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The dynamic organization within the individual of those
psychophysical systems that determine his unique
adjustments to his environment.
Defining Personality
• Personality is the combination of behavior, emotion, motivation, and
thought patterns that define an individual…. that makes you definitely
• Personality psychology attempts to study similarities and differences
in these patterns among different people and groups.
• Personality may change overtime
• Self-report surveys
• Observer-ratings surveys
• Projective measures [Inkblot Test]
Week 6
• Heredity
• Environment
Week 6
Approaches to Studying Personality
• Research into these five philosophical questions has branched into
several different approaches to studying personality.
Trait Theories
Psychoanalytic theories
Behavioral Theories
Humanist Theories
Some theories focus on explaining how personality develops while others are concerned with
individual differences in personality.
Trait Theories: Placing Labels on Personality
• Trait Theory: A model of personality that seeks to identify the basic
traits necessary to describe personality
• Traits: Consistent personality characteristics and behaviors displayed
in different situations
• A personality assessment model that taps five basic dimensions.
Emotional stability.
Openness to experience.
Week 6
Big Five Model
• Five Traits:
• Extraversion: A personality dimension describing someone who is sociable, gregarious, and
• Agreeableness: A personality dimension that describes someone who is good natured,
cooperative, and trusting.
• Conscientiousness: A personality dimension that describes someone who is responsible,
dependable, persistent, and organized.
• Emotional Stability: A personality dimension that characterizes someone as calm, self-confident,
and secure versus nervous, depressed, and insecure.
• Openness to Experience: A personality dimension that characterizes someone in terms of
imagination, sensitivity, and curiosity
Big Five Personality Traits
• Openness to experience
• Independent, imaginative, preference for variety
• Conscientiousness
• Careful, disciplined, organized
• Extraversion
• Talkative, fun-loving, sociable
• Agreeableness
• Sympathetic, kind, appreciative
• Neuroticism
• Stable, calm, secure
Big Five Factor Model
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory: Mapping the
unconscious mind
• Freud’s theory that unconscious forces act as
determinants of personality
• Sigmund Freud proposed that psychic energy could be
converted into behavior.
• Thermodynamics- converting heat into mechanical energy
• He proposed that human behavior is the result of the
interaction among various components of the mind (the id,
ego, and superego).
1) Id, ego, super ego (personality
• These are systems, not parts of the brain, or in any way physical.
Structuring Personality: ID, EGO and
• id: Unorganized inborn part of personality whose sole purpose is
to reduce tension created by primitive drives related to hunger,
aggression, and irrational impulses
• Ego: The part of personality that provides buffer between id and
the outside world
• Supergo: According to Freud, the final personality structure to
develop; it represents the rights and wrongs of society as handed
down by a person’s parents, teachers and other important figures
Examples of ID (Or It)
• Sally was thirsty. Rather than waiting for the server to refill her glass
of water, she reached across the table and drank from Mr. Smith’s
water glass, much to his surprise.
• A hungry baby cried until he was fed.
• Michael saw a $5 bill fall out of Nick’s backpack as he pulled his books
out of his locker. As Nick walked away, Michael bent over, picked up
the money, and slipped it into his pocket, glancing around to make
sure no one was looking.
Ego (Or I)
• Like the id, the ego seeks pleasure and avoids pain, but unlike the id
the ego is concerned with devising a realistic strategy to obtain
pleasure. Freud made the analogy of the id being a horse while the
ego is the rider. The ego is 'like a man on horseback, who has to hold
in check the superior strength of the horse' (Freud, 1923, p.15).
• The ego has no concept of right or wrong; something is good simply if
it achieves its end of satisfying without causing harm to itself or to
the id.
Examples of Ego
• Sally was thirsty. However, she knew that her server would be back
soon to refill her water glass, so she waited until then to get a drink,
even though she really just wanted to drink from Mr. Smith’s glass.
• Even though Michael needed money, he decided not to steal the
money from the cash register because he didn’t want to get in
The Superego (or above I)
• The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are
learned from one's parents and others.
• It develops around the age of 3 – 5
• The superego's function is to control the id's impulses, especially
those which society forbids.
Examples of Super Ego
• Sarah knew that she could steal the supplies from work and no one
would know about it. However, she knew that stealing was wrong, so
she decided not to take anything even though she would probably
never get caught.
• When Michael saw the $5 bill lying on the floor with no one around it,
he turned it into the school office in case anyone came looking for it.
He wouldn’t want to lose $5, and hoped that whoever had lost it
would ask about it in the office.
• According to the most influential learning theorist, B. F. Skinner (who
carried out pioneering work on operant conditioning), personality is a
collection of learned behavior patterns (Skinner, 1975). Similarities in
responses across different situations are caused by similar patterns of
reinforcement that have been received in such situations in the past.
Humanistic Approach
• Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need
Theories that emphasize people’s
innate goodness and desire to achieve
higher levels of functioning.
• A personality test that taps four characteristics and classifies people
into 1 of 16 personality types.
Extraverted (E) versus Introverted (I).
Sensing (S) versus Intuitive (N).
Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F).
Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P).
Week 6
Week 6
• Extraversion and Introversion - The first pair of styles is concerned with the
direction of your energy. If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with people,
things, situations, or "the outer world", then your preference is for Extraversion.
If you prefer to direct your energy to deal with ideas, information, explanations or
beliefs, or "the inner world", then your preference is for Introversion.
• Sensing and Intuition - The second pair concerns the type of information/things
that you process. If you prefer to deal with facts, what you know, to have clarity,
or to describe what you see, then your preference is for Sensing. If you prefer to
deal with ideas, look into the unknown, to generate new possibilities or to
anticipate what isn't obvious, then your preference is for Intuition. The letter N is
used for intuition because I has already been allocated to Introversion.
• Thinking and Feeling - The third pair reflects your style of decisionmaking. If you prefer to decide on the basis of objective logic, using
an analytic and detached approach, then your preference is for
Thinking. If you prefer to decide using values - i.e. on the basis of
what or who you believe is important - then your preference is for
• Judgment and Perception - The final pair describes the type of
lifestyle you adopt. If you prefer your life to be planned and wellstructured then your preference is for Judging. This is not to be
confused with 'Judgmental', which is quite different. If you prefer to
go with the flow, to maintain flexibility and respond to things as they
arise, then your preference is for Perception.
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