Psychology 101: Chapter 13

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Personality

An individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Sigmund Freud's theory that childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations influence personality.

Humanistic Approach

Approach to personality that focused on our inner capacities for growth and self-fulfillment.

Free Association

In psychoanalysis, a method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes and says whatever comes to mind, no matter how trivial or embarrassing.

Psychoanalysis

Freud's theory of personality that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motivations and conflicts; the techniques used in treating psychological disorders by seeking to expose and interpret unconscious tensions.

Unconscious

According to Freud, a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. According to contemporary psychologists, information processing of which we are unaware.

Preconscious Area

According to Freud an area where we store some thoughts before retrieving them into conscious awareness.

Id

Contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to Freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives. Operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification.

Ego

The largely conscious, "executive" part of personality that, according to Freud, mediates among the demands of the id, superego, and reality. Operates on the reality principle, satisfying the id's desires in ways that will realistically bring pleasure rather than pain.

Superego

The part of personality that, according to Frued, represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment and for future aspirations.

Psychosexual Stages

The childhood stages of development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital) during which, according to Frued, the id's pleasure seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones.

Phallic Stage

According to Freud, stage when boys seek genital stimulation, and they develop both unconscious sexual desires for the mother and jealousy and hatred for their father, whom they consider a rival.

Oedipus Complex

According to Freud, a boy's sexual desires toward his mother and feelings of jealousy and hatred for the rival father.

Identification Process

The process by which, according to Freud, children incorporate their parents' values into their developing superegos.

Fixation

According to Frued, a lingering focus of pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage, in which conflicts were unresolved.

Defense Mechanisms

In psychoanalytic theory, the ego's protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.

Repression

In psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness.

Regression

Psychoanalytic defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated.

Reaction Formation

Psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites. Thus, people may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings.

Projection

Psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others.

Rationalization

Defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one's actions.

Displacement

Psychoanalytic defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person, as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet.

Denial

Defense mechanism by which people refuse to believe or even perceive painful realities.

Collective Unconscious

Carl Jung's concept of a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species' history.

Projective Test

A personality test, such as the Rorschach or TAT, that provides ambiguous stimuli designed to trigger projection of one's inner dynamics.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

A projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interests through the stories they make up about ambiguous scenes.

Rorschach inkblot test

The most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inkblots, designed by Hermann ________, seeks to identify people's inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots.

False Consensus Effect

The tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors.

Terror-Management Theory

A theory of death-related anxiety; explores people's emotional and behavior responses to reminders of their impending death.

Self-Actualization

According to Maslow, one of the ultimate psychological needs that arises after basic physical and psychological needs are met and self-esteem is achieved; the motivation to fulfill's one's potential.

Unconditional Positive Regard

According to Rogers, an attitude of total acceptance toward another person.

Self-Concept

All our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in answer to the question "Who Am I?"

Trait

A characteristic pattern of behavior or a disposition to feel and act, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports.

Personality Inventories

A questionnaire (often with true-false or agree-disagree items) on which people respond to items designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors; used to assess selected personality traits.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

The most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests. Originally developed to identify emotional disorders, this test is now used for many other screening purposes.

Empirically derived test

A test developed by testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminate between groups.

Social-Cognitive Perspective

Views behavior as influenced by the interaction between people's traits (including their thinking) and their social context.

Reciprocal Determinism

The interacting influences of behavior, internal cognition, and environment.

Personal Control

The extent to which people perceive control over their environment rather than feeling helpless.

External Locus of Control

The perception that chance or outside forces beyond your personal control determine your fate.

Internal Locus of Control

The perception that you control your own fate.

Learned Helplessness

The passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events.

Positive Psychology

The scientific study of optimal human functioning; aims to discover and promote strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.

Self

In contemporary psychology, assumed to be the center of personality, the organizer of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Spotlight Effect

Overestimating others' noticing and evaluating our appearance, performance, and blunders.

Self-Esteem

One's feelings of high or low self-worth.

Self-Serving Bias

A readiness to perceive oneself favorably.

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