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What is Personality?
People differ from each other in meaningful ways People seem to show some consistency in behavior

Personality is defined as distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting

Personality refers to a persons unique and relatively stable pattern of thoughts, feelings, and actions Personality should include external appearance and behaviour . Personality is an interaction between biology and environment
Genetic studies suggest heritability of personality Other studies suggest learned components of personality

Four Theories of Personality

1. Psychoanalytic 2. Trait 3. Humanistic 4. Socio-Cognitive

The First Trait Theory

Moody Anxious Rigid Sober Pessimistic Reserved Unsociable Quiet


Touchy Restless Aggressive Excitable Changeable Impulsive Optimistic Active melancholic choleric

Two Factor Trait Theory of Personality



phlegmatic sanguine Passive Sociable Careful Outgoing Thoughtful Talkative Peaceful Responsive Controlled Easygoing Reliable Lively Carefree Even-tempered Leadership Calm


Personality Traits
Traits are relatively stable and consistent personal characteristics Trait personality theories suggest that a person can be described on the basis of some number of personality traits
Allport identified some 4,500 traits Cattel used factor analysis to identify 30-35 basic traits Eysenck argued there are 3 distinct traits in personality
Extraversion/introversion Neuroticism Psychotocism

Overview of the Big 5

Assessing Traits: An Example

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests developed to identify emotional disorders

MMPI: examples
Nothing in the newspaper interests me except the comics.
I get angry sometimes.

Evaluating Trait Theory

Trait theory, especially the Big 5 model, is able to describe personality
Cross-cultural human studies find good agreement for the Big 5 model in many cultures Appear to be highly correlated not only in adulthood, but also in childhood and even late preschoolers Three dimensions (extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness) have cross-species generality

Problems with trait theory include:

Lack of explanation as to WHY traits develop Issue of explaining transient versus long-lasting traits

Psychoanalytic Theory
Psychoanalytic theory, as devised by Freud, attempts to explain personality on the basis of unconscious mental forces
Levels of consciousness: We are unaware of some aspects of our mental states Freud argued that personality is made up of multiple structures, some of which are unconscious Freud argued that as we have impulses that cause us anxiety; our personality develops defense mechanisms to protect against anxiety

Freudian Theory
Levels of consciousness
What were aware of

Structures of Personality
Operates according to the pleasure principle


Memories etc. that can Ego be recalled Operates according to the reality principle Unconscious Superego Wishes, feelings, impulses that lies Contains values and beyond awareness ideals

Freudian Theory
Anxiety occurs when:
Impulses from the id threaten to get out of control The ego perceives danger from the environment

The ego deals with the problem through:

coping strategies defense mechanisms

Social/Cognitive Perspective
Proposed that each person has a unique personality because of our personal histories and interpretations shape our personalities Albert Banduras social-cognitive approach focuses on self-efficacy and reciprocal determinism. Julian Rotters locus of control theory emphasizes a persons internal or external focus as a major determinant of personality.

Locus of Control (Rotter)

Internal locus of control
Life outcomes are under personal control Positively correlated with self-esteem Internals use more problem-focused coping

External locus of control

Luck, chance, and powerful others control behavior