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Personality Notes Essay

* Personality is the unique and relatively stable way in which a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Character is value judgments of a person’s ethical and moral behavior. Temperament refers to the enduring characteristics that a person is born with. * There are four main personality theories. The psychodynamic perspective focuses on the role of the unconscious mind in the development of personality and biological causes of personality differences. The behaviorist perspective is focused on theories of learning and the effect of the environment on behavior.

The humanistic perspective focuses on a person’s life choices and experiences in personality development. The trait perspective is not concerned with how personality forms, but the end characteristics of personality. * Freud believed the mind was divided into three parts: the preconscious, the conscious and the unconscious. Conscious is where current awareness exists. Preconscious contains memories, information and events that one is easily aware of. The unconscious is where thoughts, feelings, memories and other information is kept that is not voluntarily or easily brought into consciousness. The id is the first and most primitive part of the personality. It is unconscious, pleasure-seeking and amoral. The pleasure principle is the principle by which the id functions, immediate satisfaction without regard for consequences.

* The ego is the second part of personality that comes from a need to deal with reality. It’s mostly conscious, rational and logical. It functions on the reality principle, satisfying the needs of the id only when negative consequences will not result. * The final part of the personality according to Freud is the superego, which functions as a moral center.

It contains the conscience, which produces pride or guilt depending on how acceptable the behavior is. * Fixation is defined by Freud as getting stuck in a developmental stage. * Psychosexual stages are the five stages of personality development that Freud tied directly to a child’s sexual development. * The first stage is the oral stage in the first year of life. The mouth is the erogenous zone. It is governed by the id. Weaning is the major conflict.

* The second stage is the anal stage from 1-3 years, in which the anus is the erogenous zone and toilet training is the major conflict. Children who rebel against toilet training are said to grow into an anal expulsive personality: messy, destructive and hostile. Children who refuse to poop are said to grow into an anal retentive personality: neat, fussy, stingy and stubborn. * The third stage is the phallic stage, from 3-6 years, in which the child develops sexual feelings. Freud believed that children developed an Oedipus complex during this stage, in which they develop a sexual attraction to the opposite-sex parent and jealousy of the same-sex parent. Latency is the fourth stage, occurring during the school years, in which the sexual feelings are repressed in order for the child to develop in other ways.

* Genital stage is the fifth stage, from puberty to death, in which the child has to come to terms with their sexual feelings. * Psychoanalysis was Freud’s term for the theory of personality and the therapy based on it. * The Neo-Freudians were followers of Freud who developed their own competing psychodynamic theories. * Carl Gustav Jung disagreed with Freud about the unconscious mind.

He believed there was a personal unconscious, as Freud described, and a collective unconscious of all memories shared by the human species. Collective human memories are called archetypes. * Alfred Adler also disagreed with Freud about sexuality being the driving force of personality. He believed that as children, people felt inferior to more powerful adults and everything after that point was not seeking of pleasure, but seeking of superiority. He also developed a theory that birth order had input into personality. Karen Horney didn’t study directly with Freud, but taught his work until she left because of disagreement over penis envy, which she countered with womb envy. She didn’t focus on sexuality, but instead anxiety.

She said that children are born with basic anxiety, which is created when a child is born into the bigger and more powerful world of older children and adults. Those with less secure upbringings end up with neurotic personalities, in which they have maladaptive ways of dealing with relationships. Freud did no experiments and only based his theory off of his own experiments. He took it as his right to interpret experiences of his clients as fact or fantasy depending on how they fit in his theory.

* According to behaviorists, personality is no more than a set of habits. Habits are defined as a set of well-learned responses that have become automatic. * Social cognitive learning theorists focus on both the effects of other people’s behavior and of a person’s own expectancies of learning. In the social cognitive view of Alfred Bandura, behavior is also governed by cognitive processes like anticipating, judging, memory and anticipation. * Reciprocal determinism is Bandura’s explanation of how the environment, personal characteristics and behavior itself affect future behaviors. Environment includes the physical surroundings, people who may or may not be present and the potential reinforcement in the setting. Self-efficacy is one of the most important variables Bandura speaks of.

It is the individual’s expectancy of how effective their efforts to accomplish a goal will be in any particular circumstance. * One important pattern of responding is the locus of control, which is the tendency for people to assume they either do or do not have control over events they experience in their own lives. Like Bandura, Rotter believed a combination of factors affected behavioral response: expectancy and reinforcement value. Expectancy is a person’s subjective feeling that a particular behavior will lead to a reinforcing consequence. The humanistic perspective is the “third force” in psychology, which focuses on aspects of personality that make people uniquely human.

* Carl Rogers believed that humans are always striving to fulfill their innate capacities and abilities to become all that their genetic makeup will allow. Striving for fulfillment is called the self-actualization tendency. An important tool for this is self-concept, an image of oneself that develops from important interactions with significant people in one’s life. Self is awareness of one’s own personal characteristics and level of functioning. Two components of self-concept are real self, which is one’s perception of actual characteristics, traits and abilities, and ideal self, the perception of what one should be or would like to be. * Positive regard refers to the warmth, affection, love and regard that comes from significant others in one’s life. Unconditional positive regard has no strings attached. Conditional positive regard depends on what a person is doing.

* A fully functioning person, according to Rogers, is in touch with and trusting the deep, innermost urges and feelings. The trait theories describe characteristics that make up human personality in order to predict future behavior. Traits are consistent, enduring ways of thinking, feeling or behaving. * Allport was one of the first trait theorists. He and his partner looked through the dictionary, picked words that could be traits, then narrowed it town. He believed traits were wired in to the nervous system to guide behavior. * Raymond Cattell built on that and described two types of traits, surface traits and source traits. Surface traits are easily seen by others.

Source traits are more basic and form the curve of personality. Introversion is a dimension of personality in which people withdraw from excess stimulation. * The five-factor model or the Big Five is a model of personality traits that describes five basic trait dimensions. Openness is a willingness to try new things and be open to new experiences. Conscientiousness refers to the thought a person gives to organization and thoughtfulness of others; dependability. Extraversion divides people into introverts (solitary) and extroverts (social).

Agreeableness is the basic emotional style of the person. Neuroticism is the degree of emotional stability or instability. * Mischel has emphasized that there is a trait-situation interaction where the particular circumstances of a situation will influence how a trait is expressed. * Behavioral genetics is the field of study devoted to discovering the genetic bases for personality traits. Several studies have found that the five factor traits have a 50% heritability over several cultures. Interviews cause the problem of false reports and the halo effect, in which a person’s personality is so good that the interviewer interprets them to be good all around, especially when that is false.

* Projective tests present ambiguous visual stimulus to clients and ask them to respond with whatever comes to mind. The Rorscach inkblot test uses 10 inkblots as the ambiguous stimuli. The Thematic Aperception Test uses 20 black and white pictures of people. Projective tests are very subjective, not very reliable or valid. * Other tools for assessment are direct observation and personality inventory.

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