What is personality?

• An individual’s unique patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that persists over time and across situations

Classes of Personality Theories
• • • • Trait theories Psychodynamic theories Humanistic theories Cognitive-Social Learning theories Cognitive-

Trait Theories
• Personality Traits: Dimensions or Traits: characteristics on which people differ in distinctive ways. • Trait theories focus on describing one’s current personality (less emphasis on how the personality developed).

Personality Traits as observed in Ancient Greek Thought

• • • •

Phlegmatic Choleric Sanguine Melancholic


The four humours were four fluids that were thought to permeate the body and influence its health. The concept was developed by ancient Greek thinkers around 400 BC and was directly linked with another popular theory of the four elements (Empedocles). Empedocles). Paired qualities were associated with each humour and its season. The four humours, season. their corresponding elements, seasons and sites of formation, and resulting temperaments alongside their modern equivalents are:

Phlegmatic - phlegmatic person is calm and unemotional. Phlegmatic means pertaining to phlegm. phlegm. While phlegmatics are generally selfselfcontent and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic have many friends, but is more reliable and compassionate, making the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.


Sanguine - optimistic, cheerful, eveneventempered, confident, rational, popular, funfunloving; the temperament of blood

Choleric - It corresponds to the fluid of yellow bile, the season of summer, and the bile, element of fire. A person who is choleric is fire. easily angered or bad tempered.

Melancholia was caused by an excess of black bile; bile; hence the name, which means 'black bile' melas, kholé, (Greek µελας, melas, "black", + χολη, kholé, "bile"); a person whose constitution tended to have a preponderance of black bile had a melancholic disposition – dark, sad, depressed

Personality Traits as observed in Physical Characteristic The somatotypes is a theory based on the assumption that different body types are associated with human temperament types, formed during the 1940s by the American psychologist William Sheldon. Sheldon. •Endomorphic •Mesomorphic •Ectomorphic

The endomorphic body type is centered around the digestive system and is easily overweight. overweight. The endomorphic person also has a visceral temperament, which means that they are tolerant, love comfort and luxury, and are extroverted - in short he or she loves food and people.

The mesomorphic body type is centered around muscle and the circulatory system and has well developed muscles. The mesomorphic person has a somatotonic temperament, and is courageous, energetic, active, dynamic, assertive, aggressive, competitive, and often a risk taker.

The ectomorphic body type is centered around the brain and nerves. These people nerves. are slim. The ectomorfic person has a cerebrotonic temperament, and is artistic, sensitive, apprehensive and introverted. introverted. Another way to put it is that he or she is highly selfself-aware and socially restrained.

Trait Theories - Criticisms
• Often oversimplified descriptions of people • We do not observe traits, but infer them from behavior, overlook the influence of context upon behavior • Stereotyping – not all physical traits correspond to actual personalities

Psychodynamic Theories
• Personality is the result of unconscious motivations and conflicts.
– Sigmund Freud – Carl Jung – Alfred Adler – Karen Horney – Erik Erikson

Freud’s 3 Levels of Consciousness
• conscious: Ideas, thoughts, and feelings of which we are aware. • preconscious: material that can be easily recalled. • unconscious: All the ideas, thoughts, and feelings of which we are not and normally cannot become aware.

Freud’s Structure of Personality
• id: The collection of unconscious urges and desires that continually seek expression. • ego: The part of the personality that mediates between the demands of reality, the id, and superego. • superego: The social and parental standards the individual has internalized.

Freud’s Structure of Personality


• source of all energy • functions entirely in unconscious • libido: A form of psychic energy; the libido: energy generated by the sexual drive. • pleasure principle: The way the id seeks principle: immediate gratification of an instinct.


• operates at all 3 levels • reality principle: The way in which the principle: ego seeks to satisfy instinctual demands safely and effectively in the real world.


• operates at all 3 levels • The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.

Jung’s 2 Levels of the Unconscious
• personal unconscious: contains the individual’s repressed thoughts, forgotten experiences, and undeveloped ideas • collective unconscious: the part of the unconscious that is inherited and common to all members of a species

• The thought forms common to all human beings. • Archetypes are stored in the collective unconscious.

• persona: our public self • anima: The female archetype as it is expressed in the male personality. • animus: The male archetype as it is expressed in the female personality.

•mother: a protective presence

•hero: one who overcomes

•Wise Old Man: uses personal knowledge of
people and the world, to help tell stories and offer guidance

Jung’s 2 General Attitude Types
• extrovert: One who focuses more on social life and the external world instead of his/her own thoughts and feelings. • introvert: One who focuses on his/her : own thoughts and feelings.

Jung’s 2 Types of Individuals
• rational: One who regulates his/her actions by thinking and feeling. • irrational: One who bases her/his actions on perceptions, either through the senses or unconscious processes (intuition). stressed people’s rational & spiritual qualities development only comes to fruition during middle adulthood

Alfred Adler
• compensation: one’s effort to overcome imagined or real personal weaknesses • inferiority complex: fixation on feelings of personal inferiority that results in emotional and social paralysis

we can control our own fate view of individual: striving for perfection; develops socially constructive goals

Karen Horney
• anxiety: The individual’s reaction to real or imagined threats. • neurotic trends: Irrational strategies for coping with emotional problems and minimizing anxiety. personality is shaped by environmental & social factors nonsexual factors play a larger role in personality development

Humanistic Personality Theory
• Any personality theory that asserts the fundamental goodness of people and their striving toward higher levels of functioning.

Carl Rogers
• actualizing tendency: The drive of every organism to fulfill its biological potential and become what it is inherently capable of becoming. • self-actualizing tendency: The drive of human beings to fulfill their self-concepts. • fully functioning person: An individual whose self-concept closely resembles his/her inborn potentials.

Cognitive-Social Learning Theories
• Behavior is viewed as the product of the interaction of cognitions, learning and past experiences, and the immediate environment.

Albert Bandura
• expectancies: What a person anticipates in a situation or as a result of behaving in certain ways. • self-efficacy: The expectancy that one’s efforts will be successful. • performance standards: Standards that people develop to rate the adequacy of their own behavior in a variety of situations.

Julian Rotter Locus of Control
locus of control: An expectancy about whether reinforcement is under internal or external control. • internal: One can control his/her own fate. • external: One’s fate is determined by chance, luck, or the behavior of others.

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