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The nature of personality (The psychology of adjustment)

  1. 1. The Nature of Personality Adjustment in the 21st Century Dr. Mehran Rostamzadeh INTI International University Nilai ,2015 Psychology Applied to Modern Life Chapter 2
  2. 2. Learning Outcome ● Clarify the meaning of personality and personality traits. ● Describe the five-factor model of personality and relations between the Big Five traits and life outcomes.
  3. 3. What Is Personality? • What does it mean if you say that a friend has an optimistic personality? Your statement suggests that the person has a fairly consistent tendency to behave in a cheerful, hopeful, enthusiastic way, looking at the bright side of things, across a wide variety of situations. Each person is unique. In summary, we use the idea of personality to explain (1) the stability in a person’s behavior over time and across situations (consistency) and (2) the behavioral differences among people reacting to the same situation (distinctiveness).
  4. 4. What Are Personality Traits? We all make remarks like “John is too timid to succeed in that job” or “I wish I could be as self- assured as Antonio.” A personality trait is a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations. Adjectives such as honest, dependable, moody, impulsive, suspicious, anxious, excitable, domineering, and friendly describe dispositions that represent personality traits.
  5. 5. What Are Personality Traits? The Five-Factor Model of Personality In recent years, Robert McCrae and Paul Costa (2003,2008a) have used factor analysis to arrive at an even simpler, five-factor model of personality. The “Big Five”: extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
  6. 6. 1. Extraversion. People who score high in extraversion are characterized as outgoing, sociable, upbeat, friendly, assertive, and gregarious. They also have a more positive outlook on life and are motivated to pursue social contact, intimacy, and interdependence (Wilt & Revelle, 2009). 2. Neuroticism. People who score high in neuroticism tend to be anxious, hostile, self-conscious, insecure, and vulnerable. 3. Openness to experience. Openness is associated with curiosity, flexibility, vivid fantasy, imaginativeness, artistic sensitivity, and unconventional attitudes.
  7. 7. 4. Agreeableness. Those who score high in agreeableness tend to be sympathetic, trusting, cooperative, modest, and straightforward. 5. Conscientiousness. Conscientious people tend to be diligent, disciplined, well organized, punctual, and dependable.
  8. 8. Learning Outcomes • Explain Freud’s view of personality structure and the role of conflict and anxiety. • ● Identify key defense mechanisms, and outline Freud’s view of development. • ● Summarize the psychodynamic theories proposed by Jung and Adler.
  9. 9. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory • Psychodynamic theories include all the diverse theories descended from the work of Sigmund Freud that focus on unconscious mental forces. Structure of Personality Freud (1901, 1920) divided personality structure into three components: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the primitive, instinctive component of personality that operates according to the pleasure principle. The id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented. The ego is the decision-making component of personality that operates according to the reality principle. The ego mediates between the id, with its forceful desires for immediate satisfaction, and the external social world, with its expectations and norms regarding suitable behavior. The ego considers social realities—society’s norms, etiquette, rules, and customs—in deciding how to behave. The ego is guided by the reality principle, which seeks to delay gratification of the id’s urges until appropriate outlets and situations can be found.
  10. 10. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory The superego is the moral component of personality that incorporates social standards about what represents right and wrong. Throughout their lives, but especially during childhood, individuals receive training about what constitutes good and bad behavior. Eventually they internalize many of these social norms, meaning that they truly accept certain moral principles, then they put pressure on themselves to live up to these standards. The superego emerges out of the ego at around 3 to 5 years of age. In some people, the superego can become irrationally demanding in its striving for moral perfection. Such people are plagued by excessive guilt.
  11. 11. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory • According to Freud, the id, ego, and superego are distributed across three levels of awareness. • He contrasted the unconscious with the conscious and preconscious. • The conscious consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time. • For example, at this moment your conscious may include the current train of thought in this text and a dim awareness in the back of your mind that your eyes are getting tired and you’re beginning to get hungry. • The preconscious contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can be easily retrieved. • Examples might include your middle name, what you had for supper last night, or an argument you had with a friend yesterday. • The unconscious contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on one’s behavior. • Material that might be found in your unconscious would include a forgotten trauma from childhood or hidden feelings of hostility toward a parent
  12. 12. Freud’s model of personality structure • Freud theorized that people have three levels of awareness: the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. To dramatize the size of the unconscious, it has often been compared to the portion of an iceberg that lies beneath the water’s surface. • Freud also divided personality structure into three components—id, ego, and superego—that operate according to different principles and exhibit different modes of thinking. In Freud’s model, the id is entirely unconscious, but the ego and superego operate at all three levels of awareness.
  13. 13. Conflict and Defense Mechanisms • Freud assumed that behavior is the outcome of an ongoing series of internal conflicts. • Battles among the id, ego, and superego are routine. Why? • Because the id wants to gratify its urges immediately, but the norms of civilized society frequently dictate otherwise. • For example, your id might feel an urge to clobber a co-worker who constantly irritates you. • However, society frowns on such behavior, so your ego would try to hold this urge in check, and you would find yourself in a conflict. • Freud believed that conflicts dominate people’s lives. • He asserted that individuals careen from one conflict to another.
  14. 14. Conflict and Defense Mechanisms • Imagine your alarm clock ringing obnoxiously as you lurch across the bed to shut it off. It’s 7 a.m. and time to get up for your history class. • However, your id (operating according to the pleasure principle) urges you to return to the immediate gratification of additional sleep. Your ego (operating according to the reality principle) points out that you really must go to class since you haven’t been able to decipher the textbook on your own. • Your id smugly assures you that you will get the A that you need. It suggests lying back to dream about how impressed your roommate will be. • Just as you’re relaxing, your superego jumps into the fray. It tries to make you feel guilty about the tuition your parents paid for the class that you’re about to skip. • You haven’t even gotten out of bed yet—and there is already a pitched battle in your psyche.
  15. 15. Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory • .Let’s say your ego wins the battle. You pull yourself out of bed and head for class. • On the way, you pass a donut shop and your id clamors for cinnamon rolls. Your ego reminds you that you’re gaining weight and that you are supposed to be on a diet. Your id wins this time. • After you’ve attended your history lecture, your ego reminds you that you need to do some library research for a paper in philosophy. • You have been through a series of internal conflicts.
  16. 16. Freud’s model of personality dynamics • According to Freud, unconscious conflicts between the id, ego, and superego sometimes lead to anxiety. • This discomfort may lead to the use of defense mechanisms, which may temporarily relieve anxiety.
  17. 17. • These conflicts are often played out entirely in the unconscious. Although you may not be aware of these unconscious battles, they can produce anxiety that slips to the surface of conscious awareness. • This anxiety is attributable to your ego worrying about the id getting out of control and doing something terrible. • The arousal of anxiety is a crucial event in Freud’s theory of personality functioning. • Anxiety is distressing, so people try to rid themselves of this unpleasant emotion any way they can. • This effort to ward off anxiety often involves the use of defense mechanisms. • Defense mechanisms are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from painful emotions such as anxiety and guilt. • Typically, they are mental exercises that work through self-deception. • A common example is rationalization, which involves creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior. • You would be rationalizing if, after cheating someone in a business transaction, you tried to reduce your guilt by explaining that “everyone does it.”
  18. 18. Repression is the most basic and widely used defense mechanism. Repression involves keeping distressing thoughts and feelings buried in the unconscious. People tend to repress desires that make them feel guilty, conflicts that make them anxious, and memories that are painful. Repression is “motivated forgetting.” If you forget a dental appointment or the name of someone you don’t like, repression may be at work. Self-deception can also be seen in the mechanisms of projection and displacement. Projection involves attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another. For example, if your lust for a co-worker makes you feel guilty, you might attribute any latent sexual tension between the two of you to the other person’s desire to seduce you. Displacement involves diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target. If your boss gives you a hard time at work and you come home and slam the door, yell at your dog, and lash out at your spouse, you are displacing your anger onto irrelevant targets.
  19. 19. Defense mechanisms. According to Freud, people use a variety of defense mechanisms to protect themselves from painful emotions. Definitions of seven commonly used defense mechanisms are shown on the left, along with examples of each on the right.
  20. 20. Jung’s Analytical Psychology • Jung’s Analytical Psychology Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called his new approach analytical psychology to differentiate it from Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Like Freud, Jung (1921, 1933) emphasized the unconscious determinants of personality. • However, he proposed that the unconscious consists of two layers. A) The first layer, called the personal unconscious, is essentially the same as Freud’s version of the unconscious. • The personal unconscious houses material from one’s life that is not within one’s conscious awareness because it has been repressed or forgotten.
  21. 21. B) In addition, Jung theorized the existence of a deeper layer he called the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a storehouse of latent memory traces inherited from people’s ancestral past that is shared with the entire human race. Jung called these ancestral memories archetypes. They are not memories of actual, personal experiences. Instead, archetypes are emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning. These archetypal images and ideas show up frequently in dreams and are often manifested in a culture’s use of symbols in art, literature, and religion. Jung felt that an understanding of archetypal symbols helped him make sense of his patients’ dreams.
  22. 22. Adler’s Individual Psychology • Alfred Adler was a charter member of Freud’s inner circle—the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. • However, he soon began to develop his own theory of personality, which he christened individual psychology. • Adler (1917, 1927) argued that the foremost human drive is not sexuality, but a striving for superiority. • He viewed such striving as a universal drive to adapt, improve oneself, and master life’s challenges. • He noted that young children understandably feel weak and helpless in comparison to more competent older children and adults. • These early inferiority feelings supposedly motivate individuals to acquire new skills and develop new talents. • Adler asserted that everyone has to work to overcome some feelings of inferiority by developing one’s abilities.
  23. 23. • Adler thought that either parental pampering or parental neglect could cause an inferiority problem. • Thus, he agreed with Freud on the importance of early childhood, although he focused on different aspects of parent-child relations. • Adler explained personality disturbances by noting that an inferiority complex can distort the normal process of striving for superiority. • He maintained that some people engage in overcompensation in order to conceal, even from themselves, their feelings of inferiority. • Instead of working to master life’s challenges, people with an inferiority complex work to achieve status, gain power over others, and acquire the trappings of success (fancy clothes, impressive cars, or whatever seems important to them).
  24. 24. • Adler’s view of personality development. • Like Freud, Adler believed that early childhood experiences exert momentous influence over adult personality. • However, he focused on children’s social interactions rather than on their grappling with their sexuality. • According to Adler, the roots of personality disturbances typically lie in excessive parental neglect or pampering, which can lead to overcompensation.
  25. 25. Behavioral Perspectives
  26. 26. Learning outcome • Describe Pavlov’s classical conditioning and its contribution to understanding personality. • Discuss how Skinner’s principles of operant conditioning can be applied to personality development. • Describe Bandura’s social cognitive theory and his concept of self-efficacy.
  27. 27. • Behaviorism is a theoretical orientation should study observable behavior. • Behaviorism has been a major school of thought in psychology since 1913, when John B. Watson published an influential article. In it, he argued that psychology should abandon its earlier focus on the mind and mental processes and focus exclusively on overt behavior. • He contended that psychology could not study mental processes in a scientific manner, because these processes are private and not accessible to outside observation. • A behavioral view of personality. Behaviorists devote little attention to the structure of personality, because it is unobservable. • But they implicitly view personality as an individual’s collection of response tendencies. A possible hierarchy of response tendencies for a specific stimulus situation is shown here. In the behavioral view, personality is made up of countless response hierarchies for various situations.
  28. 28. The process of classical conditioning.
  29. 29. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning • Even Pavlov recognized that classical conditioning is not the only form of conditioning. • Classical conditioning best explains reflexive responding controlled by stimuli that precede the response. • However, both animals and humans make many responses that don’t fit this description. • Consider the response you are engaging in right now—studying. It is definitely not a reflex . • The stimuli that govern it (exams and grades) do not precede it. • Instead, your studying response is mainly influenced by events that follow it—specifically, its consequences. • This kind of learning is called operant conditioning.
  30. 30. • Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which voluntary responses come to be controlled by their consequences. • Operant conditioning probably governs a larger share of human behavior than classical conditioning, since most human responses are voluntary rather than reflexive. • Because they are voluntary, operant responses are said to be emitted rather than elicited. • The study of operant conditioning was led by B. F. Skinner (1953, 1974, 1990), a Harvard University psychologist who spent most of his career studying simple responses made by laboratory rats and pigeons. • The fundamental principle of operant conditioning is uncommonly simple. • Skinner demonstrated that organisms tend to repeat those responses that are followed by favorable consequences, and they tend not to repeat those responses that are followed by neutral or unfavorable consequences.
  31. 31. The Power of Reinforcement • According to Skinner, reinforcement can occur in two ways, which he called positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. • Positive reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened (increases in frequency) because it is followed by the arrival of a (presumably) pleasant stimulus. • Positive reinforcement is roughly synonymous with the concept of reward. • Something that serves as a reinforcer for one person may not function as a reinforcer for another. For example, peer approval is a potent reinforcer for most people, but not all. • Positive reinforcement motivates much of everyday behavior. • You study hard because good grades are likely to follow as a result. • You go to work because this behavior produces paychecks. • Perhaps you work extra hard in the hope of winning a promotion or a pay raise. • In each of these examples, certain responses occur because they have led to positive outcomes in the past.
  32. 32. • Negative reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened (increases in frequency) because it is followed by the removal of a (presumably) unpleasant stimulus. • Don’t let the word negative here confuse you. • Negative reinforcement is reinforcement. • Like positive reinforcement, it strengthens a response. However, this strengthening occurs because the response gets rid of an aversive stimulus. • Consider a few examples: • You rush home in the winter to get out of the cold. • You clean your house to get rid of a mess. • Parents give in to their child’s begging to halt his whining.
  33. 33. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory • Albert Bandura take issue with Skinner’s view and added a cognitive flavor to behaviorism. • Skinner ignores the most distinctive and important feature of human behavior. • Bandura originally modified brand of behaviorism social learning theory or social cognitive theory. • Bandura (1986, 1999b) agrees with behaviorism that personality is largely shaped through learning. • However, he contends that conditioning is not a mechanical process in which people are passive participants. • Instead, he maintains that individuals actively seek out and process information about their environment in order to maximize their favorable outcomes.
  34. 34. • Observational Learning • Observational learning occurs when an organism’s responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models. • Bandura does not view observational learning as entirely separate from classical and operant conditioning. Instead, he asserts that both classical and operant conditioning can take place indirectly when one person observes another’s conditioning. • To illustrate, suppose you observe a friend behaving assertively with a car salesman. • Let’s say that his assertiveness is reinforced by the exceptionally good buy he gets on the car. • Your own tendency to behave assertively with salespeople might well be strengthened as a result. • Notice that the favorable consequence is experienced by your friend, not you. Your friend’s tendency to bargain assertively should be reinforced directly, but your tendency to bargain assertively may also be strengthened indirectly According to social cognitive theory, many of our characteristic responses are acquired through observation of others’ behavior. •
  35. 35. • Self-Efficacy • Bandura (1993, 1997) believes that self-efficacy is a crucial element of personality. • Self-efficacy is one’s belief about one’s ability to perform behaviors that should lead to expected outcomes. • When a person’s self-efficacy is high, he or she feels confident in executing the responses necessary to earn reinforcer. • When self-efficacy is low, the individual worries that the necessary responses may be beyond her or his abilities. • Perceptions of self-efficacy are subjective and specific to different kinds of tasks. • For instance, you might feel extremely confident about your ability to handle difficult social situations but doubtful about your ability to handle academic challenges.
  36. 36. • Perceptions of self-efficacy can influence which challenges people tackle and how well they perform. • Studies have found that feelings of greater self-efficacy are associated with reduced procrastination (Steel, 2007), • Greater success in giving up smoking (Schnoll et al., 2011), • Greater adherence to exercise regimens (Ayotte, Margrett, & Hicks-Patrick, 2010), more-effective weight-loss efforts (Linde et al., 2006), • Reduced disability from problems with chronic pain (Hadjistavropoulos et al., 2007), • better study habits (Prat-Sala & Redford, 2010), higher levels of academic performance (Weiser & Riggio, 2010), • reduced vulnerability to anxiety and depression in childhood (Muris, 2002), • less jealousy in romantic relationships (Hu, Zhang, & Li, 2005), • reduced vulnerability to posttraumatic stress disorder in the face of severe stress (Hirschel & Schulenberg, 2009), • greater success in searching for a new job (Saks, 2006), (Raub & Liao, 2012), and greater resistance to stress (Jex et al., 2001).
  37. 37. Humanistic Perspectives • Humanistic theory emerged in the 1950s as something of a backlash against the behavioral and psychodynamic theories (Cassel, 2000; DeCarvalho, 1991). • Humanism emphasizes the unique qualities of humans, especially their free will and their potential for personal growth. • Humanistic theorists, such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, take an optimistic view of human nature. • Humanistic theorists believe that • (1) human nature includes an innate drive toward personal growth, • (2) individuals have the freedom to chart their courses of action and are not pawns of their environment, • (3) humans are largely conscious and rational beings who are not dominated by unconscious, irrational needs and conflicts. According to this notion, if you think you are homely, or bright, or sociable, that belief will influence your behavior more than the actual realities of how homely, bright, or sociable you are.
  38. 38. Rogers’s Person-Centered Theory • Carl Rogers (1951, 1961) was one of the founders of the human potential movement, which emphasizes personal growth through sensitivity training, encounter groups, intended to help people get in touch with their true selves. The Self and Its Development • Rogers viewed personality structure in terms of just one construct. He called this construct the self, although it is more widely known today as the self-concept. • A self- concept is a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature, unique qualities, and typical behavior. • Your self-concept is your mental picture of yourself. • It is a collection of self perceptions. For example, a self-concept might include such beliefs as “I am easygoing” or “I am pretty” or “I am hardworking.”
  39. 39. • Rogers stressed the subjective nature of the self-concept. Your self-concept may not be entirely consistent with your actual experiences. To put it more bluntly, your self concept may be inaccurate. Most people are prone to distort their experiences to some extent to promote a relatively favorable self-concept. • For example, you may believe that you are quite bright academically, but your grade transcript might suggest otherwise. Rogers used the term incongruence to refer to the disparity between one’s self-concept and one’s actual experience. In contrast, if a person’s self concept is reasonably accurate, it is said to be congruent with reality. • • Everyone experiences some incongruence; the crucial issue is how much . • Rogers maintained that a great deal of incongruence undermines a person’s psychological well-being. • In terms of personality development, Rogers was concerned with how childhood experiences promote congruence or incongruence. According to Rogers, everyone has a strong need for affection, love, and acceptance from others. • Early in life, parents provide most of this affection. Rogers maintained that some parents make their affection conditional. That is, they make it depend on the child’s behaving well and living up to expectations. When parental love seems conditional, children often distort and block out of their memory those experiences that make them feel
  40. 40. Anxiety and Defense • According to Rogers, experiences that threaten people’s personal views of themselves are the principal cause of troublesome anxiety. • The more inaccurate your self-concept, the more likely you are to have experiences that clash with your self-perceptions. • Thus, people with highly incongruent self-concepts are especially likely to be plagued by recurrent anxiety . To ward off this anxiety, individuals often behave defensively in an effort to reinterpret their experience so that it appears consistent with their self-concept. • Thus, they ignore, deny, and twist reality to protect and perpetuate their self- concept. For example, a young lady who is selfish but unable to face that reality might attribute friends’ comments about her selfishness to their jealousy of her good looks. • Rogers’s theory can explain defensive behavior and personality disturbances, but he also emphasized the importance of psychological health. Rogers held that psychological health is rooted in a congruent self-concept. • In turn, congruence is rooted in a sense of personal worth, which stems from a childhood saturated with unconditional affection from parents and others. These themes are similar to those emphasized by the other major humanistic theorist, Abraham Maslow.
  41. 41. Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization • Abraham Maslow (1970) was a prominent humanistic theorist who argued that psychology should take a greater interest in the nature of the healthy personality, instead of dwelling on the causes of disorders. • “To oversimplify the matter somewhat,” he said, “it is as if Freud supplied to us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half” (Maslow, 1968, p. 5). • Maslow’s key contributions were his analysis of how motives. Like Rogers, Maslow argued that humans have an innate drive toward personal growth—that is, evolution toward a higher state of being. Thus, he described the needs in the uppermost reaches of his hierarchy as growth needs.
  42. 42. Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization • These include the needs for knowledge, understanding, order, and aesthetic beauty. Foremost among the growth needs is the need for self-actualization, which is the need to fulfill one’s potential; it is the highest need in Maslow’s motivational hierarchy. Maslow summarized this concept with a simple statement: “What a man can be, he must be.” • According to Maslow, people will be frustrated if they are unable to fully utilize their talents or pursue their true interests. • For example, if you have great musical talent but must work as an accountant, or if you have scholarly interests but must work as a sales clerk, your need for self actualization will be thwarted. Maslow’s pyramid has penetrated popular culture to a remarkable degree.