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Perspectives of Personality

Psychoanalytic Perspective
Childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations
influence personality and behavior

Sigmund Freud (1856 1939)


Father of Psychology

Freuds psychoanalytic theory was the


first comprehensive theory of
personality
Generally concerned with the
unconscious, psychosexual stages,
and defense mechanisms

Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Freud wanted to know if some
neurological disorders were
psychological, not physiological
To explore the unconscious, Freud
created a technique called Free
Association

Psychoanalytic Perspective
Free Association
A method of exploring the unconscious in
which the person relaxes and says
whatever comes to mind, no matter
how trivial or embarrassing
Freud believed this allowed him to trace a
line into his patients past
And perhaps releasing painful unconscious
memories from childhood

Examples include: Sentence completion, picture


drawing, word association

Psychoanalysis
Freud viewed the mind as an iceberg
Conscious awareness is the part that is showing
above water
However, below the surface is the much larger
Unconscious
A reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts,
wishes, feelings, and memories
Information processing of which we are unaware

Preconscious
Temporary storage area for thoughts
Information retrieved from here into our conscious
awareness

Freuds View of the Human Mind

Freudian Slips
Nothing was ever accidental
Freudian Slips
Freudian Slips are slips of the tongue, where you
say something you dont mean
Such as someone elses name

Dreams
Viewed dreams as the royal road to the
unconscious

Personality Structure
Personality Structure
Freud believed that personality arises
from a conflict between our
aggressive, pleasure-seeking
biological impulses and internalized
social restraints against them
Personality is the result of our efforts to
resolve this basic conflict
Express our impulses in ways that bring
satisfaction and minimize guilt or
punishment

ID, Ego, and Superego


Three interacting systems of personality
Id, Ego, Superego

Id
Contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy
that strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive
drives
Operates on the pleasure principle
Demands immediate gratification
The Child of the trio

Id dominated people are impulsive and are more


likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs

Ego
The Ego
Largely conscious, executive part of
personality that mediates the demands
of the id, superego, and reality
Operates on the reality principle
Satisfying the ids desires in a way that will
bring pleasure rather than pain
The Adult of the trio

Superego
Superego
Develops around ages 4 or 5
Voice of conscience
Part of personality that represents internalized
ideals and provides standards for judgment
and future aspirations
The Parent of the trio

Someone with a strong superego would be


virtuous, but guilt-ridden
Someone with a weak superego would be selfindulgent and remorseless

Ego Defense Mechanisms


Defense Mechanisms
In psychoanalytic theory, the ego
protects itself by reducing anxiety by
unconsciously distorting reality
Some defense mechanisms are healthier
than others, but all, if overused, may be
harmful
Especially if the problem is not eventually
addressed

Repression/Regression
Repression (Most common)
Pushing anxiety-producing thoughts, feelings,
and memories from consciousness
Freud believe repression was incomplete
Comes out in dream symbols and slips of the
tongue

Regression
Reverting back to immature childish defenses
that may have been effective at an earlier age
Thumb-sucking, clinging, security/comfort of
something old, crying, temper tantrums

Cartoon

Reaction
Formation/Projection
Reaction Formation
Thinking or behaving in a way that is opposite of
unacceptable, anxiety-evoking impulses
Timidity becomes daring; feelings of inadequacy
become bravado; love becomes hate and vice versa

Projection
The placing of ones own anxiety-evoking
impulses onto others so that they will have to
deal with them, not you
The thief thinks everyone else is a thief; It looks like
you had a bad day (when in reality, you had the bad
day)

Rationalization/Displacemen
t
Rationalization
Justifying ones negative actions/feelings with socially
acceptable explanations (excuses), instead of
acknowledging the true reasons
Ex. stating that you were fired because you didn't kiss
up to the boss, when the real reason was your poor
performance

Displacement (displaced aggression)


Transferring angry feelings/impulses from their
true source to a less threatening or dangerous one
Redirecting anger at a safer outlet; e.g. slamming a door
instead of hitting as person, yelling at your spouse after
an argument with your boss

Cartoon

Denial/Intellectualization
Denial
Arguing against an anxiety provoking
stimuli by stating it doesn't exist
Ex. denying that your physician's diagnosis of
cancer is correct and seeking a second opinion

Intellectualization
avoiding unacceptable emotions by
focusing on the intellectual aspects
Ex. focusing on the details of a funeral as
opposed to the sadness and grief

Cartoon

Sublimation/Procrastination
Sublimation
Acting out unacceptable sexual impulses
in a socially acceptable way
Ex. sublimating your aggressive impulses
toward a career as a boxer; lifting weights to
release 'pent up' energy; masturbation

Procrastination
Putting off an anxiety-evoking task

Overcompensation/Undoing
Overcompensation
To defend oneself against perceived feelings of
inferiority in one area, one puts all of his/her
efforts into developing a skill in another
Ex. One may constantly mention singing skills, if
they are a bad dancer; A person surrounds
themselves with material things/wealth

Undoing
To atone for or try to undo an acceptable
thought or action in some way
Over-apologize, send flowers/gifts

Humor/Fantasy
Humor
Distancing oneself from an anxietyevoking situation by somehow making a
joke out of it or finding humor in it

Fantasy
Excessive daydreaming or imagining
oneself engaging in some frustrated
behavior

WARM UP
TAKE A PIECE OF PAPER AND
DIVIDE IT IN HALF
ON ONE SIDE: LIST
ADJECTIVES THAT YOU
BELIEVE DESCRIBE YOU.
ON THE OTHER SIDE: LIST
ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE
WHO YOU WANT TO BE.

Humanistic Perspective
By 1960, some psychologists had
become discontented with Freuds
negativity
Humanistic psychologists focused on the
ways healthy people strive for selfdetermination and self-realization
Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers
illustrate these emphases on human
potential and seeing the world through
the persons eyes

Abraham Maslows Self-Actualizing


Person

Maslow - Humanism
He developed his ideas by studying
healthy, creative people
He developed his description of selfactualization on a study of notable
people who had led rich and
productive lives
Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor
Roosevelt

Carl Rogers Person-Centered


Perspective - Humanism
Believed that people are basically
good and are endowed with selfactualizing tendencies
A growth-promoting environment
required three conditions:
genuineness, acceptance, and
empathy

Person-Centered
Perspective
Genuineness
People nurture our growth by being open with
their own feelings, being transparent, and selfdisclosing

Acceptance
People nurture growth by being accepting
Unconditional Positive Regard
An attitude of total acceptance toward another person

Empathy
People nurture growth by sharing and mirroring
our feelings and reflecting our meanings

Self-Concept
A central feature of humanism perspective
of personality is ones self-concept
All our thoughts and feelings about ourselves in
answer to the question, Who am I?

If our self-concept is positive, we tend to act


and perceive the world positively
If it is negative, if we fall short of our ideal
self, then we feel dissatisfied and unhappy
Maladaptive behavior (non-normative behavior)
springs from the divide between ones Real and
Ideal self

Cognitive School
Cognitive psychologists study how people
think, learn, remember, plan, solve
problems, and make decisions
Human behavior can be understood in
terms of THE WAY A PERSON THINKS
( how an individual INTERPRETS a
situation)
Individuals who think rationally will act
rationally; those who think irrationally, will
act irrationally

Cognitive School
Maladjustment is simply the result of
irrational thinking and can be
reversed by Cognitive
Restructuring
Activating
Event

Teaching a person to think more constructively


Irrational
Belief

Emotional
Consequences

The Trait Perspective


A trait is a characteristic pattern of
behavior or a disposition to feel and
act, as assessed by self-report
inventories and peer reports
Gordon Allport described personality
in terms of fundamental traits
Came to define personality in terms of
identifiable behavior patterns
More concerned with describing traits, than
explaining them

The Big Five Personality


Factors
Emotional Stability: CalmAnxious, Secure
Insecure
Extraversion: SociableRetiring, Fun-Loving
Sober, AffectionateReserved
Openness: ImaginativePractical, Preference
for varietypreference for routine
Agreeableness: Soft-HeartedRuthless,
TrustingSuspicious
Conscientiousness: Organized
Disorganized, CarefulCareless

Big Five
How stable are they?
In adulthood, most of those traits are stable

How heritable are they?


Generally personality traits are about 50% heritable

How well do they apply to other cultures?


Describe personality in various cultures reasonably well

Do the Big Five traits predict other personal


attributes?
Yes; highly conscientious people are more likely to be
morning types, with evenings types a little more
extroverted

Trait Perspective

Assessing Traits
Assessment techniques from trait
concepts do not reveal hidden
personality dynamics
Simply profile behavior patterns
Usually achieved through completion of
a personality inventory
A questionnaire on which people respond to
items designed to gauge a wide range of
feelings and behaviors

Person-Situation
Controversy
Across time, our personality traits are
fairly persistent
However, we do not act with
predictable consistency from
situation to situation
But, ones average outgoingness, happiness,
or carelessness over many situations is
predictable
So, traits matter

Social-Cognitive Perspective
Views behavior as influenced by the
interaction between persons (and their
thinking) and their social context
Albert Bandura called the process of interacting
with our environment reciprocal determinism

You choose your environment, our


personalities shape how we interpret
and react to events, and our
personalities help create situations to
which we react

Personal Control
Our sense of how much we control our
environment
External Locus of Control: The
perception that chance or outside forces
beyond ones personal control determine
ones fate
People who feel helpless often perceive control
as external
Learned Helplessness: the hopelessness and passive
resignation an animal or human learns when unable
to avoid repeated aversive events

Personal Control
Internal Locus of Control: the
perception that one controls ones
own fate
With increased control, people report
higher levels of happiness
Nursing home study
Elderly residents reported much higher
levels of happiness when they were given
the freedom to choose when they ate, what
they ate, and make other fulfilling life
decisions

The Self
The self is a pivotal center of personality
We readily assume that others are noticing
and evaluating our every move

Spotlight Effect: overestimating


others noticing and evaluating our
appearance, performance, and blunders
In reality, no one cares (well, few people
care)

Self-Esteem
Self-Esteem
Ones feelings of high or low self-worth

High self-esteem pays dividends


Low self-esteem effects us as well
Depression, can lead to us disparaging
others
Those who are negative about
themselves, are often more defensive
and judgmental of others

Self-Serving Bias
A readiness to perceive oneself favorably
We accept more responsibility for good deeds
than bad, and for successes than for failures
What have I done to deserve this? for our
troubles, yet we assume we deserve our successes

Most people see themselves as better than


average
This has been observed worldwide
87% of Americans think they are somewhat likely to
go to heaven; however only 79% think Mother
Teresa is likely to get into heaven