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Chapter 13 Personality

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Title: Chapter 13 Personality


1
Chapter 13Personality
2
Personality
  • Personality
  • Personality is an elusive concept.
  • Some psychologists have developed grand
    theories of personality.
  • Others have tried to identify personality types
    and describe why an individual classified as a
    certain personality type behaves in certain
    ways.
  • In this chapter, we will examine the ways of
    understanding personality and also discuss the
    ways of and problems in measuring this concept.

3
Module 13.1
  • Personality Theories

4
Personality
  • Personality derives from the Latin word persona,
    which translates into English as mask.
  • In psychology, personality is defined as the
    consistent ways in which one persons behavior
    differs from that of others, especially in social
    contexts.

5
  • FIGURE 13.1 Philosophers Thomas Hobbes and
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau held opposing views of
    human nature. Psychologists Sigmund Freud and
    Carl Rogers also held conflicting views. Freud,
    like Hobbes, stressed the more negative aspects
    of human nature Rogers, like Rousseau, the more
    positive aspects.

6
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Sigmund Freud, an Austrian physician, developed
    the first psychodynamic theory of personality.
  • Psychodynamic theory relates personality to the
    interplay of conflicting forces within the
    individual.
  • The individual may not be aware of some of the
    internal forces that are at work influencing
    thought and behavior.

7
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Although Freuds theory had an enormous impact on
    society during the 20th century, his influence
    within psychology is waning.
  • His theory is very difficult to test empirically.
  • Although many psychologists find nothing useful
    in the Freudian paradigm, its tenets are still
    utilized by some mental health practitioners.

8
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Freuds search for the unconscious
  • Medicine was not Freuds first choice of career
    he wished to be a professor of anthropology, but
    could not obtain a position due to discrimination
    against Jews in 19th-century Austria.
  • He was influenced by the psychiatrist Josef
    Breuer, who encouraged patients to recall and
    discuss the details of traumatic early life
    experiences in order to relieve the physical
    complaints that were apparently a manifestation
    of the unreleased emotions associated with these
    events.

9
  • FIGURE 13.2 Freud believed that psychoanalysis
    could bring parts of the unconscious into the
    conscious mind, where the client could deal with
    them.

10
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Freuds search for the unconscious
  • Breuer and Freud referred to this process as
    catharsis, the therapeutic release of pent-up
    emotional tension.
  • Freud later expanded this talking cure into a
    method of explaining the workings of personality,
    based on the interplay of conscious and
    unconscious internal forces, and called it
    psychoanalysis.

11
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • The unconscious mind contains memories, emotions
    and thoughts, some of which are illogical or
    socially unacceptable.
  • These thoughts and feelings influence our
    behavior although we cannot talk about them and
    may not even be aware of them.
  • Psychoanalysis brings these thoughts to
    consciousness to achieve catharsis and help the
    patient overcome irrational and dysfunctional
    impulses.

12
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Freud noticed that some patients were less
    seriously affected by their early childhood
    traumas than others were.
  • He developed a series of interesting hypotheses
    for the excessive anxiety that some patients
    seem to manifest.

13
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • He proposed that excessive anxiety might be due
    to
  • Lack of sexual gratification
  • Masturbation
  • Traumatic sexual experiences from early childhood

14
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • He stood by the seduction hypothesis for a
    number of years, putting together the evidence
    for sexual abuse in childhood from patients
    dream reports, slips of the tongue, and other
    indirect evidence.
  • Some patients had no recollections of such
    events, but Freud nonetheless stood by his
    interpretations.

15
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Freud later abandoned the seduction hypothesis,
    claiming that his patients had misled him
    (rather than his interpretations and insistence
    might have been wrong).
  • He now took the position that his patience had
    sexual fantasies as young children and never came
    to terms with their anxiety and guilt over those
    fantasies.

16
Personality
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Freud developed the concept of the Oedipus
    complex.
  • He concluded that children wish to have sex with
    their opposite sex parent but realize that it is
    forbidden.
  • He chose the name based on an ancient Greek play
    by Sophocles in which the protagonist murders his
    father and marries his mother.
  • Like many other constructs proposed by Freud,
    there is little reliable empirical evidence to
    support the notion of an Oedipus complex. Freud
    rarely distinguished between his results and his
    evidence.

17
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • Freud also developed a framework to explain the
    development of personality over the course of
    childhood and adolescence.
  • This framework is known as the Stages of
    Psychosexual Development.

18
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • Freud based his theory on what he perceived to be
    the changing nature of the individuals
    psychosexual interest and pleasure. Psychosexual
    pleasure refers to all the strong and pleasurable
    sensations of excitement that arise from body
    stimulation.
  • He believed that how we manage this aspect of our
    development influences nearly all aspects of our
    personality.

19
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • Freud proposed that people have a libido, a
    psychosexual energy (from the Latin word for
    desire).
  • Over the course of the lifespan, the preferred
    channel for gratifying this desire changes.
  • There are five stages, each with its own way for
    seeking gratification of libidinous desires.
  • If normal development is blocked, a person may
    become fixated and continue to be preoccupied
    with gratification of the libido in a manner
    typical of an earlier time of life.

20
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • The Oral Stage (The first year of life)
  • The infant derives intense psychosexual pleasure
    from stimulation of the mouth, particularly from
    breastfeeding but from oral contact with other
    objects as well.
  • Oral fixation might involve problems with eating,
    drinking, substance use, and issues of dependence
    on/independence from others.

21
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • The Anal Stage (About 1 to 3 years old)
  • The child derives intense psychosexual pleasure
    from stimulation of the anal sphincter, the
    muscle that controls bowel movements. This is
    partly related to toilet training, which usually
    occurs at this stage.
  • Anal fixation might involve problems with extreme
    stinginess or need to maintain strict order.
    Sometimes the opposite is true, and the person is
    very wasteful and messy.

22
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • The Phallic Stage (About 3 to 6 years of age)
  • The child derives intense psychosexual pleasure
    from stimulation of the genitals, and becomes
    attracted to the opposite-sex parent.
  • Phallic fixation might involve fear of being
    castrated (in boys) or penis envy in girls.

23
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • The Latent Period (About 6 years to adolescence)
  • The child in this period suppresses his or her
    psychosexual interest. Children in this age group
    tend to play mostly with same sex peers.
  • There is some evidence that the latent period
    is a cultural artifact. Children in some
    non-industrialized societies do not experience a
    period of latency.

24
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • The Genital Stage (Adolescence and beyond)
  • The individual in this period has a strong sexual
    interest in other people. If he or she has
    completed the other stages successfully, primary
    psychosexual satisfaction will be gained from
    sexual intercourse.
  • The individual who is fixated in an early period
    of development has little libido left for this
    stage.

25
  • Table 13.1 Freuds stages of psychosexual
    development.

26
Personality
  • Freuds psychosexual stages of development
  • Evaluation of Freuds stages
  • As with the rest of Freudian theory, these stages
    are difficult to test empirically.
  • Research that has been done on the psychosexual
    stages has been inconclusive.
  • Although the personality attributes for people
    who are fixated at certain stages do seem to
    correlate, there is no evidence that they result
    from the difficulties that Freud hypothesized
    occur at those ages (i.e. penis envy in the
    Phallic Stage).

27
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • According to Freud, there are three components to
    personality.
  • Id, the part that is comprised of all of our
    biological drives that demand immediate
    gratification.
  • Ego, the rational, negotiating, and
    decision-making component of the personality.
  • Superego, the internalized values and rules we
    receive from our parents and society.

28
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • Freud believed that these components were like
    warring factions struggling for control of the
    personality and behavior of the individual.
  • Sometimes these struggles cause psychological
    distress.
  • Psychologists treat this model as a metaphor
    most do not believe that it represents the actual
    structure of mind.

29
Concept Check
  • Your friend Patricia tells you that she believes
    that men have all the advantages in the sexual
    arena. Freud would say that she.

Is fixated in the phallic stage or suffers from
penis envy
30
Concept Check
  • Your friend Oscar cant seem to go more than 30
    minutes without lighting up a cigarette. Freud
    would say that he

Is fixated in the oral stage.
31
Concept Check
  • Your friend Annie cant seem to hang on to a
    cent. She spends her money wildly. Her roommates
    are always threatening to call the health
    department because she never cleans up after
    herself and her room always looks like a
    pigsty. Freud would say that she

Is fixated in the anal stage.
32
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • The model of personality that Freud created
    involves conflicts and anxiety over unpleasant
    impulses and thoughts.
  • Freud proposed the existence of defense
    mechanisms that function to relegate these
    unpleasant thoughts and feelings to the
    unconscious.
  • Most of the time, these mechanisms function as
    healthy ways to suppress anxiety.
  • They are only viewed as problematic if they
    prevent the person from effectively dealing with
    reality.

33
  • FIGURE 13.3 The ego, or rational I, has
    numerous ways of defending itself against
    anxiety, that apprehensive state named for the
    Latin word meaning to strangle. We use defense
    mechanisms to avoid unpleasant realities. They
    are part of an internal battle that you fight
    against yourself.

34
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • Common defense mechanisms
  • Rationalization occurs when people make excuses
    and reframe unpleasant events as actually
    beneficial, or their actions as justifiable or
    rational (when the actions are arguably not so).
  • Repression is motivated forgetting of painful
    or unacceptable thoughts, feelings or memories.
  • Regression is an apparent return to a more
    juvenile way of thinking or acting.
  • Youre only young once, but you can be immature
    forever!
  • -- (Anonymous)

35
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • Common defense mechanisms
  • Denial is refusal to acknowledge a problem or
    believe any information that causes anxiety.
  • Displacement is the diversion of an unacceptable
    thought or impulse from its actual target to a
    less threatening object or person.
  • Reaction formation involves presentation of ones
    thoughts or feelings as the extreme opposite of
    what they actually are.
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
  • -- (W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III Scene ii)

36
Personality
  • Freuds structure of personality
  • Common defense mechanisms
  • Sublimation refers to the transformation of
    sexual or aggressive energies into acceptable and
    pro-social behaviors.
  • Projection is attributing ones own undesirable
    characteristics or motives to other people.
  • Its no secret that a liar wont believe anyone
    else.
  • -- (U2, The Fly Achtung Baby 1991)

37
Concept Check
  • Name that defense mechanism!
  • Your psychology professor, who smokes a pack of
    cigarettes every day, forgets to list nicotine
    on a handout you receive in class that lists
    addictive substances and drugs of abuse.

Repression
38
Concept Check
  • Name that defense mechanism!
  • Your ex-spouse, who cheated on you, writes a
    best-selling nonfiction book arguing that human
    beings are not naturally monogamous and have an
    instinctive need for variety.

Rationalization
39
Concept Check
  • Name that defense mechanism!
  • You are in love with your best friends new
    flame. The friendship is an old one and very
    valuable to you. You tell everybody that your
    friends new love interest is a terrible human
    being and you dont understand the attraction at
    all.

Reaction formation
40
Concept Check
  • Name that defense mechanism!
  • Your boss yells at you. You come home and yell
    at your spouse. Your spouse yells at your child.
    Your child goes out to the yard and yells at the
    dog.

Displacement
41
Personality
  • Freuds legacy
  • It may seem as if all that has been emphasized
    about Freud is how weak his evidence was, and how
    wrong some of his conclusions likely are.
  • But he did make some enduring and useful
    contributions to psychology (although scholars do
    argue about the extent to which Freud alone was
    responsible for formulating the following
    notions).

42
Personality
  • Freuds legacy
  • Humans apparently have a mental life that is at
    least partly unconscious.
  • People often have conflicting motives.
  • Childhood experiences contribute to the
    development of adult personality and social
    behavior.
  • Relationships with people in our family-of-origin
    have some impact on relationships we have with
    others throughout life.
  • Sexual development has an impact on psychological
    development.

43
Personality
  • Neo-Freudians
  • The Neo-Freudians were psychologists and others
    who adopted some parts of Freuds theory and
    modified other parts.
  • Karen Horney believed that Freud exaggerated the
    role of sexuality in human behavior and
    motivation, and misunderstood the motivations of
    women and the dynamics of family relationships.

44
Personality
  • Neo-Freudians
  • Carl Jung created a version of psychoanalytic
    theory that put a greater emphasis on the
    continuity of human experience and the human need
    for spiritual meaning in life.
  • He proposed the existence of a collective
    unconscious.
  • Present at birth, the collective unconscious
    reflects the cumulative experiences of all of our
    ancestors.
  • The collective unconscious also contains
    archetypes. These are figures and themes that
    emerge repeatedly in human history and across
    world cultures.

45
Personality
  • Neo-Freudians
  • Alfred Adler founded the school of individual
    psychology.
  • The word individual refers to understanding the
    whole person, in contrast with the partitioned
    model of personality that was incorporated into
    the Freudian framework.

46
Personality
  • Neo-Freudians
  • Adler proposed that humans have a natural desire
    to seek personal excellence and fulfillment, a
    striving for superiority. We create a master plan
    for achieving this, called a style of life.
  • People who do not succeed may suffer from an
    inferiority complex, an exaggerated feeling of
    inadequacy, throughout their lives.

47
Personality
  • Neo-Freudians
  • Adler believed that a healthy striving for
    superiority involved concern for the needs and
    welfare of others.
  • He believed therefore that a psychologically
    healthy person also had a social interest, a
    sense of belonging and identification with other
    people.
  • Psychopathology, in Adlers framework, involves
    the setting of inadequate goals, the adoption of
    a faulty style of life, and a lack of social
    interest.

48
Personality
  • The learning approach
  • Some psychologists believe that the whole concept
    of personality is questionable.
  • People frequently adopt a variety of behavioral
    styles that depend on the social context.
  • We exhibit one set of behaviors when we interact
    with our parents, another with our coworkers, and
    yet another with our friends.
  • The learning approach relates specific behaviors
    to specific experiences. Often the experiences
    from which we learn are those of other people in
    our environment.

49
Personality
  • The learning approach
  • For example, a gender role is a psychological
    aspect of being male or female (as opposed to
    your biological sex.)
  • A large amount of cross-cultural research
    suggests that components of the male and female
    gender roles are in fact learned.
  • Boys can be observed to imitate men, and girls to
    imitate women.

50
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Humanistic psychology deals with values, beliefs,
    and consciousness, including spirituality and
    guiding principles by which people live their
    lives.
  • Personality depends on what people believe and
    how they perceive and understand the world.

51
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Humanistic psychologists see people as
    essentially good and interested in achieving
    perfection.
  • This is in contrast with the morally neutral
    basis of behaviorism and the downright negative
    view of human nature offered by psychoanalytic
    theory.

52
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Humanistic psychologists are critical of the
    deterministic nature of behaviorism and
    psychoanalysis.
  • They avoid looking for simple cause and effect
    processes in behavior.
  • Humanistic psychologists reject reductionism,
    which is also characteristic of behaviorist and
    psychoanalytic theory.
  • They consider each person as a whole entity.

53
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Humanistic psychologists study peak experiences
    of individuals, those moments in a persons life
    when he or she feels truly fulfilled or content.
  • Research in humanistic psychology is often
    qualitative in nature, recording narratives and
    anecdotal evidence about how people behave and
    think.

54
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Carl Rogers is considered to be one of the
    founders of the humanistic school.
  • He believed that human nature is essentially
    good, and that people strive toward a state of
    self-actualization.
  • Self-actualization refers to a state of achieving
    ones full potential.
  • The drive for self-actualization is the
    fundamental driving force in Rogers humanistic
    model.

55
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Rogers believed that children develop a
    self-concept, an image of the person that they
    really are.
  • They also develop an ideal self, an image that
    represents the person they would like to be.
  • In the Rogerian model, psychological distress is
    generated primarily from the incongruity a person
    perceives between the self-concept and the ideal
    self.

56
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Rogers believed that human welfare was best
    served when people related to each other in an
    atmosphere of unconditional positive regard.
  • Unconditional positive regard involves the
    acceptance of the person as he or she is.
  • Most people receive what Rogers referred to as
    conditional positive regard in their important
    relationships.
  • This means that the person is only held in esteem
    when they fulfill certain requirements set for
    them by the other person or society.

57
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Abraham Maslow proposed that people have a
    hierarchy of motivating needs and that the
    highest need of these is the need to become
    self-actualized.
  • Maslow developed a list of characteristics of the
    self-actualized person based on people who, in
    his opinion, had achieved the state.

58
Personality
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Some of the characteristics of the
    self-actualized individual are
  • An ability to perceive reality accurately
  • Independence, spontaneity, and creativity
  • Treating others with unconditional positive
    regard
  • An outlook that emphasizes problem-solving
  • Enjoyment of life
  • A good sense of humor
  • Critics correctly point out that this is not a
    scientific list, and merely represents
    characteristics that Maslow admired in people.

59
Personality
  • Personality theory in many ways seeks to describe
    human nature. It raises some fascinating
    questions that do not seem easily answerable.
  • Many researchers in the area of personality are
    working on these questions in small steps in
    hopes of eventually synthesizing an accurate
    larger picture of who we as humans really are.

60
Module 13.2
  • Personality Traits

61
Personality
  • Two approaches to personality
  • Psychologists have two ways to study and describe
    personality.
  • The nomothetic approach tries to identify general
    laws that describe how aspects of personality
    influence behavior.
  • The idiographic approach uses intensive studies
    of individuals. It does not seek conclusions that
    can be applied to people in general.

62
Personality
  • Personality traits and states
  • A trait is a consistent, long-lasting tendency in
    behavior, such as sociability, shyness or
    assertiveness.
  • A state is a temporary activation of particular
    behavior.

63
Concept Check
  • You become very, very nervous whenever you have a
    psychology test scheduled. Are you experiencing
    trait anxiety or state anxiety?

State anxiety
64
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The idea that people have consistent personality
    characteristics that can be measured and studies
    is called the trait approach to personality.
  • Psychologists have studied many familiar
    personality traits.

65
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • Locus of control
  • One set of traits that psychologists study has to
    do with an individuals perception of the amount
    of control that he or she has over the course of
    life events.
  • This concept is referred to as locus of control.
  • People who believe that their lives are
    controlled by external forces are said to have an
    external locus of control.
  • People who believe that they are in charge of
    their lives have an internal locus of control.

66
  • Table 13.2 Sample items from the
    InternalExternal scale.

67
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits
  • Using a statistical technique to determine which
    traits correlate most strongly with each other
    (factor analysis), psychologists have found five
    major groups of related traits.
  • These are neuroticism, extraversion,
    agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to
    new experience.

68
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits Neuroticism
  • Neuroticism is the tendency to experience
    unpleasant emotions very easily.

69
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits Extraversion
  • Extraversion is a tendency to seek stimulation
    and enjoy the company of other people.

70
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits Agreeableness
  • Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate
    rather than antagonistic towards others.

71
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits
    Conscientiousness
  • Conscientiousness is the tendency to show
    self-discipline, to be reliable, and to strive
    for competence and achievement.

72
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • The Big Five personality traits Openness to
    Experience
  • Openness to Experience refers to a tendency to
    enjoy new experiences and new ideas.

73
Personality
  • The search for broad personality traits
  • Criticisms of the Big Five description
  • It was based on a study of the English language,
    not on observations of human behavior.
  • There are too few traits included.
  • There are too many traits included.
  • It has limited applicability cross-culturally.

74
Personality
  • The origins of personality
  • What makes people differ in behavior and
    disposition, anyway?
  • Heredity monozygotic (identical) twins tend to
    resemble each other more strongly than other
    relatives on measures of personality traits.
  • Heredity biological relatives tend to resemble
    each other more than adoptive relatives or
    unrelated persons.

75
  • FIGURE 13.16 Five studiesconducted in Great
    Britain, the United States, Sweden, Australia,
    and Finlandfound larger correlations between the
    extraversion levels of monozygotic (MZ) twins
    than those of dizygotic (DZ) twins. (Based on
    data summarized by Loehlin, 1992)

76
  • FIGURE 13.17 Three studiesfrom Britain,
    Minnesota, and Texasmeasured extraversion in
    members of hundreds of families. Each found
    moderate positive correlations between parents
    and their biological children and between pairs
    of biologically related brothers and sisters.
    However, all found low or even
  • negative correlations between parents and adopted
    children and among adopted children living in the
    same family. (Based on data summarized by
    Loehlin, 1992)

77
Personality
  • The origins of personality
  • Environment one would expect that the
    resemblance in personality between family members
    would be stronger than it is given the combined
    effects of genetic factors and shared
    environment.
  • Environment some researchers have proposed that
    there is an influence from the unshared
    environment that there are aspects of the
    environment that differ from one person too
    another (i.e., with each new birth in a family,
    the environment changes).

78
Personality
  • The origins of personality
  • Age in general, the older a person is, the more
    consistent his or her personality is over time.
  • Age the increased consistency as people age can
    be observed cross-culturally.
  • Historical era researchers have found that
    anxiety levels appear to be increasing over the
    past few generations.

79
Personality
  • Psychologists are still grappling with the enigma
    of human personality. People are not just
    different from each other the same people are
    different depending on the situation.
  • We are complex creatures and this area of
    research is very challenging.

80
Module 13.3
  • Personality Assessment

81
Personality Assessment
  • Personality testing is a tricky business.
  • Creating assessments that seem accurate is easy.
  • That a particular assessment tool is producing
    accurate results is much, much harder to be
    certain about.
  • Profiles produced by popular and well-regarded
    personality assessment tools often appear to
    suffer from some degree of the Barnum effect.

82
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • A standardized test is administered according to
    specified rules.
  • The scores of a standardized test are interpreted
    using a prescribed rubric.
  • Before a standardized test is released for use by
    psychologists, it is administered to a very large
    number of people who form representative sample
    of individuals for whom the test will be
    utilized.
  • This process facilitates accurate interpretation
    of the results.

83
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Objective personality tests
  • The most widely used personality tests are
    administered simply using paper and pencil.
  • The most widely used of these tests is the
    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
    (MMPI).

84
  • Table 13.1 The ten MMPI-2 clinical scales.

85
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Objective personality tests The MMPI
  • The most current version of the MMPI (the MMPI-2)
    is comprised of a series of 567 true-false
    questions.
  • These questions are designed to measure
    dimensions of personality such as sociability and
    conscientiousness.
  • They are also designed to detect clinical
    conditions such as depression and psychotic
    disorders.

86
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Objective personality tests The MMPI
  • The original standardization procedure of the
    MMPI was flawed but nonetheless yielded a test
    that was useful in practice.
  • The revision that produced the MMPI-2 was done in
    part to address some of the flaws.

87
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Objective personality tests The MMPI
  • Poorly designed items were rewritten or dropped.
  • Scales to detect new areas of concern to
    clinicians were added (drug abuse, for example).
  • The original standardization group was broadened
    to be more representative of the American
    population.

88
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • The generalizability of the MMPI
  • Is the MMPI an accurate measure of personality
    for people from diverse backgrounds?
  • It is unclear at this time whether differences in
    scores between members of different ethnic groups
    reflect real personality differences or problems
    with the test.

89
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Faking it detecting deception on the MMPI
  • People who take tests like the MMPI may be
    motivated to make themselves appear more or less
    mentally healthy than they actually are (faking
    good or malingering).
  • The designers of all versions of the MMPI have
    included a set of items that are designed to
    detect possible lying.
  • For example, a person who answers true to the
    item I like every person I have ever met and
    false to the statement Occasionally I get angry
    at someone will produce an elevation on the
    fake good scale, which will be noted in the
    score report.

90
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Uses of the MMPI
  • The MMPI is a helpful instrument for research
    psychologists who study personality.
  • It is a useful instrument for clinical
    psychologists in familiarizing themselves with
    clients and planning treatment.

91
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques
  • People frequently feel threatened by personality
    assessments that ask them for information
    directly.
  • Projective techniques are designed to avoid this
    problem.
  • The assumption behind projective tests is that
    personality characteristics can be detected
    through the process of asking people to interpret
    ambiguous stimuli.

92
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Rorschach Inkblots
  • The Rorschach is composed of a series of 10
    ambiguous inkblots.
  • The person taking the test is asked to interpret
    each of the blots.
  • The psychologists hands a card with a black and
    white or color blot and asks the questions What
    might this be?

93
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Rorschach Inkblots
  • There is probably some truth in the underlying
    assumption that personality influences behavior
    in ambiguous situations.
  • The degree of accuracy of any individual
    psychologists interpretation of responses is
    hard to know.
  • One way to manage this flaw is to use a system
    for interpreting and scoring the test.
  • One of the most widely used methods was developed
    by James Exner.

94
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Rorschach Inkblots
  • Exners system is useful but does not prevent all
    problems that may arise in interpreting the test.
  • People with no clinical diagnosis are frequently
    identified as having disorders.
  • People can give an unlimited number of responses.
    Since total numbers of types of responses are
    used, a person who makes many responses is likely
    to be identified as disturbed.

95
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Rorschach Inkblots
  • There are problems with using the test
    cross-culturally.
  • The correlation between the interpretations of
    the same protocols of responses made by different
    clinicians is not strong enough.
  • The individual scales in the Exner system dont
    have enough validity.
  • The information provided by the Rorschach can be
    found in other, more trustworthy ways.

96
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Rorschach Inkblots
  • Some critics believe that this assessment
    procedure should no longer be used for any
    reason.
  • Other clinicians feel it is useful at least as a
    way to start a dialogue with clients.
  • The limitations of the Rorschach should be
    considered substantive, at any rate.

97
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Thematic Apperception
    Test (TAT)
  • The TAT is based upon the presentation of a
    series of pictures to the test subject.
  • The subject is request to make up a story for
    each picture. The story for each picture is
    recorded by the examining clinician.
  • The assumption behind the test is that the story
    told by the subject is actually a story about him
    or her.

98
Personality Assessment
  • Standardized personality tests
  • Projective techniques The Thematic Apperception
    Test (TAT)
  • There is no systematic widely used method for
    interpreting the stories that are produced in
    response to the cards.
  • It is difficult to do research on the reliability
    and validity of the test.
  • Research results suggest that reliability and
    validity of this procedure are weak.

99
Personality Assessment
  • Less commonly used projective techniques
  • Implicit personality tests
  • The assumption behind an implicit personality
    test is that it is possible to measure aspects of
    personality that may be beyond a persons
    awareness.
  • It is unclear as of yet whether this assumption
    will receive enough support that widespread use
    of such procedures will be deemed appropriate.

100
Personality Assessment
  • Less commonly used projective techniques
  • Implicit personality tests The Emotional Stroop
    Test
  • The emotional version of the Stroop test requires
    a person to look at a list of words and say the
    color of the ink in which the word is printed.
  • Some of the words represent possible sources of
    concern or anxiety.
  • The assumption is that the task will be more
    difficult and the pauses of the subject will be
    longer when trying to say the color of the words
    that relate to areas of concern.

101
Personality Assessment
  • Less commonly used projective techniques
  • Implicit Personality Tests The Implicit
    Association Test
  • The assumption behind the Implicit Association
    Test relates to the idea of priming.
  • This test measures whether the subject responds
    faster to the categories that combine a
    particular topic with pleasant or unpleasant
    words.
  • One advantage of this technique is that it is
    hard for people to fake good or malinger while
    doing this procedure.

102
Personality Assessment
  • Uses and misuses of personality tests
  • Personality tests need to be used with great
    caution.
  • They may be useful as part of interviewing and
    rapport building.
  • They can be an aid in the total process of
    personality assessment (a process that requires
    much more than just a test).
  • They should only be used in the employment
    process if there is clear evidence that they will
    make the selection process more accurate.

103
  • FIGURE 13.11 Even the best personality tests are
    imperfect. A test for detecting an unusual
    condition will often identify normal people as
    having the condition. Here we assume that a
    certain profile occurs in 95 of people with
    schizophrenia and 5 of other people. If we
    relied entirely on this test, we would correctly
    identify 95 schizophrenic people, but we would
    also misidentify 495 normal people as
    schizophrenic.

104
Personality Assessment
  • It would probably be a long, complex process to
    measure everything worth knowing about an
    individuals personality.
  • The tests that are used as part of personality
    assessment should only be used in a limited
    fashion. It is all too easy to draw strong
    conclusions based on weak data
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