A person's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting

Psychoanalytical Theory

Proposed by Sigmund Freud, stating that childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations influence personality.

Humanistic Prespective

Focused on inner capacities for growth and fulfillment

Trait Prespective

Describing people by people's stable characteristics and enduring patterns of behaviors

The Social-Cognitive Perspective

Proposed by Albert Bandura, emphasizes the interaction of our traits with our situations

Exploring the Self

The assumption that the self, as the organizer of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, is pivotal to the understanding of personality.


Unconscious: According to Freud, a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. According to contemporary psychologists, information processing of which we are unaware.

Id: A reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to Freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drive. The id operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification.

Ego: The largely conscious, "executive" part of personality that, according to Freud, mediates among the demands of the id, superego, and reality. The ego operates on the reality principle, satisfying id's desires in ways that will realistically bring pleasure rather than pain.

Superego: The part of personality that, according to Freud, represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgement (the conscience) and for future aspirations.

Defense Mechanisms: In psychoanalytical theory, the ego's protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.

Self-actualization: According to Maslow, one of the ultimate psychological needs that arise after basic physical and psychological needs are met and self-esteem is achieved; the motivation is to fulfills one's potential.


Sigmund Freud: Australian neurologists who originated psychoanalysis

Alfred Adler: Australian psychiatrists who rejected Freud's ideas  

Karen Horney: German psychoanalyst who practiced in the United States during her later career. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views.

Carl Jung: Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology.

Abraham Maslow: American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

Carl Rogers: American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology.


Isabel Briggs Myers, along with her mother Kathrine Briggs, wanted to be able to describe important personality differences. By using Carl Jung's personality types they attempted to sort people based on responses to 126 questions. The questionnaire became known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It is taken by more than 2 million people a year, and used to figure out what counseling, leadership training, and work-team development is needed.

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