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Chapter 12

What do Other People Think Of Your Personality?

Think about the personality of the person you are sitting next to What personality characteristics do you associate with them? Write down the first 5 that come to mind when you think of this person NOTE: Try to be positive or at least neutral. Even if there are negative characteristics that are part of this persons personality (and we definitely all have them!!) there is no need to write these ones down

Ways of describing personality

Like intelligence, our personality is not directly observable. However in everyday life, we often make judgments about the underlying personality characteristics of people whom we interact with on the basis of observing their behaviour Personality is an individuals unique pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviour that are relatively stable over time and across situations

Theories of Personality
A personality theory is an approach to describing and explaining the origins and development of personality. Each perspective contains a set of theories that share certain assumptions about human nature how personality forms and then develops; whether people are inherently good or bad, the relative importance of biological and environmental factors; and the question of stability and change Each theory has its own strengths and weaknesses, which need to be assessed along with the theory itself

Psychodynamic Theories of Personality

Basic understanding of a psychodynamic theory of personality is that personality is a result of unconscious psychological conflicts and that these are effectively resolved by the individual. These conflicts have their origins in childhood experiences during which an individuals instinctive urges and societys view of what is acceptable behaviour often clash. Sigmund Freud developed the psychodynamic approach to describing and explaining personality. Freuds observations of his patients who saw him about their psychological problems, observations of his family and his reflections on his own personal thoughts, feelings and behaviours were the basis to his theory.

Freuds theory of the human mind

Underlying Freuds theory of personality is the belief that the mind is like an iceberg- most of it is hidden beneath the surface; hidden from the world and most importantly ourselves Our mind is organised into three different levels
Conscious Preconscious Unconscious

Freuds theory of the human mind

Freuds theory of the human mind

Conscious: Everything we are thinking, remembering, feeling, sensing or aware of at this particular moment Pre-conscious: Contains information that lies in the back of our mind can easily be brought into the conscious level merely by thinking about it. Unconscious: Is a storage area for all the information about ourselves that is not acceptable to the conscious mind. (Not a storage place for all the information in our memory). Unacceptable thoughts, feelings, experiences, images, motives and ideas are buried. Freud believed that memories that are emotionally painful, extremely frightening and very difficult for us to bring into our conscious minds. He believed these memories have an influence over our conscious thoughts and behaviour, although we are not directly aware of them

Freuds Structure of Personality

Personality is fully formed by age of 5 and is made up of 3 parts the id, ego and superego. Each of the 3 parts pull an individual in a different direction. Freud believed that the conflict between these 3 parts and the manner in which it is resolved is the cause of a persons behaviour and shapes an individuals personality

Freuds Structure of Personality: The id

Represents innate, biological needs which all of us are born with- those that help us to survive These needs include: hunger, thirst, sleep and sex There is no part of the brain which we can point to and identify the id. It is a construct a force which consists of a demanding, impulsive, illogical, irrational and relatively selfish part of our personality. The id: operates on the Pleasure principle it must have its needs met immediately to increase pleasure and avoid pain. Seeks immediate satisfaction, regardless of societies rules or the rights and feelings of others

Freuds Structure of Personality: The ego

Is part of our personality which is realistic, logical and orderly. The ego:
Operates on the reality principleit tries to ensure the needs of the id are met and considers reallife restrictions in dealing with id demands. develops not to stop the impulses of the id and prevent its satisfaction, but to help control the id impulses until they can be satisfied in socially appropriate ways. Plays a mediating role, coping with the demands of the id and the superego.

Freuds Structure of Personality: The superego

Our conscience, always looking over us, judging our thoughts, feelings and actions according to the morals and ideals of the society in which we live. The superego: Operates on the moral principle- providing us with ideas of what is rights and wrong Is responsible for our feelings of guilt when we do something wrong and our sense of pride when we do something right. Always aims for perfection It develops as a result of parents pass onto their child what they consider to be important values and standards of behaviour in different situations Main function is to block the urges of the id, to persuade the ego to be more realistic and strive for perfection when thoughts, feelings or actions dont meet the superego's ideals or standards.

id: is impulsive and acts on the pleasure principle ego: is realistic, logical and orderly and acts on the reality principle superego: judges or thoughts, feelings and behaviours and acts on the moral principle

Suppose that you have decided you will complete your Psychology assessment task tonight, because it is due tomorrow. At 8:30 pm, you still have about an hours work left to complete the task. But a movie you really want to watch is just about to start. Id: Do the work later. Go relax and watch the movie. Superego: If you leave it until later you wont do it, forget about the movie and get your work done. Ego: You know the work is due tomorrow. Finish the work and once you are done you can watch TV and have some free time tomorrow night

Scenario 1 (Learning Activity 12.3)

Scenario: You are desperate to go to a friends party, but your parents have grounded you because you came home late from the last party you went to Id: Ego: Superego:

Scenario 1 (Learning Activity 12.3)

Scenario:You are desperate to go to a friends party but have promised another friend that you will help them study for a test Id



Scenario 1 (Learning Activity 12.3)

Scenario: You are shopping and see new bathers that will be a perfect replacement for the bathers you have outgrown. You have planned to go to the beach tomorrow with friends and dont have enough money to buy the new bathers. You know that when you wake up tomorrow morning, you are unlikely to want to go to the beach wearing your old bathers Id Ego Superego

Scenario 2 (Learning Activity 12.4)

Scenario: Ryan is overweight. He puts himself on a strict diet, Some close friends invite him to go with them to his favourite restaurant that specialises in fancy ice-cream dishes Id: Ego: Superego:

Scenario 3 (Learning Activity 12.4)

Scenario: Rebecca and her friend Yin arranged to go to the movies on Saturday night. On Friday at school, a boy who Yin really likes invites her to his birthday party. Id: Ego: Superego:

Scenario 4
Scenario: Goren meets a girl at a party. They spend most of the evening together talking and laughing. Goren plans to ask the girl out to the football the next day. Then another boy arrives and the girl makes plans to leave the party with him and to see him the next day. Id: Ego: Superego:

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Freud developed a theory of how our sexuality starts from a very young age and develops through various stages. Freud used the word sex broadly to describe anything physically pleasurable within these stages. If these stages are not psychologically completed and released, we can be trapped by them and they may lead to various fixations to avoid the anxiety produced from the conflict in leaving of the stage. He suggested that we progress sequentially through 5 stages:
Oral Stage

Anal Stage Phallic Stage Latency Stage Genital Stage

Jigsaw Group Activity

Find your expert group Take your textbook and pen along to these groups please Discuss answers to the following for your stage only: 1. Stage name? 2. What age range are individuals in this range at? 3. What is termed as the focus of pleasure in this stage? 4. What fixations may develop at that stage? 5. What are the characteristics of these fixations?

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Oral Stage (Birth to 18 months) During the oral stage, the child if focused on oral pleasures (sucking). Too much or too little gratification can result in an Oral Fixation or Oral Personality which is evidenced by a preoccupation with oral activities. This type of personality may have a stronger tendency to smoke, drink alcohol, over eat, or bite his or her nails. Personality wise, these individuals may become overly dependent upon others, gullible, and perpetual followers. On the other hand, they may also fight these urges and develop pessimism and aggression toward others.

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Anal Stage (18 months to three years) The childs focus of pleasure in this stage is on eliminating and retaining feaces. Through societys pressure, mainly via parents, the child has to learn to control anal stimulation. In terms of personality, after effects of an anal fixation during this stage can result in an obsession with cleanliness, perfection, and control (anal retentive). On the opposite end of the spectrum, they may become messy and disorganized (anal expulsive).

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Phallic Stage (ages three to six) The pleasure zone switches to the genitals. Freud believed that during this stage boy develop unconscious sexual desires for their mother. Because of this, he becomes a rival with his father and sees him as competition for the mothers affection. During this time, boys also develop a fear that their father will punish them for these feelings, such as by castrating them. This group of feelings is known as Oedipus Complex ( after the Greek Mythology figure who accidentally killed his father and married his mother). Later it was added that girls go through a similar situation, developing unconscious sexual attraction to their father. Although Freud Strongly disagreed with this, it has been termed the Electra Complex by more recent psychoanalysts. According to Freud, out of fear of castration and due to the strong competition of his father, boys eventually decide to identify with him rather than fight him. By identifying with his father, the boy develops masculine characteristics and identifies himself as a male, and represses his sexual feelings toward his mother. A fixation at this stage could result in sexual deviancies (both overindulging and avoidance) and weak or confused sexual identity according to psychoanalysts

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Latency Stage (age six to puberty) The stage begins around the time that children enter into school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies, and other interests. It is during this stage that sexual urges remain repressed and children interact and play mostly with same sex peers. The latent period/stage is a time of exploration in which the sexual energy is still present, but it is directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important in the development of social and communication skills and selfconfidence.

Psychosexual Stages of Development

Genital Stage (puberty onwards) The final stage of psychosexual development begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. Through the lessons learned during the previous stages, adolescents direct their sexual urges onto opposite sex peers, with the primary focus of pleasure is the genitals. Where in earlier stages the focus was solely on individual needs, interest in the welfare of others grows during this stage. If the other stages have been completed successfully, the individual should now be well-balanced, warm and caring. The goal of this stage is to establish a balance between the various life areas.

Fixation: Strong conflict within the progress of each stage can fixate people at early stages. Oral fixation: Oral fixation has two possible outcomes. The Oral receptive personality is preoccupied with eating/drinking and reduces tension through oral activity such as eating, drinking, smoking, biting nails. They are generally passive, needy and sensitive to rejection. They will easily 'swallow' other people's ideas. The Oral aggressive personality is hostile and verbally abusive to others, using mouth-based aggression. Anal fixation Anal fixation, which may be caused by too much punishment during toilet training, has two possible outcomes. The Anal retentive personality is stingy, with a compulsive seeking of order and tidiness. The person is generally stubborn and perfectionist. The Anal expulsive personality is an opposite of the Anal retentive personality, and has a lack of self control, being generally messy and careless.

Phallic fixation At the age of 5 or 6, near the end of the phallic stage, boys experience the Oedipus Complex whilst girls experience the Electra conflict, which is a process through which they learn to identify with the same gender parent by acting as much like that parent as possible. Boys suffer a castration anxiety, where the son believes his father knows about his desire for his mother and hence fears his father will castrate him. He thus represses his desire and defensively identifies with his father. Girls suffer a penis envy, where the daughter is initially attached to her mother, but then a shift of attachment occurs when she realizes she lacks a penis. She desires her father whom she sees as a means to obtain a penis substitute (a child). She then represses her desire for her father and incorporates the values of her mother and accepts her inherent 'inferiority' in society. This is Freud, remember. He later also recanted, noting that perhaps he had placed too much emphasis on sexual connotations.

Trait Theories of Personality

A personality trait is a personality characteristic that endures (lasts) over time and across situations Trait theories of personality focus on measuring, identifying and describing individual differences in personality in terms of traits or characteristics The trait approach emphasises differences between individuals rather than similarities Most personality tests are based on the trait approach to personality

Trait Theories of Personality

Trait approach based on 4 main assumptions: 1. personality traits are relatively stable and predictable over time 2. personality traits are stable across different situations 3. personality is made up of many different traits, individuals can have more or less of a particular characteristic 4. some personality traits are more closely interrelated than others and have a tendency to occur together


Gordon Allport (1897 1967) Widely recognized as the first trait approach to studying personality Compiled a list of all the words that could be used to describe personality


Allport organised these traits into 3 groups: 1. Cardinal traits: traits which are seen as motivators or a driving force in that persons personality Cardinal traits are very dominant, but extremely rare Power could be seen as an example, for an individual such as Hitler


2. Central traits: traits which are present to some degree in all individuals within a culture or society Allport suggested that central traits are the basis of our personality and influence our behaviour to a large extent (independence, kindness, trustworthiness, sensitivity) When we describe our own personality or have others attempt to do so, they often describe the persons central traits


3. Secondary Traits: like central traits these traits too are present to some degree in all individuals. However, they do not influence behaviour to the same degree Examples of secondary traits include:
- Liking a particular style of clothing (bohemian) - Liking a particular style of music (emo, country)

Secondary traits can change according to the situation, thus considered superficial or peripheral traits

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Similar methods (factor analysis) have been used to identify five groups of personality traits that statistical analysis has shown occur together often Five Factor Model includes: - Openess to experience - Conscientiousness - Extraversion - Agreeableness - Neuroticism Costa and McCrae combined Allports word list and Cattells statistical analysis to determine the 5 factors

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Openness to experience: includes traits such as
imaginative, curious, artistic, excitable, insightful and unconventional What type of people would score highly on this factor?

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Conscientiousness: Includes traits such as being organised, thorough, efficient, reliable, self-disciplined, dutiful and deliberate Any characters from fiction who are given a Conscientious personality?

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Extraversion: Includes traits such a as being outgoing, sociable, talkative, energetic, assertive and adventurous can lead to a tendency for risktaking behaviour

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Agreeableness: Includes traits such as being cooperative, compliant, sympathetic, kind, affectionate, forgiving, modest and straightforwardness

Costa and McCrae Five-Factor Model

Neuroticism: Includes traits such as being tense, anxious, moody, irritable, impulsive, self-conscious and vulnerability