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distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feelings, and acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations


Personality reflected through 3 characteristics

1) Components of identity
2) Perceived internal cause
3) Perceived organization and structure


Conversion hysteria

physical symptoms such as paralysis and blindness appeared suddenly with no apparent physical cause
o Freud → symptoms related to painful memories and feelings that were repressed


Psychic energy

instinctual drives that power the mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release


Mental events may be: (3)

1) Conscious – mental events we are presently aware of
2) Preconscious – memories, thoughts, feelings, and images that we are unaware of at the moment but can be called into conscious awareness
3) Unconscious – not aware of; released through dreams, disguised behaviour, slips of tongue, etc.


Freud divided personality into 3 parts:

Id, ego, superego



exists totally within the unconscious mind; innermost core of personality; present at birth; source of all psychic energy; functions in irrational manner
o Pleasure principle – seeks immediate gratification
or release, regardless of rational considerations and
environmental realities



functions primarily at conscious level
o Reality principle – tests reality to decide when and
under which conditions the id can safely discharge
its impulses and satisfy its needs



moral arm of personality
- self-control
- developed by 4 or 5
- moral over gratification → quest for perfection puts off gratification permanently


Defence mechanisms

unconscious processes by which ego prevents expression of anxiety-arousing impulses or allows them to appear in disguised forms



repressed impulse released in form of socially acceptable behaviour or even admired behaviour


Freud psycho-sexual development

• Id’s pleasure-seeking tendencies focused on erogenous zones
• Develop personality as we go through these stages; if excessive or inadequate gratification at a stage → fixation occurs and adult personality is affected


Psychosexual development stages

1) Oral - 0-2 - Erogenous zone: Mouth - Task: Weaning
2) Anal - 2-3 - Erogenous zone: Anus - Task: Toilet training
3) Phallic - 4-6 - Erogenous zone: Genitals - Task: Resolving Oedipus complex
4) Latency - 7-puberty - Erogenous zone: None - Task: Developing social relationships
5) Gential - puberty onwards - Erogenous zone: Genitals - Task: developing mature social and sexual relationships



psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain aspects of Freud’s thinking and developed their own theories (e.g. Erik Erickson, Carl Jung)


Alfred Adler

humans are social beings motivated by social interest; social welfare over own needs


Carl Jung

(analytic psychology & archetypes)

o Analytic psychology – humans have personal unconscious based on life experiences and collective unconscious of memories accumulated throughout entire history of human race
o Archetypes – inherited tendencies to interpret experience in certain ways


Object relations

focus on images or mental representations that people form of themselves and others because of early experience with caregivers


Reaction formation

produces exaggerated behaviours that are the opposite of the impulse



total realization of one’s human potential


Personal constructs

cognitive categories into which they sort the people and events in their lives
o George Kelly believed it was reason for primary
basis for individual differences in personality


Fixed-role therapy (george kelly)

role descriptions and behavioural scripts for clients that differed from their typical views → client might gain appreciation for way diff behaviours/ constructions lead to more satisfying life outcomes


Carl rogers

famous humanist; behaviour is a response to our immediate conscious experience of self and environment



organized, consistent set of perceptions of and beliefs about oneself; more commonly known as self-concept



absence of conflict among self-perceptions
o Rogers → people pushed by self-consistency
needs to behave in accord with their self-concepts



consistency between self-perceptions and experience
o Rogers → degree of congruence between self-
concept and experience helps define one’s level of



how positively or negatively we feel about ourselves; important aspect of personal well-being, happiness, and adjustment
• Late adolescent – males have higher self-esteem;
Adulthood – basically same levels
• Unstable/ unrealistically high self-esteem is
dangerous → when threatened, person may react
aggressively or violently to protect their self-esteem


Roger's personality theory

• Need for positive regard – acceptance, sympathy, love from others
o Essential for healthy development → Ideally,
positive regard is unconditional regardless of how
child behaves
• Unconditional positive regard – communicates that child is inherently worthy of love
• Conditional positive regard – dependent on how child behaves
o Extreme case → given only when child behaves
the way the parents want
• Need for positive self-regard – need to feel positively about themselves that underlies self-enhancement behaviours
• Conditions of worth – dictate when we approve or disapprove of ourselves
o E.g. Child get parental approval when being
friendly, but disapproval when acting angry → child
may come to disapprove of their “angry” feelings,
even when justified


Fully functioning person

do not hide behind masks or adopt artificial roles



tendency to try to verify or validate one’s existing self-concept – that is, to satisfy congruence needs



need to regard oneself positively


Individualist vs Collectivist cultures

- Individualistic cultures (North America, Northern Europe) place an emphasis on independence and personal attainment
- Collectivist cultures (Asia, Africa, South America) connectedness between people and the achievement of group goals
• Americans more likely to describe themselves
using personal attribute → “I am honest, I am smart”
• Japanese more likely to use physical trait → “I am
the oldest, I am a student”


Gender schemas

organized mental structures that contain our understanding of the attributes and behaviours that are appropriate and expected for males and females
• Western cultures → men emphasize individualistic
self-concept, women emphasize collectivist self-


Factor analysis

statistical technique that permits research to reduce many measures to a small number of clusters or factors

- it identifies the clusters of behaviour o test scores that are highly correlated with one another


Raymond Cattell

asked lots of people to rate themselves and identified 16 basic behaviour clusters/ factors
• Developed 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF)


Big five factors

• Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism
• Every person will fall at a point on one of these 5 dimensions
• Research found association between Big Five personality traits and health → diff traits associated with increased/ decreased risk of health problems


Three factors make it difficult to predict on basis of personality how people will behave in situations

1) Personality traits interact with other traits as well as with characteristics of diff situations
2) Degree of consistency across situations is influenced by how important a given trait is for the person
3) People differ in their tendency to tailor their behaviour to what is called for by the situation
 This trait is called “self-monitoring”


Social cognitive theory

cognitive-behavioural approach to personality that emphasizes role of social learning, cognitive processes, and self-regulation
• Developed by Albert Bandura and Walter Mischel


Social cognitive theorists

combine the behavioural and cognitive perspectives into an approach to personality that stresses the interaction of a thinking human with a social environment that provides learning experiences (Julian Rotter, Albert Bandura, Walter Mischel)


Reciprocal determinism

person, person’s behaviour, and environment all influence one another in a pattern of two-way causal links (Bandura)



our perception of how likely it is that certain consequence will occur if we engage in a behaviour within a specific situation


Reinforcement value

how much we desire or dread the outcome that we expect the behaviour to produce

- Internal-External locus of control – expectancy concerning degree of personal control we have in our lives


Internal locus

- life outcome under personal control
- depend on their behaviour
- controllable


External locus

luck, chance, powerful others


Internal vs External locus

• Internal uni students perform better than external uni students with same academic ability
• Internal locus positively correlated to self-esteem & cope with stress better
• Locus of control is called “generalized expectancy” → applies across many life domains



conviction that we can perform the behaviours necessary to produce a desired outcome
• Bandura says self-efficacy beliefs are always
specific to situations
o Master self-defence → feel capable in self-
defence, not all aspects of their lives


Observational learning

observation of behaviours and consequences to similar models in similar situations


Guidelines for effective goal-setting

1) Set specific, behavioural, and measurable goals
2) Set performance, not outcome, goals
3) Set difficult but realistic goals
4) Set positive, not negative, goals
5) Set short-range as well as long-term goals
6) Set definite time spans for achievement


Consistency paradox

person may be highly conscientious in one situation without being conscientious in another situation → we expect high level of consistency is people’s behaviour, but actual level is surprisingly low


Cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS)

• Made by Walter Mischel → is a personality theory
• Person and situation both matter → dynamic interplay between characteristics person brings into situation and characteristics of situation


If.... Then.... behaviour consistencies

consistency in behaviour, but only with similar situations
• E.g. IF Mark is angry at partner, THEN he will shout → IF Mark is angry at boss, THEN he will withdraw


Psychologists assess personality characteristics using

• Personality scales and self-ratings
• Responses on projective tests
• Physiological measures
• Behavioural assessment
• Reports, rating by other people
• Interview data


Structured interviews

specific set of questions to collect research data


Behavioural assessment

explicit coding system devised by psychologists that contains the behavioural categories of interest


Remote behaviour sampling

researchers and clinicians collect samples of behaviour from respondents as they live their daily lives


Personality scales

- objective
- collect data from many people at same time
- people may lie


Validity scales

- detect tendencies to respond in a socially desirable manner or to present an overly negative image of oneself
- combats the lying in personality scales


Rational approach

approach to test construction in which test items are made up based on a theorist’s conception of a construct


Empirical approach

approach to test construction in which items (regardless of their content) are chosen that differentiate between 2 groups that are known to differ on a personality variable`


Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

personality test whose items were developed by using empirical approach and comparing various kinds of psychiatric patients with normal patients

• MMPI-2 has 10 clinical scales and 3 validity scales → used for personality description, aid to psychiatric diagnosis, and screening device in industrial and military settings

• Jeffrey Dahmer’s test showed that he was messed up → he mutilated and dismembered his victims and sometimes ate them


Projective tests

test that present ambiguous stimuli to subject
• Responses assumed to be based on projection of
internal characteristics of person onto stimuli
• E.g. TAT, Rorschach


Rorschach test

10 inkblots → 5 in black and white, 5 in colour

- categorize and score responses in terms of kinds of objects reported, features attended to (whole blot, coloured portions, tiny details), and emotional tone associated with answers


Thematic Apperception test (TAT)

series of pictures derived from paintings, drawings, and magazine illustrations

• Asked to describe what is happening, what led up to situation, what characters are thinking and feelings, and outcome