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4 functions of Personality Theories

To provide a way of organizing what we know about ourselves and others; To explain differences between individuals, To explore how people conduct their lives; To determine ways to help improve lives.

Personality Traits

General ways of behaving that characterize an individual.

Personality Psychologists

Try to develop systematic theories about human behavior and to test their theories in a scientific way.

The Four Major Schools of Personality Theory

Psychoanalytic, Behaviorists, Humanistic, Trait


The Personality Theory that emphasizes the importance of motive hidden deep in the unconsciousness.


Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Erik Erikson


Study the way rewards and punishments shape our actions.

Founders of Behaviorism

John Watson, B.F. Skinner


Emphasizes human potential for growth, creativity, and spontaneity. Rogers, Maslow

Trait Theory

Stresses the importance of understanding basic personality characteristics. Gordon Allport, Raymond Cattell, Hans Eysenck

Freud's Death Drive

The desire for the final end shows up in human personality as destructiveness and aggression

Freud's Life Instinct

Primarily erotic and pleasure seeking


Seeks immediate gratification of desires regardless of consequences, wants


Rational, thoughtful, realistic personality process, can. must resolve the conflict between the Id and Superego without offending either


moral part of personality, source of guilt feelings, should

Defense Mechanisms

protect the ego from experiencing anxiety about failing in its tasks

5 main defense mechanisms

displacement, repression, reaction formation, projection, regression

Reaction Formation

replace unacceptable feeling or urge with its opposite


Believing that impulses coming from within are coming from other people

Collective Unconscious

the storehouse of instincts, urges, and memories of the entire human species through history


inherited universal ideas that reflect the common experiences of humanity and which are in every person

Carl Jung

distinguished between personal and collective unconscious. identified archetypes by studying dreams, visions, paintings, poetry, folk stories, myths, religions

Alfred Adler

believed that the driving force in people's lives is a desire to overcome their feelings of inferiority. believed that the way parents treat their children has a great influence on the styles of life they choose.

Life Styles

Adler's patterns of overcoming inadequacies

Erich Fromm

centerd his theory around the need to belong and the loneliness freedom brings. believed personality is to a considerable extent a reflection of factors such as social class, minority status, education, vocation, religious and philosophical background.

Karen Horney

stressed the importance of the basic anxiety and resentment felt by children


more concerned with controlling than understanding behavior

Contingencies of Reinforcement

the conditions that maintain behavior

Albert Bandura

believed that personlaity is not just acquired through direct reinforcement but also is a result of observational learning

Observational Learning

Learning a new behavior by watching another person and the consequences of their behavior

Humanistic Psychology

stresses our relative freedom from instinctual pressures and our ability to create and live by personal standards

Self-actualized people

accept themselves as they are instead of denying shortcoming or trying to rationalize or change things about themselves that they don't like

Abraham Maslow

believed that self-actualizing people must satisfy basic needs for food, shelter, safety, love, belonging, self-esteem

Carl Rogers

was primarily concerned with the roadblocks and detours on the path to self-actualization. believed there are two sides to every person: the organism and the self

The self

is acquired gradually ove the years by observing how other people react to you

positive regard

approval from significant others

conditions of worth

lead us to see ourselves as good or bad and come from the mixed messages of others

first and foremost question for trait theorists

"What behaviors go together?"

Statistical Analysis

used by trait theorists to determine what behaviors go together

Gordon Allport

Trait theorist that emphasized the positive, rational, and conscious reasons why we act. held that traits are responsible for the relative consistency of every individual's behavior


the study of large groups to identify general laws of personality


studying individual people in detail

Raymond Cattell

identified two types of traits: source and surface traits. Surface traits: clusters of behavior that tend to go together. Source traits: the underlying roots or causes of the behavioral clusters

Hans Eysenck

identified two basic dimension of personality: 1. the degree to which people have control over their feelings; 2. extrovert vs. introvert


moody, anxious, restless person

The Big Five

neuroticism; extroversion; openness; agreeableness; conscientiousness

Interpersonality Theories of Personality

see personality as a function of a person's social environment

Harry Stack Sullivan

Interpersonal theorists that proposed a two-dimensional model of personality

Power and Friendliness

the two dimensions of Harry Stack Sullivan's model of personality


Devaluing the accomplishments of others in order to safeguard one's own self esteem


Fellow-feelings. The feeling of connectedness with and sympathy for one's fellow humans translated by Adler as social interest.

Individual Psychology

A term used to identify Adler's theory to distinguish it from other approaches. It stresses that each person, as an integrated whole, engages in goal directed behavior.

Integrative amalgam

A term used to indicate the confluence of drives.

Social Interest

A desire to contribute to the welfare of others and to society. It has a different meaning that sociability


Goal-directed, purposeful; examining behavior in terms of its goals.

The levels of Consciousness according to Jung.

1.Ego is the conscious level;
2. Personal Unconscious: individual's thoughts, memories, wishes, impulses;
3.Collective Unconscious: storehouse of memories inherited from the common ancestors of the whole human race;

Jung's Ego

Ego: the conscious level; carries out daily activities; like Freud's Conscious

Personal Unconscious

Individual's thoughts, memories, wishes, impulses; like Freud's Preconscious and Unconscious

Collective Unconscious

Storehouse of memories inherited from the common ancestors of the whole human race; no counterpart in Freud's theory. It contains archetypes, emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning.

What is the role of Archetypes according to Jung?

Archetypes cause us to respond in certain ways to common human experiences.

Additional Archetypes

Persona, Shadow, Inner Child, Anima, Animus, God, Hero, Nurturing Mother, Wise Old Man, Wicked Witch, Devil, Powerful Father.

Personality Orientations (Attitudes) for Jung

Introversion and Extroversion

Jung's 4 Mental Functions of Personality

Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, Intuition.

Mental function of Thinking Personality

naming and interpreting experience (via logic)

Mental function of Feeling Personality

evaluating an experience for its emotional worth to us.

Mental function of sensing Personality

experiencing the world through the senses without interpreting or evaluating it.

Mental function of Intuiting Personality

relating directly to the world without physical sensation, reasoning, or interpretation.

2 Categories of Personality's Mental functions per Jung.

1. decision-making (how the person functions when to decide something)
2. experiencing the world (how the person functions when experience the world around it.

Decision making Function can be

a. Thinking-based (logical)
b. feeling based (emotional)

Experiencing the World function can be

a. based on senses (I believe / trust my senses and donot need/care to explain)
b.based on intuition (donot rely completely on senses, reason, explanation)

How personality develops per Jung.

• we all have the potential to develop in a huge variety of ways.
• As we grow up, we make decisions about the sort of person that we want to become.
• Eventually, you become that person (more or less). But at each step, as you decide to take on a characteristic (say, the trait of 'caring'), you decide not to take on its opposite (e.g. 'selfishness' or 'cruelty').
• But the opposite of your chosen trait does not simply disappear. It remains a part of your potential. It becomes a part of your shadow.

Healthy human psychological development to Jung is...

a matter of balanced development, (PROPER USE of ARCHETYPES) while maintaining a good relationship between the ego and the self (the inner core of personality).

What is the problem of an overdeveloped ego?

people would be cut off from their inner core. The result will be a loss of contact with feelings and with a sense of meaning in life

What is the common characteristic between Jung's and Humanistic Theory.

Humans have innate inner (good) nature that cannot be changed, and the idea that allowing one's inner nature to emerge is the key to healthy psychological development.

What is Mandala to Jung?

The Key archetype of the Collective Unconscious is Mandala ("magic circle"), an image symbolizing the unity of life.

nomothetic approach

seeks general laws about how some aspect of personality affects behavior

idiographic approach

focuses on case studies or individualized traits

State v. Trait

________ is a consistent long-lasting tendency in behavior - also can be an attitudinal or cognitive related phenomenon - i.e. hostility, shyness, extroversion
________ is a temporary activation of a particular behavior - typically when emotionally or affectivity aroused - i.e. anger

Eysenk - 2 dimensions

Eysenk argued that of these 16 there is a large degree of overlap - thus he argued based on factor analysis that there are 2 dimensions or supertraits: introversion-extroversion & emotional stability or unstability. this makes up 4 categories.

Eysenck's Hierarchical Model of Personality

Model of personality based on traits that Eysenck believed were highly heritable and had psychophysiological foundation


Personality psychologists should abandon their efforts to explain behavior with traits, focusing instead on situations. He argues that behavior is learned & thus varies across situations. As behavior is somewhat governed by "scripts" or rules that govern who will do what when personality traits will have little effect on behavior.


- The process through which we attempt to understand the cause of others behavior by inferring their traits, motives, and intentions.

fundamental attribution error

the tendency to overestimate dispositional influences and underestimate situational influences on others' behaviors (AKA correspondence bias).

Actor-Observer effect

the tendency to attribute our own behavior to situational causes but others' mainly to internal - dispositional causes.

Self-serving bias

the tendency to attribute success to internal causes (e.g., ability) and negative outcomes or failures to external - situational causes.

Sternberg's Triarchic Theory

theory of cultural relativism which holds that the tools and skills valued in the culture one lives in defines intelligence.


contact comfort more than bio. Need - but monkeys w/ surrogate mothers (cloth on sticks) didn't know how to interact w/ other monkeys.


mother is used as secure base from which to explore - distress on separation - no play while mom is out of room - on reunion, is happy & returns to play


resistant - response towards mom fluctuates b/w anger and happy - clingy and crying - on reunion, infant is clingy

avoidant AKA ambivalent

infant ignores mom for the most part - cries on separation - doesn't go when she returns - may sneak up beside her - but won't make eye contact

Anal Stage

(18 months to three years) psychosexual pleasure is from bowel movements - first expelling feces and then, during toilet training, from retaining feces. Many conflicts arise around the child's ability to achieve self-control

Phallic Stage

3-5 - children begin to play w/ their genitals child discovers he has (or that she doesn't have) a penis. - fixation can lead to penis envy (only in girls) or castration anxiety in boys. Also, Sexual desire directed toward the parent of opposite sex. Produces Oedipal and Electra conflicts—unconscious wish to have opposite-sex parent all to self by eliminating the same-sex parent

Latent period

5 or 6 - adolescence - sexual interest is suppressed. Little psychological development occurs. Focus of child is on learning skills and abilities necessary to succeed as adult

Genital Stage

puberty - sexual interest in others. Libido is focused on the genitals, but not in manner of self-manipulation associated with the phallic stage
This stage is not accompanied by specific conflict. People reach this stage only if conflicts are resolved at previous stages


a Feminist Interpretation of Psychoanalysis - argued Freud failed to include the importance of cultural influences on personality & misunderstood the sexual motivations of women. Revised theory of penis envy: Penis is a symbol of social power rather than an organ that women actually desire to have & Highlighted the influence of the culture on personality development.


Jung's theory incorporated many of Freud's but placed a much greater importance on spirituality & search for meaning. He argued for a collective unconscious - or the cumulative experience of the preceding generations - much like we spoke about in evolution - and archetypes - or vague images that we inherited from our ancestors. He was One of Freud's most famous students.


thought Freud focused to much on sex drives. Instead, he focused on ambition & striving for superiority. He founded the school of Individual Psychology - looking at the person as a whole not as the sum of their parts.

Erikson's Eight Stages of Development

Trust Versus Mistrust
Autonomy Versus Shame and Doubt
Initiative Versus Guilt
Industry Versus Inferiority
Identity Versus Role Confusion
Intimacy Versus Isolation
Generativity Versus Stagnation
Integrity Versus Despair


An organized collection of beliefs and feelings about some aspect of the world. Schemas act as scaffolds, providing structure for the interpretation and organization of new information that we encounter.


A special type of schema. Consists of all the knowledge we process about ourselves. It is developed out of our interaction with others.


is an organized collection of beliefs & feelings about ones self. This includes specific personality dispositions.

Levels of Awareness

Conscious, Preconscious, Unconscious


consists of whatever one is aware of at a particular time


Contains material just beneath the surface of awareness that can be easily retrieved


Contains thoughts, memories and desires that are well below the surface of the conscious awareness


Produced by the ego and type of anxiety depends on the source of the threat

Realistic Anxiety

Caused by danger in the environment, ego

Neurotic Anxiety

Result of fears that you will yield to powerful and dangerous id impulses

Moral Anxiety

You think that it is wrong; you know it is wrong. You don't do it because you know it is wrong, superego

Oral Stage

0-1 yrs; fixation with mouth - food

Carl Jung

Analytical Psychology - developed the idea of extro/introversion

B.F. Skinner

behaviorist; personality is a collection of response tendencies tied to various stimulus situations; agreed with Freud about past experiences; importance of reinforcement, punishment and extinction

Albert Bandura

social learning theory; cognitive processes; reciprocal determinism

Walter Mischel

Less consistency in behavior; the person-situation controversy; both the individual and the situation determine behavior (honest person not stealing from the store but stealing from the internet)

Carl Rogers

Humanistic perspective; self-concept, incongruence, conditional/unconditional positive regard


Disparity between one's self-concept and one's actual experience

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Psysiological, safety/security, belongingness/love, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic and self-actualization

Humanistic Negatives

lacked a strong research base, poor testability, over optimistic view of human nature

Basic anxiety

Psychological state that exists when basic hostility is repressed. It is the general feeling that everything and everyone in the world is potentially dangerous.

Basic hostility

feeling generated in a child if needs for safety and satisfaction are not consistently and lovingly satisfied by the parents

moving against people

adjustment to basic anxiety that uses the tendency to exploit other people and to gain power over them. Horney referred to the person using this adjustment technique as the hostile type

Moving toward people

adjustment to basic anxiety that uses the need to be wanted, loved, and protected by other people. Horney referred to the person using this adjustment technique as the compliant type

Hedonia - Aristotle

The more one seeks to maximize pleasure and minimize pain living a life, "bereft of depth, meaning and community"


neofreudian who agreed with Freud about importance of childhood experiences but felt it was social tensions not sexual ones that were critical in developing personalities. stressed birth order, sibling rivalry, and striving for superiority

Eudaimonia - Aristotle

a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous

Personality Psychology

the study of an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting


Social Learning Theory - emphasizes modeling or observational learning as a powerful source of development and behavior modification


Phenomonoligcal Approach; Flow is a state in which one is immersed in an experience that is rewarding in and of itself. Having goals is necessary in order to attain flow.


Proposed that individuals go through 8 distinct, universal stages of development. Each stage consists of a developmental task that confronts individuals with a crisis.


Field: humanistic; Contributions: founded person-centered therapy, theory that emphasizes the unique quality of humans especially their freedom and potential for personal growth, unconditional positive regard, fully functioning person


developed the law of effect, where rewards determine behavior being repeated, also believed intelligence to be determined as specific

Law of Effect

(psychology) the principle that behaviors are selected by their consequences


object-relations theorist


basic childhood anxiety; psychoanalytic, 1885-1952; Field: neo-Freudian, psychodynamic; Contributions: criticized Freud, stated that personality is molded by current fears and impulses, rather than being determined solely by childhood experiences and instincts, neurotic trends


put forth a theory that explains the kind of attribution people make based on three kinds of information: consistency, distinctivness, and consensus.

Personal Construct Theory

Kelly's description of personality in terms of cognitive processes. we are capable of interpreting behaviors and events and of using this understanding to guide our behavior and to predict the behavior of other people


United States psychoanalyst (born in Austria) who was the first to specialize in the psychoanalysis of small children (1882-1960)

Object relations theory

Psychoanalytic theory that originated with Melanie Klein's view that the building blocks of how people experience the world emerge from their relations to loved and hated objects (significant people in their lives)


1875-1961; Field: neo-Freudian, analytic psychology; Contributions: people had conscious and unconscious awareness; archetypes; collective unconscious; libido is all types of energy, not just sexual; Studies: dream studies/interpretation


Observing behaviors of others and consequences

Vicarious learning

Especially someone with clout, respected by observer
Also, most popular peers

Social Persuasion

Self-Efficacy can be acquired or weakened

Collective Efficacy

Shared beliefs in collective power to produce desired results, common interests

Cultural Efficacy

More current research by Bandura suggests that culture has a lot of persuasion, the models we choose, what we attend to, and what is or should be motivating


That one can organize and execute action to deal with certain situation; One's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations

Critic of Freud (Adler)

Critical of idea of unconscious, argued that some things didn't fit, or were not understandable, he also believed that the role of sexuality was overplayed and that other motives existed

Influence and Background (Horney)

Influenced by Adler's theory of compensation, affected by strict and religious father, overbearing husband, and long affair with Erich Fromm

Basic Anxiety (Horney)

Feelings of loneliness in a hostile world, if child does not feel loved then the child will experience basic anxiety, and will likely become a neurotic adult and project their anxiety on others

5 Basic Needs (Fromm)

Relatedness (connectedness to others), Transcendence (need to transcend self), Rootedness (connection to past, culture), Identity (sense of self), Frame of Reference (operative world view)

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