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a distinctive and relatively stable pattern of behavior, thoughts, motives, and emotions that characterizes an individual.


A characteristic of an individual, describing a habitual way of behaving, thinking, or feeling


A theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud; it emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts.

psychodynamic theories

Theories that explain behavior and personality in terms of unconscious energy dynamics within the individual.


the part of personality containing inherited psychic energy, particularly sexual and aggressive instincts.


the part of personality that represents reason, good sense, and rational self-control.


the part of personality that represents conscience, morality, and social standards.

defense mechanisms

methods used by the ego to prevent unconscious anxiety or threatening thoughts from entering consciousness.

primary defense mechanisms (5)

repression, projection,displacement, regression, and denial.


occurs when a threatening idea, memory, or emotion is blocked from consiousness.


occurs when a person's own unacceptable or threatening feelings are repressed and then attributed to someone else.


occurs when people direct their emotins (especially anger) toward things, animals, or other people that are not the real object of their feelings.


occurs when a person reverts to a previous phase of psychological development.


occurs when people refuse to admit that something unpleasant is happening, such as mistreatment by a partner; that they have a problem, such as drinking too much; or that they are feeling a forbidden emotion, such as anger.

psychosexual stage

in Freuds theory, the idea that sexual energy takes different forms as the child matures; the stages are oral, anal, phallic (oedipal), latency, and genital.

Oedipus complex

In psychoanalysis, a conflict occurring in the phallic (oedipal) stage, in which a child desires the parent of the other sex and views the same-sex parent as a rival.

violating the principle of falsifiability

a theory that is impossible to disconfirm in principle is not scientific. Many psychodynamic concepts about unconscious motivations are, in fact, impossible to confirm or disconfirm.

drawing unibersal principles from the experience of a few athypical patients

Freud and most of his followers generalized from a few individuals, often patients in therapy, to all human beings.

basing theories of personality development on the retrospective accounts of adults

(back on infantcy) most psychodynamic theorists have not observed random samples of children at different ages, as modern child psychologists do, to construct their theories of development.

myers-briggs test

the test assigns people to one of 16 different types, depending on how the individual scores on the dimensions of introverted or extroverted, logical or intuitive.

The big five

extroversion vs introversion, neuroticism (negative emotionality) vs emotinal stability, agreeableness vs antagonism, conscientiusness vs impulsiveness, openness to experience vs resistance to new experiences.

extroversion vs introversion

describes the extent to which people are out going or shy.

neurticisim (negative emotinality) vs emotinal stability

describes the extent to which a person suffers from such traits as anxiety, an inability to control impulses, and a tendency to feel negative motions such as anger, guilt, contempt, and resentment.

agreeableness vs antagonism

describes the extent to which people are good-natured or irritable, cooperative or abrasive, secure or suspicious and jealous.

conscientiousness vs impulsiveness

describes the degree to which people are responsible or undependable, persevering or quick to give up, steadfast or fickle, tidy or careless, self-disciplined or impulsive.

openness to experience vs resistance to new experience

describes the extent to which people are curious, imaginative, questioning, and creative or conforming, unimaginative, predictable, and uncomfortable with novelty.

big five

although the _______ ___________ are quite stable over a lifetime, especially once a person hits 30, there are some exceptions.


physiological dispositions to respond to the environment in certain ways; they are present in infncy and in many nonhuman species and are assumed to be innate.


a statistical estimate of the proportion of the total variance in some trait that is attributable to genetic differences among individuals within a group.

"its all in our genes"

A genetic predisposition does not necessarily imply genetic inevitability.

reciprocal determinism

in social cognitive theories, the two-way interaction between aspjects of the environment and aspects of the individual in the shaping of personality traits.

Parental influence and it s limits

the shared environment of the home has little if any influence on most personality traits, few parents have a single child-rearing style that is consistent over time and that they use with all their children, and even when parents try to be consistent in the way they treat their children, turn out.

the shared environment of the home has little if any influence on most personality traits

in behavioral-genetic research, the "shared environment" includes the family you grew up with and the experiences and background you shared with your siblings and parents.

few parents have a single child-rearing style that is consistent over time and that they use with all their children

developmental psychologists have tried for many years to identify the effects of specific child-rearing practices on children's personality traits.

even when jparents try to be consistent in the way they treat their children, there may be little relation between what they do and how the children turn out

some children of troubled and abusive parents are resislient and do not suffer lasting emotional damage, and some children of the kindest and most nurturing parents succumb to drugs, mental illness, or gangs.


a program of shared rules that governs the behavior of members of a community or society and a set of values, beliefs, and attitudes shared by most members of that community.

individualist cultures

cultures in which the self is regarded as autonomous, and individual goals and wishes are prixed above duty and relations with others.

collectivist cultures

cultures in which the self is regarded as embedded in relationships, and harmony with one's group is prixed above individual goals and wishes.

humanist psychology

a psychological approach thaqt emphasizes personal growth, resilience, and the achievement of human potential.

Abraham Maslow

self-actualized person

self-actualized person

the person who strives for a life that is meaningful, challenging and satisfying.

Carl Rogers

unconditional positive regard.

unconditinal positive regard

to Carl Rogers, love or support given to another person with no conditions attached.

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