Personality "refers to an individual's unique constellation of consistent behavioral traits."

Central Concepts

Personality Traits

A personality trait is "a durable disposition to behave in a particular way in a variety of situations."

factor analysis

The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits

McCrae and Costa (1999--latest), have used factor analysis to reduce the personality traits just to five higher order factors.

1. Extraversion.

2. Neuroticism.

3. Openness to experience.

4. Agreeableness.

5. Conscientiousness.

Problems associated with the model


Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory

Freud's Structure of Personality

Id, Ego, Super-ego

Pleasure Principle

Reality Principle

Three Levels of Awareness

1. Conscious: "consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular point in time"

2. Preconscious: "contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can be easily retrieved."

What you had for dinner last night etc...

3. Unconscious: "contains thoughts, memories, and desires that are well below the surface of conscious awareness but that nonetheless exert great influence on behavior."

The ego and the superego operate at all three levels of awareness, but the id is entirely subconscious (and must go through the ego in order to manafest it's urges).

4. Defense mechanisms: The Ego's Arsenal

A. Anxiety arises from confrontations between the personality components

B. The ego uses defense mechanisms (a type of "self deception") to battle the anxiety

Defense mechanisms are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt.

1) Repression actively keeps anxiety-producing thoughts and feeling (often sexual) buried in the unconscious.

Repression is keeping distressing thoughts and feeling buried in the unconcious. The most basic and widely used defense mechanism.

People tend to repress desires that make them feel guilty, conflicts that make them anxious and memories that are painful. It is motivated forgetting.

2) A related mechanism called DENIAL, refers to a refusal to believe information associated with anxiety.

3) Rationalization is the process of creating explanations to deal with threatening thoughts or actions.

Rationalization, which is creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior.

4) Projection involves attributing disturbing feelings, thoughts, or wishes to others.

This usually revolves around thoughts that make you feel guilty.

Example, a woman who dislikes her boss thinks she likes her boss but feels that the boss doesn't like her.

5) Reaction formation occurs when people behave in a way opposite to how they really feel.

Guilt about sexual desires are at the heart of this one. For example Frued theorized that many males who ridicule homosexuals are defending against their own latent homosexual impulses.

6) Sublimation involves the channeling of unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable activity

5. Psycho sexual development

a. People travel through stages of psychosexual development in their childhood, each associated with an erogenous zone, or sensitive region of sexual pleasure

1) Oral stage (0-1 year) Pleasure is achieved through oral sensations

2) Anal stage (2-3 years) Pleasure is achieved through defecation

3) In the Phallic stage (3-5 years) the genital regions are the focus of pleasure seeking

b. Reasons for the progression are biological

c. One can become fixated on a particular stage if they are overly gratified or excessively frustrated--those who do act in stage-dependent ways

Fixation is a failure to move forward from one stage to another as expected. Excessive gratification of needs or by excessive frustration of those needs--he hypothesized that these effected adult personalities

d. Oral and anal stages are associated with weaning and toilet training, processes during which children can be easily frustrated.

e. Freud's (very controversial) interpretation of the phallic stage involves erotic tendencies focused on the opposite sex parent.

1) The Oedipus Complex involves a boy's erotic attachment to his mother.

2) The Electra Complex involves a girl's identification with her father.

f. At around age 5-6, children enter a "sexual lull," the latency period.

g. With puberty, children enter the genital stage, with reawakened (and more appropriately directed) sexual interest.