Personality – Introduction to Psychology (2023)

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Figure11.1What makes two people have different personalities? (credit: modification of the work of Nicolás Alejandro)

Three months before William Jefferson Blythe III was born, his father was killed in a car accident. He was raised by his mother, Virginia Dell, and his grandparents in Hope, Arkansas. When he was 4 years old, his mother married Roger Clinton, Jr., an alcoholic who physically abused William's mother. Six years later, Virginia gave birth to another son, Roger. William, who later took the surname Clinton from his stepfather, became the 42nd President of the United States. While Bill Clinton was making his political rise, his half-brother, Roger Clinton, was arrested multiple times on drug charges, including possession, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and drunk driving, serving time in prison. Two brothers, raised by the same people, took radically different paths in their lives. Why did they make the decisions they did? What internal forces shaped your decisions? Personality psychology can help us answer these questions and more.

MCCCD Course Skills

  • Define personality and identify some of the fundamental debates in the study of personality, including the person-situation debate.
  • Critically evaluate information to help make evidence-based decisions.
  • Apply biopsychosocial principles to real world situations.
  • Use psychological principles to explain the diversity and complexity of the human experience.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • define personality
  • Describe the first theories of personality development.

Personalityrefers to the long-standing traits and patterns that drive people to consistently think, feel, and behave in specific ways. Our personality is what makes us unique individuals. Each person has an idiosyncratic pattern of enduring long-term characteristics and a way in which he interacts with other people and the world around him. Our personalities are considered enduring, stable, and difficult to change. The wordpersonalitycomes from the Latin wordpersona🇧🇷 In the ancient world, a person was a mask worn by an actor. While we tend to think of a mask as being used to hide someone's identity, the theatrical mask was originally used to represent or project a character's specific personality trait (Figure 11.2).

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Figure11.2Happy, sad, impatient, shy, fearful, curious, helpful. What characteristics describe your personality?

Historical Perspectives

The concept of personality has been studied for at least 2,000 years, beginning with Hippocrates in 370 BC. (Fazeli, 2012). Hippocrates theorized that human personality traits and behaviors are based on four separate temperaments associated with four fluids ("humors") of the body: choleric temperament (yellow bile from the liver), melancholic temperament (black bile from the kidneys), sanguine temperament (red blood from the heart) and phlegmatic temperament (white phlegm from the lungs) (Clark & ​​Watson, 2008; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985; Lecci & Magnavita, 2013; Noga, 2007). Centuries later, the influential Greek physician and philosopherGalenwas based on Hippocratic theory, suggesting that both disease and personality differences could be explained by imbalances in the humors and that each person exhibits one of four temperaments. For example, the choleric person is passionate, ambitious and daring; the melancholic is reserved, anxious and unhappy; the sanguine person is cheerful, anxious and optimistic; and the phlegmatic person is calm, trustworthy, and thoughtful (Clark & ​​Watson, 2008; Stelmack & Stalikas, 1991). Galen's theory held sway for over 1,000 years and continued to be popular into the Middle Ages.

In 1780, Franz Gall, a German physician, proposed that the distances between the bumps on the skull reveal a person's personality traits, character, and mental abilities.Figure 11.3🇧🇷 According to Gall, measuring these distances revealed the sizes of the brain areas underneath, providing information that could be used to determine whether a person was friendly, proud, murderous, kind, good with languages, etc. Initially, phrenology was very popular; however, it was soon discredited for lack of empirical support and was relegated to the status of pseudoscience for a long time (Fancher, 1979).

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Figure11.3The pseudoscience of measuring the areas of a person's skull is known as phrenology. (a) Gall developed a chart that represented which areas of the skull corresponded to particular personality traits or characteristics (Hothersall, 1995). (b) An 1825 lithograph shows Gall examining the skull of a young woman. (b credit: modified work from Wellcome Library, London)

In the centuries after Galen, other researchers contributed to the development of his four main temperament types, most notably Immanuel Kant (in the 18th century) and the psychologist WilhelmWundt(in the 19th century) (Eysenck, 2009; Stelmack & Stalikas, 1991; Wundt, 1874/1886) (Figure 11.4🇧🇷 Kant agreed with Galen that everyone could be classified into one of the four temperaments and that there was no overlap between the four categories (Eysenck, 2009). He developed a list of characteristics that could be used to describe a person's personality from each of the four temperaments. However, Wundt suggested that a better description of personality could be achieved using two main axes: emotional/non-emotional and changeable/unchanging. The first axis separated strong emotions from weak ones (melancholic and choleric from phlegmatic and sanguine temperaments). The second axis divided the mutable temperaments (choleric and sanguine) from the immutable ones (melancholic and phlegmatic) (Eysenck, 2009).

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Figure11.4Based on Galen's theory of the four temperaments, Kant proposed trait words to describe each temperament. Wundt later suggested organizing the strokes along two main axes.

Sigmund Freud's psychodynamic perspective of personality was the first comprehensive theory of personality, explaining a wide variety of normal and abnormal behaviors. According to Freud, unconscious drives influenced by sex and aggression, along with childhood sexuality, are the forces that influence our personality.freudhe attracted many followers who modified his ideas to create new theories of personality. These theorists, called neo-Freudians, generally agreed with Freud that childhood experiences are important, but reduced the emphasis on sex and focused more on the social environment and the effects of culture on personality. The perspective of personality proposed by Freud and his followers was the dominant theory of personality in the first half of the 20th century.

Other major theories then emerged, including learning, humanistic, biological, evolutionary, characteristic, and cultural perspectives. In this chapter, we will explore these various perspectives on personality in depth.

LEARNING LINK: Check this outpersonality psychology summary videoLearn more.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the assumptions of the psychodynamic perspective on personality development.
  • Define and describe the nature and function of the id, ego, and superego
  • Define and describe defense mechanisms.
  • Define and describe the psychosexual stages of personality development.

Sigmundfreud(1856-1939) is probably the most controversial and misunderstood psychological theorist. When reading Freud's theories, it is important to remember that he was a physician, not a psychologist. There were no degrees in psychology at the time he received his education, which may help us understand some of the controversy over his theories today. However, Freud was the first to systematically study and theorize the workings of the unconscious mind in the way we associate with modern psychology.

In the early years of his career, Freud worked with Josef Breuer, a Viennese physician. During this period, Freud was intrigued by the story of one of Breuer's patients, Bertha Pappenheim, whom he referred to by the pseudonym Anna O. (Launer, 2005). Anna O. was tending to her dying father when she began experiencing symptoms such as partial paralysis, headaches, blurred vision, amnesia, and hallucinations. In Freud's time, these symptoms were commonly called hysteria. Anna O. asked Breuer for help. He spent 2 years (1880–1882) treating Anna O. and found that allowing him to talk about her experiences seemed to alleviate her symptoms somewhat. Anna O. called her treatment the "speech cure." Although Freud never met Anna O., her story formed the basis of the 1895 book,studies on hysteria, which he co-wrote with Breuer. Based on Breuer's description of Anna O.'s treatment, Freud concluded that the hysteria was the result of childhood sexual abuse and that these traumatic experiences had been hidden from consciousness. Breuer disagreed with Freud, who soon finished their work together. However, Freud continued to work to refine talk therapy and build his theory of personality.

Consciousness Levels

To explain the concept of conscious versus unconscious experience, Freud compared the mind to an iceberg (Figure 11.5🇧🇷 He said that only about a tenth of our mind isconscious, and the rest of our mind isunconscious🇧🇷 Our unconscious refers to that mental activity that we are not aware of and cannot access (Freud, 1923). According to Freud, unacceptable impulses and desires are retained in our unconscious through a process called repression. For example, sometimes we say things we don't mean, inadvertently substituting another word for what we mean. You've probably heard of a Freudian slip, the term used to describe it. Freud suggested that linguistic lapses are actually sexual or aggressive impulses that accidentally slip out of our unconscious. Voice errors like this are quite common. Viewing them as a reflection of unconscious desires, today's linguists have discovered that slips tend to occur when we are tired, nervous, or not at our optimal level of cognitive functioning (Motley, 2002).

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Figure11.5Freud believed that we are only aware of a small number of the activities of our mind and that most remain hidden from us in our unconscious. The information in our unconscious affects our behavior even if we are not aware of it.

According to Freud, our personality develops from a conflict between two forces: our biological aggressive and pleasure-seeking drives versus our internal (socialized) control over these drives. Our personality is the result of our efforts to balance these two competing forces. Freud suggested that we can understand this by imagining three interacting systems within our minds. He called them id, ego, and superego (Figure 11.6).

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Figure11.6The job of the ego, or self, is to balance the aggressive/pleasure-seeking impulses of the id with the moral control of the superego.

the unconsciousI would goit contains our most primitive drives or urges and is present from birth. It directs the impulses towards hunger, thirst and sex. Freud believed that the id operates on what he called the "pleasure principle," in which the id seeks immediate gratification. Through social interactions with parents and others in the child's environment, the ego and superego develop to help control the id. EITHERsuperegoit develops as the child interacts with others, learning the social rules of right and wrong. The superego acts as our conscience; it is our moral compass that tells us how we should behave. It strives for perfection and judges our behavior, leading to feelings of pride or, when we don't achieve it, feelings of guilt. In contrast to the instinctual id and the rule-based superego, theegoit is the rational part of our personality. It is what Freud considered the self to be, and it is the part of our personality that others see. Its function is to balance the demands of the id and the superego in the context of reality; thus, it operates on what Freud called the “reality principle”. The ego helps the id to fulfill its wishes realistically.

The id and the superego are in constant conflict because the id wants instant gratification regardless of the consequences, but the superego tells us that we must behave in a socially acceptable way. So the ego's job is to find the middle ground. It helps to satisfy the desires of the id in a rational way that will not lead to feelings of guilt. According to Freud, a person who has a strong ego, who manages to balance the demands of the id and the superego, has a healthy personality. Freud held that imbalances in the system can lead toneurosis(a tendency to experience negative emotions), anxiety disorders, or unhealthy behaviors. For example, a person dominated by their id may be narcissistic and impulsive. A person with a dominant superego may be dominated by feelings of guilt and deny himself even socially acceptable pleasures; conversely, if the superego is weak or absent, a person can become a psychopath. An overly dominant superego can be seen in an overly controlled individual whose rational grasp of reality is so strong that he is unaware of his emotional needs, or in a neurotic who is overly defensive (overusing the self's defense mechanisms). ego).

Defense mechanisms

Freud believed that feelings of anxiety result from the ego's inability to mediate the conflict between the id and the superego. When this happens, Freud believed that the ego seeks to restore balance through various protective measures known as defense mechanisms (Figure 11.7🇧🇷 When certain events, feelings, or impulses cause individual anxiety, the individual wants to reduce that anxiety. To do this, the unconscious mind of the individual uses the ego.Defense mechanisms, unconscious protective behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety. The usually conscious ego resorts to unconscious efforts to protect itself from being overcome by anxiety. When we use defense mechanisms, we are not aware that we are using them. In addition, they operate in various ways that distort reality. According to Freud, we all use ego defense mechanisms.

(Video) Intro to Psychology Theories of Personality

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Figure11.7Defense mechanisms are unconscious protective behaviors that work to reduce anxiety.

Although everyone uses defense mechanisms, Freud believed that their excessive use can be problematic. There are several different types of defense mechanisms. For example, in repression, memories of consciousness that cause anxiety are blocked. As an analogy, let's say your car is making a strange noise, but since you don't have the money to fix it, you just turn on the radio and you won't hear the strange noise anymore. In the end you forget about it. Likewise, in the human psyche, if a memory is too difficult to handle, it can berepressedand therefore removed from consciousness (Freud, 1920). This repressed memory can cause symptoms in other areas.

Another defense mechanism isreaction formation, in which someone expresses feelings, thoughts and behaviors contrary to their inclinations. In itregression, an individual acts much younger than his age. For example, a four-year-old who resents the arrival of a newborn sibling may act like a baby and go back to drinking from a bottle. In itprojection, a person refuses to acknowledge their own unconscious feelings and instead sees these feelings in another person. Other defense mechanisms includerationalization,displacement, misublimation.

Stages of psychosexual development

Freud believed that personality develops during early childhood: childhood experiences shape our personality, as well as our behavior as adults. He claimed that we develop through a series of stages during childhood. Each of us must go through these stages in childhood, and if we don't have proper care and nurturing during a stage, we will be stuck or obsessed with that stage even as adults.

In eachstage of psychosexual development, the child's pleasure-seeking impulses, coming from the id, are concentrated in a different area of ​​the body, called the erogenous zone. The stages are oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital.Tabla 11.1).

Freud's theory of psychosexual development is quite controversial. To understand the origins of the theory, it helps to be familiar with the political, social, and cultural influences of Freud's time in Vienna in the early 20th century. During this time, a climate of sexual repression, combined with limited understanding and education about human sexuality, strongly influenced Freud's perspective. Since sex was a taboo subject, Freud assumed that negative emotional states (neurosis) derived from the suppression of unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses. For Freud, his own memories and interpretations of patients' experiences and dreams were proof enough that the psychosexual stages were universal events in early childhood.

The Freudian stages of psychosexual development
StageYear old)Erogenous zonegreat conflictExample of fixation for adults
Oral0–1BocaWeaning from the breast or bottlesmoking, overeating
Anal1–3Againtraining toiletcleanliness, mess
phallic3–6genitalsOedipus/Electra complexvanity, excessive ambition

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Fase Oral

Nofase oral(birth to 1 year), pleasure is concentrated in the mouth. Feeding and the pleasure derived from sucking (nipple, pacifier and thumb) play an important role in the first year of a baby's life. At around 1 year of age, babies are weaned from the bottle or breast, and this process can lead to conflicts if not managed properly by caregivers. According to Freud, an adult who smokes, drinks, overeats, or bites his nails is obsessed with the oral stage of her psychosexual development; she may have been weaned too early or too late, resulting in these fixation tendencies, all of which are meant to alleviate anxiety.

Fase Anal

After going through the oral phase, children enter what Freud calledfase anal(1-3 years). At this stage, children experience pleasure in defecating and urinating, so it makes sense that the conflict at this stage is over control of the toilet. During this stage of development, children work to master self-control. Freud suggested that success in the anal stage depended on how parents handled potty training. Parents who offer praise and rewards encourage positive outcomes and can help children feel competent. Parents who are harsh on potty training can make the child so afraid of getting dirty that they become over controlled and obsessed with the anal stage, leading to the development of an anal retentive personality. The anal retentive personality is petty and stubborn, has a compulsive need for order and neatness, and can be considered a perfectionist. If parents are too lenient with toilet training, the child may not be able to develop enough self-control, become obsessed at this stage, and develop an anal expulsive personality. The anal expulsive personality is messy, sloppy, disorganized, and prone to emotional outbursts.

phallic stage

The third stage of Freud's psychosexual development is thephallic phase(3 to 6 years), corresponding to the age in which the child becomes aware of his body and recognizes the differences between boys and girls. The erogenous zone at this stage is the genitals. Conflict arises when the child feels desire for the parent of the opposite sex and jealousy and hatred for the parent of the same sex. For boys, this is called the Oedipus complex, which involves the boy's desire for his mother and his desire to replace his father, who is seen as a rival for his mother's attention. At the same time, the boy is afraid that his father will punish him for his feelings, so he tries tocastration anxiety🇧🇷 The Oedipus complex is successfully resolved when the child begins to identify with his father as an indirect way of having his mother. Failure to resolve the Oedipus complex can result in fixation and the development of a personality that can be described as vain and overly ambitious.

The girls experience a comparable conflict in the phallic stage: the Electra complex. The Electra complex, although often attributed to Freud, was actually proposed by Freud's protégé Carl Jung (Jung & Kerenyi, 1963). A girl wants the attention of her father and wants to take her mother's place. Jung also said that girls are angry with her mother for not giving them a penis, hence the termpenis envy🇧🇷 Although Freud initially embraced the Electra complex as a parallel to the Oedipus complex, he later rejected it, but it remains a cornerstone of Freudian theory, thanks in part to scholars in the field (Freud, 1931/1968; Scott, 2005).

latency period

After the phallic stage of psychosexual development there is a period known aslatency period(6 years until puberty). This period is not considered a stage because sexual feelings are latent and children focus on other activities such as school, friendships, hobbies, and sports. Children often participate in activities with same-sex partners, which serves to cement the child's gender identity.

genital phase

The final step is thegenital phase(from puberty onwards). At this stage, there is a new sexual awakening as incestuous urges resurface. The young person redirects these impulses towards other more socially acceptable partners (often resembling the parent of the opposite sex). People at this stage have mature sexual interests, which for Freud meant a strong desire for the opposite sex. Individuals who successfully pass the previous stages, reaching the genital stage without fixations, are considered balanced and healthy adults.

Although most of Freud's ideas have not found support in modern research, we cannot discount the contributions that Freud made to the field of psychology. It was Freud who pointed out that much of our mental life is influenced by early childhood experiences and takes place outside of our awareness; his theories paved the way for others.

Although Freud's focus on biological drives led him to emphasize the impact of sociocultural factors on personality development, his followers quickly realized that biology alone could not explain the diversity they encountered as they became extended the practice of psychoanalysis during the time of the Nazi Holocaust. The antisemitism that prevailed during this period may have led mainstream psychoanalysts to focus primarily on the universality of the mind's psychological structures.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the concept of inferiority complex
  • Discuss the main differences between Erikson's and Freud's views of personality.
  • Discuss Jung's ideas on the collective unconscious and archetypes.
  • Discuss the work of Karen Horney, including her review of Freud's "penis envy."

Freud attracted many followers who modified his ideas to create new theories of personality. These theorists, called neo-Freudians, generally agreed with Freud that childhood experiences are important, but they did not emphasize sex, focusing more on the social environment and the effects of culture on personality. Four notable neo-Freudians include Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung (pronounced "Yoong"), and Karen Horney (pronounced "HORN-eye").

Alfredo Adler

AlfredoAdler, Freud's colleague and first president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (an inner circle of Freud's colleagues), was the first major theorist to break with Freud (Figure 11.8🇧🇷 Later he founded a school of psychology calledindividual psychology, which focuses on our drive to compensate for feelings of inferiority. Adler (1937, 1956) proposed the concept ofInferiority complex🇧🇷 An inferiority complex refers to a person's feelings that they are worthless and do not measure up to the standards of others or society. Adler's ideas about inferiority represent a big difference between his thinking and Freud's. Freud believed that we are motivated by sexual and aggressive impulses, but Adler (1930, 1961) believed that feelings of inferiority in childhood are what drive people to seek superiority and that this striving is the force behind all our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors

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Figure11.8Alfred Adler proposed the concept of inferiority complex.

Adler also believed in the importance of social connections, considering that child development emerges through social development rather than the sexual stages described by Freud. Adler pointed out the interrelatedness of humanity and the need to work together for the betterment of all. He said: "The happiness of humanity lies in working together, in living as if each individual had set himself the task of contributing to the common welfare" (Adler, 1964, p. 255), being the main objective of psychology "to recognize the equal rights and equality of others” (Adler, 1961, p. 691).

With these insights, Adler identified three fundamental social tasks that we should all experience: occupational tasks (careers), social tasks (friendship), and love tasks (finding an intimate partner for a long-term relationship). Instead of focusing on sexual or aggressive motives for behavior, as Freud did, Adler focused on social motives. He also emphasized conscious rather than unconscious motivation, since he believed that the three fundamental social tasks are explicitly known and pursued. This is not to say that Adler didn't believe in unconscious processes as well—he did—but he thought conscious processes were more important.

One of Adler's greatest contributions to personality psychology was the idea that our birth order shapes our personality. He proposed that older siblings, who start out as the focus of parental attention but must share that attention when a new child joins the family, compensate by becoming gifted. Younger children, according to Adler, can be spoiled, which leaves the middle child the opportunity to minimize the negative dynamics of younger and older children. Despite popular attention, research has not conclusively confirmed Adler's hypotheses about birth order.

LINK TO LEARNING: One of Adler's major contributions to personality psychology was the idea that our birth order shapes our personality. watch thisbirth order theory summaryLearn more.

Erik Erikson

As an art school dropout with an uncertain future, young ErikEriksonhe met Freud's daughter, Anna Freud, while he was teaching psychoanalysis to the children of an American couple in Vienna. It was Anna Freud who encouraged Erikson to study psychoanalysis. Erikson received his degree from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute in 1933, and when Nazism spread across Europe, he fled the country and immigrated to the United States that same year. As he learned from studying life development, Erikson later proposed a psychosocial theory of development, suggesting that an individual's personality develops throughout life, a departure from Freud's view that personality is fixed early. in the life. In his theory, Erikson emphasized the social relationships that are important at each stage of personality development, in contrast to Freud's emphasis on sex. Erikson identified eight stages, each of which represents a conflict or development task (Tabla 11.2🇧🇷 The development of a healthy personality and a sense of competence depend on the successful completion of each task.

Erikson's psychosocial stages of development
StageYear old)development taskDescription
10–1trust versus mistrustTrust (or mistrust) that basic needs such as food and affection will be met
21–3Autonomy vs. shame/doubtA sense of independence in many tasks is developed.
33–6Initiative vs. guiltTakes initiative in some activities, may develop guilt when success is not achieved or limits are crossed
47–11industry against inferiorityDeveloping self-confidence in abilities when competent or a sense of inferiority when not
512–18identity x confusionExperiment and develop identity and roles.
619–29privacy x isolationEstablish intimacy and relationships with others.
730–64Generativity vs. stagnationContribute to society and be part of a family.
8Sixty-five-integrity vs. despairEvaluate and give meaning to life and the meaning of contributions.

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Carl Jung

Carlosjung(Figure 11.9) was a Swiss psychiatrist and Freud's protégé, who later parted ways with Freud and developed his own theory, which he calledanalytical psychology🇧🇷 The focus of analytical psychology is to work to balance the opposing forces of conscious and unconscious thought and experience within the personality. According to Jung, this work is a continuous learning process, occurring mainly in the second half of life, of becoming aware of unconscious elements and integrating them into consciousness.

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Figure11.9Carl Jung was interested in exploring the collective unconscious.

The separation of Jung and Freud was based on two major disagreements. First, Jung, like Adler and Erikson, did not accept that sexual desire was the primary motivator of a person's mental life. Second, although Jung agreed with Freud's concept of a personal unconscious, he considered it incomplete. In addition to the personal unconscious, Jung focused on the collective unconscious.

ocollective unconsciousit is a universal version of the personal unconscious, containing mental patterns, or memory traces, that are common to all of us (Jung, 1928). These ancestral memories, which Jung calledarchetypes, are represented by universal themes in various cultures, expressed through literature, art and dreams (Jung). Jung said these themes reflect common experiences of people around the world, such as facing death, becoming independent, and striving for dominance. Jung (1964) believed that throughout biology each person is given the same themes and that the same types of symbols, such as the hero, the maiden, the sage, and the trickster, are present in folklore and everyone's fairy tales . culture. In Jung's view, the task of integrating these unconscious archetypal aspects of the self is part of the process of self-actualization in the second half of life. With this orientation toward self-actualization, Jung broke with Freud's belief that personality is determined solely by past events, and anticipated the humanist movement with its emphasis on self-actualization and future orientation.

Jung also proposed two attitudes or approaches to life: extroversion and introversion (Jung, 1923) (Tabla 11.3🇧🇷 These ideas are considered Jung's most important contributions to the field of personality psychology, as almost all personality models now include these concepts. If you are an extrovert, then being outgoing and socially oriented fills you with energy: you get your energy from being around other people. If you are an introvert, then you are a person who can be quiet and reserved, or you can be sociable, but your energy is derived from your inner psychic activity. Jung believed that a balance between extroversion and introversion best served the goal of self-actualization.

Introverts and Extroverts
energized by being aloneEnergized by being with others
avoid attentionseeks attention
speak slowly and quietlyspeak fast and loud
think before you talkthink out loud
stay on a threadJump from one topic to another
Prefers written communication.Prefer verbal communication
pay attention easilydistraible
CautiousAct first, think later

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Another concept proposed by Jung was that of person, which he called a mask that we adopted. According to Jung, we consciously create this person; however, it derives from both our conscious experiences and our collective unconscious. What is the purpose of the person? Jung believed that it is a compromise between who we really are (our real selves) and what society expects us to be. We hide those parts of ourselves that don't align with society's expectations.

LINK TO LEARNINGS: Jung's view of extrovert and introvert types serves as the foundation for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This questionnaire describes a person's degree of introversion versus extroversion, thinking versus feeling, intuition versus perception, and judgment versus perception. Take itmodified questionnaire based on the MBTILearn more.

(Video) What is Personality? (Intro Psych Tutorial #128)

CONNECTING THE CONCEPTS: Do the archetypes have a genetic basis?

Jung proposed that human responses to archetypes are similar to the instinctive responses of animals. One criticism of Jung is that there is no evidence that the archetypes have a biological basis or are similar to animal instincts (Roesler, 2012). Jung formulated his ideas about 100 years ago and since then great advances have been made in the field of genetics. We found that human babies are born with certain capabilities, including the ability to acquire language. However, we also found that symbolic information (such as archetypes) is not encoded in the genome and that infants cannot decode symbolism, refuting the idea of ​​a biological basis for archetypes. Rather than being viewed as purely biological, more recent research suggests that archetypes emerge directly from our experiences and are reflections of linguistic or cultural characteristics (Young-Eisendrath, 1995). Today, most Jungian scholars believe that the collective unconscious and archetypes are based on innate and environmental influences, with differences in the role and degree of each (Sotirova-Kohli et al., 2013).

karen horney

karenHorneyshe was one of the first women to be trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst. During the Great Depression, Horney moved from Germany to the United States and subsequently moved away from Freud's teachings. Like Jung, Horney believed that each individual has the potential for self-actualization, and that the goal of psychoanalysis should be to move toward a healthy self rather than to explore dysfunctional patterns of early childhood. Horney also took issue with the Freudian idea that girls are penis envy and jealous of male biological characteristics. According to Horney, any jealousy likely has a cultural basis, due to the greater privileges men tend to enjoy, which means the differences between men's and women's personalities are cultural, not biological. Furthermore, she suggested that men are envy of the womb because they cannot give birth.

Horney's theories focused on the role of unconscious anxiety. He suggested that normal growth may be blocked by basic anxiety arising from unmet needs, such as childhood experiences of loneliness and/or isolation. How do children learn to deal with this anxiety? Horney suggested three coping styles (Tabla 11.4🇧🇷 The first coping style,moving towards people, depends on affiliation and dependency. These children become dependent on parents and other caregivers in an effort to receive attention and affection, which alleviates anxiety (Burger, 2008). As these children grow older, they tend to use this same coping strategy to deal with relationships, expressing an intense need for love and acceptance (Burger, 2008). The second coping style,moving against people, is based on aggressiveness and assertiveness. Children with this coping style find fighting is the best way to deal with an unhappy family situation and deal with their feelings of insecurity by bullying other children (Burger, 2008). As adults, people with this coping style tend to make hurtful comments and exploit others (Burger, 2008). The third coping style,get away from people, focuses on detachment and isolation. These children deal with their anxiety by withdrawing from the world. They need privacy and tend to be self-sufficient. When these children are adults, they continue to avoid things like love and friendship, and they also tend to gravitate toward careers that require little interaction with others (Burger, 2008).

Horney's Coping Styles
coping styleDescriptionExample
moving towards the peopleAffiliation and dependencyChild seeking positive attention and affection from parents; adult in need of love
moving against the peopleAggression and manipulation.Children fighting or bullying other children; adult who is abrasive and verbally offensive, or who exploits others
get away from peopleDistancing and isolationChild withdrawn from the world and isolated; lonely adult

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Horney believed that these three styles are ways people typically deal with everyday problems; however, all three coping styles can become neurotic strategies if used rigidly and compulsively, leading the person to withdraw from others.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the behaviorist perspective on personality.
  • Describe the cognitive perspective of personality.
  • Describe the social cognitive perspective on personality.

Unlike Freud's and neo-Freudian psychodynamic approaches, which relate personality to internal (and hidden) processes, learning approaches focus solely on observable behavior. This illustrates a significant advantage of learning approaches over psychodynamics: because learning approaches involve observable and measurable phenomena, they can be tested scientifically.

The Behavioral Perspective

Behaviorists don't believe in biological determinism: they don't see personality traits as inborn. Rather, they view personality as significantly shaped by reinforcers and consequences outside the organism. In other words, people consistently behave based on prior learning. bfskinner, a strict behaviorist, believed that the environment was solely responsible for all behavior, including long-lasting and consistent patterns of behavior studied by personality theorists.

As you will remember from his study of the psychology of learning, Skinner proposed that we show consistent patterns of behavior because we develop certain response tendencies (Skinner, 1953). In other words, welearnbehave in particular ways. We increase behaviors that lead to positive consequences and decrease behaviors that lead to negative consequences. Skinner disagreed with Freud's idea that personality is fixed in childhood. He argued that personality develops throughout our lives, not just in the early years. Our responses may change as we are faced with new situations; therefore, we can expect more variability over time in personality than Freud would have anticipated. For example, consider a young woman, Greta, who is a risk taker. She drives fast and participates in dangerous sports like hang gliding and kitesurfing. But after getting married and having children, the system of reinforcement and punishment around her changes. Speeding and extreme sports are no longer reinforced, so she no longer engages in these behaviors. In fact, Greta now describes herself as a cautious person.

The sociocognitive perspective

Albertobanduraagreed with Skinner that personality develops throughLearning🇧🇷 He did not agree, however, with Skinner's strict behaviourist approach to personality development, because he thought thinking and reasoning were important components of learning. he presented asociocognitive theoryof personality that emphasizes both learning and cognition as sources of individual differences in personality. In sociocognitive theory, the concepts of reciprocal determinism, observational learning, and self-efficacy play a role in personality development.

reciprocal determinism

In contrast to Skinner's idea that only the environment determines behavior, Bandura (1990) proposed the concept ofreciprocal determinism, in which cognitive processes, behavior and context interact, each factor influencing and being influenced by others simultaneously (Figure 11.10).cognitive processesthey refer to all previously learned characteristics, including beliefs, expectations, and personality characteristics.Behaviourrefers to everything we do that can be rewarded or punished. Finally, thecontextin which the behavior occurs refers to the environment or situation, which includes reward/punishment stimuli.

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Figure11.10Bandura proposed the idea of ​​reciprocal determinism: our behavior, cognitive processes, and situational context influence each other.

Consider, for example, that you are at a festival and one of the attractions is bungee jumping off a bridge. You do? In this example, the behavior is bungee jumping. Cognitive factors that can influence this behavior include your beliefs and values ​​and your past experiences with similar behaviors. Finally, the context refers to the reward structure for the behavior. According to reciprocal determinism, all of these factors are at play.

observational learning

Bandura's main contribution to learning theory was the idea that much learning is vicarious. We learn by observing another person's behavior and its consequences, which Bandura called observational learning. He felt that this type of learning also plays a role in the development of our personality. Just as we learn individual behaviors, we learn new behavior patterns when we see them performed by other people or role models. Drawing on behaviorists' ideas about reinforcement, Bandura suggested that the choice to imitate a model's behavior depends on whether we see the model reinforced or punished. Through observational learning, we learn what behaviors are acceptable and rewarded in our culture, and we also learn to inhibit deviant or socially unacceptable behaviors by seeing what behaviors are punished.

We can see the principles of reciprocal determinism at work in observational learning. For example, personal factors determine which behaviors in the environment a person chooses to imitate, and these environmental events, in turn, are cognitively processed according to other personal factors. A person may experience receiving attention as a reinforcement, and that person may be more inclined to imitate behaviors such as bragging when a model has been reinforced. For others, bragging can be viewed negatively, despite the attention it can generate, or receiving increased attention can be perceived as scrutiny. In both cases, the person may be less likely to imitate these behaviors, even if the reasons for not doing so are different.


Bandura (1977, 1995) has studied various cognitive and personal factors that affect learning and personality development and, more recently, has focused on the concept of self-efficacy.self-efficacyit is our level of confidence in our own abilities, developed through our social experiences. Self-efficacy affects the way we approach challenges and achieve goals. In observational learning, self-efficacy is a cognitive factor that affects the behaviors we choose to imitate, as well as our success in performing those behaviors.

People who are high in self-efficacy believe that their goals are within reach, have a positive view of challenges, see them as tasks to be mastered, develop a deep interest in, and a strong commitment to, the activities in which they are involved. and recover quickly from setbacks. On the other hand, people with low self-efficacy avoid challenging tasks because they doubt their ability to succeed, tend to focus on failure and negative outcomes, and lose confidence in their abilities if they experience setbacks. Feelings of self-efficacy can be specific to certain situations. For example, a student may feel confident in her ability in English class, but much less so in math class.

Julian Rotter and the place of control

julianScoundrel(1966) proposed the concept of locus of control, another cognitive factor that affects learning and personality development. Unlike self-efficacy, which involves our belief in our own abilities,checkpointrefers to our beliefs about the power we have over our lives. In Rotter's view, people have an internal or external locus of control (Figure 11.11🇧🇷 Those of us with an internal ("internal") locus of control tend to believe that most of our results are the direct result of our efforts. Those of us with an external locus of control ("externals") tend to believe that our results are out of our control. Outsiders see their lives as controlled by other people, luck, or chance. For example, suppose he didn't spend a lot of time studying for his psychology test and instead went out to dinner with friends. When you get your test grade, you see that you got a D. If you have an internal locus of control, you would probably admit that you failed because you didn't spend enough time studying and decide to study harder for the next test. On the other hand, if you have an external locus of control, you might conclude that the test was too hard and not bother studying for the next test because you think you're going to fail anyway. Researchers have found that people with an internal locus of control perform better academically, achieve more in their careers, are more independent, are healthier, have more coping skills, and are less depressed than people who have an internal locus of control. they have an external internal locus of control (Benassi et al., 1988; Lefcourt, 1982; Maltby et al., 2007; Whyte, 1977, 1978, 1980).

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Figure11.11Locus of control occurs on a continuum from internal to external.

LEARNING LINK: Take theLocus of Control QuestionnaireLearn more. Scores range from 0 to 13. A low score on this questionnaire indicates an internal locus of control and a high score indicates an external locus of control.

Walter Mischel and the person-situation debate

walterMischelHe was a student of Julian Rotter and taught for years at Stanford, where he was a colleague of Albert Bandura. Mischel reviewed several decades of empirical psychological literature on the prediction of behavioral traits, and his conclusion shook the foundations of personality psychology. Mischel found that the data did not support the field's basic tenet: that a person's personality traits are consistent across all situations. His report triggered a decades-long period of self-examination, known as the status-of-the-person debate, among personality psychologists.

Mischel suggested that perhaps we were looking for consistency in the wrong places. He discovered that although the behavior was inconsistent across all situations, it was much more consistent across all situations, such that a person's behavior in one situation would likely be repeated in a similar one. And as you'll see below in connection with his famous "marshmallow test," Mischel also found that behavior is constant in equivalent situations over time.

One of Mischel's most notable contributions to personality psychology was his ideas on self-regulation. According to Lecci and Magnavita (2013), “Self-regulation is the process of identifying a goal or set of goals and, in pursuit of these goals, using both internal (eg, thoughts and affect) and external ( eg, answers of anything). or anyone in the environment) feedback to maximize goal achievement” (p. 6.3). Self-regulation is also known as willpower. When we talk about willpower, we tend to think of it as the ability to delay gratification. For example, Bettina's teenage daughter made strawberry cupcakes and they were delicious. However, Bettina gave up the pleasure of eating one, as she is training for a 5K race and wants to be fit and do well in the race. Would you be able to resist receiving a small reward now to get a bigger reward later? This is the question that Mischel investigated in his classic marshmallow test.

Mischel designed a study to assess self-regulation in young children. In the marshmallow study, Mischel and his colleagues placed a preschooler in a room with a marshmallow on the table. The children were told that they could eat the marshmallow now or wait until the experimenter returned to the room and then they could eat two marshmallows (Mischel et al., 1972). This was repeated with hundreds of preschoolers. What Mischel and his team found was that children differ in their degree of self-control. Mischel and his colleagues continued to follow this group of preschool-age children through high school, and what do you think they found? Children who had the most self-control in preschool (those who expected the greatest reward) were more successful in high school. They had higher SAT scores, had positive peer relationships, and were less likely to have substance abuse problems; as adults, they also had more stable marriages (Mischel et al., 1989; Mischel et al., 2010). On the other hand, children who had poor self-control in preschool (those who reached for a marshmallow) were less successful in high school and had academic and behavioral problems. A more recent study using a larger, more representative sample found associations between delayed early gratification (Watts et al., 2018) and measures of adolescent achievement. However, the researchers also found that the associations were not as strong as those reported during Mischel's initial experiment and were quite sensitive to situational factors, such as baseline measures of cognitive ability, family history, and home environment. This research suggests that consideration of situational factors is important to better understand behavior.

Today, the debate is largely settled, and most psychologists consider both situational and personal factors in understanding behavior. For Mischel (1993), people are situation processors. Each of the children in the marshmallow trial processed or interpreted the reward structure of that situation in her own way. Mischel's approach to personality emphasizes the importance of both the situation and how the person perceives the situation. Instead of behavior being determined by the situation, people use cognitive processes to interpret the situation and then behave in accordance with that interpretation.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the contributions of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers to personality development.

As the "third force" in psychology,humanismit is presented as a reaction both to the pessimistic determinism of psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on psychological disorder, and to the behaviorists' view that humans react passively to the environment, which has been criticized for turning people into robots without personality. . He does not suggest that psychoanalytic, behavioral, and other views are incorrect, but argues that these perspectives fail to recognize the depth and meaning of the human experience and fail to recognize the innate capacity for self-directed change and transformation of personal experiences. This perspective focuses on how healthy people develop. A pioneering humanist, AbrahamMaslow, studied people he considered healthy, creative, and productive, including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and others. Maslow (1950, 1970) found that these people share similar traits, such as being open, creative, loving, spontaneous, compassionate, concerned about others, and self-accepting. By studying motivation, you learned about one of the best-known humanistic theories, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, in which Maslow proposes that human beings have certain needs in common and that these needs must be met in a certain order. . The highest need is the need for self-actualization, which is the realization of our highest potential. Maslow differentiated between needs that motivate us to fill something that is lacking and needs that inspire us to grow. He believed that many emotional and behavioral concerns arise as a result of not meeting these hierarchical needs.

(Video) [PSYC200] 21. Personality Part 1: Introduction

Another humanist theorist was Carl Rogers. One of Rogers' main ideas about personality problems.selfconcept, our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. How would you answer the question, “Who am I?” Your answer can show how you see yourself. If your answer is mostly positive, you tend to feel good about who you are and see the world as a safe and positive place. If your answer is mostly no, you may be dissatisfied with who you are. Rogers further divided the self into two categories: the ideal self and the real self. EITHERideal meis the person you would like to be; Thereal meis the person you really are. Rogers focused on the idea that we need to achieve coherence between these two selves. we experiencecongruencewhen our thoughts about our real selves and our ideal selves are very similar; in other words, when our self-concept is accurate.High congruence leads to a greater sense of self-worth and a healthy, productive life. Parents can help their children achieve this by giving them unconditional positive regard or unconditional love. According to Rogers (1980), "As people are accepted and valued, they tend to develop a more careful attitude towards themselves" (p. 116). On the other hand, when there is a large discrepancy between our ideal and real selves, we experience a state that Rogers calledincongruity, which can lead to a mismatch. Rogers and Maslow's theories focus on individual choices and do not believe that biology is deterministic.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the findings of the Minnesota Study of Twins Raised Until Separation as they relate to personality and genetics.
  • Discuss temperament and describe the three childhood temperaments identified by Thomas and Chess.
  • Discuss the evolutionary perspective on personality development.

How much of our personality is innate and biological, and how much is influenced by the environment and culture in which we grew up? Psychologists who advocate the biological approach believe that inherited predispositions, as well as physiological processes, can be used to explain differences in our personalities (Burger, 2008).

Evolutionary psychology related to personality development looks at personality traits that are universal, as well as differences between individuals. In this view, adaptive differences have evolved and therefore provide reproductive and survival advantage. Individual differences are important from an evolutionary standpoint for several reasons. Certain individual differences and the heritability of these traits have been well documented. David Buss has identified several theories to explore this relationship between personality traits and evolution, such as the life history theory, which analyzes how people spend their time and energy (such as growing and maintaining the body, reproducing or raising children). Another example is costly signaling theory, which examines the honesty and deceit in the signals that people send to each other about their quality as a partner or friend (Buss, 2009).

In the field of behavioral genetics, theMinnesota Study of Separately Raised Twins—a well-known study of the genetic basis of personality—conducted research on twins from 1979 to 1999. Studying 350 pairs of twins, including identical twin pairs and fraternal twins reared together and separately, researchers found that identical twins, raised together or separated separately, they have very similar personalities (Bouchard, 1994; Bouchard et al., 1990; Segal, 2012). These findings suggest the heritability of some personality traits.heritabilityrefers to the proportion of difference between people that is attributable to genetics. Some of the traits that the study reported to have a heritability rate of more than 0.50 include leadership, obedience to authority, sense of well-being, alienation, resistance to stress, and fearfulness. The implication is that some aspects of our personality are largely controlled by genetics; however, it is important to emphasize that traits are not determined by a single gene, but by a combination of many genes, as well as epigenetic factors that control whether genes are expressed.

Other research that has examined the link between personality and other factors has identified and studied type A and type B personalities, which you will learn more about in the chapter on stress, health, and lifestyle.


Most contemporary psychologists believe that temperament has a biological basis because it appears very early in our lives (Rothbart, 2011). As he learned from studying life development, Thomas and Chess (1977) discovered that babies can be classified into one of three temperaments: easy, difficult, or slow to warm up. However, environmental factors (family interactions, for example) and maturation can affect the ways in which children's personalities are expressed (Carter et al., 2008).

Research suggests that there are two dimensions of our temperament that are important parts of our adult personality: reactivity and self-regulation (Rothbart et al., 2000). Reactivity refers to how we respond to new or challenging environmental stimuli; self-regulation refers to our ability to control this response (Rothbart & Derryberry, 1981; Rothbart et al., 2011). For example, one person may immediately respond to new stimuli with a high level of anxiety, while another is barely aware.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss Cattell and Eysenck's early trait theories
  • Discuss the top five factors and describe someone who is high and low on each of the five factors.

Trait theorists believe that personality can be understood through the approach that all people have certain traits.characteristics, or characteristic modes of behavior. Do you tend to be sociable or shy? Passive or aggressive? Optimistic or pessimistic? Moody or balanced? Early trait theorists attempted to describe all of the human personality traits. For example, a trait theorist, Gordon Allport (Allport & Odbert, 1936), found 4,500 words in the English language that could describe people. He organized these personality traits into three categories: cardinal traits, core traits, and minor traits. A cardinal trait is one that dominates your entire personality and therefore your life, such as Ebenezer Scrooge's greed and Mother Teresa's altruism. Cardinal traits are not very common: Few people have personalities dominated by only one trait. Rather, our personalities are typically made up of multiple traits. Core traits are those that make up our personalities (such as loyal, kind, nice, friendly, cunning, wild, and grumpy). Minor features are those that are not as obvious or consistent as major features. They are present in specific circumstances and include preferences and attitudes. For example, a person gets angry when people try to tickle him; another can only sleep on the left side of the bed, and another always asks for his salad dressing on the side. And you, although you are not normally an anxious person, you get nervous before giving a speech in front of your English class.

In an effort to make the list of features more manageable, Raymond Cattell (1946, 1957) reduced the list to about 171 features. However, saying that a trait is present or absent does not accurately reflect a person's uniqueness, because all of our personalities are actually made up of the same traits; we only differ in the degree to which each trait is expressed. Cattell (1957) identified 16 factors or dimensions of personality: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, mastery, liveliness, awareness of rules, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstraction, privacy, apprehension, openness to change, self-confidence , perfectionism and tension.(Tabla 11.5🇧🇷 He developed a personality assessment based on these 16 factors, called 16PF. Rather than a feature being present or absent, each dimension is rated on a continuum from highest to lowest. For example, your warmth level describes how warm, caring, and kind you are to others. If you score low on this index, you tend to be more distant and cold. A high score on this index means that you are supportive and reassuring.

Personality factors measured by the 16PF questionnaire
Factorlow scoreTop Score
cordialityreserved, separateoutgoing, caring
Intellectconcrete thinkerAnalytical
emotional stabilitymoody, irritablestable, calm
Aggressivenessdocile, submissivecontrolling, dominant
vivacitygloomy, prudentadventurous, spontaneous
Greetingnot trustworthyconscientious
social assertivenessshy, contentuninhibited, daring
sensitivityobstinatesensitive, considerate
introversionopen, directprivate, cunning
open mindClose-minded, traditionalcurious, experimental
Independenceoutgoing, socialself-sufficient
perfectionismdisorganized, informalorganized, precise

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LEARNING LINK: Take Thisassessment based on the Cattell 16PF questionnaireto see which personality traits dominate your personality.

Psychologists Hans and SybilEysenckthey were personality theoristsFigure 11.12) which focused ontemperament, the inborn and genetically based personality differences you studied earlier in this chapter. They believed that personality is largely governed by biology. The Eysencks viewed people as having two specific dimensions of personality: extraversion/introversion and neuroticism/stability (Eysenck, 1990, 1992; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1963).

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Figure11.12Hans and Sybil Eysenck believed that our personality traits are influenced by our genetic heritage. (Credit: “Sirswindon”/Wikimedia Commons)

According to his theory, people with high trait extraversion are sociable and outgoing and easily connect with others, while people with high trait introversion have a greater need to be alone, behave solitary, and limit their interactions with others. the rest. 🇧🇷 In the neuroticism/stability dimension, people with a high level of neuroticism tend to be anxious; they tend to have an overactive sympathetic nervous system, and even with little stress, their bodies and emotional state tend to go into a fight or flight response. Conversely, people with high stability tend to need more stimulation to activate their fight or flight response and are considered more emotionally stable. Based on these two dimensions, Eysenck's theory divides people into four quadrants. These quadrants are sometimes compared to the four temperaments described by the Greeks: melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic, and sanguine (Figure 11.13).

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Figure11.13The Eysencks described two factors to explain the variations in our personalities: extraversion/introversion and emotional stability/instability.

Later, the Eysencks added a third dimension: psychoticism versus superego control (Eysenck et al., 1985). On this dimension, people high in psychoticism tend to be independent thinkers, cold, nonconforming, impulsive, antisocial, and hostile, whereas people high in superego control tend to be high in impulse control, more altruistic, empathetic, cooperative. and conventional.

While Cattell's 16 factors may be too broad, Eysenck's two-factor system has been criticized for being too narrow. Another theory of personality, calledfive factor model, effectively strikes a middle ground, with its five factors called the Big Five personality factors. It is the most popular theory in personality psychology today and the most accurate approximation of the basic dimensions of personality (Funder, 2001). The five factors are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.Figure 11.14🇧🇷 A useful way to remember the factors is to use the mnemonic OCEAN.

In the five factor model, each person has each factor, but they occur along a spectrum. Openness to experience is characterized by imagination, feelings, actions, and ideas. People who score high on this factor tend to be curious and have a wide range of interests. Conscientiousness is characterized by competence, self-discipline, thoughtfulness, and striving for achievement (goal-directed behavior). People who score high on this factor are hardworking and dependable. Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between conscientiousness and academic success (Akomolafe, 2013; Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2008; Conrad & Patry, 2012; Noftle & Robins, 2007; Wagerman & Funder, 2007). Extraversion is characterized by sociability, assertiveness, thrill seeking, and emotional expression. People who score high on this factor are often described as outgoing and warm. Not surprisingly, people who score high in extroversion and openness are more likely to participate in adventure and risk sports due to their curious and thrill-seeking nature (Tok, 2011). The fourth factor is agreeableness, which is the tendency to be agreeable, cooperative, trustworthy, and caring. People who score low on agreeableness tend to be described as rude and uncooperative, but a recent study reported that men who score low on this factor actually make more money than men who are perceived as being kinder ( Judge et al., 2012). The last of the big five factors is neuroticism, which is the tendency to experience negative emotions. People with a high level of neuroticism tend to experience emotional instability and are characterized by being quick-tempered, impulsive and hostile. Watson and Clark (1984) found that people who report high levels of neuroticism also tend to report feelings of anxiety and unhappiness. By contrast, people who score low on neuroticism tend to be calm and level-headed.

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Figure11.14In the five-factor model, each person has five factors, each rated on a continuum from highest to lowest. In the center column, notice that the first letter of each factor forms the mnemonic OCEAN.

Each of the Big Five personality factors represents a range between two extremes. In reality, most of us tend to fall somewhere in the middle of each factor's continuum rather than at the polar extremes. It is important to note that the Big Five factors are relatively stable throughout our lives, with some tendency to increase or decrease slightly. Researchers have found that conscientiousness increases in young adulthood through midlife as we become better able to manage our personal relationships and careers (Donnellan & Lucas, 2008). Kindness also increases with age, with a peak between 50 and 70 years of age (Terracciano et al., 2005). Neuroticism and extraversion tend to decrease slightly with age (Donnellan & Lucas, 2008; Terracciano et al., 2005). In addition, Big Five factors have been shown to exist across ethnicities, cultures, and ages, and may have substantial biological and genetic components (Jang et al., 1996; Jang et al., 2006; McCrae & Costa, 1997). ; Schmitt et al. al., 2006; al., 2007).

Another model of personality traits is the HEXACO model. HEXACO is an acronym for six general traits: honesty-humility, emotionality, extroversion, kindness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience (Anglim & O'Connor, 2018).Tabla 11.6provides a brief overview of each feature.

HEXACO Features
FeatureFeature Aspects Example
(H) Honesty-humilitySincerity, modesty, fidelity
(E) EmotionalitySentimentality, anxiety, sensitivity.
(X) Extroversionsociability, talkativeness, boldness
(A) KindnessPatience, tolerance, kindness.
(C) ScrupulousnessOrganization, rigor, precision
(The openingCreativity, curiosity, innovation.

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(Video) Measuring Personality: Crash Course Psychology #22

LEARNING LINK: Take theBig Five Personality Testto learn more about your personality and where you fit into the big five.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the personality differences of people from collectivistic and individualistic cultures.
  • Discuss the three approaches to studying personality in a cultural context.

As you learned in this chapter, personality is shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. EITHERcultureWhere you live is one of the most important environmental factors that shape your personality (Triandis & Suh, 2002). The termculturerefers to all the beliefs, customs, art and traditions of a given society. Culture is transmitted to people through language, as well as by modeling culturally acceptable and unacceptable behaviors that are rewarded or punished (Triandis & Suh, 2002). With these ideas in mind, personality psychologists became interested in the role of culture in understanding personality. They ask if personality traits are the same in all cultures or if there are variations. It seems that there are both universal and culture-specific aspects that explain the variation in people's personalities.

Why might it be important to consider cultural influences on personality? Western ideas about personality may not be applicable to other cultures (Benet-Martinez & Oishi, 2008). In fact, there is evidence that the strength of personality traits varies across cultures. Let's take a look at some of the big five factors (conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, and extroversion) across cultures. As you will learn when you study social psychology, Asian cultures are more collectivist, and people from these cultures tend to be less outgoing. People from Central and South American cultures tend to score higher on openness to experience, while Europeans score higher on neuroticism (Benet-Martinez & Karakitapoglu-Aygun, 2003).

According to a study by Rentfrow and colleagues, there also appear to be regional differences in personality in the United States (Figure 11.15🇧🇷 Researchers analyzed responses from more than 1.5 million people in the United States and found that there are three distinct regional personality groups: Group 1, found in the Upper Midwest and Deep South, is dominated by by people who fit the "friendly and conventional" personality. . 🇧🇷 Group 2, which includes the West, is dominated by more relaxed, emotionally stable, calm and creative people; and Group 3, which includes the Northeast, has more people who are stressed, irritable, and depressed. People living in groups 2 and 3 also tend to be more open (Rentfrow et al., 2013).

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Figure11.15The researchers found three distinct regional personality clusters in the United States. People tend to be friendly and conventional in the Upper Midwest and Deep South; relaxed, emotionally stable and creative in the West; and stressed, irritable, and depressed in the Northeast (Rentfrow et al., 2013).

One explanation for regional differences isselective migration(Rentfrow et al., 2013). Selective migration is the concept that people choose to move to places compatible with their personalities and needs. For example, a person at the top of the agreeable scale would probably like to live near family and friends and would choose to settle or stay in that area. On the other hand, someone with a high level of openness would prefer to settle in a place that is recognized as diverse and innovative (like California). Additionally, Rentfrow et al. (2009) found an overlap between geographic regions and personality characteristics that go beyond the frequently used explanations of religion, racial diversity, and education. Research suggests that the psychological profile of a region is closely related to that of its residents. They found that levels of openness and awareness in a state can predict voting patterns, indicating that there are correlations between geographic regions and personality differences between liberals and conservatives with respect to political views, levels of economic vitality, and rates. business.

Personality in individualistic and collectivist cultures

Individualistic cultures and collectivist cultures emphasize different core values. People who live in individualistic cultures tend to believe that independence, competence, and personal achievement are important. People from Western countries such as the United States, England, and Australia score high on individualism (Oyserman et al., 2002). People living in collectivist cultures value social harmony, respect, and group needs above individual needs. People living in countries in Asia, Africa, and South America score high on collectivism (Hofstede, 2001; Triandis, 1995). These values ​​influence personality. For example, Yang (2006) found that people in individualistic cultures exhibited more personally oriented personality traits, while people in collectivist cultures exhibited more socially oriented personality traits. Frewer and Bleus (1991) conducted a study of the Eysenk Personality Inventory in a collectivist culture with university students from Papua New Guinea. They found that the results of the personality inventory were only relevant when viewed in the context of a collectivist society. Similarly, Dana (1986) suggested that personality assessment services for Native Americans are often provided without adequate recognition of culture-specific responses and a tribe-specific frame of reference. Evaluators must have more than a general knowledge of history, tribal differences, contemporary reservation culture, and levels of acculturation to interpret psychological test responses with minimal bias.

Approaches to the study of personality in a cultural context

There are three approaches that can be used to study personality in a cultural context, thecultural-comparative approach; aindigenous approach; It's incombined approach, which incorporates elements from both views. Since ideas about personality are Western-based, the cross-cultural approach seeks to test Western ideas about personality in other cultures to determine if they can be generalized and if they have cultural validity (Cheung van de Vijver & Leong, 2011). For example, recall from the previous section on the trait perspective that the researchers used the cross-cultural approach to test the universality of McCrae and Costa's five-factor model. They have found applicability in all cultures of the world, with the Big Five being stable in many cultures (McCrae & Costa, 1997; McCrae et al., 2005). The indigenous approach emerged as a reaction to the dominance of Western approaches to studying personality in non-Western contexts (Cheung et al., 2011). Since Western-based personality assessments cannot fully capture the personality constructs of other cultures, the indigenous model has led to the development of personality assessment instruments based on constructs relevant to the culture being studied. The third approach to cross-cultural personality studies is the blended approach, which serves as a bridge between Western and indigenous psychology as a way of understanding universal and cultural variations in personality.

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  • Recognize and describe common projective tests used in personality assessment.

Roberto, Mikhail and Nat are friends from university and they all want to be policemen. Roberto is quiet and shy, he lacks self-confidence and tends to follow others. He is a kind person but lacks motivation. Mikhail is loud and loud, a leader. He works hard but is impulsive and drinks too much on the weekends. Nat is considerate and sweet. He is trustworthy, but sometimes has a hard time making quick decisions. Of these three, who would be the best cop? What qualities and personality factors make someone a good police officer? What makes someone a bad or dangerous cop?

The job of a police officer is very stressful, and law enforcement agencies want to make sure they hire the right people. Personality tests are often used for this purpose: to select candidates for employment and vocational training. Personality tests are also used in criminal cases and custody battles and to assess psychological disorders. This section explores the most popular of the different types of personality tests.

self report inventories

Self-report inventories are a type of objective test used to assess personality. They typically use multiple-choice items or numbered scales, representing a range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). They are usually called Likert scales after their developer, Rensis Likert (1932) (Figure 11.16🇧🇷 Self-report inventories are generally easy to manage and cost effective. Respondents are also more likely to respond intentionally or unintentionally in more socially desirable, exaggerated, biased, or misleading ways. For example, someone applying for a job is likely to try to present themselves in a positive light, perhaps as an even better candidate than they actually are.

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Figure11.16If you've ever taken a survey, you're probably familiar with Likert scale questions. Most personality inventories use this type of response scale.

One of the most widely used personality inventories is theMinnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), first published in 1943 with 504 true/false questions, and updated for MMPI-2 in 1989 with 567 questions. The original MMPI was based on a small and limited sample comprised primarily of Minnesota farmers and psychiatric patients; the revised inventory was based on a more representative national sample to allow for better standardization. MMPI-2 takes 1-2 hours to complete. Responses are scored to produce a clinical profile comprising 10 scales: hypochondria, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviance (social deviance), masculinity versus femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia (obsessive/compulsive qualities), schizophrenia, hypomania, and social introversion. There is also a scale to check risk factors for alcohol abuse. In 2008, the test was revised again, using more advanced methods, for the MMPI-2-RF. This version takes about half the time to complete and only has 338 questions (Figure 11.17🇧🇷 Despite the advantages of the new test, the MMPI-2 is more established and continues to be more widely used. Tests are usually administered by computer. Although the MMPI was originally developed to aid in the clinical diagnosis of psychological disorders, it is now also used for occupational assessment, such as in law enforcement, college, career, and marriage counseling (Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008). .

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Figure11.17These true/false questions are similar to the types of questions you would find on the MMPI.

In addition to the clinical scales, the tests also have validity and reliability scales. (Remember the concepts of reliability and validity from your psychological research study.) One of the validity scales, the Lie Scale (or “L” Scale), consists of 15 items and is used to verify whether the respondent “pretends to be good”. ." (Underreporting psychological problems to appear healthier.) For example, if someone answers "yes" to a series of unrealistically positive questions, such as "I have never told a lie," they may be trying to "pretend to be nice." " or appear better than it really is.

Reliability scales test the consistency of an instrument over time, ensuring that if you take the MMPI-2-RF today and again 5 years later, your two scores will be similar. Beutler et al. (1988) gave the MMPI to newly recruited officers and then to the same officers 2 years later. After 2 years on the job, the officers' responses indicated increased vulnerability to alcoholism, somatic symptoms (vague and unexplained physical complaints), and anxiety. When the test was administered 2 years later (4 years after starting work), the results suggested a high risk of alcohol-related difficulties.

projective tests

Another method of personality assessment isprojective test🇧🇷 This type of test is based on one of the defense mechanisms proposed by Freud, projection, as a way of evaluating unconscious processes. During this type of test, a series of ambiguous cards is shown to the test taker, who is encouraged to project their feelings, impulses, and desires onto the cards: tell a story, interpret an image, or complete a sentence. Many projective tests have gone through standardization procedures (eg Exner, 2002) and can be used to assess whether someone is having unusual thoughts or a high level of anxiety, or is likely to become volatile. Some examples of projective tests are the Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), the Contemporized-Themes Concerning Blacks test, the TEMAS (Tell-Me-A-Story) and the Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank (RISB). evidence is less subject to intentional distortion; it's hard to fake "good" because it's not obvious what a "good" answer is. Projective tests consume more evaluator time than self-report inventories. If a rater scores the Rorschach using the Exner scoring system, the test is considered a valid and reliable measure. However, the validity of the other projective tests is questionable and the results often cannot be used for court cases (Goldstein, n.d.).

oRorschach inkblot testit was developed in 1921 by a Swiss psychologist named Hermann Rorschach (pronounced “ROAR-shock”). It is a series of symmetrical inkblot cards that a psychologist presents to a client. After presenting each card, the psychologist asks the client: “What could this be?” What the examinee sees reveals unconscious feelings and struggles (Piotrowski, 1987; Weiner, 2003). The Rorschach was standardized using the Exner system and is effective in measuring depression, psychosis, and anxiety.

A second projective test is theThematic Apperception Test (TAT), created in the 1930s by Henry Murray, an American psychologist and psychoanalyst named Christiana Morgan. A person taking the TAT sees 8 to 12 ambiguous photos and is asked to tell a story about each photo (Figure 11.18🇧🇷 The stories give insight into their social world, revealing hopes, fears, interests, and goals. The narrative format helps to decrease a person's resistance to revealing unconscious personal details (Cramer, 2004). The TAT has been used in clinical settings to assess psychological disorders; more recently, it has been used in counseling settings to help clients gain a better understanding of themselves and achieve personal growth. Standardization of test administration is virtually non-existent among clinicians, and the test tends to be modest to low in terms of validity and reliability (Aronow et al., 2001; Lilienfeld et al., 2000). Despite these shortcomings, the TAT has been one of the most widely used projective tests.

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Figure11.18This image from Thematic Apperception Tests (TAT) can be used in counseling settings.

A third projective test is theIncomplete Sentence in Rotter Blank (RISB)developed by Julian Rotter in 1950 (remember his locus of control theory, discussed earlier in this chapter). There are three forms of this test for use in different age groups: the school form, the university form, and the adult form. The tests include 40 incomplete sentences that people must complete as quickly as possible (Figure 11.19🇧🇷 The average time to complete the test is approximately 20 minutes, since the answers have only 1-2 words. This test is similar to a word association test, and like other types of projective tests, the answers are supposed to reveal desires, fears, and struggles. The RISB is used to assess college students for adjustment problems and in career counseling (Holaday et al., 2010; Rotter & Rafferty 1950).

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Figure11.19These incomplete sentences resemble RISB question types. How would you complete these sentences?

For many decades these traditional projective tests were used in cross-cultural personality assessments. However, the bias of the test was found to limit its usefulness (Hoy-Watkins & Jenkins-Moore, 2008). It is difficult to assess the personalities and lifestyles of members of widely divergent ethnic/cultural groups using personality instruments based on data from a single culture or race (Hoy-Watkins & Jenkins-Moore, 2008). For example, when the TAT was used with African-American candidates, the result was often a shorter history and lower levels of cultural identification (Duzant, 2005). Therefore, it was vital to develop other personality assessments that explored factors such as race, language, and level of acculturation (Hoy-Watkins & Jenkins-Moore, 2008). To meet this need, Robert Williams developed the first culturally specific projective test designed to reflect the everyday experiences of African Americans. The updated version of the instrument is theContemporary Black Issues Test (C-TCB)(Williams, 1972). The C-TCB contains 20 color images showing scenes of African-American lifestyles. When the C-TCB was compared to the TAT for African Americans, use of the C-TCB was found to lead to increased story length, higher degrees of positive feelings, and stronger identification with the C-TCB (Today , 1997; Hoy-Watkins & Jenkins-Moore, 2008).

oMulticultural Thematic Apperception Test TOPICSis another tool designed to be culturally relevant to minority groups, especially Hispanic youth. TEMAS - which means "Tell me a story", but also a play on words in Spanishthemes(themes) – uses images and narrative keys that relate to minority culture (Constantino, 1982).

MCCCD Course Skills Review

After reading this chapter, are you better able to do the following?

  • Define personality and identify some of the fundamental debates in the study of personality, including the person-situation debate.
  • Critically evaluate information to help make evidence-based decisions.
  • Apply biopsychosocial principles to real world situations.
  • Use psychological principles to explain the diversity and complexity of the human experience.
(Video) What is Personality? - Personality Psychology

Chapter Review Quiz


1. Intro to Psychology: Chapter 11 Personality Part 1
(Alex Reynolds, PhD)
2. Introduction to Personality Psychology
(Society for Personality and Social Psychology)
3. 2017 Personality 01: Introduction
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4. Psychology 101 Chapter 11 (Personality) Lecture Part 1
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5. Chapter 1.1 Introduction to Personality - Definition and Basics of Personality
(Lara Tereza)
6. Introduction to Personality - concept, history & definition In Psychology.


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