General Overview QuestionsHow can my understanding of personality aid me in developing more effective communication skills?
|The purpose of this module is to provide you with information as to what personality means, how it develops, and how it represents the way we feel and behave. When you complete this module, you will be able to answer the following questions.|
What is meant by the term Personality and how does it relate to our behavior ?
Notice that the key to personality is behavior. While your behavior is influenced by your attitude, skills, values, etc., it is your behavior that is viewed as your personality. But, how stable is your behavior?
How much consistency is there in personality ?
So, like learning, personality can change but the change is very slow. While you can change your behavior, your behavior should be consistent with those inner factors mentioned above.
To what extent is personality determined by genetics and by learning ?
Both genetics and learning play a role. The extent to which learning contributes is the extent to which personality is subject to change. Like all learning, changes are more noticeable in the very young and less so in older adults.
What are the key concepts regarding personality that were presented by Freud in his psychoanalytic theory ?
Freud believed that behavior is determined by unconscious desires, goals, and internal states. He further thought that unconscious conflicts were the source of abnormal behavior patterns. What he appeared to be saying is that, much of the time we can't say why we behave as we do.
How did Freud view the structure of personality ?
Freud's concept of the id is the same as the limbic system discussed under emotion. Remember the limbic system is that part of the brain that monitors the internal state of the organism and is essential for survival. If you want to gain a better understanding of what the limbic system or the id does spend some time with a 4 year old. You will notice that they tend to be self-centered and only concerned about their well-being. While this system is essential for our survival it needs to be controlled if we are living in a social environment where there are many other ids.
It is the ego that develops that allows us to control the id and/or the limbic system. The ego is the result of cognitive processes that develop later. These cognitive processes allow us to consider others and the consequences of our behavior. We learn that taking things that belong to others leads to conflict and crying uses up a considerable amount of energy, often with little payoff. You begin to see the development of the ego in a young child when they offer a younger one something in trade for what they want.
The super-ego is our conscience. We learn this from our experience. An example would be the parent telling the child not to play in the living room. The parent is away, they play there and break the lamp. The parent returns and punishes the child. That period between the lamp breaking and the punishment is often worse than the punishment. Later in life we do something we should not do and feel guilt. Guilt is that feeling on anticipation of punishment that we learned as a child. It is important for the parent to teach the child right from wrong because the prison system is the adult's alternative and it is not very effective in this regard.
What was Freud's view of the stages of development of personality ?
Freud's five stages of development are:
How did Freud describe the oral stage of development ?
How did Freud view the anal stage of development ?
How did Freud explain the phalic stage of personality development ?
What is the latency state of development and does it exist ?
How did Freud explain the genital stage of personality development ?
Freud placed most of his emphasis on early development and learning. While some think that he over emphasized the early stages of development, most agree that early stages of learning tend to lay the foundation for later learning and do tend to have a greater impact.
What does Freud mean by the term fixation ?
What are defense mechanisms and how do they work ?
Defense mechanisms was an important contribution by Freud. But, how do they work? Basically they allow us to change our perception of events. Consider the following example. Suppose a researcher conducts research, writes a paper, and sends it to a journal for review. The reviewer returns it and says it is not any good and they will not publish it. This is a threat to the individuals well-being. In essence a threat to the limbic system or in this case the id. The limbic system brings the full range of emotions into play preparing the individual to attack. However, they have learned that attack is maladaptive in that it won't accomplish what they want. Thus, the ego or cognitive processes come into play in the form of defense mechanisms. Consider rationalization. The researcher tells him or herself that the reviewer was ignorant and thus, could not understand the paper. Thus, using this defense mechanism the researchers credibility is no longer threatened. The problem is with the reviewer. They keep telling them self this and over time the id or limbic system is convinced and emotion is no longer maintaining this attack preparation. The person changed their perception in order to deal with stress using a defense mechanism.
We all use them. The problem arises when the person relies exclusively on them. For, in that case they don't have a need to change, don't change their behavior and thus, don't adapt to their environment. The adaptive thing is to conclude, later, that reviewers are idiots and thus, they need to make changes in order to communicate with idiots. The effect is a change in behavior that is necessary to adapt to the demands of the environment.
How is Freud viewed today ?
While there are few psychologists that adhere strictly to Freud's approach today, he has made a lasting impact regarding unconscious motivation and defense mechanisms. His ideas about women would not go over well today but you must consider that there have been considerable changes is societies thinking since the turn of the century.
How does culture determine the development of personality ?
The statement that "culture refers to everything a person has, thinks, or does as a member of a group" says it all.
What did Carl Jung contribute to personality theory ?
While we don't have much in the way of instinctive behaviors, Jung raised an interesting idea of our collective unconscious. Consider the fact that genetics determines our appearance and to some extent how we behave. That genetic influence doesn't just come from our parents but from their parents on back in time. Perhaps to the beginning. There may be more to the storehouse of ideas and images in the collective unconscious that we previously thought.
What was unique about Alfred Adler's theory of personality ?
Adler focused on our motivation to overcome feelings of inferiority. He thought problems developed in our adjustment due to the development of unrealistic life goals.
What are the humanistic theories about ?
What was Carl Rogers take on human nature?
What are the key concepts of Carl Rogers humanistic approach ?
Rogers developed his approach from experiences in a university counseling center. How might his approach have differed if he was working in a prison or in a psychiatric hospital? Probably the major contribution comes from his focus on the individual's self-concept. He viewed maladaptation to an inconsistency between the perceived self and the ideal self. The more these deviate the more stress the individual experiences.
What are the characteristics of trait and type theories?
Trait theories developed from the perception that there were many characteristic behaviors that people exhibit. Since there were thousands it was difficult to manage but different psychologists attempted to subdivide them into the most important. This list was finally reduced to the big-five. At least these were agreed upon by most to be major traits.
How does Allport think of traits ?
What is Eysenk's type theory ?
What are the big five personality traits ?
What are the criticisms of trait and type theories ?
What characterizes the behavioral approach to personality ?
Since personality refers to the way a person behaves, the behavioral approach says simply focus upon the individuals behavior. If you want to change the person's personality all you need to do is change their behavior.
What are the primary characteristics of the cognitive approach to personality development ?
The big emphasis by cognitive psychologists is that thoughts precede behavior. The way to change behavior is to change thoughts. For example, a student tells them self that they can't learn a foreign language. It is then no surprise that they fail because there is no point in studying if you can't learn the material. Cognitive psychologists would have them tell themselves that they can learn it but will have to study more. If you tell yourself this enough you come to believe it and your behavior changes. Telling yourself that you can't limits your motivation to try.
How can psychologists evaluate personality ?
What are objective personality tests ?
So, what are the projective tests ?
Personality assessment provides the psychologist with an understanding of a persons personality in a relatively short period of time. They could learn the same thing by spending time with the individual but it would take much more time. The most frequently used personality test is the MMPI or MMPI-2 which is an objective true-false test. Most personality tests reveal the individual's strategy for dealing with stress as well as providing information as to how effective this strategy is.