Psychoanalytic Theory Freudian ideas The psychoanalytic construct of “mind” is rooted in biology

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Psychoanalytic Theory

Freudian ideas

  • The psychoanalytic construct of “mind” is rooted in biology:

    • Instincts and drives are primarily sexual & aggressive;
    • A drive is a state of physical excitation in response to stimuli;
    • The mind’s goal is to bring about the cessation of tension and to be gratified.

Freud & Personality Structure

Enhanced Understanding of the Ego

  • Ego is the part of the mind that gives coherence

  • to experience;

  • Ego has an overall

  • unifying purpose that

  • leads to consistent

  • behavior and conduct;

  • Ego has a positive function

  • of maintaining good

  • performance and not just the

  • negative role of avoiding anxiety;

  • Ego defenses are adaptive

  • as well as maladaptive;

  • Ego is defined as a strong, vital, and

  • positive conscious force. It is the organizing

  • capacity of the person that leads to a strength

  • that can reconcile ambiguities and discontinuities.

Freud & Personality Structure


Psychosocial (Erikson’s) and Psychosexual (Freud’s) Stages of Personality Development

  • Erikson’s 8 Stages involve interactions among

  • biology, psychological abilities,

  • and social influences.

  • During each stage there

  • is a life crisis, that is, a

  • crucial period during

  • which the individual

  • cannot avoid a decisive

  • turn one way or the other.

  • Each stage provides pivotal

  • opportunities for personality

  • qualities or ego strengths and

  • virtues to develop interactively.

Erikson’s theory of personality development asserts that people move through eight stages during their lives. Each stage brings a psychosocial crisis or conflict that needs to be resolved interactively. Each involves confronting a question such as, “Who am I and where am I going?” The stages are described above in terms of personality traits that are potential outcomes from handling these crises.

The Unconscious & Assessment

Assessment procedures & Instruments

  • 1. Q-sort

  • 2. Rep test

  • 3. I-E scale

  • 4. EPQ

  • 5. NEO-PI

  • 6. Free association

  • 7. Inkblots

  • 8. MMPI

  • 9. TAT

  • 10. 16PF, HSPQ, CPQ

  • 11. MBTI

  • 12. SPQ

Trait Theories of Personality

Trait Theories of Personality

  • Traits are consistent emotional, cognitive, and behavioral predispositions that collectively reflect a person’s personality.

  • Traits can be assessed by . . .

    • Asking others about a person (e.g. rating scales)
    • Asking the person (e.g. questionnaires, personality projective tests, interviewing, etc.)
    • Unobtrusive Observation.
  • How many traits are there?

    • Allport identified 18,000 (?);
    • Cattell found 16 distinct traits;
    • Eysenck identified three core traits: extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism.

Are There “Basic” Traits?

Trait models analyze personality in terms of basic dimensions. McCrae and Costa maintain that personality can be described using five higher-order traits which are widely referred to as the “Big Five.”

Costa & McRae’s Big Five

The big five trait clusters (Costa & McRae 1992; McRae 1992)

Raymond Cattell

  • Factor analysis yielded 16 traits that led to the “16 Personality Factor” or 16PF.

  • He identified 35 “surface” traits and 16 “source” traits, plus additional underlying personality traits.

  • He used 3 types of data to identify traits:

    • L = data gathered from records (e.g.
    • school reports, work history, etc.);
    • Q = data from questionnaires, surveys,
    • and interviews;
    • T = data obtained from objective testing.

Gordon Allport

  • Allport identified numerous traits and tried to put them

  • in order. His scheme is shown below.

  • Common traits:

    • Are shared by most members of a culture; they tell us little about individuals.
  • Individual traits:

    • Cardinal traits influence nearly all aspects
    • of a person's behavior;
    • Central traits are core behavioral tendencies that are highly characteristic of individuals – typically conveyed by words you use to describe them;
    • Secondary traits appear in only some situations.

Hans Jürgen Eysenck (1916-1997)

  • Genetic origins of personality?

  • Trait clustering:

The Humanistic Perspective

Carl Rogers

Roger’s Person-Centered Theory of Personality

Genetics of Personality

  • Biological relatives are much more similar in personality than strangers.

  • A comparison of twins raised (a) together and (b) apart provides evidence for a contributing genetic cause for personality.

  • Inherited characteristics are referred to as temperament.


Social-Cognitive School

Social-Cognitive Perspective

Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism

Julian Rotter

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