TEMPLE PSY 1001 - What is personality?

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What is personality?- Enduring patterns of behavior (actions, feelings, thoughts, interactions) that are relatively consistent over time and across circumstances.o Textbook: Unique characteristics that account for our enduring patterns of inner experience and outward behavior- Personality is largely defined in the context of how we relate to otherso Is personality a social construct?o Harry Stack Sullivan: Personality cannot be separatedfrom the interpersonal world in which the person lives.Basic Questions in Personality- What is personality?o What are the basic elements?- How is personality shaped?o What are the basic forces?- When does it happen?o Are we born with it?o Are there certain important periods?Personality Theories- Formal attempts to describe and explain (Answer questionslike what, how, when, etc.)- Like all theories, they are propositions, not facts- Theories- like the people who create them- are bound in time and cultureMajor Theories Covered1. Psychodynamic Theories- Includes all the theories in psychology that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the person, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of the personality.- Sigmund Freudo Was a practicing neurologist in the late 19th century Europeo Seeing patients with hysterical physical symptoms So the theory shaped by his observations of these particular problems Also by the cultural context (time and place)o Postulated unconscious as explanatory mechanismTheory of The Unconsciouso Three types of mental processes1. Conscious- Immediate awareness- Rational, goal-directed2. Preconscious- Can be accessed fairly readily3. Unconscious- Out of awareness- IrrationalMotivated Unconsciouso Purposeful exclusion of information or material from conscious awareness Because it is threatening to the stability and integrity of the selfo Self-protective functiono But what is the source of conflict that requires the unconscious to do its work? (This is where Freud comes up with the Drive Model.)Freud’s Drive Modelo Theory of instincts (psychic energies)o Instincts or drives as inborn psychic energies Arising from basic biological needso Freud believed there were Two Instincts:1. Life Instincts888- Libido (Eros)888- Survival and reproduction2. Death / Aggression Instincts888- Thanatos888 888- “the aim of all life is death” o How is this energy dealt with?Freud’s Structural Modelo Three systems that make up the structure of personality1. Id- Contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth.- Original System- Completely instinctiveo in contact with bodily needs- Reservoir of libidinal energy- Operates according to pleasure principleo Maximize pleasure (need gratification)o Minimize pain (need frustration)- Primary process thinkingo Unconscious, irrational, wishful, primitive2. Ego- Develops out of id- Restrains id impulses in accordance with demands of external world- Operates according to reality principleo Need fulfillment can be realistically accomplished- Secondary Process thinkingo Logical, rational, goal-oriented, realistic3. Superego- Internalized standards and ideals (morals) of culture- Two Aspects: Ego Ideal (model of best self) 8and Conscience (allows feelings of guilt)- Person can’t be all superego because it is harsh, demanding, unrealistic, and unforgivingo Personality dynamics is reflected in the relative distribution of psychic energy among the three systemso Ego and Superego both restrain Ido Superego is non-rational, so ego must use most of the energy to balance the forceso Ego balances Id and Superego so neither one takes over personality.- Ego is the executive, striking balance o Reasonable, rational- Good Psychological Health = Strong Ego- If balance is threatened, anxiety resultso Neurotic Anxiety- Defense Mechanisms:- Unconscious processes generated by ego to protect from anxiety and distress- All defense mechanisms have 2 characteristics:1. Operate unconsciously2. Involve the denial or distortion of reality so as to make it less threatening- Present in normal and abnormal functioningFreud’s Developmental Model- Learning to deal with libidinal energy is a major developmental task- Focused on different biological functioning and tasks as child grows- Erogenous zones (from Eros)o Part of body that is source of pleasure- Different zones at different stages- Psychosexual Stages of Developmento Oral (0-18 months)o Anal (2-3 years)o Phallic (3-6 years)o Latency (6-puberty)o Genital (puberty and beyond)- Stage resolution is important in personality development- Fixations: Unresolved stage conflicts persisting beyond the period- Regression: Reverting to conflicts of earlier stage under stressEvaluating FreudObservant narrative of human development and experience- Elaborate, thoughtful theory- Intuitive appeal (in some ways)Remember the context:- Victorian Europe- Observations of patients with ‘hysteria’Freudian Theory Contributions and Criticisms:- Recognition of the unconsciouso Criticism: Assumption of primacy of unconscious; insufficient attention to conscious experience and awareness- The first to stress the importance of early childhood experienceo Criticism: Exclusive focus on childhood- Recognition that we are biological creatureso Criticism: Little emphasis on social context- Recognition of basic needs and instinctso Criticism: Excessive focus on sex, instincts- Attempts to explain both normal development and psychopathologyo Criticism: Pathology-orientedo Criticism (contd): Non-parsimonious- Comprehensive and rich theoryo Criticism: Little scientific supportContemporary Psychodynamic Theory- More ego, less Id- Less exclusive focus on childhood- Less unconscious conflict- Less sex and aggression- More emphasis on culture, social influencesExamples: Adler, Homey, Jung2. Humanistic Theories- This approach emphasizes an individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity.- American movement - Counter-reaction to Freud- Emphasis on basic good; positive nature of humanity; self-determinism- Theories developed on observations of healthy people- Focus on strivings for fulfillment and self-improvement, and capacity for positive contributions to society- American optimism vs. European existentialismAbraham Maslow- Criticized psychology for studying pathology, weakness, and abnormalityo What can psychologies based on abnormality tell us about normal,


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