Personality

Personality: Our characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting

Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory/Psychoanalysis: childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations influence personality

The Humanistic Theories: Focus on inner capacities for growth and self-fulfillment

Trait Theories: Examine characteristic patterns of behavior (traits)

Social-Cognitive Theories: Explore the interaction between people’s traits (incl. thought) and their social context

Psychodynamic Theories: A personality view between the conscious and unconscious mind

People might think Freud is the most famous psychologist, but most stuff has been debunked or worked upon by others.

Words from Freud: ego, repression, projection, complex (as in inferiority complex), sibling rivalry, Freudian slips, and fixation.

In Freud’s time in the 1870s and 80’s the Male and Female roles were clearly defined, but in that time many new ideas sprung up including his.

After a study in neurological disorders, Freud discovered the unconscious

Unconscious: According to Freud, a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, etc. and information processing which we are unaware of.

Freud speculated the people lost feeling in their hands because they didn’t want to touch themselves or they are blind or deaf because in their youth they didn’t want to see or hear something that aroused intense anxiety.

After unsuccessful trials of the hypothesis, Freud turned to Free Association

Free Association: A method of exploring the unconsciousness by relaxing and saying whatever comes on their mind, to help find why they are troubled in the present

Freud said that our conscious mind is the top of an iceberg, and beneath is our larger unconscious mind full of thought we are unaware of, and some of those thoughts went through the preconscious mind, where they can be retrieved, but we don’t think about them.

Id: a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy, that strives to satisfy basic needs, operating on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification, Ex. people who didn’t get immediate gratification when young, want it when they are older.

Ego: the largely conscious “executive” part of the personality, works together with id and superego, and operates on the reality principle, do stuff that would realistically/long-term bring pleasure.

Super Ego: the voice of our moral compass (conscience), represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment, and for future aspirations.

Someone with a strong superego might be virtuous and good, and one with a weak superego might be over self-indulgent and remorseless.

So all in all the Ego tries to satisfy the needs of the id and superego, and make their demands work realistically.

Analysis of Freud’s patients’ histories convinced Freud that personality forms during life’s first few years, through a series of psychosexual stages, during which id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on distinct pleasure-sensitive areas of the body called erogenous zones.

Oedipus Complex: having desires of our own mothers and jealousy of our fathers, named after the Greek legend of Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother, and Electra complex for girls.

Identification: the process, where children incorporate their parent’s values into their developing superegos. Called gender identity nowadays.

Fixation: a lingering focus of pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage, in which conflicts were unresolved, you can be overindulged or deprived, for example orally, you could be deprived and therefore start smoking.

Defense mechanisms: ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety, by unconsciously distorting reality.

Repression: the basic defense mechanism that banishes from consciousness anxiety-arousing thoughts, feeling, and memories AKA you don’t think about it ever, put them away, and it underlies every other defense mechanism.

Neo-Freudians: people who did not believe in Freud’s weird sexual writings.

They did agree that childhood was important, but the effects of social life, not sexual life.

Carl Jung’s collective unconsciousness: a common reservoir of images or archetypes, derived from our species’ history.

For example, we all see a mother as a symbol of nurturing and love.

Projective test: a personality test such as the Rorschach, that provides ambiguous images designed to trigger projection of one’s inner dynamics, AKA those weird pictures that can look like gnomes and look like people screaming.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): a projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interest through stories they make up about ambiguous scenes/photos. (valid and reliable)

Rorschach inkblot test: the most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inkblots designed by Hermann Rorschach, seeking to identify people’s inner feelings their interpretations of the blots.
(not that valid or reliable), used mostly to get people to talk nowadays for interviews and stuff.

Repression is the most widely approved idea, and is used for childhood trauma, and lost memories.
Freud was right about one key thing, the unconscious mind.
In modern days it is not about passions or self-censorship, but rather information processing

  1. The schemas: automatically control our perceptions and interpretations
  2. The priming: stimuli we have not consciously attended
  3. The right-hemisphere enables the split-brain patient’s left hand to carry out instructions the patient cannot verbalize
  4. The implicit memories: operate without conscious recall, even among those with amnesia
  5. The emotions: active instantly, before conscious analysis
  6. The stereotypes and implicit prejudice

Two of Freud’s defense mechanisms are also supported today: reaction formation and projection, (called false consensus effect today)

Terror-management theory: thinking about one’s mortality can increase aggression, or make people prioritize close relationships.

Alfred Adler: came up with inferiority complex AKA we do what we do to combat childhood inferiority, to gain power and superiority

Modern Psychodynamic theories:

  1. Do not care about Id and Ego
  2. They agree most mental life is in the unconscious
  3. We often struggle with our inner conflicts among wishes, fears, and values
  4. Childhood does shape our personality and how we engage with others