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PERSONALITY

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

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. Clue to the unconscious mind.

UNCONSCIOUS

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

PSYCHOANALYSIS

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

ID

Contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to Freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives. The id 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. It 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 Freud, represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment (the conscious) and for future aspirations.

PSYCHOSEXUAL STAGES

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

OEDIPUS COMPLEX

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

IDENTIFICATION

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

FIXATION

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

ORAL STAGE

Ages 0-18 months. Pleasure centers on the mouth - sucking, biting and chewing.

ANAL STAGE

Ages 18 - 36 months. Pleasure focuses on bowel and bladder elimination; coping with demands for control.

PHALLIC STAGE

3 - 6 years. Pleasure zone is in the genitals; coping with incestuous sexual feelings.

LATENCY STAGE

6 - puberty. Dormant sexual feelings.

GENITAL STAGE

Puberty on. Maturation of sexual interests.

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

Retreating to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated. (A little boy sucks his thumb on the first day of school)

REACTION FORMATION

Switching unacceptable impulses into their opposites (A person represses angry feelings by displaying exaggerated friendliness).

PROJECTION

Disguising one's own threatening impulses by attributing them to others. (The thief thinks everyone else is a thief)

RATIONALIZATION

Offering self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening unconscious reasons for one's actions. (A habitual drinker says she drinks with her friends just to be sociable.)

DISPLACEMENT

Shifting sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person. (A little girl kicks the family dog after her mother sends her to her room.)

DENIAL

Refusing to believe or even perceive painful realities. (A partner denies evidence of his loved one's affair)

ADLER HORNEY AND JUNG

Three neo Freudians who believed in the unconscious mind, but that our behavior and personality is shaped by other factors as well.

COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUSNESS

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

PROJECTIVE TEST

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

RORSCHACH INKBLOT TEST

The most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inkblots, seeks to identify people's inner feelings by analyzing their interpretation of the blots. Widely criticized because it's reliability is faulty and may diagnose many normal adults as pathological.

HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGISTS

Psychologists who focus on ways "healthy" people strive for self determination and self-realization.

MASLOW AND ROGERS

Pioneering humanistic theorists.

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 one's potential.

GENUINENESS ACCEPTANCE EMPATHY

Rogers three elements to a growth-promoting climate. As persons are accepted and prized, they tend to develop a more caring attitude toward themselves.

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"? If this is positive, we perceive the world positively. If this is negative, or if we fall short of our ideal self, we feel unhappy.

TRAIT

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

FACTOR ANALYSIS

The statistical procedure to identify clusters of test items that tap basic components of intelligence.

PERSONALITY INVENTORY

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 (still considered its most appropriate use), this test is now used for many other screening purposes.

EMPIRICALLY DERIVED TEST

A test (such as the MMPI) developed by testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminate between groups.

BIG 5 PERSONALITY FACTORS

Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, Extraversion.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS, AGREEABLENESS, NEUROTICISM, OPENNESS, EXTRAVERSION

Big 5 personality factors.

SOCIAL COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE

Views behavior as influenced by the interaction between people's traits (including their thinking) and their social context. What we think about our situation affects our behavior as well as learning our behaviors through conditioning or observing others.

ALBERT BANDURA

Pioneered the social cognitive perspective of personality, as well as reciprocal determinism.

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

ATTRIBUTIONAL STYLE

A person's characteristic way of explaining outcomes of events in his or her life.

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 (as if we presume a spotlight shines on us).

SELF ESTEEM

One's feelings of high or low self worth.

SELF SERVING BIAS

A readiness to perceive oneself favorably.

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