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Personality Psychology

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Personality Psychology ­ PSY 405
VU
Lesson 45
PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY: NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE DISCIPLINE
There has been tremendous contribution in each area of personality psychology some things have been
added in existing concepts while totally new things have also been added such as the adjustment
perspective or the focus on Neurological aspect of personality study.
1-Definition of personality
2-Analysis of personality
3-criteria to evaluate a theory
4- Personality Assessment
5-Perspectives of personality
6-New Directions in Personality Research
7- A Final Word
Now let us talk about new contributions in each and above area one by one. There are several definitions
of personality but the current focus is on Adaptation and Person Environment Interaction.
1-Definition of personality
Personality is a set of traits or characteristics that describe the ways in which people are different from each
other.
Traits such as shy or timid
Intelligent or Dumb, Generous or Miser, Talkative or Quiet
Traits and Theories of traits have performed important functions such as:
1- They help to describe people and help us to understand the dimensions difference between
people.
2- Traits help to explain behavior (the why component of behavior).
3-Traits help to predict behavior (those who will cope with stress better?)
2- Psychological Mechanisms
Psychological Mechanisms refers to the processes of personality.
Most Psychological Mechanisms involve information processing activity. Psychological Mechanisms are
not activated all the time rather they are activated under particular conditions or situations.
3- With in the individual means that personality is something that a person carries with him over time and
from one situation to next.
So we are stable and consistent across time and situation.
Example we feel as the same person we were yesterday, last week or month.
4- Personality is organized because traits and mechanisms are organized or linked to one another in a
coherent fashion.
Suppose that you have two desires or needs you are hungry and you have to appear for a job interview.
Our personality is organized in the sense that it contains decision rules which govern and control which
needs are to be activated and which needs are to be inactive.
So in the example the hunger need is to be inactive or passive and the need for the preparation for the
interview is to be activated.
5- Influential forces in personality means that traits and mechanisms can act as influence how we act, how
we view our selves, how we feel, how we interact with the world, how we select our environments, how we
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react to our circumstances so personality plays a key role in how people shape their lives.
6- Person- environment interaction is perhaps a difficult and complex feature of personality. Perception
refers to how we see and interpret environment.
Example smile of a clown and of a stranger are seen and interpreted differently one as friendly and other
with suspicion.
7- Adaptation conveys the notion that central feature of personality concerns adaptive functioning such as
accomplishing goals, coping, adjusting and dealing with challenges and problems we face as we go through
life.
Example
People who worry a lot receive a lot of social support and encouragement as a reward therefore they adapt
to the concept of worrying.
8- Different Environments:
There are three types of environments which influence our behavior, namely physical, social and intra-
psychic. Now let us talk about them one by one
1- The physical environment often poses challenges for people some of these are direct threats to the
survival, such as extreme temperatures, snakes, spiders, heights etc.
2- Social environment also poses challenges such as we desire friends, mates, love, belongingness and
unconditional positive regard.
3- Intra-psychic environment
We have memories, dreams, desires, fantasies, and a collection of private experiences we live every day.
The three physical, social and Intra- psychic are the ones which are equally important for the survival of
individual.
Three levels of Personality analysis
Now every individual is similar to others in all respects while in certain respects the individual is similar to
others and different from others as well so let us take each level one by one
1-Like all others (the human nature level)
2-Like some others (the level of individual and group differences)
3-Like no others (the individual uniqueness level)
(Kluckhohn & Murray, 1948)
1- Like all others (the human nature level)
The traits or mechanisms possessed by all of us.
For example nearly every human being has language skills which allow him or her to learn and use
language, so spoken language is a universal human nature.
At the psychological level all humans possess fundamental psychological mechanism for example to live in
harmony and to belong to social groups. So there are many ways in which each person is like every other
person.
2- Like some others (the level of individual and group differences)
This second level pertains to individual and group differences.
Individual differences there are people who love to go out, have parties and socialize, while we have people
who want to be alone, read a book or listen to music, so there are ways or dimensions in which each person
is like some others (introverts, extroverts)
Group differences
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People in one group may have certain personality features in common and these common features make
them different from other groups
Examples
Different cultures, different age groups, different genders, different political parties.
3- Like no others (the individual uniqueness level)
There are no two individuals not even identical twins raised by the same parents in the same home, country
and culture have exactly the same personalities. Personality psychology focuses on the uniqueness of
individual differences. The important point is that personality psychology is concerned with all the three
levels of analysis
1-Like all others (universal level)
2-Like some others (individual and group level)
3-Like no others (the individual uniqueness level)
Criteria for Evaluation of Personality Theory
1. Verifiability
2 Heuristic Values
3. Internal Consistency
4. Parsimony
5. Comprehensiveness
6. Functional Significance
Some seventeen theories of personality covered in the course of personality psychology Freud, Jung, Adler,
Karen Horney, Erickson, Maslow, Rogers, Murray, Sheldon, Sullivan, Allport, Cattle, Dollard and Miller,
Bandura, Skinner, Ellis and Kelly.
Is there a grand ultimate or a true theory of personality?
No! There is no grand ultimate or a true theory of personality we can say that Freud's theory or Roger's
theory or Maslow's theory.
A good theory of personality is one that fulfills three purposes in science which are given below
1- Provides a guideline to researchers
2- Organizes the known available findings
3- Makes predictions
Now all the three are equally important.
Personality can be approached or studied using the six perspectives or domains which are following .The
first five domains are there in each and every book on Personality Psychology but it is the Adjustment
perspective which was added later and it reflects the latest trend in Personality Psychology.
1- Dispositional
2- Biological
3- Intra-psychic
4- Cognitive / Experiential
5- Social and Cultural
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6- Adjustment
Personality Measurement
It includes Personality Assessment and Personality Measurement is an important area where many new
concepts have emerged let us look at them closely. Now keep in your mind that Personality Assessment
deals with methods of data collection such as Self Report Data (S-Data), Observer Report Data (O-Data),
Test Data (T-Data) and Life Outcome Data (L- Data). While Personality Measurement psychological tests
definitely personality tests MMPI-I CPI, EPPS AND 16PF these are objective tests where as there are
Projective personality test as well such RISB, TAT, WAT and many more.
1- Personality Assessment
Sources of Personality Data
1- Self Report Data (S-Data)
2- Observer Report Data (O-Data)
3- Test Data (T-Data)
4- Life Outcome Data (L- Data)
2- Issues in Personality Assessment
Links in data sources and the Pitfalls in different methods
3- Personality Measurement
1- Personality tests
·
Objective-MMPI I
·
Projective (subjective)
2- Evaluation of Personality Measures
·
Reliability
·
Validity
·
Generalizability
3-Research Design used in personality
·
Experimental Studies
·
Correlational Studies
·
Case Studies
Each design has its advantages and limitations.
New Frontiers in Personality Research
1- Study of cognitive processes and their relationship to other aspects of psychological functioning:
With the exceptions of Kelly and Bandura, the personality theorists discussed have almost totally
disregarded the role of cognitive processes in understanding human functioning. Freud, for instance"
viewed human nature primarily in terms of early childhood experiences and unconscious motivation.
Skinner, on the other hand, treats personality as if it involves only the relationship between overt behavior
and environmental reinforcement contingencies.
2- Study of especially productive, talented, and creative persons:
For all practical purposes, the formal study of personality had its beginnings in Freud's concern with the
causes and treatment of pathological behavior. The history of personological inquiry, therefore, reflects a
strong emphasis on behavioral phenomena observed most readily in psychotherapeutic situations. Even
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today the study of personality remains closely tied to the investigation of psychologically disturbed
persons. But times are changing, and so are the concerns and interests of personologists. In recent years,
there has been a growing awareness that personology should not be exclusively preoccupied with
pathological or defensive aspects of human functioning.
3- Study of the physiological and neurological determinants and bases of Personality:
In all likelihood, the contemporary scientific era will be recorded as the age of biology- and as a period in
which advances in behavior genetics, biochemistry, psychopharmacology, and neurophysiology produced
remarkable and decisive changes in the constructs and methods that guide inquiry in psychology in general.
Yet, with the exceptions of Freud and Murray (the only two theorists in this text who truly acknowledge
and stress the biological bases of behavior), personologists have almost totally ignored the need to study the
neuro-physiological and biochemical components of human personality.
4- Study of personality development in middle and old age:
About one quarter of our lives is spent growing up and three-quarters growing old. It is ironic, therefore,
that psychologists have devoted so much of their efforts to the study of childhood and adolescence. Two
major assumptions underlie and partially explain this one-sided emphasis on the study of child and
adolescent development: (1) selected adult behavior patterns are firmly established at an early age and (2)
parental treatment during the initial years of life is a significant determinant of personality formation.
5- Study of self-regulatory processes and plans
The ability of human beings to control their own personal world has intrigued not only philosophers and
psychologists but most laypersons as well. This presumed ability has taken on added importance in the
context of today's chaotic world in which increasing numbers of people feel unable to shape the direction
of their lives (Seligman, 1975). Accordingly, future study in personology will need to systematically
examine the extent to which humans are capable of regulating their own behavior through self imposed
goals and self-produced consequences. Some progress in this direction has already been achieved as a
result of Bandura's theoretical and research contributions. His effort to delineate the ways in which we
regulate our behavior by imposing goals or standards on ourselves and then reacting to our performances
with self-praise or self-criticism promises to greatly enrich our understanding of self-control. Future study
will especially need to consider the kinds of "priority rules" a person uses to select behavioral strategies
that will lead to salient goals. That is, personality investigators will need to study the kinds of plans an
individual makes to control the complicated sequences of steps leading to the attainment of long-range
goal, e.g., how do people plan and organize their behavior so as to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, or
senators? Attention will also be focused on the psychological processes that enable people to construct for
themselves outlines of intended sequences of activity.
6- Study of the interaction of situational factors and personality variables and their relative
contribution to behavior:
As the individual lectures on each theorist made clear, it is customary for most personologists (Skinner and
Bandura excluded) to assume that personality variables (i.e., intra-psychic factors) are responsible for and
can adequately explain a person's behavior as it varies from one situation to another. Freud's
psychoanalytic theory and Allport's trait theory are by far the most thorough in their development of this
person-oriented view. These two theorists have unequivocally assumed that personality is composed of
broad and stable characteristics that operate regularly across a wide variety of situations that is traits
underlie the observed consistencies in each person's behavior.
7- Study of problems relevant to the practical world of human affairs:
As we have repeatedly noted, the history of personological inquiry is intimately bound up with the study of
psychopathology and personal adjustment. Efforts aimed at improving the human condition were defined
largely in terms of what could be done to diagnose and treat disturbed individuals so that they could regain
their mental health and live more productive lives. This orientation especially characterizes the theories of
Freud, Adler, Rogers, Kelly, and to some extent, Erikson. Individual effectiveness and proper
psychological functioning are also emphasized in the theories of Allport and Maslow.
Personality psychology is a very young field of inquiry. With comparatively few exceptions, it is only
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during the past four decades that personality theories have emerged. Personology has nevertheless come of
age by establishing itself as a viable area of study. The flourishing activity in personology is a function of
the growing realization that people's most vital problems concern themselves and their relations to others.
Future theories will certainly not be carbon copies of existing ones, yet the ideas and insights embedded
within the ten theories presented in this text cannot but have a decisive impact upon future conceptions of
personality. This is because our ten theorists have struggled to resolve critical and enduring issues and
because they have each contributed something to the understanding of the mystery of human nature.
Accordingly, future theorists will be guided by the rich intellectual heritage of their predecessors.
The ultimate scientific significance of current personality theories will depend upon the extent to which
they generate new research. Furthermore, theories of personality must be self-corrective in the light of new
empirical evidence if they are to remain useful to the scientific enterprise.
In the concluding section we suggest that new frontiers in personality research will be explored in seven
general areas: (1) study of cognitive processes and their relationship to other aspects of psychological
functioning; (2) study of especially productive, talented, and creative persons; (3) study of the
physiological and neurological determinants and bases of personality; (4) study of personality development
in middle and old age; (5) study of self-regulatory processes and plans; (6) study of the interaction of
situational factors and personality variables and their relative contribution to behavior; and (7) study of
problems relevant to the practical world of human affairs. Imaginative and critical study in these areas
promises to deepen and enrich our conceptions of personality.
A Final Word
1- Much about the personality domain remains unknown.
2- The best explanation related to personality comes from theories of personality.
3- If a psychological problem arises select and chose therapeutic technique that is suitable for the person.
The course covered a vast territory of personality that constitutes the vital fabric of modern psychology.
The focus of the study is certainly the "total individual."
1- An integrated and clear concept about Personality has been established.
2- An understanding of personality assessment and measurement has been created.
3- All important Theories of Personality discussed.
4- The key themes in Theories of Personality identified.
5- Elaboration of each personality theory and its concepts with examples from Pakistani culture.
6- Focus on Self understanding and self analysis.
Benefits to students who are enrolled in the different courses at VU in following ways
Benefits of the Personality Psychology Course
1- Personality Growth and development focused (self actualization and self esteem)
2- Clarity about self and academic goals.
3- Adapt to changes in society and environment (technological advances)
4- Academic pressures can be reduced by learning new skills--life skills (stress adaptation)
5- Academic performance can be enhanced knowing your personality traits
Benefits of personality psychology course at
1-Individual level --self understanding, analysis and adjustment
2-Community level--Understanding group differences
3-National level
Each personality theory and its concepts have been discussed with examples from Pakistani culture to help
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Pakistani people live their lives more fully and satisfyingly highlighting healthy patterns of self growth.
Applications
This course of personality psychology can be a real asset to
Business and economics students, Law students, Medical students
Human resource managers and students, administration and public affairs students, mass communication
students and literature and language students.
Conscious efforts to understand and resolve intra-psychic and extra-psychic conflicts which often are the
primary irritants in our society, with Personality Psychology Knowledge you can smooth out these irritants.
This course would have given you an opportunity to be a congenial personality for yourself as well as for
others.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE NATURE OF PERSONALITY THEORY:Objectives of Personality Psychology
  2. PERSONALITY MEASUREMENT:Observational Procedures, Rating Scales
  3. MAIN PERSPECTIVES:Psychometrics, observation, Behavioral Coding Systems
  4. SIGMUND FREUD: A PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY
  5. INSTINCT: WHAT MOTIVATES HUMAN BEHAVIOR?, The Oral Stage
  6. PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF SIGMUND FREUD:The Ego, Free association
  7. THEORY OF CARL JUNG:Biographical Sketch, Principles of Opposites, The Persona
  8. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES:Childhood, Young Adulthood, Middle Ages
  9. ALFRED ADLER:Biographical Sketch, Individual Psychology, Feeling of Inferiority
  10. INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY:Fictional Finalism, Social Interest, Mistaken Styles of Life
  11. KAREN HORNEY:Adjustment to Basic Anxiety, Adjustment Techniques
  12. ADJUSTMENT TO BASIC ANXIETY:Moving Towards People, Moving Against People
  13. ERIK ERIKSON:Anatomy and Destiny, Ego Psychology, Goal of Psychotherapy
  14. ERIK ERIKSON:Human Development, Goal of Psychotherapy
  15. SULLIVAN’S INTERPERSONAL THEORY:Core Concepts, The Self-System
  16. SULLIVAN’S INTERPERSONAL THEORY:Cognitive Process, Tension
  17. CONSTITUTIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:The Structure of Physique, Evaluation
  18. SHELDON’S SOMATOTYPE THEORY:The Structure of Physique
  19. MASLOW’S THEORY:Self-Actualizers Aren't Angels, Biographical Sketch
  20. MASLOW’S THEORY:Basic Concepts of Humanistic Psychology, Problem Centering
  21. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Humanistic, Actualizing tendency
  22. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Fully functioning person
  23. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Client Centered Therapy,
  24. KELLY’S COGNITIVE THEORY OF PERSONALITY THEORY:Biographical Sketch
  25. CORE CONCEPTS OF GEORGE KELLY’S COGNITIVE THEORY OF PERSONALITY
  26. GORDON ALLPORT: A TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Personality as a
  27. GORDON ALLPORT: A TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Secondary Traits
  28. FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY:Factor Analysis, The Nature of Personality
  29. FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY:The Specification Equation, Research Methods
  30. HENRY MURRAY’S PERSONOLOGY:Need, Levels of Analysis, Thema
  31. HENRY MURRAY’S PERSONOLOGY (CONTINUED)
  32. ALBERT BANDURA’S SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY:BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
  33. ALBERT BANDURA’S SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY:Reciprocal Determinism
  34. THE STIMULUS RESPONSE THEORY OF DOLLARD AND MILLER:Core Concepts
  35. THE STIMULUS RESPONSE THEORY OF DOLLARD AND MILLER:Innate Equipment
  36. SKINNER’S THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Biographical Sketch, Books
  37. SKINNER’S THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Positive Reinforcement, Generalization
  38. ALBERT ELLIS THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Biographical Sketch, Social Factors
  39. THE GRAND PERFECT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Genes and Biology
  40. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY:Dispositional
  41. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY
  42. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY:Need
  43. THE GRAND THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Psychosexual Stages of Development
  44. PERSONALITY APPRAISAL:Issues in Personality Assessment
  45. PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY: NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE DISCIPLINE