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Define personality.

An individual's characteristic patterns of behaving, thinking and feeling.


What are the main elements of most notions of personality?

1. Comprise a set of traits and mechanisms
2. Has some organisational structure
3. Has relative stability
4. Influences interactions and adaptations to:
a) Internal (intrapsychic) system
b) Social environment
c) Physical environment.


At what three levels did Kluckhohn and Murray (1948) distinguish between individual, group differences and universals?

1. Universality/human nature
2. Particulars/similarities
3. Uniqueness


What does Kluckhohn and Murray (1948)'s definition of individual differences on a universality level focus on?

What makes us the same as everyone else and different from animals, e.g. the ability to combine and recombine information to solve problems and build multifunctional tools.


What does Kluckhohn and Murray (1948)'s definition of individual differences on a particulars level focus on?

Under which criteria we are like 'some' others, e.g. introversion, risk taking, self-esteem, anxiety.


What does Kluckhohn and Murray (1948)'s definition of individual differences on a uniqueness level focus on?

On what grounds we are like others. Debate between nomothetic and idiographic (individual instances of general characteristics, or single unique cases).


What are the four main types of personality theories?

1. Psychoanalytic
2. Social
3. Traits
4. Interactionism


What do psychoanalytic approaches to personality place emphasis on?

• psychoanalytic techniques
• influence of early childhood experience
• centrality of unconscious motivations
• defence mechanisms (repression, regression and sublimation)


What is regression?

Caused by childhood unresolved issues - a person reverts back to a childhood behaviour, for example a 6yr old sucking thumb when new child introduced to the family.


What is repression?

The psychological attempt by an individual to repel one's own desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious. Memories become inaccessible.


What is sublimation?

A mature type of defence mechanism where socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations are consciously transformed into socially acceptable actions or behaviour.


According to psychoanalytic approaches, what are our two main drives or instincts?

Survival (sexual) and death (aggressive).


What are the roles of the id, ego, and superego according to psychoanalytic approaches?

The id (pleasure principle), ego (reality principle), and superego (conscience) interact, with the ego mediating and using defence mechanisms to reduce stress.


What does the idea of unconscious modulation involve?

Dreaming allows us to see what's going on in the unconscious mind.


What are the defence mechanisms according to psychoanalytic theory?

Repression, regression, sublimation, reaction formation (behaving opposite to feelings), projection (attributing own thoughts to others), rationalisation (creating excuses to justify behaviour), and denial.


What are some of the main psychoanalytic methods?

Free association, hypnosis, dream analysis, transference and projective tests (e.g. ink blot tests).


What are the main three psychoanalytic stages of development?

• oral (up to 1yr)
• anal (2-3 yrs)
• oedipal/phallic (4-6 yrs)
Any of these can be fixated at, which can be problematic for adult life.


What do psychoanalytic approaches to personality do?

Give a universal account of fundamental human psychological processing and motivations, with the id, ego, and superego as the underlying core. They are part of a 'grand theory' approach to personality. While they are used today, they're not indicative of most cutting edge research.


What do social (constructivist) theories of personality take into account?

While most theories examine the actor, they also take into account the observer and the self observations of the actor.


What are the main principles of social (constructivist) theories of personality?

• We form associations between behaviours, which form implicit personalities.
• Personality is constructed by people as they meet and interact (Hampson, 1988).
• Personality is therefore simply a social artefact.


According to social theories of personality, how do people vary?

In terms of:
• what they display (explicit personality, how they choose to act)
• what others perceive (implicit personality)
• what they think of themselves (self-perception)


What is meant by the statement that social theories of personality are implicit?

They are essentially 'automatic' - they're controlled by our social interactions.


Who found evidence to support social theories of personality?

Lee, Jussim & McCauley (1995) found evidence to support implicit theories.


According to Mehl, Gosling & Pennebaker (2006), how does the accuracy of self and observer ratings of personality differ by traits?

In the Big Five, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion correspond well, but neuroticism an openness don't.


Who thought of the Act Frequency Approach, and what kind of theory is it?

Buss and Craik (1984), a social theory.


What does the Act Frequency Approach state?

• traits are not stable
• identifying traits is a process of labelling rather than explaining
E.g. If someone is described as neurotic, they are labelled as neurotic more often than comparable others.


What problem with social theories do lab studies (Fazio et al., 1981) support?

Expectancy effects - observers can moderate and influence the 'personality' of the actor: label -> consequent questions -> label reinforcement -> consequent treatment -> actor feels label is accurate.


What is a trait?

• relatively stable over time
• affects behaviour
• cross-situational consistency
• internality - attributable to the person (biological basis)
• inter-individual differences
• minimum overlap


What are the five main factors supporting the biological underpinning of traits?

1. Physiological substrate
2. Hereditary or genetic contribution
3. Similar traits in non-humans
4. Cross-cultural evidence
5. Temporal stability


In a hierarchy of behaviours and traits with neuroticism as the domain, what are the facets?

Anxiety, anger, depression, impulsivity, vulnerability, and self-consciousness. These lead to behaviours.