Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis Personality

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Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis


  • A person’s characteristic patterns of behaving, thinking, and feeling that distinguishes one person from another


  • Freud’s term for his theory of personality and his therapy for treating psychological disorders

  • Its central idea is that unconscious forces shape human thought and behavior

Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis

Three Levels of Consciousness

  • Conscious

  • The thoughts, feelings, sensations, or memories of which a person is aware at any given moment

  • Preconscious

  • The thoughts, feelings, and memories that a person is not consciously aware of at the moment but that may be easily brought to consciousness

  • Unconscious

  • The primary motivating force of human behavior that have never been conscious, containing:

  • Repressed memories
  • Instincts
  • Wishes
  • Desires

The Id, Ego, and Superego

Freud’s proposed concepts for looking at personality


Unconscious system of the personality which contains:

  • The life instincts

  • Sexual instincts
  • Biological urges such as hunger and thirst
  • The death instincts

  • Aggressive and destructive impulses
  • Operates on the pleasure principle.

  • Seeks pleasure and avoids pain
  • Gains immediate gratification for its wishes
  • Source of the libido

  • Psychic energy that fuels the entire personality

The Id, Ego, and Superego


Moral component of the personality

  • The conscience

  • All behaviors for which a child has been punished and feels guilty
  • The ego ideal

  • Behaviors for which a child has been praised, rewarded, and feels pride and satisfaction
  • Initially reflects only the parents’ expectations of what is good and right

  • Expands over time incorporating the broader social world

  • Sets guidelines define and limits the ego’s flexibility

  • Harsher than external authorities

  • Judges behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and wishes

Freud’s Conception of Personality

The Id, Ego, and Superego


The logical, rational, largely conscious system of personality

  • Operates according to the reality principle

  • Evolves from and draws its energy from the id

  • One function is to satisfy the id’s urges
  • Considers the constraints of the real world
  • Determines appropriate times, places, and objects of gratification of the id’s wishes
  • Compromises towards what is possible
  • Settling for fast food hamburger instead of steak

Defense Mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms

Psychosexual Stages of Development

A series of stages through which the sexual instinct develops; each stage is defined by an erogenous zone around which conflict arises

  • Sex instinct

  • Present at birth

  • Most important factor influencing personality

  • Develops through a series of psychosexual stages

  • Each stage centers on a part of the body that provides pleasurable sensations around which a conflict arises

  • Conflicts not readily resolved

  • Failure to resolve conflicts may have serious consequences

  • Difficulties carried over into adulthood

  • Fixation

  • Arrested development at a psychosexual stage occurring because of excessive gratification or frustration at that stage

  • Fixation at the anal stage, resulting from harsh parental pressure, could lead to anal retentive personality, characterized by excessive:

  • Stubbornness, rigidity, neatness

Psychosexual Stages of Development

  • Oedipus complex

  • One of the most controversial aspects of Freud’s theory

  • Conflict in which the child is sexually attracted to the opposite-sex parent

  • Child takes on same-sex parent’s attributes and behaviors

  • May feels hostility toward the same-sex parent

  • Unresolved adults may have guilt, anxiety, sexual problems, and difficulties relating to members of the opposite sex

Evaluating Freud’s Contribution

  • Psychology is indebted to Freud for:

  • Introducing the idea that unconscious forces may motivate behavior

  • Emphasizing the influence of early childhood experiences on later development

  • Many children who are rejected by their parents have behavioral and psychological difficulties later in life

  • Establishing a theory that may better explain the emotional aspects of the psychological experience

  • Psychoanalysis is still a useful therapy tool

  • Defense mechanisms provide useful categorizing of cognitive strategies people use to manage stress

  • Criticism of Freud’s theories

  • They defy scientific testing.

  • Any behavior, or lack of behavior, can be interpreted to support Freud’s theory.

  • There are few strict Freudians among psychologists today.

The Neo-Freudians

  • Carl Jung

  • Disagreed with Freud’s beliefs that:

  • Sexual instinct is the main factor in personality

  • Personality is almost completely formed in early childhood

  • Considered middle age to be an important period for personality development

  • Jung’s three parts of personality

  • Ego

  • Conscious component of personality
  • Carries out normal daily activities
  • Secondary importance to the unconscious
  • Personal unconscious

  • Layer of unconscious that:
  • Contains all the thoughts, perceptions, and experiences accessible to conscious
  • Holds repressed memories, wishes, and impulses

The Neo-Freudians

  • Collective unconscious

  • The most inaccessible layer of the unconscious

  • Contains the universal experiences of humankind from throughout evolution

  • Explains similarity of dreams, myths, symbols, and religious beliefs

  • Archetypes: inherited tendencies to respond to universal human situation in a particular way

  • Belief in a god, devil, evil spirits


  • Exists in collective unconscious

  • Inherited tendency to respond to universal human situations in particular ways

  • Anima

  • Inner feminine figure within man’s unconscious

  • Animus

  • Inner masculine figure within woman’s unconscious

  • Both must be consciously acknowledged and integrated into a healthy personality

The Neo-Freudians

Carl Jung

  • Self

  • Full development of the personality

  • Attained when internal opposing forces are integrated and balanced

  • Extraversion

  • Tendency to be outgoing, adaptable, and sociable

  • Intraversion

  • Tendency to focus inward, be reflective, retiring, and non-social

  • Midlife crisis

  • Results in integration, balancing of opposing internal forces

Jung’s Conception of Personality

Alfred Adler

  • Emphasized the unity of personality rather than the separate warring components of id, ego, and superego

  • Drive to overcome inferiority acquired in childhood motivates most behavior

  • People develop a unique style of life at an early age that is used throughout life to achieve superiority

  • Inferiority complex

  • Inferiority feelings so strong that they prevent personal development

  • Individual psychology

  • Another name for Adler’s theory

  • Stresses the uniqueness of each individual’s struggle to achieve superiority and refers to the “creative self”

  • A conscious, self-aware component of an individual’s personality

Karen Horney

  • Two main themes

  • Neurotic Personality

  • Did not accept id, ego, superego, sexual instinct and the psychosexual stages

  • Stressed importance of early childhood experiences, cultural, and environmental influences on personality

  • Personality could continue to develop through out life

  • Feminine Psychology

  • Many of women’s psychological difficulties arise from failure to live up to an idealized version of themselves

  • Overcoming irrational beliefs about the need for perfection required for the psychological health of both men and women

  • Influence on modern cognitive-behavioral therapies

Humanistic Theories

Humanistic Psychology

  • People are assumed to have a natural tendency toward growth and realization of their fullest potential

  • Theories are more optimistic and sensitive to emotional experiences and are difficult to test scientifically

  • Abraham Maslow

  • Motivational factors are at the root of personality

  • Hierarchy of Needs

  • Physiological needs

  • Safety needs

  • Belonging and esteem needs

  • Self actualization: developing one’s fullest potential

Humanistic Personality Theories

  • Abraham Maslow

  • Self-actualizers

  • Accurately perceive reality

  • Judge honestly and quickly spot the fake and dishonest

  • Are comfortable with life

  • Accept themselves, others, and nature

  • Have good humor and tolerance

  • Believe they have a mission to accomplish

  • Feel a need to devote their life to some larger good

  • Do not depend on external authority or other people

  • Are inner-driven, autonomous, and independent

  • Feel a strong fellowship with all of humanity

  • Have relationships characterized by deep and loving bonds

  • Can laugh at themselves

  • Have senses of humor that never involve hostility or criticism

  • Frequently experience peak experiences that include:

  • Deep meaning, insight, and harmony with the universe

Humanistic Personality Theories

Carl Rogers

  • Conditions of worth

  • Positive regard hinges on parental conditions

  • Live and act according to someone else’s values

  • Gain positive regard by denying our true selves, inhibiting behavior, denying or distorting perceptions, and closing off parts of our experiences

  • Causes stress, anxiety, and threatens self-structure

  • Goals of therapy

  • Enable people to open up to experiences

  • Begin to live according to own internal values

  • Unconditional Positive Regard

  • Unqualified caring and nonjudgmental acceptance

  • Designed to reduce threat, eliminate conditions of worth, brings a person in tune with true self

Self Esteem

  • Development of self-esteem

  • Comparison of actual and desired traits

  • View self in terms of strengths and weaknesses

  • High self-esteem

  • When strengths lie in areas we value and believe to be important

  • Stable from childhood through the adult years

  • Self-belief ideas adopted in childhood have lifetime effect

  • Children and adolescents form ideas about competence from:

  • Academics

  • Sports, fine arts

  • Other areas influenced by parents, teachers, and peers

  • Global sense of self-esteem gained by age 7

Gauging Your Self-Esteem

Trait Theories


  • Personal qualities or characteristic which are stable across situations and is used to describe or explain personality

  • Early Trait Theories

Gordon Allport

  • A person inherits a unique set of raw materials for given traits, which are then shaped by experiences

  • Cardinal trait

  • A trait so pervasive and outstanding that almost every act seems traceable to its influence

  • A person may be known or identified by that trait

  • Abraham Lincoln is spoken of as “Honest Abe” because of honesty displayed when he was a young man.

Trait Theories

Gordon Allport

  • Central trait

  • Trait that would be mentioned in writing a careful letter of recommendation

Raymond Cattell

  • Surface traits

  • Observable qualities of personality

  • Using observations and questionnaires, certain cluster surface traits appeared together time after time

  • Source traits

  • Deeper, more general, underlying personality factors

  • 23 source traits found in normal individuals

  • Studied 16 of them via Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire

  • Amount of source traits vary individually (e.g., intelligence)

The 16 PF Personality Profile

Factor Models of Personality

  • Hans Eysenck Five-Factor Theory

1. Openness to Experience

  • Open to experiences, imaginative, intellectually curious, and broad-minded

  • Concrete-minded, practical, and narrow interests

2. Conscientiousness

  • High - Dependable, organized, reliable, responsible, thorough, hard-working and persevering

  • Low - Undependable, disorganized, impulsive, unreliable, irresponsible, careless, negligent, and lazy

3. Extraversion

  • Extroverts - Sociable, outgoing, talkative, assertive, persuasive, decisive, and active

  • Introverts - Withdrawn, quiet, passive, retiring, and introspective

Hans Eysenck Five-Factor Theory

4. Agreeableness

  • High

  • Pleasant, good-natured, warm, sympathetic, and cooperative
  • Low

  • Unfriendly, unpleasant, aggressive, argumentative, cold, hostile, and vindictive

5. Neuroticism

  • Emotional stability versus instability

  • Instability
  • Experience negative emotions, moody, irritable, nervous, and worry
  • Stability
  • Emotionally stable, calm, even-tempered, easy going, and relaxed

Origins and Stability of the Five Factors

Heredity and environment

  • IQ scores of identical twins are strongly correlated

  • Identical twins similar on several personality factors

  • Regardless of whether twins are raised in the same or different environments

  • Nurturance, empathy, altruism, aggressiveness, and assertiveness are substantially influenced by heredity

  • Genes influence extroversion and neuroticism more than any other dimension of the Big Five

  • Heredity strongly influences personality

  • Adopted children more similar to genetic family

  • Genes constrain environment’s effects on personality traits

  • Age-related changes in the 5 factors

  • Openness, extraversion, and neuroticism decline with age

  • Agreeableness and conscientiousness increase until age 70, then decline

Culture and Personality Traits

  • Individualism/collectivism dimension

  • One of Hofstede’s 4 dimensions related to culture and personality

  • Individualist cultures (U.S.)

  • Emphasis is placed on individual, rather than on group, achievement

  • High-achieving individuals are accorded with honor and prestige

  • Collectivist cultures (Asian)

  • More interdependent

  • Define themselves and their interests via group membership

  • Asian, Native American, Hispanic,

  • Many people value both aspects

  • Goal of all individuals regardless of cultural context is self-esteem; even conforming is motivated by individual concerns

Social Cognitive Theories

Situation-Trait Debate

  • An ongoing discussion among psychologists about the relative importance of factors within the situation and factors within the person in accounting for behavior

  • Research supports that both situation and trait have been proven right

  • You probably wouldn’t steal money from a store but what if you saw a stranger unknowingly drop a $5 bill?

Social Cognitive Theories

  • Albert Bandura

  • Reciprocal determinism

  • Influential, mutual relationship among behavior, cognitive factors, and environment

  • Self-efficacy

  • Perception of ability to perform competently whatever is attempted

  • High self-efficacy

  • Approach new situations confidently

  • Set high goals

  • Persist in efforts because they believe success is likely

  • Low self-efficacy

  • Expect failure

  • Avoid challenges

  • Give up on tasks found difficult

  • Likely to experience depression

Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism

Social Cognitive Theories

Self efficacy and locus of control

  • Julian Rotter

  • Locus of control

  • Explains how people account for what happens in their life

  • Internal locus of control

  • See themselves in control of their behavior and its consequences

  • External locus of control

  • See fate, luck, or chance in control of behavior and consequences

  • Are less likely to change behaviors due to reinforcement

  • Do not see reinforcers tied to their actions
  • Tend to be procrastinators

  • Engage safety procedures more slowly than dangerous projects

  • Lower life satisfaction


People high in self-efficacy pursue challenging goals and persist in their efforts until they reach their goals.

Personality Assessment

  • Observation, Interviews, and Rating Scales

  • Observation

  • Used in a variety of settings to assess personality

  • Hospitals, schools, clinics, and workplaces

  • Behavioral assessment

  • Counting and recording the frequency of particular behaviors

  • Frequently used in behavior modification programs

  • Reduced aggression or undesirable behaviors
  • Time consuming and tedious
  • Interviews

  • Help in diagnosis and treatment of patients

  • Screen applicants for admission to college, special programs, and evaluate job applicants and performance

  • A person’s tone of voice, speech, mannerisms, gestures, and general appearance are also considered

  • Structured interviews include prearranged questions and formats

Personality Assessment

Observation, Interviews, and Rating Scales

  • Rating scales

  • Used to record data from interviews and observations

  • Provide a standardized format

  • Help focus raters’ attention on all the relevant traits

  • Limitation

  • Ratings can be subjective

  • Halo effect

  • The tendency of raters to be excessively influenced in their overall evaluation of a person by one or a few favorable or unfavorable traits

  • Traits or attributes not on the scale can influence ratings

  • Attractiveness or similarity to rater

Personality Inventories

  • Inventory

  • A paper-and-pencil test

  • Contains questions about a person’s:

  • Thoughts

  • Feelings

  • Behaviors

  • Measures several dimensions of personality

  • Can be scored according to a standard procedure

  • Yields a personality profile

  • Where does a person fall on various dimensions (traits)?

Personality Inventories

  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory(MMPI-2)

  • Most widely used and heavily researched personality inventory

  • Aids in diagnosis of psychiatric problems and disorders

  • Originally administered to a group of psychiatric patients

  • Used over 1000 questions about:

  • Attitudes

  • Feelings

  • Symptoms

  • Retained 550 items that differentiate psychiatric patients from those considered ‘normal’

  • Second edition added items on alcoholism, drug abuse, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, and Type A behaviors

  • Validity scales integrated to detect those who are

  • Lying

  • Faking psychiatric illness

  • Faking no psychiatric illness

  • Does not reveal normal personality differences very well

Clinical Scales of The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)

Scale Name Interpretation – High scorers…

1. Hypochondriasis (Hs) exhibit an exaggerated concern about their physical health.

2. Depression (D) are usually depressed, despondent, and distressed.

3. Hysteria (Hy) complain often about physical symptoms that have no apparent organic cause.

4. Psychpathic deviate show a disregard for social and moral standards.


5. Masculinity/ show “traditional” masculine or feminine attitudes and femininity (Mf) values.

6. Paranoia (Pa) demonstrate extreme suspiciousness and feelings of persecution.

7. Psychasthenia (Pt) tend to be highly anxious, rigid, tense, and worrying.

8. Schizophrenia (Sc) tend to be socially withdrawn and to engage in bizarre and unusual thinking.

9. Hypomania (Ma) are usually emotional, excitable, energetic, and impulsive.

10. Social introversion tend to be modest, self effacing, and shy.


Personality Inventories

  • California Psychological Inventory (CPI)

  • Developed for normal individuals aged 13 and older

  • No questions designed to reveal mental illness

  • Valuable for predicting:

  • Behavior

  • School achievement

  • Leadership and executive success

  • Effectiveness of police, military personnel, and student teachers

  • Praised for:

  • Technical competency

  • Careful development

  • Cross-validation and follow-up

  • Use of sizable samples,

  • Separate sex norms

Personality Inventories

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

  • Useful in measuring normal individuals

  • Based on Jung’s personality theory

  • Score can be anywhere on four separate bipolar dimensions

Extraversion (E) ↔ Introversion (I)

Sensing (S) ↔ Intuition (N)

Thinking (T) ↔ Feeling (F)

Judging (J) ↔ Perceptive (P)

  • Sixteen types of personality profile combinations can be derived

  • ENFP, ESTP, etc.

  • MBTI growing in popularity among business and education

  • Criticized for absence of rigorous, controlled validity studies

  • Popular among career counselors

Projective Tests

  • A personality test in which people:

  • Respond to inkblots, drawings of ambiguous human situations

  • Respond to incomplete sentences

  • Project their inner thoughts, feelings, fears, or conflicts

  • Rorschach inkblot method

  • While viewing 10 inkblots the test-taker is asked to describe:

  • Everything he or she thinks about

  • What each inkblot looks like or resembles

  • Standardized scoring developed aids in normative data

Projective Tests

  • Thematics Apperception Test (TAT)

  • Useful in assessing personality and achievement

  • 1 blank card and 19 other cards showing vague or ambiguous black and white drawings of human figures in various situations

  • Test-taker is told to:

  • Make up a plot or story which might be used as an illustration

  • What is the relationship between the individuals in the picture?

  • What are their thoughts and feelings?

  • What will be the outcome?

  • Strength of the TAT is “its capacity to reveal things that the patient is unwilling to tell or is unable to tell.”

  • Time-consuming and difficult to administer and score

  • Relies heavily on the interpretation skills of the examiner

  • May reflect too strongly a person’s temporary motives and emotions

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