Unit 10: Personality

Personality: An individual's characteristic pattern of thinking feeling and acting.

Key Terms

  • Id - a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to Freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives. 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 the 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 judgment (the conscience) and for future aspirations.
  • External/Internal Locus of Control - the perception that chance or outside forces beyond your personal control determine your fate or the perception that you control your own fate.

Major Theories/Concepts

  • Psychoanalysis - Freud's theory of personality that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts; the techniques used in treating psychological disorders by seeking to expose and interpret unconscious tensions.
  • Psychosexual Stages - the childhood stages of development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital) during which, according to Freud, the id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones.
  • Terror-Management Theory - a theory of death-related anxiety; explores people’s emotional and behavioral responses to reminders of their impending death.

Key people

  • Sigmund Freud: Developed the theory of psychoanalysis and believed that you personality sprouted from the unconscious mind.
  • Abraham Maslow: Humanist who proposed we are motivated by a hierarchy of needs and developed his ideas by studying healthy creative people.
  • Alfred Adler: Neo-Freudian who believed that childhood social tensions are crucial for personality formation.

Personality Tests

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Counts the test-taker's preferences and will label them as a feeling or thinking type, finally feeding it back to the test taker in complementary terms.
  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): When people view ambiguous pictures and create stories from them.
  • Rorschach Ink Blot Test: People describe what they see in a series of ink blots.
  • Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: Identifies clusters of correlated test items, it will type you as introverted/extroverted and stable/unstable.

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