Theories of Personality (PSY 225-A01)/Chapter 1

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Personality[edit | edit source]

  • Opens up about the w:Christian Gerhartsreiter case.
  • Personality psychology- Scientific studies of the psychological forces that make up a person. Focuses on the thoughts, feelings and behavior of a person.

Key Aspects[edit | edit source]

  1. Unconscious Aspects - Individual is affected by things not in the present moment
  2. Ego forces - Provides a sense of uniqueness ("identity").
  3. Biological being - Unique genes, physical and phsyiological nature
  4. Nurture (culture, for example)
  5. Cognitive dimension - Perceiving various events in the world through an individual's own lenses.
  6. Collection of skills & abilities
  7. Spiritual dimensions - may tailor to religion
  8. Ongoing interactions between an individual and their environment

Scientific Aspects[edit | edit source]

Personality may be tested through scientific methods in order to support/oppose theories. This may be done through statistics, including correlations (& correlation coefficient). An example of this is the negative correlation between extrovertedness & shyness. These measures help us see links between personalities and certain behaviors. Generally, going to "palm-readers" or astrology is dodgy and usually incorrect.

Sources[edit | edit source]

  • Sigmund Freud's repressed sexual urges theory (inductive)
  • Inductive approach - concepts are created by observing the evidences/sound observations ("bottom-up"), while deductive reasoning are generalizations made from established concepts ("top-down").
  • Analogies & other studies - Japanese vs. American cultures & neuropsychology

Generally, all theories are developed from a mixture of inductive + deductive reasoning & analogies. This causes for rival arguments to be held to high regard in personality psychology. A sound theory will be easy to understand, concise, testable & led the way for new innovations.

Perspectives[edit | edit source]

  1. Psychoanalytic - Unconcious, repressed sexual desires (Freud & The Interpretation of Dreams)
  2. Neoanalytic/ego - Self; deals with inner emotions & outer pressure; remember: EGO! (Jung, Adler, Horney, Erikson)
  3. Biological - Limits caused by genes (Charles Darwin)
  4. Behaviorist - Emphasis on the life experiences that shape an individual (B. F. Skinner)
  5. Cognitive - Active nature of human cognition; how people percieve and think? (Albert Bandura, Kurt Lewin, Rotter, Kelly)
  6. Trait - Individual techniques (Gordon Allport)
  7. Humanistic - Spiritual nature of the person (self-fulfillment/dignity; Carls Rogers)
  8. Interactionist - Different selves in different situations (Sullivan)

“Which personality perspective is correct?" This question is easy to answer: All eight are right in that they all provide some important psychological insight into what it means to be a person. In other words, we can benefit from learning about the strengths (and the weaknesses) of all eight perspectives. It is essential to study various aspects of personality as it contributes to our understanding of personality.

Theories of personality that are sound and explain the concept concisely are considered parsimonious explanations of personality.

The idea that there is a core self or a core personality to be discovered is challenged by the concept of a relative self ("The self interprets and organises self-relevant actions and experiences; it has motivational consequences and adjusts in response to challenges from the social environment.")

Personality Psychology[edit | edit source]

Theater[edit | edit source]

  • Outward mask or is the inner self full of masks?

Religion[edit | edit source]

  • Religion (emphasis on spiritual) vs. eastern philosophies (the mind, self-fullfiment)

Evolutionary[edit | edit source]

  • Aggressiveness proved fruitful for lions as cooperativeness proved fruitful for chimpanzees (thus, these stronger traits were passed on)
  • "This focus on function—that is, the utility of behavior—has remained an important aspect of our thinking about personality."

Modern Personality Theory[edit | edit source]

  • Developed by Gordon Allport, Kurt Lewin, and Henry Murray
  • Allport, like William James, emphasized on the individuality of a person.
  • Kurt Lewin was heavily influenced by the Gestalt principle.
  • Lewin & Allport both looked for systems that 'underlie observable behavior'.
  • Murray mixed clinical studies to personality psychology: emphasizes the dynamic nature of the individual human in response to their environment + needs/motivations + suggested longitudinal research on a same cohort of people
  • Hull & Skinner focused on the role of the environment.

The work of Margaret Mead demonstrated that personality should not be studied in a single cultural context, focused on gender & culture.

In short, Allport, Lewin, Murray, and their associates set the stage for modern personality theory by emphasizing that the whole human being should be the focus of study, not parts of the being and not collections of organisms. Each person at each moment in each situation is a unique collection of related psychological forces that together determine the individual’s responses. In other words, a successful approach cannot ignore the integrity of the individual or the various forces—conscious and unconscious, biological and social—operating at a given moment. This is the modern view of personality.

Terminology[edit | edit source]

  • idiographic - An intensive case study is an example of a(n) ________ approach to studying a person.

"The idiographic approach focuses on the individual and their own unique psychological blueprint. This approach focuses on case studies and interviews in order to learn about the individual, rather than relying on psychometrics. This kind of research also requires a longer period of time spent with the individual." (as argued by Allport).

  • Which approach uses a theory that seeks to determine universal laws of personality? Nomoethetic ("The nomothetic approach to personality looks at what people have in common with each other. It comes from the Greek word nomos, which means 'law,' and the nomothetic approach is interested in finding patterns or laws of human personality.")

Theories of personalities must account for both historical and cultural contexts.

  • The Barnum Effect - "common psychological phenomenon whereby individuals give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically to them, yet which are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people" --> example is believing that you're a good person from a palm-reader.

Reocurring themes[edit | edit source]

  1. Unconsciousness and its role? [Freud]
  2. The role of the self and ego? [chemical interactions vs. environment & parents' impacts vs. classical/operant conditioning]
  3. Nomoethic vs. idiographic? [consistencies?]
  4. Differences between the sexes? [emotion, intelligence, aggression, etc.]
  5. Nature vs nurture? [innate or environmental?]
  6. Science or art? [can we test certain things & not omit the individual uniqueness?]