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X. Personality (6–8%)
Personality Theories and Approaches
Assessment Techniques
Self-concept, Self-esteem
Growth and Adjustment
Deals with:
How people handle frustration
Concept of personality
Tests to measure personality
Personality Theories
Trait Approach
Allport’s Trait Theory
Big 5 model of Personality
Biological Trait Theory
Social Cognitive Approach Theories
Humanistic Approach Theories
Assessing Personality
Objective Personality Tests (questionnaires)
Projective Personality Test
Personality + Employee Selection
Each of us has a consistent behavior pattern that defines our
Own personality
Understanding personality we can predict how people will act.
 is closely related to traits
 Can be understood by mental conflicts
 Is effected by learning
 Is effected by social situations
 Is effected by how people see themselves
1. Trait Theory
2. Psychodynamic Theory
(Freud- 518-522-Neo
3. Behavioristic Theory
4. Social Learning Theory
5. Humanistic Theory
Personality is a lens which
behavior is viewed.
Personality (definition)
 The unique pattern of
enduring thoughts,
feelings, and actions; that
characterize a person
 Consistency in personal
behavior patterns
 Reveal individual
 Can be used to predict
behavior in the future
Personality is also the merging of
all psychological behavior &
biological processes
Personality Includes:
Developmental aspects
Genetic & Biological
Perceptual Processing
Information processing
Emotional expression
Social skills
Self Monitoring
Process of regulating behavior through controlling personal behavior we display
Shyness= public self-consciousness
Personality factors:
Who you are
How you think
How you think, behave, express feelings… all of this.”
Personality: “A person’s unique pattern of thinking, emotions, behavior.
Refers to consistency in who you are have been and will become.”
Blend of talent values hopes, loves hates, and habits…
Personality is not characterCharacter is a term of evaluation
Friendly, outgoing, honest with moral values
Personality is not temperament
Temperament has hereditary aspects: sensitivity, irritability, distractibility,
typical moods.
510Traits: Sociable, orderly, intelligent, shy sensitive, creative
Personality traits
Are stable qualities that a person show in most situations
Are inferred from behavior
Describe personality
Reflect thoughts and feelings
Actions that are most typical
Reflect people’s needs
“The inclinations or tendencies that help to direct how a person usually thinks and
Stable personality traits are manifested by age 30
Basic Assumptions:
Traits are stable and predictable over time
Traits are stable across situations
Personality Types = people who have several traits in common
Categories- popular = athletic, motherly
Carl Jung- and Traits
Said people are introverts or extroverts
Bold outgoing
Attention is focused inward
Attention directed outward
Self Concept:
Consists of all your ideas
Perceptions + feelings about who you are
Guides our behavior
Problems can arise with inadequate or inaccurate self concept
Self Esteem
Rises with success
Low self esteem- negative self evaluation
Insecure, lacking in confidence, self critical
High Self Esteem
Confident, proud, self respecting
Genuine Self Esteem is accurate appraisal of strengths + weaknesses
Arrogance is problematic
Personality Theories:
Are frameworks to understand personality
A theory is a system of concepts, assumptions, ideas, and principles proposed to
explain personality.
5 Major Personality Theories:
 Trait Theories:
Purpose is to learn what traits makeup personality + how they relate to actual
Psycho dynamic Theories
Focuses on inner workings of personality especially internal conflicts & struggles
Effect of conditioning + learning
Effects of external environment
Social Learning Theories
Attribute differences in personality to socialization expectations and mental
Focuses on private subjective experience and personal growth
Trait Theories:
Personality traits
Are stable qualities that a person show in most situations
Are inferred from behavior
Describe personality
Reflect thoughts and feelings
Actions that are most typical
Reflect people’s needs
“The inclinations or tendencies that help to direct how a person usually thinks and
Stable personality traits are manifested by age 30
Basic Assumptions:
Traits are stable and predictable over time
Traits are stable across situations
Purpose is to learn what traits makeup personality + how they relate to actual
Trait = stable + enduring qualities that a person shows in most situations.
To be considered a personality trait it must be typical of your behavior
Introverts and extroverts are examples trait knowledge
Allows us to predict behavior
Trait Theorists- attempt to analyze, classify, and interrelate traits…
4 traits identified by the Ancient Greeks Hippocrites
Introverted + Extroverted (emotionally stable and emotionally unstable)
Trait Theories consider the strength of many personality characteristics
Gordon Allport (1961)
I defined different kinds of traits
Common traits = characteristics- shared by most
members of a culture
Tell us similarities – in a culture
Individual traits = defines a person of unique
Cardinal Traits
Basic traits, easily visible or traceable to a
person’s activities
Few people have cardinal traits
Central Traits ***
Basic building blocks of personality
Small # of traits (7) tell clear story of
Obvious to everyone
Used to control and organize behavior in
many different situations
What can be expected most of the time
Secondary Traits
Less consistent
Specific to situation
Control less behavior
Superficial aspects
o Food preferences
o Attitudes
o Political opinion
o Musical tastes
Raymond Cattell
Wanted to know how traits were
Used surveys, personal ratings on trait
descriptive terms
Found Surface Traits
Make up visible areas of
Found Source Traits
Source traits are surface traits that
occur in clusters
That appear often
Seen as a basic traits
Used statistics
Called factor analysis (a mathematical analysis)
to define source traits
With factor analysis psychologists correlate
patterns associated with traits (clusters of traits)
Found 16 source traits
All are needed to fully describe a personality
called “16 Personality Factor Questionnaire”
Shy vs. Bold
Trust vs. Suspicion
Relaxed vs. Tense
Used to create a trait profile
The profile is a graph of a scores based on traits
Take the Test:
Cattell 16PF Questionnaire
The Big 5 = 5 Factor Model (Costa and McRae)
The test
Which is Cattell’s (16PF) reduced to 5 universal dimensions
1. Extroversion
2. Agreeableness
3. Conscientiousness
4. Neuroticism
5. Openness to experience
Can predict how people will act in various circumstances
(Any trait you can name will be tied to one factor or another)
Also used to compare personalities
1. How Extroverted or Introverted
2. Agreeable = How friendly, nurturing, caring vs. cold, indifferent, self centered,
3. Conscientious = How self disciplined, responsible, and achieving
Vs. Irresponsible, careless, undependable
4. Neuroticism = How negative, upsetting emotions/ high N = anxious, emotionally
“sour” irritable and unhappy.
5. Openness to Experience = how open to experience are you?
Cool link to Chart of personality research:
Traits and Situations
Which is more important, Personality Traits or External Circumstances?
 Both are important
 Situations influence behavior
 Personality traits are consistent + can predict behavior
 Traits interact with situations to determine how we act.
Situations influence the expression of personality as settings change.
Biological Trait Theory: Hans Eysenck 1960s
Why do some people have certain traits and other not?
Used Factor Analysis also
Most people’s traits could be described using 2 main dimensions:
Introversion/Extraversion and Emotionality/Stability (neuroticism)
1. Introversion/Extraversion
Extroverts are sociable, outgoing, like parties, group activities, take risks, like
excitement and change
Introverts tend to be:
Quiet, thoughtful, reserved, solitary pursuits, avoid social involvement
2. Emotionality/Stability
Moodiness, restlessness, worry, anxiety
Calm, even tempered, relaxed, emotionally stable
Eysenck said, there are degrees of emotionality/stability and introversion/extraversion
Trait patterns can be seen and are predictable
Bio-connection- inherited differences in nervous system are factorsBrain differences
Biological differences in:
Level of arousal
Sensitivity to stress
Sensitivity to environmental stimulation
“People who inherit a nervous system that normally operates below their optimum
arousal level will always be on the lookout for excitement change social contact in
order to increase arousal=extroverted
Conversely- people who are regularly over aroused will avoid excitement to reduce to a
more optimal arousal…
Gray’s Approach Inhibition Theory:'s_biopsychological_theory_of_personality
Biological Factors
2 basics (agrees with Eysenck)
Introvert + Extrovert
Stable + Emotional
Said differences occur because systems in brain function differently
Behavioral Approach System (BAS)
Brain regions that affect people’s sensitivity to rewards + motivation to seek rewards
The “Go” system, responsible for impulsivity or how uninhibited a person is.
BAS- people tend to experience positive emotions,
Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS)
Brain regions affects sensitivity to potential punishment and motivation to avoidance of
The “Stop” system
Associated with negative emotions
Extraverts = BAS is sensitive to reward
Bas is insensitive
Introverts = BAS insensitive… BIS- sensitive
Emotionally unstable- sensitive to rewards and punishments
Do We Inherit Personality?
Behavioral Genetics- study of inherited behavioral traits
In humans we rely on Twin Studies
Things influenced by heredity
 Intelligence
 Some mental disorders
 Temperament and other qualities
Page 524
Learning Theories of Personality
Behavioralists reject trait theories
Say personality is a collection of learned behavior patterns.
Learning, reinforcement, imitation
People learn kindness, hostility, generosity, destructiveness
Classical and operant conditioning
Observational Learning
There are situational implications on behavior
Situational Determinants = external causes of actions
Situations interact with a person’s background (prior learning)
Trait theory says situations interact with traits vs. behaviorists say situations interact
with prior learning.
Dollard and Miller Theory (Behavioralists)
Habits = learned behavior patterns = structure of personality
Habits are governed by 4 elements
1. Drive = stimulus strong enough to produce action
2. Cue = signals from environment
3. Response = action to get
4. Reward = positive reinforcement
The Social Cognitive Approach (AKA Social Learning
Theories look at conscious thoughts and emotions for clues to how people are different.
Based on animal and human learning
SCA sees Personality as consisting mainly of thoughts and actions we learn through
observing and interacting with others.
SCA have their roots in behaviorism:
John B. Watson- Classical Conditioning
B.F. Skinner- Operant Conditioning
Used Functional Analysis13
“Skinner tried to understand behavior in terms of the “Function It Serves” in
obtaining rewards or avoiding punishment.
Functional AnalysisSummarizes what people find rewarding
What they are capable of doing
What skills they lack
Social Cognitive add to and seek to understand how learned patterns of thought
and feelings contribute to behavior.
Rotter Expectancy Theory: 1982
Learning creates cognitions known as Expectancies that guide behavior…
Said a person makes decisions based on:
1. What the person expects to happen following a behavior
2. The value of the outcome
Behavior is determined by positive reinforcement and expectation of the consequence.
Rotter also studied
Locus of Control: what controls life’s rewards
Pg. 568
Internals and Externals
Internals: Internal Locus of Control
People who believe/expect events to be controlled by their own efforts
Externals: External Locus of Control
Are more inclined to expect events to be determined by external forces which they have
no control over
Bandura: Reciprocal Determinism:
“Saw personality as shaped by the ways in which thoughts, behaviors, and the
environment interact and influence one another.”
People can learn through observation or direct rewards.
Change in the environment effects thinking effects behavior = Reciprocal
Reciprocal Determinism: Says
Personal Factors (cognitions)
Are constantly affecting one
Hostile thoughts Hostile behavior leads to more hostile thoughts…
Self Efficacy:
Learned expectation of success
What we do
What we try to do
Is all controlled by our
perception and beliefs about
our chances of success.
The higher self-efficacy = the greater our actual accomplishments
Lower Self Efficacy= low self-esteem etc…
Beliefs influence our behavior
Environment can impact behavior
Mischel’s Cognitive Affective Theory:
Social-Cognitive Theorist
Say that learned beliefs, feelings, and expectancies make us different.
Mischel Call these:
Cognitive Person Variables
To predict behavior CAT looks at
A. Cognitive Person Variables
B. Features of the Situation
Both interact to produce
CAT has If-Then applications- if a person encounters this situation then they will engage
in this typical behavior… (called Behavior Signatures) very similar to trait theory
difference is the added situation… Mischel sees more importance in the role of the
Variables make people different and found main categories
1. “Encodings” -are beliefs about environment and other people
2. “Expectancies”A. What a person’s expects to follow from behaviors
B. What a person believes he is capable of doing
3. “Affects” – Feelings/Emotions and Affective Responses
4. “Goals/Values”
5. “Competencies/Self Regulating”
 Thoughts and actions a person is capable of
 Ability to engage in planned, self-controlled behavior
Social Learning Theory (Cognitive Behavioralism) (mental events used to explain
Include perception, thinking, Expectations, and other mental events social
relationships, modeling
Theories of Juilia Rotter
1. Psychological Situation- how a person interprets or defines a situation
These are really interpretations of an event/situation
These interpretations are key to how we respond
2. Expectancy- refers to your (thoughtful) anticipation that your response will lead
to reinforcement
Expected reinforcement is  key
3. Reinforcement Value – we attach subjective value to various activities or
Self Efficacy (social learning theory) (Bandura argued)
Is the ability to control you own life “a capacity for producing a desired
Efficacy beliefs (shape our behavior)
Self-Reinforcement (Social learning theory) (impact of High Self-Esteem)
Praising + rewarding yourself for having made a success
Adds to Behavioristic view
Habits of self praise or self blame important in personality
Self Reinforcement =greater happiness and life satisfaction
Personality Development and Learning Theorists
What makes early learning experiences so lasting in their effects?
The core of personality is shaped in early stages
Social reinforcement- based on praise, attention, approval (impacts
Miller and Dollard
Said 4 Critical Situations can have lasting impact on personality.
1. Feeding2. Toilet or cleanliness training
3. Sex Training
4. Learning to express Anger and Aggression
1. Feeding- children active 
Active or passive orientation of the world may be learned
Example of feeding
Active reinforcement—children fed when they cry (manipulate parents)
Passive reinforcement—children allowed to cry without being fed= passive
Could impact social relationships- could associate people with pleasure or
2. Toilet + Cleanliness Training could be source of emotion
Frustration can have undesirable effects
Needs patience
3. Sex + Anger
Permissiveness in sexual and aggressive behavior linked to adult needs for power
Gender Development=
Sex appropriate behavior is learned
Identification and Imitation are important to personality
Identification= a child’s emotional attachment to admired adults encourages
Attention of any kind reinforces childrens behavior
Boys encouraged to be  aggressive, loud, boisterous
Girls- encouraged to be- submissive dependent, passive
Problem when parents are rejecting, punishing, sarcastic, humiliating, neglectful, their
children, become hostileHostile personality causes- unresponsive, unstable, dependent, impaired selfesteem
When parents are accepting and affectionate
Children develop sociable, positive, emotionally stable, high self esteem
Personality Research:
Focused on understanding origins causes of similarity and differences among
1. In their patterns of thinking
2. Emotions
3. Behavior
Personality Assessments in Hiring TestsIntegrity Tests (screening)
 Test impulsivity
 Test disruptive behavior
 Try to predict likelihood of undesirable characteristics
 A scale – is the maladaptive behavior likely or not
 Looking for clues to personality
Heredity appears to be responsible for about 25-50% of the variation in many
personality traits.
Psychodynamic = Freudian (humans are driven by unconscious desires =
impulse gratification…)
Influenced modern thinking, literature, sociology, anthropologyShaped psycho-therapy techniques
Some ideas supported by Cognitive research- example- defense mechanisms are
present in research.
Evidence that people’s thoughts and actions are influenced by unrecalled events and
 Theories based on case studies (few individuals, conclusions may not apply to
people in general, narrow sample, upper-class Viennese women, culture impacted
ig sex)
 Western European values reflected
 Biases male and female interpretations
 Poor research- leading questions (false memories (implanted)
 Not scientific
View of Personality:
Each person’s personality is shaped by the number, nature and outcome of these
conflicts. (Id, ego, superego)
Unconscious processes make up
Personality develops as we satisfy or urges.
Identified 3 parts to Personality
First to develop in infancy
2 kinds of instincts- Eros- positive
Thanatos – Death and aggression
Libido- psychic energy concept
Works off the Pleasure Principle
Relentless in nature
Pushes for immediate satisfaction
Develops second in infancy
Derived from Id
Based on Reality Principle
Rules of society
Moral guide
Parents and the social/moral world
Psycho-sexual Stages
Said the personality develops as the human progresses or fails progress through stages
Failure to resolve problems or conflicts in certain stage leaves fixations
5 stages: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency, Genital
Being unconsciously pre-occupied with areas of pleasure associated with the stage
Fixations come out in adult personality characteristics
5stages of Freudian Development:
1. Oral:
1st year
Center of pleasure is oral
Adult personality indications- not enough sucking results in overeating, sarcasm, or and
2. Anal:
2nd year of life
Center of pleasure is elimination of waste
Toilet Training
Paternal demands
Adult personality indicators- stinginess, excessive neatness, disorganized, impulsive…
3. Phallic:
3-5 years
Center of pleasure is genital area
Superego begins to develop
Oedipus Complex:
Feelings begin to be repressed
Boy falls in love with mother
Father is the rival of mother’s attention, boy wants to eliminate father
Boy feels father will castrate him over rivalry for mother, causes boy to try to ingratiate
to father and boy identifies with father, to be like father
Electra Complex:
Girls desire father
Penis Envy- grils don’t have one, want one for power purposes
Girls also feel the rivalry and create attachment to mother, identify with mother
Girls imitate mother, forms basis of her Super Ego
Adult personality indicators- difficulty with authority figures,
Inability to maintain stable love relationship
4. Latency Period
Through childhood
Sexual impulses stay in background
5. Genital
Adolescents through adulthood
Primary area of pleasure
Karl Jung
Identified Libido- as life force, includes creativity
No stage theory
Personality components
Introversion- inner reflection
Extroversion- social world focus
Collective Unconscious
Inherited memories
Responsible for our innate tendencies to react to certain things
Development of personality comes from an innate desire to overcome infantile feelings of
helplessness and to gain some control over the environment
Striving for superiority
Drive for fulfillment as a person
People’s personalities are shaped by those around them
Social needs become primary influence on personality
Social needs
Feeling protected
Feeling secure
Feeling accepted
Identity Crisis
Said strategies people use to meet social needs become central parts of personality
Feminist Neo-Freudian
Rejected Penis Envy
Said men envy women
Men have Womb Envy
Said culture plays a role in personality
Contemporary Psychodynamic Theory:
Says personality is based on how perception of themselves and others influence their
view of reactions and to the world.
Example- attachment to care givers influences personality development
Relationships shape a person’s thoughts and feelings about relationships later in adult
Secure and Insecure Attachment:
Impact personality
Affect identity
Social relationships
Feelings of security
Insecure Attachment (personality indications)
Increased physiological responses to interpersonal conflict
Less likely to be helpful when people are in distress
May have relationship problems…
Defense Mechanisms: deflect (avoid) anxiety or guilt in the short run, but they sap
List some incidents in which you or someone you know might have used each of the
defenses described.
How can you tell if these are unconscious defense mechanisms or actions motivated by
conscious intentions?
Defenses MechanismsFreud said ego’s primary function is to prevent the anxiety or guilt we would feel if we
became aware of our socially unacceptable id impulses or if we thought about violating
the superego’s rules.
Ego might use unconscious tactics that protect against anxiety and guilt by either
preventing threatening material from surfacing or disguising it when it does.
1. Repression
Unconsciously pushing threatening memories, urges, or ideas from conscious
A person may experience loss of memory, for unpleasant events.
2. Rationalization
a. Attempt to make actions or mistakes seem reasonable:
b. The reasons or excuses given (e.g. “I spank my children because it is good for
them”) sound rational, but they are not the real reasons for the behavior.”)
3. Projection
a. Unconsciously attributing one’s own unacceptable thoughts or impulses to
another person:
b. Instead of recognizing that “I hate him,” a person my feel that “He hates me.”
4. Reaction Formation
a. Defending against unacceptable impulses by acting opposite to them:
b. Sexual interest in a married co-worker might appear as a strong dislike
5. Sublimation
a. Converting unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable actions, and
perhaps symbolically expressing them; energy, episodic
b. Sexual or aggressive desires may appear as artistic creativity or devotion to
athletic excellence.
6. Displacement
a. Deflection an impulse from its original target to a less threatening one:
b. Anger at one’s boss may be expressed through hostility toward a clerk, a
family member, or even a pet.
7. Denial
a. Simply discounting the existence of threatening impulses:
b. A person may vehemently deny ever having had even the slightest degree of
physical attraction to a person of the same sex.
8. Compensation
a. Striving to make up for unconscious impulses or fears, (inferiority, physical
b. A business executive’s extreme competiveness might be aimed at
compensating for un-conscious feelings of inferiority.
Assessing Personality
Describing personality and diagnosing psychological disorders, predicting
dangerousness, selecting employees… - psychologists use four main sources:
 Life Outcomes- education, income, or marital status
Situational Tests- laboratory measurements of behavioral, emotional, and
physiological reactions to conflict, frustration…
Observer Ratings- judgments about a person made by family or friends
Self Reports- responses to interviews and personality (interviews)
Open-ended- questions are tailored to intellectual level, emotional state,
Structured- interviewer asks fixed questions about specific topics, in order
Tests must be
Reliable (Reliability) how stable/consistent the results are and
Valid (Validity) the degree to which test scores are interpreted appropriately and used
properly in making inferences about people
Tests are either Objective or Projective
Objective tests- clearly worded items relating to the individual being assessed;
Self report tests
Scores compared with group norms
Scores indicate conclusions about personality
Compared to others = average score of others = norms
Examples- traits, or a set of related traits,
NEO-PI-R Neuroticism Openness Personality Inventory (revised)
Measures Big 5 Personality Traits (Costa and Mcrae
Can be either (private) self responses or ratings by (public) another person
(Marriage counseling for spouses with drastic differences)
Very Reliable
Can be used in prediction of future behavior
Example likelihood of criminal behavior
MMPI Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
 Diagnose psych disorders
 MMPI-2
 Clinical scales
 Respondents scores are compared to others who have been previously diagnosed
 Ex. Levels of OCD
 Objective test
 Computer statistic analysis
 Focuses on overall pattern (indications)
Projective Personality Test (problem in analysis, reliability)
Unstructured stimuli- which can be perceived in many ways
Psychodynamic tests- reveal unconscious needs, motives, fantasies, conflicts, thoughts
(hidden or unconscious)
Used with clinical psychology to assess psychological disorders
Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT)
Measures need for achievement, need for power, need for affiliation…
Rorschach Inkblot Test
Measure aggressive and sexual impulses that people otherwise might be
able to hide