PERSONALITY Summary 1: Introduction Assumptions • • • • Nature vs nurture – inherited or environment?

Changeability vs unchangeability – change over time / diff stages of lifespan Equilibrium vs growth – maintaining balance or urge to develop? Knowability vs unknowability – how much can be known and assessed? Optimism vs pessimism – basically good or evil?

Summary 2: Biological and Trait This school suggests that personality is comprised of a number of traits or dispositions that cause the individual to behave in certain ways and which remain stable for the person’s lifetime. It is also not affected by environmental influences. Trait approach – a perspective in which personality is seen as a combination of characteristics that people display over time and across situations. • Raymond Cattell (1905 – ) o • In 1965 he identified 16 separate traits and developed the 16PF test.

Hans Eysenck (1916 – 1977) (“EYE-sink”) o Introversion-extraversion: the extent to which an individual tends to seek excitement and stimulation. the individual. o Eysenck arguded strongly that these were associated with innate biological differences, eg resting levels of nervous system arousal

o Emotionality-stability: the level of emotional stability possessed by

Conclusion from researchers, Costa and McCrae (1985) developed the bigfive model:

o Neuroticism – anxious, self-pitying, tense, emotionally unstable,
impulsive, vulnerable, touchy, worrying o Extraversion – active, assertive, energetic, outgoing, talkative, gesturatlly, expressive, gregarious original, wide interests, unusual thought process, intellectual interests

o Openness to experience – artistic, curious, imaginative, insightful, o Agreeableness – appreciative, forgiving, generous, kind, trusting,
non-critical, warm, compassionate, considerate, straight-forward

o Conscientiousness – efficient, organised, planful, reliable, thorough,
dependable, ethical, productive. • • Common contemporary method, but tends to describe only, not for understanding. Acknowledged the importance of situations in influencing behaviour.

Summary 3: Psychodynamic theories • Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)

o Freud developed a structural model of personality consisting of
conscious, preconscious and unconscious elements. Later model incorporated the 3 components: Id, ego, superego. o o Id – the unconscious portion of personality that contains basic impulses and urges. Two kinds of instincts resides in Id – Eros, the life instincts, promotes positive, constructive behaviour and reflect a source of energy know as libido (psychic energy); Thanatos, the death instincts, is responsible for aggression and destructiveness. The Id operates on the pleasure principle, seeking immediate satisfaction of both kinds of instincts. Ego – the part of the personality that mediates conflicts b/w and among the demands of the id, the superego and the real world. adopt them – internalizing parental & cultural values produces the superego. This tells the person what they should or should not do. This is the moral guide.

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o As a child learns about rules and values of society, they tend to

o Clashes among the 3 components are intrapsychic or
psychodynamic conflicts.

o How they interact via the processes of cathexis and anticathexis
and the defence mechanisms. ????? o Development through psychosexual stages:  Oral stage – the first stage, in which the mouth is the centre of pleasure and conflict. Anal stage – the second stage, usually occurring during the 2nd year of life, in which the focus of pleasure and conflict shifts from the mouth to the anus. Phallic stage – the third stage, in which the focus of pleasure and conflicts shifts to the genital area. This is when boys and girls starts to identify with the father / mother and imitates them, forming the basis of their own superego. Genital stage – the last stage, which begins during adolescence, when sexual impulses appear at the conscious level.

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Usefulness in doubt given that it can’t be tested empirically.

Karen Horney (1885 – 1952) o o Believed that the important fixations were based on unresolved interpersonal factors rather than libido. 3 interpersonal orientations to resolve these situations:    Moving towards Moving against Moving away

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Believed that cultural forces rather than biological factors are more important in shaping personality through parenting patterns.

Summary 4: Social cognitive theories An approach in which personality is seen as the patterns of thinking and behaviour that a person learns. • Look at conscious thoughts Based in animal/human learning, but went beyond learning into cognitive.

Eg. an aggressive schoolboy – want to know not only what he has learn to do, and how he learned it, but also what he thinks about himself, his teacher, his behaviour – and this expectations about each. People’s capability to learn through observation.

Julian Rotter (1982) – Expectancy Theory. o o o What the person’s expects to happen following his action The value he places on the outcome. Some other study how expectations influences lives    o Internals – incline to expect events to be controlled by their own effort Externals – opposite, believe success was due to chance / luck. This is his construct of locus of control

3 main concepts

Reinforcement value – is the degree of preference for any reinforcement to occur if the possibilities of many different reinforcements are all equal. Psychological situations – are in the eye of beholder. Expectancy


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Albert Bandura (1999) – Reciprocal Determinism

o Behaviour, personal factors and external environment are
constantly affecting one another.

o Important factor in the web of influence is self-efficacy – the learnt
expectation of success. People who are high on self-efficacy will show more effort and persistence with a task and are better to cope with stress and disappointments associated with that task. o • Techniques – setting smaller goals, encourangements

Walter Mischels (2004) – Cognitive / Affective theory o Cognitive person variables    Encodings – the beliefs the person has about the environment and others Expectancies – what the person expects to follow from various behaviours and what they are capable of doing Affects – feelings, emotions and affective responses

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Goals and values – things he believes in and want to achieve Competencies and self-regulatory plans – ability to engage in planned, self controlled and goal directed behaviour

o This is the “if-then” theory o He challenged the trait theorists’ view of cross-situational
consistency of traits; in fact, they were similar situations but were consistent across time.     Competency – knowing what to do and ability to do it Characterising events – how well we assess the situation Expectancies – predicting the future outcome Values of outcome – is it important to us Self regulatory plans – if situation changes so does our plans


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Delaying gratification – children and delayed reward across situation, rather than traits

o People are ‘interactionist’ – recognise that behaviour changes
• Critics o Psychodynamic theorists argue that the social cognitive approach leave no role for unconscious thoughts and feelings in determining behaviours. situation that brings out certain behaviours. o Unable to be general

o Trait theorist, complain that if failed to identify what is it about the

Summary 5: Humanistic theories of personality A view in which personality develops through an actualizing tendency (an innate inclination toward growth that motivates all people) that unfolds in accordance with each person’s unique perceptions of the world. More optimistic about human behaviour than other personality perspectives – humans differ from animals – self awareness, creativity, planning, decision making and responsibility. • Basic propositions

o Phenomenology – subjective mental experiences are an important
component of personality (consciousness) o o • Holistic view – individuals are unified entities and not merely a series of parts or process Actualising tendency – hat human beings strive to reach their potential rather than just protecting themselves against anxiety

Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) o Emphasis actualizing tendency environment – evaluations by others, ie. conditions of worth

o Self concept – positive regard shaping by parents, teachers,

o Incongruence (feeling out of place) examples: sending subtle
message that a child is loveable only when well behaved. Possibly creating distorted self-perceptions.

o Key goals in psychotherapy was to reduce this incongruence and in
the process, help people realise their potential, ie achieve selfactualisation. People are to accept themselves unconditionally. • Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) o Believe self-actualisation is not just a human capability but a human need hierarchy, being controlled by deficiency orientation (a preoccupation with perceived needs for things a person does not have)

o Many fail to do so because they focus on lower needs in the

o Growth orientation – a tendency to draw satisfaction from what is
available in life, rather than to focus on what is missing. It opens to door to ‘peak experiences’. o Shortfall – not very scientific

Summary 6: Personality assessment

Two groups of personality tests o Objective personality tests


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Asks direct questions about a person, quantitatively scored Efficiency, standardization Subject to deliberate distortion Eg. NEO-PI-R, MMPI, MMPI-2, 16-PF


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Projected personality tests Unstructured stimuli create maximum freedom of response; scoring is subjective, thou some objective methods exists “correct” answer not obvious; designed to tap unconscious impulses; flexible use Reliability and validity lower than those of objective tests Eg. House, person & tree, Rorshach inkblot test, TAT


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General requirements for personality measures Standardisation – uniform procedures Norms – scores of various individuals can be compared Reliability – consistency or stability Validity – does it predicts what it is supposed to

The major approaches to the assessment of personality o o o Interviews Self-report inventories Projective techniques

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Behavioural assessment


Tests could be misuse – Kalat suggested screening process similar to new drugs release. Assessment methods associated with specific theorists o o o o o Freud / Horney – free association, analysis of transference, dream analysis, analysis of resistance Cattell – factor analysis (L-data, Q-data, T data), psychology tests (16PF) Rotter – I-E scale, interpersonal trust scale Bandura – observation techniques, self-efficacy scales Maslow – personal orientation inventory