Self and Personality (Free Access)
- Developmental Psychologists says for
human children self-recognition takes place between 18 – 24 months of age
- Self-recognition among great apes and humans is the first clear expression of the concept “ME”
- The ability to see yourself as a distinct entity is a necessary first step in the evolution and development of a self-concept.
- Self-concept is the sum total of beliefs you have about yourself.
- Second step involves understanding social factors.
- Charles Horten Cooley (1902) suggested the Looking-glass self
- Other people serve as a mirror in which we see ourselves.
- Person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.
- The term refers to people shaping their self-concepts based on their understanding of how others perceive them. Cooley clarified that society is an interweaving and inter-working of mental selves.
- George Herbert Mead (1934)
- We often come to know ourselves by imagining what significant others think of us and then incorporating the perceptions into our self-concept.
- Gallup tested his apes, those that had been raised in isolation—without exposure to peers—could not recognize themselves in the mirror.
- Only after such exposure did they begin to show signs of self-recognition.
- Among human beings, our self concepts match our perceptions of what other’s think of us.
- What we think of ourselves often does not match specific others actually think of us
- Where does our self-concept come from?
- Perception of our own behaviour
- Influences of other people
- Autobiographical memory
- The word esteem comes from the Latin aestimare- estimate or appraise.
- Self-esteem refers to our positive and negative evaluations of ourselves- Coopersmith,1967.
- Some individuals have a higher self-esteem than others do and this attribute can have influence on the way they think and feel about themselves.
- The feeling is not stable it may vary depending on one’s success, failures, changes in fortune, social interactions and other experiences.
- Research—people with unstable, fluctuating self-esteem react more strongly to +ve or –ve life events than do people whose sense of self-worth is stable and secure.
- Self-concept consists of numerous self-schemas, some parts are judged more favorably or more clearly than other parts of the self.
- High self-esteem
- Feeling about themselves—happy, healthy, success etc.,
- Persist longer at difficult tasks.
- More accepting of self than confirming to peer pressures.
- An individual’s self-esteem is their subjective appraisal of themselves as intrinsically positive or negative, and can have significant implications for psychological functioning.
self-esteem inevitably varies from time to time, depending on the context we
find ourselves in.
- Eg: Psychology marks.
Self Efficacy: A strong sense of self-efficacy allows people to select, influence, and even construct the circumstances of their own life.
Self Control: Learning to delay or defer the gratification of needs is called self-control. Self-control plays a key role in the fulfilment of long-term goals.
Personality refers to our characteristic ways of responding to individuals and situations.
Type vs Trait
Psychologists distinguish between type and trait approaches to personality.
- The type approaches claims that there are larger patterns in individual oserved behavioural characteristic.
- Each of these patterns represents one type and individuals can be placed there in terms of the similarity of their behavioural characteristics
had proposed a typology of personality based on fluid or humour.
- He classified people into four types (sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic and choleric)
- In India, Charak Samhita, a famous treatise on Ayurveda, classifies people into the categories of vata, pitta and kapha on the basis of three humoural elements called tridosha.
- Each refers to a type of temperament, called prakriti (basic nature) of a person.
- Apart from this, there is also a
typology of personality based on the trigunas, i.e. sattva, rajas, and tamas.
- Sattva guna includes attributes like cleanliness, truthfulness, dutifulness, detachment, discipline, etc.
- Rajas guna includes intensive activity, desire for sense gratification, dissatisfaction, envy for others, and a materialistic mentality, etc.
- Tamas guna characterises anger, arrogance, depression, laziness, feeling of helplessness, etc.
- All the three gunas are present in each and every person in different degrees. The dominance of one or the other guna may lead to a particular type of behaviour
proposed the Endomorphic, Mesomorphic, and Ectomorphic typology.
- The endomorphs are fat, soft and round
- By temperament they are relaxed and sociable.
- The mesomorphs have strong musculature,
are rectangular with a strong body build.
- They are energetic and courageous.
- The ectomorphs are thin, long and
fragile in body build.
- They are brainy, artistic and introvert.
- The endomorphs are fat, soft and round
then proposed another important typology by grouping people into introverts and
- Introverts are people who prefer to be alone, tend to avoid others, withdraw themselves in the face of emotional conflicts, and are shy.
- Extraverts, on the other hand, are sociable, outgoing, drawn to occupations that allow dealing directly with people, and react to stress by trying to lose themselves among people and social activity
and Rosenman have classified individuals into Type-A and Type-B personalities
- Type-A personality seem to possess high motivation, lack patience, feel short of time, be in a great hurry, and feel like being always burdened with work. Such people find it difficult to slow down and relax. People with Type-A personality are more susceptible to problems like hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD).
- Type-B personality are relaxed, laid back, and do things at their own pace, they aren’t ambitious either. In a way they can be understood as the absence of Type-A traits.
- Morris has suggested a Type-C personality where Individuals characterised by this personality are cooperative, unassertive and patient. They suppress their negative emotions (e.g., anger), and show compliance to authority.
- The trait approach focuses on the specific psychological attributes along which individuals tend to differ in consistent and stable ways.
are relatively stable over time and consistent across situations
- Combinations vary across individuals leading to individual differences in personality
- Gordon Allport is considered the pioneer of trait approach.
- He proposed that individuals possess a number of traits, which are dynamic in nature. They determine behaviour in such a manner that an individual approaches different situations with similar plans.
- Allport categorised traits into cardinal, central, and secondary.
- Cardinal traits are highly generalised
- They indicate the goal around which a person’s entire life seems to revolve
- Central traits define the individual into many different attributes.
- Secondary traits are traits that do not represent the person completely and can be applied for many individuals.
- Raymond Cattell believed that there is a common structure on which people differ from each other.
- This structure could be determined empirically. Therefore, he applied a statistical technique, called factor analysis, to discover the common structures. He found 16 primary or source traits.
- The source traits are stable, and are considered as the building blocks of personality.
- Surface traits that result out of the interaction of source traits.
- Cattell described the source traits in terms of opposing tendencies.
- He developed a test, called Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), for the assessment of personality.
- Eysenck proposed that personality could be reduced into two broad dimensions.
- Neuroticism vs. emotional stability: It refers to the degree to which people have control over their feelings. At one extreme of the dimension, we find people who are neurotic. They are anxious, moody, touchy, and restless and quickly lose control. At the other extreme lie people who are calm, eventempered, reliable and remain under control.
- Extraversion vs. introversion: It refers to the degree to which people are socially outgoing or socially withdrawn. At one extreme are those who are active, gregarious, impulsive and thrillseeking. At the other extreme are people who are passive, quiet, cautious and reserved.
- In a later work Eysenck proposed a third dimension, called Psychoticism vs. Sociability: which is considered to interact with the other two dimensions mentioned above. A person who scores high on psychoticism dimension tends to be hostile, egocentric, and antisocial. Eysenck Personality Questionnaire is the test which is used for studying these dimensions of personality
There are four major schools of psychoanalytic theory:
- Ego Psychology
- Object Relations
- Self Psychology
- Psychodynamic theorists adhere to the notion of unconscious influences on conscious behaviours
- Psychodynamic theorists use introspective methods as a way to tap into internal thoughts and images
- Sigmund Freud used the analogy of the iceberg to depict the complex interplay of conscious and unconscious forces
- Freud believed that only 10% of personality is available to conscious awareness
- Components of the Psyche
- Freud’s theory outlines three mental components:
- Id : Hedonistic
- Ego: Realistic
- Superego: Moralistic
- Unconscious; operates according to the pleasure principle with no regard for moral principles
- Primary process thinking achieves momentary satisfaction and wish fulfillment
- Insight (catharsis) reduces tension
- Freud termed the libido ‘eros’, and termed aggression ‘thanatos’
- Mostly conscious; operates according to the reality principle
- Tries to align the urge of the id with reality using secondary process thinking
- The ego considers the situation and past experience to engage in behaviour
- Mostly conscious; operates according to the perfection principle
- Tries to uphold morality by a strict adherence to societal standards
- Guilt and shame result from immoral behaviour for those having a strong superego
- Freud developed a series of four psychosexual stages:
- Oral Stage
- Anal Stage
- Phallic Stage
- Genital Stage
- Too little or too much gratification within each stage can result in fixations
- Defense Mechanisms are the ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality
- Repression – the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness
- Regression- defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated
- Reaction Formation – defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites. People may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings
- Projection- defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others
- Rationalization – defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one’s actions
- Displacement- defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person. As when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet
- Freud’s theory sparked criticism in several areas:
- Lack of empirical testing
- Abstract, untestable concepts
- Reliance on case studies
- Biased sample (upper-class, Viennese women)
- Emphasis on libido and unconscious factors
- Therapist as the agent of change
- Personality is fixed (deterministic)
- Freud’s theory has been commended in several areas:
- Played a key role in linking personality and culture
- Drew public attention to psychological factors
- Mentored many prominent theorists of our time
- The Neo-Freudians: Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology
- The Personal and the Collective Unconscious
- Jung shared, yet rejected, many of Freud’s beliefs
- Jung believed in the importance of the unconscious and the power of dream analysis
- Jung favored spirituality and the notion of psychosocial rather than psychosexual energy
- Jung referred to the personal unconscious as a collection of personal experiences
- Coined the term ‘complex’ to reflect personal tension
- Referred to a collective unconscious to reflect spiritual influences, composed of various archetypes, that are inherited and universal
- Specific Archetypes
- The mandala refers to the goal of a developing unified self that is a unique process (individuation)
- The anima refers to the feminine side of males, whereas the animus refers to the masculine side of females
- The shadow archetype refers to the dark side of humanity
- The Neo-Freudians: Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology
- Jung was the first person to make the extroversion–introversion distinction
- Jung viewed extroversion as energy habitually directed outward and introversion as energy habitually directed inward
- Jung viewed extroversion and introversion as different cognitive states that affect attention and objectivity
- Jung linked personality to cultural differences
- Jung referred to individual differences in personality that reflect psychological functions (ways a person relates to others, the world, and information)
- Jung’s four psychological functions are sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling that combine to form 16 different psychological types
- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- The Myers- Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) is used worldwide and in various settings
- The MBTI shows incremental validity when used with the five-factor model on a social-cognitive task
- Concerns with the MBTI include its categorical approach and problems with translating content into other languages
- Criticisms of Jung’s theory echo those of Freud’s:
- Lack of empirical testing
- Archetypes as inherited spiritual influences
- Jung has been commended for providing a theoretical basis for personality (MBTI), for providing a role for culture and cognitive factors in the study of personality
- The Neo-Freudians: Alfred Adler
- Adler’s perspective views each person as unique, and he represents a movement called individual psychology
- Adler refuted Freud’s notion that sexual urges motivate people
- Adler believed that people try to overcome a sense of inferiority that arises from a biological weakness (organ inferiority) or from a psychological weakness
- Major tenets of Adler’s theory
- The one dynamic force behind people’s behavior is the striving for success or superiority
- People’s subjective perceptions shape their behavior and personality.
- Personality is unified and self-consistent.
- The value of all human activity must be seen from the viewpoint of social interest.
- The self-consistent personality structure develops into a person’s style of life.
- Style of life is molded by people’s creative power.
- The Inferiority Complex
- Adler believed that we strive to overcome an inferiority complex by aiming for superiority and perfection
- Organ and inferiority complexes were universal concepts for Adler, but differences in biological and environmental factors accounted for individual differences
- Styles of Life and the Meaning of Life
- Styles of life are unique patterns of life expression that are the result of early life experiences
- Meanings that are “gravely mistaken” result from situations that involve organ inferiority, pampered children, and neglected children
- Organ inferiority contributes to humiliation and defensiveness from social comparisons, but can be overcome
- Pampered children feel prominent and may react when they no longer feel this way
- Neglected children may become cold and hostile due to their mistrust of others
- Adler’s focus in therapy was on discovering prototypes (early memories) called old remembrances that determine adult styles of life
- Adler outlined four styles of life:
- Ruling Type: desire for control
- Getting Type: dependent on others
- Avoiding Type: avoidant and isolated
- Socially Useful Type: self-control and social interest
- Social Interest – Social interest develops in
childhood and is influenced by the interaction with the mother
- Adler referred to the superiority complex to describe persons having more interest in personal goals than in social interest, and overcompensating for feelings of inferiority
- Research has reported low intercorrelations among measures of social interest
- Birth Order
- Adler supported a link between birth order and personality and outlined several types:
- Only children are pampered and lack social interest
- First-born children are conservative and obedient
- Second-born children are best adjusted
- Ernst and Angst (1983) found a low association between birth order and personality, and identified several flaws in this type of research
- Sulloway’s (1996) niche model of personality describes first borns as high achievers and second borns as rebellious
- Most research in this area is inconsistent, but beliefs about birth order are still held by most people
- Evaluation of Adler’s Contributions
- The inferiority complex is regarded as central to identity
- The role of social interest is key to an understanding of maladaptiveness
- Identifying pampered and neglected children has contributed to research on parental roles in shaping personality
- Adler’s emphasis on fictions is consistent with his strongly held teleological view of motivation.
- Teleology is an explanation of behavior in terms of its final purpose or aim. It is opposed to causality, which considers behavior as springing from a specific cause.
- The deficient organ expresses the direction of the individual’s goal, a condition known as organ dialect. Through organ dialect, the body’s organs “speak a language which is usually more expressive and dis-closes the individual’s opinion more clearly than words are able to do”
- According to Adler, cultural and social practices—not anatomy—influence many men and women to overemphasize the importance of being manly, a condition he called the masculine protest.
- The Neo-Freudians: Karen Horney
- Horney and the Importance of Culture
- Horney believed that cultural factors influence personality and individual differences
- Horney identified three contradictions for all people:
- Success vs. Love
- Idealism vs. Frustration
- Independence vs. Situational constraints
- Basic Anxiety and Basic Hostility
- Horney asserted that behavior is directed by basic anxiety (helplessness, fear of abandonment)
- Horney asserted that children develop basic hostility as a result of parental neglect
- Horney suggested that a basic conflict arises from contradictions and is central to neurosis
- Moving Toward, Against, and Away From People
- For Horney, neurosis stems from opposing desires to move toward, against, and away from others which she called attitudes
- Horney described dependent persons as engaging in a self-effacing solution in order to gain love
- The Neurotic Needs
- Horney outlined ten neurotic needs that reflect personal maladjustment in moving toward, against, and away from people
- Extension of Psychoanalytic Theory: Perfectionism as a Multidimensional Construct
- Psychodynamic theorists were the first to outline perfectionism as an important personality trait
- Contemporary research confirms perfectionism as a multidimensional personality construct but the number of factors varies across research studies
- Evaluation of Horney’s Contributions
- Horney established cultural and familial factors in the study of personality
- Her identification of contradictions accurately describes neuroticism
- Her suggestion of neurotic needs led rational–emotive theory and therapy
- Horney advanced the feminist position
- Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow
- Rogers proposed that the individual can become a fully functioning person and that fulfilment is the motivating force for personality development.
- People try to express their capabilities, potentials and talents to the fullest extent possible. There is an inborn tendency among persons that directs them to actualise their inherited nature. And if supported they would achieve that. He called this unconditional positive regard.
- Rogers makes two basic assumptions about human behaviour. One is that behaviour is goal-directed and worthwhile. The second is that people (who are innately good) will almost always choose adaptive, self-actualising behaviour
- His theory was structured around the concept of self. The theory assumes that people are constantly engaged in the process of actualising their true self. Rogers suggests that each person also has a concept of real and ideal self. Real self is who the person currently is and an ideal self is the self that a person would like to be. When there is a correspondence/congruence between the real self and ideal self, a person is generally happy.
- Discrepancy between the real self and ideal self often results in unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
Maslow has given a detailed account of psychologically healthy people in terms of their attainment of self-actualisation, a state in which people have reached their own fullest potential.
- Human beings
are considered free to shape their lives and to self-actualise.
Self-actualisation becomes possible by analysing the motivations that
govern our life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of
- Self actualisation is the main goal
- Esteem – the need of an individual to value themself
the need an individual feels with regard to their interpersonal
- higher order needs – Social, esteem and self actualisation
- satisfied internally
- Safety – the need to feel protected by one’s environment
– the type of need that is innate and instinctual
- lower order needs – Physiological & Safety
- satisfied externally
- Work will motivate more if culture is high in nurturing
- A formal effort aimed at understanding personality of an individual is termed as personality assessment
- The most commonly used techniques are Psychometric Tests, Self-Report Measures, Projective Techniques, and Behavioural Analysis
- Here the assessment is based on a person by asking her/him about herself/himself to measure themselves on scale on various items. E.g. Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) initially assessed two dimensions of personality, called introverted-extraverted and emotionally stable-emotionally unstable. Later on, Eysenck added a third dimension, called psychoticism.
- Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF) This test was developed by Cattell.
- The self-report measures suffer from a number of
- Social desirability: is a tendency on the part of the respondent to endorse items in a socially desirable manner.
- Acquiescence: is a tendency of the subject to agree with items/questions irrespective of their contents. These tendencies makes the assessment of personality less reliable.
- They were developed to assess unconscious motives and feelings.
- Based on the assumption that a less structured or unstructured stimulus or situation will allow the individual to project her/his feelings, desires and needs on to that situation.
- These projections are interpreted by experts
- The stimuli are relatively or fully unstructured and poorly defined.
- The person being assessed is usually not told about the purpose of assessment and the method of scoring and interpretation.
- The person is informed that there are no correct or incorrect responses.
- Each response is considered to reveal a significant aspect of personality.
- Scoring and interpretation are lengthy and sometimes subjective.
Rorshach Inkblot Test
- The Rorschach Inkblot Test This test was
developed by Hermann Rorschach. The test consists of 10 inkblots.
- Five of them are in black and white, two with some red ink, and the remaining three in some pastel colours.
- The blots are symmetrical in design with a specific shape or form.
- The blots were originally made by dropping ink on a piece of paper and then folding the paper in half (hence called inkblot test).
- Administration in two phases:
- First phase, called performance proper, the subjects are shown the cards and are asked to tell what they see in each of them.
- Second phase, called inquiry, a detailed report of the responses prepared by asking the subject to tell where, how, and on what basis was a particular response made.
- Fine judgment is necessary to place the subject’s responses in a meaningful context.
The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
- This test was developed by Morgan and Murray.
- Comparatively more structured than the Inkblot test.
- The test consists of 30 black and white picture cards and one blank card.
- Each picture card depicts one or more people in a variety of situations.
- Each picture is printed on a card.
- Card usage is specified
- Some cards are used with adult males or females.
- Others are used with boys or girls.
- Others are used in some combinations.
- Twenty cards are appropriate for a subject, although a lesser number of cards (even five) have also been successfully used.
- The cards are presented one at a time.
- The subject is asked to tell a story describing
the situation presented picture:
- What led up to the situation,
- what is happening at the moment,
- what will happen in the future, and
- what the characters are feeling and thinking?
- A standard procedure is available for scoring TAT responses
- Sentence Completion Test:
- This test makes use of a number of incomplete sentences.
- The starting part of the sentence is first presented and the subject has to provide an ending to the sentence.
- It is held that the type of endings used by the subjects reflect their attitudes, motivation and conflicts.
- Rosenzweig’s Picture-Frustration Study (P-F
Study): This test was developed by Rosenzweig to assess how people express
aggression in the face of a frustrating situation.
- The test presents with the help of cartoon like pictures a series of situations in which one person frustrates another, or calls attention to a frustrating condition
- The subject is asked to tell what the other (frustrated) person will say or do.
- The analysis of responses is based on the type and direction of aggression.
- Draw-a-Person Test
- It is a simple test in which the subject is asked to draw a person on a sheet of paper.
- A pencil and eraser is provided to facilitate drawing.
- After the completion of the drawing, the subject is generally asked to draw the figure of an opposite sex person.
- Finally, the subject is asked to make a story about the person as if s/he was a character in a novel or play.