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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 31
What do we mean when we say:
She has got a gorgeous personality!
He has a powerful personality!
He has a dull personality!
She has a vibrant personality!
In saying so, and while describing someone's personality, what are we referring to?
· The looks of a person? or
· The overall impression that one leaves on our mind? or
· The way a person behaves with us? or
· The way, as we feel, others treat a person?
And what about when we say:
He has a strong personality.
She is a good decision maker.
He has a strong will power.
She is too sensitive.
He is very aggressive.
Here while describing someone's personality, we are talking about:
The feelings,
Cognitions, and
Psychological make up of a person.
Definition of Personality
Personality can be defined and understood in a number of ways:
Personality is the sum total of characteristics on the basis of which people can be differentiated from each other.
Personality is the stability in a person's behavior across different situations.
It can also be seen as the characteristic ways in which people behave.
Personality consists of characteristics that are relatively enduring, and that make us behave in a consistent and predictable
Theories of Personality
Also known as approaches to personality
These are the approaches to understanding the "WHAT", "HOW", and "WHEN" of characteristics and features that
make up an individual's personality.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
"WHAT": This part consists of:
What is personality?
What are the different aspects of personality?
What variables account for these characteristics?
What factors can have an impact, positive or negative, on our personality?
"HOW": This part consists of:
How do these characteristics develop?
How do we become what we are?
How can we manipulate, improve, or modify our own, or someone else's personality?
"WHEN": This part consists of:
When does personality develop?
When is personality more pliable, and modifiable?
When can others influence a person's personality more?
1. Psychodynamic Approach
Approach that focuses upon the unconscious determinants of personality i.e., psychologists
belonging to this approach believe that unconscious forces determine our personality.
The part of personality, which we are not aware of.
Unconscious contains instinctual drives:
·  Infantile wishes,
·  Desires,
·  Demands, and
·  Needs
These instinctual drives are hidden in the unconscious, and do not surface at the conscious level.
At the same time the person seeks satisfaction and fulfillment of these drives, as they can be a source of
pleasure and satisfaction.
Why are these drives hidden then?
·Because they can cause conflict and pain if they became an obvious or overt part of our lives.
·Therefore, they are pushed into the depths of our unconscious.
Sigmund Freud, the most influential figure in the history of psychology, founded psychodynamic Approach.
According to this approach the basis of motivation and behavior lies in inner forces: forces that are
predetermined...forces over which humans have little control... which the person is not aware of i.e., these
are the unconscious determinants of behavior. Significance of Psychodynamic Approach
It was the most influential theory of the 20th century.
· It affected psychology and related disciplines in a revolutionary manner.
· It gave an entirely new perspective to the understanding of behavior and mental processes, as well as
mental illness.
· It was the first theory to raise the awareness that not all behavior is rational, well thought of, and
· Besides giving an impressive, broad based, therapeutic approach, it provided a basis for understanding
everyday life phenomena e.g. interpersonal relationships, aggression, and prejudice.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
· Many other approaches built their paradigms on this approach, some by refining it, some by deviating
from it. Foundations of Psychodynamic Approach
Psychic Determinism
All behavior is determined i.e., it has a cause that lies in the mind/psyche.
Role of Unconscious
A significant part of our behavior is generated by unconscious forces.
Structure of Consciousness
Contains thoughts and feelings which one is immediately aware of
Mind level below the level of conscious awareness
Part of the sub conscious that can be accessed by deliberate choice.
Part of the sub conscious that cannot be accessed directly, although impulses, ideas, and
feelings may permeate out through other sources e.g. dreams, slips of tongue etc.
Dreams in Freudian Approach
Dreams reflect unconscious needs, desires, and impulses.
Dreams have two levels or types of content: manifest content and latent content.
The manifest content is in a symbolic form, converted into this form by the `dream censor, a
mechanism that ensures that sleep is not disturbed by unconscious desires, and those desires
are presented in a socially acceptable form.
Psychodynamic Model of Personality
The structure of personality consists of Id. Ego, and super ego.
The source of basic drives; operates under the `pleasure principle' i.e., wants
immediate gratification of needs.
Mediates the link of the self with the outside world, the ` real world', as well as between the id and
superego; ego operates under the "reality principle' or the demands of the environment.
Super Ego
Governed by the moral constraints
Opposes the id and represents the moral
Demands of the family and society; it is the ` moral self' or the
`conscience' of a person.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Oedipal Conflict and Electra complex
Oedipal conflict
(Also known as Oedipus complex). During the phallic stage, the male child begins to develop love
and positive feelings for the mother: whereas negative feelings for the father since he is seen as a
rival. But as the father is seen as too strong and powerful, the child fears retaliation and ultimately
begins to develop ` identification' with the father.
Electra complex
The female child feels the same way toward the father, as the male felt for mother in Oedipal
conflict, but ultimately chooses `identification' with the mother.
An emotional state experienced as a result of felt threat to the self.
Anxiety arises when ego cannot cope too much of:
Demands of the id,
Demands of the ego,
External danger
In order to protect itself against anxiety and threat, ego uses defense mechanism.
Defense Mechanisms
Ego defense system that may be distorting reality. A number of defense mechanisms may be used by us for
coping with anxiety:
i. Repression
Blocking unpleasant/ unacceptable thoughts by pushing them into the unconscious e.g. forgetting
events of the painful childhood.
ii. Regression
Reverting back to a stage that was satisfying e.g. a boss showing temper tantrums like
a child; or acting like a baby.
iii. Displacement
Redirecting the expression of unwanted desires or impulses to a substitute rather than
the actual target e.g. beating children when a wife cannot express anger toward
In order to justify one's behavior, one develops a socially acceptable explanation or reasoning e.g.
going for a second marriage saying that the first wife was quarrelsome.
Refusing to acknowledge or accept anxiety provoking thoughts or impulses e.g. being a heavy
smoker but saying `I am an occasional smoker'.
Attributing one's unwanted thoughts and impulses to others e.g. a person takes bribe and
blames the organization for paying him not enough salary.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Converting unwanted impulses into socially approved thoughts, feelings and actions e.g. disliking
the in-laws but behaving in a very friendly manner, or becoming a stamp collector to overcome the
impulse to steal.
Criticism against Freudian Psychodynamic Theory
1. There is no scientific proof that many psychodynamic constructs, e.g. unconscious, exist.
2. Psychic Determinism: Freudian approach is deterministic and leaves not much
room for conscious, rational, decision making or personal will to act.
3. It emphasizes the early childhood experiences too much.
4. It ignores the external variables and the environment.
5. Mostly criticized for its interpretation of the relationship between the two
6. The therapy based upon this theory is too time consuming and therefore expensive.
The Psychoanalytic Approach after Freud
The Neo Freudian
The theorists who belonged to the Freudian school and supported it, but later digressed on some issues and
differed from Freud.
Basis of Neo-Freudian's disagreement with Freud
Their emphasis on the functions of ego, and the control that it had over routine-life activities.
The impact of social variables.
Their emphasis on the role of society and culture on personality development.
Freud's idea of the primary importance of sexual urges.
The neo-Freudians emphasized, more than Freud, the following:
The role of current social environment.
Life experiences have a continuing influence and childhood alone should not be of prime
Positive interpersonal relations of love, and social motivation have a significant role.
Ego functioning is more significant rather than id.
Development of self-concept is important.
Self-esteem is important.Significant neo Freudians
Carl Gustav Jung
The founder of the analytical school of psychology, Jung was mystical in his understanding and description
of personality. He had a positive approach toward one's ability to control one's destiny.
Jung's disagreements with Freud
He disagreed with Fred on:
·  The understanding and description of the genders.
·  The nature of unconscious.
Major Goal of Life
Unification of all aspect of our personality:
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Main concepts
Conscious and Unconscious
Introversion (inner directed), extroverted (outer directed).
Energy for personal growth and development
Types of Unconscious
Personal: Similar to Freudian view
Collective: ideas, and influences beyond personal experience, inherited from all generations of our ancestors
and common to all humanity.
Part of collective unconscious; universal forms and patterns of thought. These include themes that can be
seen in myths e.g. masculinity, femininity, good, evil opposites, motherhood.
Archetypes are the universal representations of a particular person, object, or experience, e.g. archetypes of
mother, good, or evil.
Adler's Approach
Disagreed with Freud's emphasis on the significance of sexual needs.
Main concepts: Esteem, inferiority complex, birth order, will to power and style of life.
i. We are a product of the social influences on our personality.
ii. Goals and incentives drive us more than drives and instincts.
iii. Our goal in life is to achieve success and superiority.
Primary human motivation
·  Striving for superiority; achievement of self-improvement, and perfection, and not superiority
over others.
Inferiority complex, on the other hand, is the state when people feel that they have not been
able to conquer, as adults, the feelings of inferiority that they developed as children.
Inferiority complex: the feeling of being less able than others.
Motivating Forces of Human Life
i. Feeling of inferiority, and a desire to overcome it through striving for superiority.
ii. People are primarily motivated to overcome inherent feelings of inferiority.
Birth Order
Has effect on personality.
Sibling Rivalry
Karen Horney 1885-1952
She agreed with Freud on the levels of unconscious, anxiety, and repression. She emphasized childhood
experiences, social interaction and personal growth.
Disagreement with Freud
Differed from Freud on primary impulses; impulses are not the main motivating force
Disagreed on Freudian position regarding the biological basis of differences between the males and females.
Horney's Main Concepts
Basic Anxiety
A major concept: if the environment is hostile and the child feels lonely and isolated, then this type of
anxiety develops. It can be overcome by proper parental nurturing
Basic Hostility
Children develop such hostility if parents are over strict, punishing, indifferent, or inconsistent.
Children feel very aggressive and hostile but cannot express it. Repressed hostility leads to anxiety.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Social Interaction and Interpersonal Styles
The ways in which people interact with each other is important. There can be three consequences:
·Moving away from others: seeking self-sufficiency and independence.
·Moving toward others: being compliant and dependant.
·Moving against others: trying to gain control, power, and independence.
Arise from emotional conflicts that arise from childhood experiences, and disturbances in interpersonal
relationships in later life
Erik Erickson's Theory of Psychosocial Development
Student and follower of Sigmund Freud.
Broke with his teacher over the fundamental view of what motivates/ drives human behavior.
For Freud, it was `biology' or more specifically the biological instincts of life and aggression (Eros and
For Erikson, the most important force that drives human behavior and which helps in the
development of personality was "social interaction"
His developmental theory of the "Eight Stages of Man" (Erikson, 1950) was unique and different
in the sense that it covered the entire lifespan rather than `childhood' and `adolescent
He believed that social environment combined with biological maturation results in a set of
"crises" that must be resolved
The individual passes through the "sensitive period" in different stages, which has to be resolved
successfully before a new crisis is presented. The results of the resolution, whether successful or not,
passed on to the next crisis and provide the foundation for its resolution
He proposed eight stages of psychosocial development that have been discussed in detail
in the section on cognitive development in lecture 11.
2. Trait Approaches
Approaches that propose that there are certain traits that form the basis of an individual's
These approaches seek to identify the basic traits necessary to describe and understand
Enduring dimensions of personality characteristics that differentiate a person from others.
Trait theories do not imply the absence or presence of different traits in different people i.e.,
either/or situation. These do not say that if one trait exists the other does not.
These theories assume that some people are relatively high on some traits whereas, some are low on
the same traits.
The difference in people in terms of these traits is a matter of degree or extent to which the traits
exist and manifest them. Some people have more of one trait and less of other ones.
The degree to which a trait is present can be quantified e.g. "depression" is a
tendency found in people; some have it more and some less
Similarly " friendliness"; some are more friendly and some less
The point to remember is that all traits may exist in all but these vary in the degree of impact
Allports' Trait Theory
After skimming an unabridged dictionary, Gordon Allport identified 18000 separate terms that
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
could be used to describe personality.
After eliminating synonyms he came up with a list of 4500 descriptions
But the important question was that: WHAT WERE THE MOST BASIC TRAITS?
Allports' Basic Traits Categories
There are three classic categories of traits:
Cardinal traits
Central traits
Secondary traits
Cardinal Traits
A single personality trait directing most of the person's behaviors and activities e.g. affection,
affiliation, kindness, greed.
The person's whole life, or behavior, is influenced by this trait. A person who served the poor
and the weak all his life may have a very high degree of " kindness" or " nurturance".
·Or a person who likes to hoard things, people, and wealth may be ruled by a high degree of "
greed", or perhaps " inferiority".
Central Traits
Do all people possess cardinal traits that encompass all aspects of their being?
Most people develop a group or set of traits rather than a single one, that form the core of
their personality.
Central traits are those major characteristics that make up the core of someone's
Central traits usually number from 5- 10 in a person.e.g., affection, love for humanity, and
nurturance will form one type of personality.
Inferiority, need for control, and greed may give a different shape to personality.
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology