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Theories of Personality


Four scales designed to determine whether respondent is presenting self accurately. ... Primitive and unconscious part of personality. Ego: Operates according ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theories of Personality

Theories of Personality
  • Chapter 13

Outline of Todays Lecture
  • Measuring Personality
  • Genetic influences on personality
  • Environmental influences on personality
  • Cultural influences on personality
  • Psychodynamic influences on personality
  • The humanistic approach

Defining Personality and Traits
  • Personality
  • Distinctive and relatively stable pattern of
    behaviours, thoughts, motives, and emotions that
    characterizes an individual throughout life.
  • Trait
  • A characteristic of an individual, describing a
    habitual way of behaving, thinking, and feeling.

Projective Tests
  • Projective tests
  • Based on the assumption that the test taker will
    transfer (project) unconscious conflicts and
    motives onto an ambiguous stimulus.
  • Examples include the Thematic Apperception Test
    and the Rorschach

Thematic Apperception Test
  • Person is asked to tell a story about the people
    in the picture

The Rorschach Inkblot Test
  • Ambiguous stimuli
  • Person is asked to report what they see
  • No clear image, so the things you see must be
    projected from inside yourself

Sample Rorschach Card
Objective Tests
  • Standardized questionnaires requiring written
    responses typically include scales on which
    people rate themselves
  • I am easily embarrassed T or F
  • I like to go to parties T or F
  • More reliability and validity than projective
  • Better at predicting behaviour.

Objective Tests
  • Factor analysis
  • A statistical method for analysing the
    intercorrelations among various measures or test
    scores clusters of measures or scores that are
    highly correlated are assumed to measure the same
    underlying trait or ability (factor).

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  • Most widely used personality instrument
  • Now the MMPI - 2
  • Clinical Employment settings
  • Measures aspects of personality that, if extreme,
    suggest a problem
  • e.g., extreme suspiciousness
  • Long test - 567 questions

Characteristics of the MMPI-2
  • Has several different subscales (multiphasic)
  • Scales thought to measure different kinds of
    psychological disorders
  • e.g., depression
  • Scale scores indicate how you compare with others

MMPI Validity Scales
  • Four scales designed to determine whether
    respondent is presenting self accurately.
  • Example L scale (Fake Good) - Trying too hard
    to present self in a positive light.
  • I smile at everyone I meet (T)
  • I read every editorial every day (T)

MMPI Sample Items
  • Depression
  • I usually feel that life is worthwhile and
  • Paranoia
  • Evil people are trying to influence my mind
  • Schizophrenia
  • I seem to hear things that other people cant

MMPI Score Profile
Classroom Exercise
  • Fill out personality scale

Score Test
  • Reverse Code 2, 6, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18
  • Add up the following items
  • SCALE A 1, 6, 11, 16, 21
  • SCALE B 2, 7, 12, 17, 22
  • SCALE C 3, 8, 13, 18, 23
  • SCALE D 4, 19, 14, 19, 24
  • SCALE E 5, 20, 15, 20, 25
  • Whole Scale
  • http//

Big Five Personality Dimensions
  • Extroversion versus Introversion
  • Extent to which people are outgoing versus shy
  • Neuroticism versus Emotional stability
  • Agreeableness versus Antagonism
  • Extent to which people are good-natured versus
  • Conscientiousness versus Impulsiveness
  • Extent to which people are responsible versus
  • Openness to experience versus Resistance to new

Big Five Personality Dimensions
  • The Big Five have emerged as distinct, central
    personality dimensions in many countries around
    the world.
  • Are stable over a lifetime.
  • Some argue it is incomplete other important
    dimensions (e.g., religiosity) are missing
  • Others (Eysenck) argue for only 3 factors.

Genetic Influences on Personality
  • Heredity and temperament
  • Heredity and traits

Heredity and Temperament
  • Temperaments
  • Physiological dispositions to respond to the
    environment in certain ways.
  • Present in infancy and assumed to be innate.
  • Includes
  • Reactivity
  • Soothability
  • Positive and Negative Emotionality
  • Temperaments are relatively stable over time.

Genetic Influences on Personality
  • 123 pairs of identical twins and 127 pairs of
    fraternal twins
  • Measured on Big Five personality dimensions
  • Results suggest that personality differences in
    the population are 40 - 50 genetically

Environmental Influences on Personality
  • The power of parents
  • The power of peers
  • Situations and circumstances

Small Groups Exercise
  • Which environmental factor do you think
    influences childrens personality more, their
    parents or their peers?

The Power of Parents
  • The shared environment of the home has little
    influence on personality.
  • The nonshared environment is a more important
  • Few parents have a single child-rearing style
    that is consistent over time and that they use
    with all children.
  • Even when parents try to be consistent in the way
    they treat their children, there may be little
    relation between what they do and how their
    children turn out.

The Power of Parents
  • This does not mean that parents have no influence
    on their children
  • Longitudinal study revealed that children who
    were impulsive, under-controlled and aggressive
    at age 3 were more likely to be impulsive,
    unreliable and antisocial at age 21. But,
    children whose parents encouraged them to stay in
    school were less likely to have problems later in

The Power of Peers
  • Adolescent culture includes different peer groups
    organized by different interests.
  • Peer acceptance is so important to children and
    adolescents that being bullied, victimized or
    rejected by peers is far more traumatic that
    punitive treatment by parents.

Situations and Circumstances
  • People routinely reveal all of the big five
    traits in their everyday behaviour.
  • Why are there variations in individual
    expressions of traits?
  • Depending on context, some behaviours are
    rewarded and others are not.
  • Reciprocal determinism
  • In social-cognitive theories, the two way
    interaction between aspects of the environment
    and aspects of the individual in the shaping of
    personality traits.

Cultural Influences on Personality
  • Culture, values and traits
  • Customs in context
  • Aggressiveness and altruism

Culture, Values, and Traits
  • Culture
  • A program of shared rules that govern the
    behaviour of members of a community or society,
  • A set of values, beliefs and attitudes shared by
    most members of that community.

Culture, Values, and Traits
  • Individualist cultures
  • Cultures in which the self is regarded as
    autonomous, and individual goals and wishes are
    prized above duty and relations with others.
  • Collectivist cultures
  • Cultures in which the self is regarded as
    embedded in relationships, and harmony with ones
    group is prized above individual goals and wishes.

Culture and Aggression
Culture and Aggression
  • Culture of honour
  • Emphasis on honour and social status men are
    seen as wimps if they back down from a fight
  • Higher incidence of violence
  • Culture of honour found in Southern United
    States, Central and Southern Italy and Latin
  • Men from the South are more likely to agree that
    a man has a right to kill in order to defend his
    family and home than men from the North.

Culture and Aggression
  • Culture of Honour Study
  • Southerners and Northerners were either bumped
    and insulted by a confederate or not
  • Compared to Northerners, Southerners were more
    likely to think that their masculine reputations
    had been threatened and they exhibited greater
    physiological signs of being upset and of being
    primed for aggression

Culture and Aggression
  • Culture of Honour Study
  • A second confederate walked toward the
    participant in a game of chicken

Culture and Aggression
Culture and Altruism
  • Culture also has a strong influence on moral
    behaviour. American children were less likely to
    be altruistic when compared with children from
    Kenya, India, Mexico, the Phillipines and Okinawa.

Psychodynamic Influences on Personality
  • Psychodynamic theories
  • Explain behaviour and personality in terms of
    unconscious energy dynamics within the
  • Psychoanalysis
  • A theory of personality and method of
    psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud.
  • Emphasize unconscious motives and conflicts.

The Structure of Personality
  • Id Operates according to the pleasure principle
  • Primitive and unconscious part of personality
  • Ego Operates according to the reality principle
  • Mediates between id and superego
  • Superego Moral ideals and conscience

Defense Mechanisms
  • Repression
  • Projection
  • Displacement
  • Reaction formation
  • Regression
  • Denial

The Development of Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages
  • Oral Birth to 1 year
  • Anal 1-3 years
  • Phallic 3-6 years
  • Oedipus Complex A conflict occurring during the
    phallic stage in which a child desires the parent
    of the other sex and views the same-sex parent as
    a rival
  • Latency period 6-11 years
  • Genital Adolesence
  • Fixation occurs when stages arent resolved

Other Psychodynamic Approaches
  • Jungian Theory
  • Collective unconscious
  • The universal memories, symbols, and experiences
    of humankind,
  • Represented in the archetypes or universal
    symbolic images that appear in myths, art,
    stories, and dreams.
  • 2 important archetypes are maleness and
    femaleness which he believed existed in both

Other Psychodynamic Approaches
  • The Object-Relations School
  • Emphasizes the importance of the infants first
    two years of life and the babys formative
    relationships, especially with the mother.
  • Emphasized childrens needs for a powerful mother
    and to be in relationships.

Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories
  • Three scientific failings
  • Violating the principle of falsifiability.
  • Drawing universal principles from the experiences
    of a few atypical patients.
  • Basing theories of personality development on
    retrospective accounts and the fallible memories
    of patients.

The Humanistic Approach
  • Abraham Maslow
  • Carl Rogers
  • Rollo May
  • Evaluating Humanists

Abraham Maslow
  • Humanist psychology
  • An approach that emphasizes personal growth,
    resilience, and the achievement of human
  • For Maslow, personality development can be viewed
    as a gradual progression toward
    self-actualization - achieving ones full

Carl Rogers
  • Unconditional Positive Regard
  • Love or support given to another person with no
    conditions attached.
  • Conditional Positive Regard
  • A situation in which the acceptance and love one
    receives from significant others is contingent
    upon ones behaviour.

Carl Rogers Personality Theory
Rollo May
  • Shared with humanists the belief in free will and
    freedom of choice but also emphasized loneliness,
    anxiety and alienation.
  • Extistentialism
  • Free will confers on us responsibility for our

Evaluating Humanists
  • Hard to operationally define many of the
  • Have added balance to the study of personality.
  • The approach has encouraged others to focus on
    positive psychology.
  • The argument that we have the power to choose our
    own destiny has fostered a new appreciation for