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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.

Founder of the Psychoanalytic School

Sigmund Freud


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.


Abrahan Maslow, Carl Rogers

Trait Theory

Stresses the importance of understanding basic personality characteristics.

Trait Theorists

Gordon Allport, Raymond Cattell, Hans Eysenck

He concluded that some of the most powerful influences of human personality were things we are not conscious of

Sigmund Freud


Believed that unconscious feeling and experiences of childhood impact adult personality and behavior

Three parts of Freud's Structual Model

Id, Ego, Superego

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


Reservoir of instinctual urges


Lustful or drive-ridden part of the unconscious


Seeks immediate gratification of desires regardless of consequences


Rational, thoughtful, realistic personality process


moral part of personality


the source of conscience and high ideals


source of guilt feelings


What a person wants to do


What a person can do


What a person should do

Id and Superego

frequently come into conflict


must resolve the conflict between the Id and Superego without offending either

Defense Mechanisms

protect the ego from experiencing anxiety about failing in its tasks

Defense Mechanisms

are necessary to psychological well-being

Defense Mechanisms

relieve intolerable confusion

5 main defense mechanisms

displacement, repression, reaction formation, projection, regression


shifting an unconscious wish that causes anxiety to another object or person


pushing anxious thought or urge out of consciousness into the unconsciousness

Reaction Formation

replace unacceptable feeling or urge with its opposite


Believing that impulses coming from within are coming from other people


going back to an earlier and less mature pattern

Carl Jung

distinguished between personal and collective unconscious

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

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

Alfred Adler

believed that everyone struggles with inferiority

Inferiority Complex

developed by people who continually try to cover up and avoid feeling of inadequacy

Life Styles

Adler's patterns of overcoming inadequacies

Alfred Adler

believed that the way parents treat their children has a great influence on the styles of life they choose.

Erich Fromm

centerd his theory around the need to belong and the loneliness freedom brings

Erich Fromm

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


believe that the only proper subject of matter of psychology is objectively observable behavior


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

Albert Bandura

believed we can direct our own behavior by the type of models we choose

Humanistic Psychology

rebelled against the pessimistic view of human nature proposed by Freudians and the mechanistic views of the Behaviorists

Humanistic Psychology

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

Humanistic Psychology

founded on the belief that all human's strive for self-actualization


the relization of our potentialities as unique human beings

Needed for self-actualization

openess to a wide range of experiences; an awareness of and respect for personal unquenesses


involves accepting the responsibilities of freedom and commitment and a desire to become more and more authentic

Authentic Persons

are true to themselves and have an ability to grow

Abraham Maslow

tried to base his studies on healthy instead of disturbed individuals

Self-actualized people

adjust to their problems in ways that allow them to become highly productive

Self-actualized people

perceive reality accurately, accept themselves, others, and their environment readily

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

Self-actualized people

are more problem-centered than self-centered; are more likely to make decisions based on ethical principles than on calculations or personal costs/benefits

self-actualizing people

identify with others; have a strong sense of humor; are spontaneous; are autonomous; value privacy; seek solitude; focus on living relationships few a few close people; appreciate simple things

self-actualizing people

approach life with a sense of discovery that makes each day new

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

Carl Rogers

believed that many personal conflicts arise because what we value in ourselves conflicts with what we learn from others

Carl Rogers

believed there are two sides to every person: the organism and the self

The Organism

is the whole person including the body

The organism

is constantly struggling to become more and more complete

The self

is essentially your image of who you are and what you value

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

Ways of coping with condtions of worth

rejecting or denying parts of the organism that do not fit in the self-concept

Unconditional Positive Regard

when other convey they feeling that they value you for what you are, in your entirety

Fully Functioning Person

A person in which the organism and the self are one; is free to develop all of his potentialities

trait theorists

argue that the best way to understand human behavior is to study personality traits


a predisposition to respond in a certain way in many different kinds of situations

two basic assuptions of trait theory

1. every trait applies to all people; 2. the descriptions of the traits can be quantified and studied.

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

Gordon Allport

believed that traits make a wide variety of situations "functionally equivalent."

Gordon Allport

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

Emotionally Stable

easy-going; relaxed; well-adjusted; even-tempered person


moody, anxious, restless person


sociable, outgoing, active, lively person


more thoughtful, reserved, passive, unsociable, quiet person


the degree to which people can or cannot deal with real life situations

The Big Five

traits that appear repeatedly in different research studies

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

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