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An individual's characteristic style of behaving, thinking, and feeling


A series of answers to a questionnaire that asks people to indicate the extent to which sets of statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behavior or mental state

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

A well-researched, clinical questionnaire used to assess personality and psychological problems (true or false questions to questions such as "i often feel like breaking things)

Projective Techniques

A standard series of ambiguous stimuli designed to elicit unique responses that reveal inner aspects of an individuals personality

Rorschach Inkblot Test

A person is shown a card and asked "what might this be?" What they say reflects their personality

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

A person is shown a card and asked to tell a story about what is happening in the picture. Reflects a persons personality


A relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent way

Big Five

conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion

Psychodynamic Approach

Personality is formed by needs, strivings, and desires largely operating outside of awareness- motives that can also produce emotional disorders

Dynamic Unconscious

An active system encompassing a lifetime of hidden memories, the person's deepest desires, and the person;s inner struggle to control these forces (level that most strongly influences personality)


The part of the mind containing the drives present at birth. Source of our needs, wants, desires, and impulses. Particularly to our sexual and aggressive drives

Pleasure Principle

The psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse (wish?)


The component of personality that enables us to deal with life's practical demands

Reality Principle

The regulating mechanism that enables the individual to delay gratifying immediate needs and function effectively in the real world


Consists of a set of guidelines, internal standards, and other codes of conduct that regulate and control our behaviors, thoughts, and fantasies

Defense Mechanisms

Reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses


Involves supplying a reasonable sounding explanation for unacceptable feelings and behavior to conceal one's underlying motives or feelings

Reaction Formation

Involves unconsciously replacing threatening inner wishes and fantasies with an exaggerated version their opposite (being overly nice to someone you hate)


Involves attributing one's own threatening feelings, motives, or impulses into another person or group (it's not so bad to have bad qualities if someone else has them too)


When the ego deals with internal conflict and perceived threat by retrieving to an immature behavior or earlier stage of development (return to thumb sucking)


Involves shifting unacceptable wishes or drives to a neutral or less-threating alternative (snapping at someone because you had a bad day at work)


Helps deal with feelings of threat and anxiety by enabling us unconsciously to take on the characteristic of another person who seems more powerful or better able to cope (an abusive parent may cause child to become abusive also)


Involves channeling unacceptable sexual or aggressive drives into socially acceptable and culturally enhancing activities (football, art, rugby, dancing)

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