeableness
Conscientiousness
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Extraversion
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Neuroticism
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Intrapsychic Perspective
Traits Can Be Identified Through Factor Analysis
Items (Are you…?)
I
II
III
IV
V
Anxious
.50
.20
.02
.14
.10
Distressed
.60
.10
.02
.10
-.13
Calm
-.45
.02
-.04
-.10
-.05
Open-minded
.02
.70
.10
-.10
-.07
Strait and narrow
.10
-.60
.10
-.10
-.10
Warm-hearted
-.10
.04
.80
-.12
.00
Stand-offish
.20
.00
-.70
.15
.12
Orderly
.12
-.14
.03
.87
.00
Spontaneous
.13
-12
.21
-.60
.60
Outgoing
-.12
.10
.30
.12
.80
Enjoy solitude
.12
.20
-.35
-.05
-.70
Hostile
.35
.07
-.50
.15
.05
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Intrapsychic Perspective
Central Psychodynamic Ideas
• Central idea(s):
– Parts of personality
• Conscious
• Unconscious
– Parts dynamically
struggle with one
another
– Dynamics can be
changed for the better
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Conscious
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Unconscious
Threatening ideas
are avoided and
become unconscious
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Intrapsychic Perspective
Psychodynamic Perspective:
Example
• Example:
• …The person free associates until
unconscious desires are uncovered…
• The person will be mentally healthier by
making the unconscious conscious
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Sociocultural Approach Perspective
Central Social-Cognitive Ideas
• Personality is made up of cognitive
structures
• Those cognitive structures are learned and
influence how a person thinks
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Sociocultural Approach Perspective
Social Cognitive Approach
Conditional Aggression
in Children
Level of Aggression
• Conditional Traits
• Given X, I am
aggressive
• Given Y, I am
cooperative
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Child 1
Child 2
Adult Peers
Presence of Adult
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Sociocultural Approach Perspective
Ideas of the Cultural Perspective
• Personality involves learned understanding of
the world and attitudes toward it.
• Cultures convey such information
• Some personality aspects are general over
cultures
• Others differ over cultures
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Sociocultural Approach Perspective
Ideas of the Cultural Perspectives
Autonomy vs. Communal orientation
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Temporal-Developmental Approach
Psycho-Social Stage Theories
• Idea that children and adults’
personality develop according
to understandable patterns such
as life stages.
• Each stage or pattern involves
the achievement of certain goals
• Erik Erikson, for example,
described eight stages of
growth.
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Temporal-Developmental Approach
Humanistic Theory: Central Ideas
• The person is
motivated to grow in a
healthy fashion
• The person develops
toward selfactualization
• Key figures: Carl
Rogers, Abraham
Maslow
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
SelfActualization
Esteem Needs
Belonging Needs
Safety Needs
Physiological Needs
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
The Temporal-Developmental Approach
Humanistic Perspective
• Example:
…A person given a warm, unconditionally
accepting environment, will learn about their real
needs and achieve mental health
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Using the Approaches Together
How can Perspectives be Integrated?
• Is one theory correct?
– Comparative analyses are challenging
– No one seems to stand out
• Should you commit to one?
– The language of a theory can put up artificial
barriers
– Commitment to one is limiting
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Using the Approaches Together
The Systems Approach Here
• The different perspectives can be
translated into a common language.
– Freud’s introject (an internalized image of
another) can be translated into cognitive
psychology’s mental model
– Roger’s real self can be translated into
general terminology of emotions and the selfconcept.
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Using the Approaches Together
The Systems Approach Here
• The different perspectives share concerns
that can be described by some basic
topics:
– What is personality?
– What are its parts?
– What is its organization?
– How does it develop?
• Theories are then drawn upon to answer
questions about these topics, as needed.
© Copyright 2006 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
Part 1: Exploring Personality
Chapter 3: Theories of Personality
Getting Started
~end of Chapter 3~
Copyright © 2007 Allyn & Bacon
Mayer’s Personality: A Systems Approach
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