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Paper Topic:

A personality theory i.e. Freud, Jung, Erickson or Skinner.


I . Introduction

Puzzling people move all around us . You are one and I am one . Evidence to show that we are single , clearcut individuals is meager in fact , a large number of studies indicate that each of us alters our personalities and behaves differently , depending upon circumstances Apparently the same ability holds true regarding ourselves . We do all manner of quite bizarre things that don 't fit together objectively - like the good Christian tax-evader - but these contradictions don 't make us come apart or feel we are two different

people - instead , I am just me , all one person . We see all parts of ourselves as fitting together usually it is the mental patient , ironically , who detects the discrepancies , and they are quite worrisome to him

Personality theorists fall prey to the desire for unity for its own sake all the time . As one author has pointed out , for example , if a woman is sometimes fiercely independent and sometimes rather docile , the psychologist tends to lump these two behaviors together , concluding , for example , that she is actually quite independent and dominating , but to satisfy this need for domination , sometimes she must pretend ' to be docile (Mischel , 2001 . This is pretty tricky reasoning . The point is that personality theorists to oversimplify at least be aware of this as we discuss personality

theless , science cannot advance without some organization , and personality theories provide this structure , that is , something psychologists can at least grab hold of ' so they have some framework for discussion and experimentation

Personality is difficult to define for at least two reasons . For one personality is differently defined by different theorists . Freud , for example , would have said that personality is made up of behavior patterns resulting from the handling of sexual and aggressive impulses during childhood . Others see the origins of behavior differently . The second difficulty is that personality is the ultimate in complexity and variability . How do we explain Mr . Jones , who is the following : a tax-evader , a shifty business operator during the week , a faithful and apparently sincere churchgoer on Sunday , a dynamo at work and very meek at home

What is personality ? Any definition could give rise to legitimate complaints . But , in to give the discussion some structure , a definition is needed : personality consists of relatively enduring behavior patterns that result in fairly consistent reactions to a number of different situations

Personality theory attempts to pinpoint specific types of people determine what is responsible for producing that type of person , and make predictions about their behavior that will hold true most of the time

II . Background

A . The Meaning of Personality

Personality is a fascinating area of study , but a difficult concept to define . In this study , we define personality as the organization of an individual 's distinguishing characteristics , attitudes , or habits it includes the individual 's unique ways of thinking , behaving , or otherwise experiencing the environment . The qualities that make up one 's personality are relatively stable and organized into a With this definition of personality in mind , we can identify four separate tasks that personality psychologists have addressed (Runyan 2003

To analyze individual and group differences . Why are people different from each other ? Are members of some groups more similar to each other than other groups ? For example , are there personality dimensions that influence the way we experience life events such as the midlife transition

To understand particular individuals . Students tell us that this is a major reason that they take introductory psychology . They want to find out what makes people - themselves and others - do the things they do

To study personality processes . There are many personality processes including altruism and sex-role differences . For example , are masculinity and feminity dimensions of personality that influence behavior in predictable ways

To develop general theories of personality . Theories of personality are unified explanations for the III . Discussion

A . Research Issues in Personality

Psychologists have approached these tasks using a wide variety of research methods (Craik , 2003 . Knowledge about people 's personalities can be obtained from their everyday conduct , as is the case in field studies . People also reveal themselves through the products of their imaginations , and this technique is used when personality tests known as projective tests are given to people . A straightforward approach to gathering personality data is to ask people to fill out self-report inventories about their characteristics . With this method , two risks are apparent : People may not be fully aware of what they are like and if they are , they may wish to cover up some of the flaws they perceive . We gain information of a different sort about personality when we ask others for their impressions of specific people . This technique is known as the use of observer reports in research . Life histories , such as those biographies and autobiographies , and archival material provide a rich source of data on particular individuals for the study of personality . Clinical case histories , on which many of the major theories are based , fall into this category . The most carefully controlled information comes from behavior in laboratory studies of personality . Although control is maximized in laboratory studies , it is sometimes at the expense of naturalistic experiences

No single source of information about personality is the ideal , correct source . All these methods are important for obtaining information about personality . Published research on personality , however , relies heavily on self-report inventories and laboratory studies with limited samples of people . Between 1998 and 2002 , 85 of the research published in major journals used these two methods , and approximately two thirds of the research used under-graduate samples (Craik , 2003 . However , there has been a trend in recent years toward greater use of biographical material , sometimes referred to as psychobiography , in the study of personality (Alexander , 2003

B . Psychoanalytic Models of Personality

According to psychoanalytic models of personality , people are born with psychic energy that is transformed and redirected during their normal course of development into complex human behavior . In the psychoanalytic view , the human mind is an active agent , with divisions that keep some material from entering conscious experience . We consider in detail psychoanalytic view , the human mind is an active agent , with divisions that keep some material from entering conscious experience . We consider in detail the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud and , to a lesser extent , other psychoanalytic perspectives

Freud 's Psychosexual Theory

Freud developed most of his theory through his studies of his patients , people who sought his help or were referred to him for help for psychological problems . These problems , he believed , were related to the ways that instinctual energy was channeled . For example , patients suffering from hysteria , a dis in which physical symptoms are present without apparent organic basis , were suspected if allowing their sexual energy to build up without appropriately discharging (Freud 1977

According to Freud , there are two sources of instinctual energy that are the ultimate cause of all activity (Freud , 1977 . One instinct accounts for feelings and behavior related to self-preservation and preservation of the species , including sexual behavior Freud called this the life instinct (eros . The other instinct , called the death instinct (thanatos , impels the person toward aggression and destruction (Freud , 1977 . Most of Freud 's work on personality was concerned with the life instinct . However , Freud 's views in aggression and its place in civilization merit a slight digression

Primitive people , according to Freud , had no restrictions on the expressions of their instincts . Expression of sexual urges was not restricted by social norms and decorum . Contemporary civilized societies , however , place fairly rigid restrictions on sexual expression . We can only have intercourse in appropriate places and with certain people or we face severe social sanctions . Similarly civilization limits expression of our aggressive instincts

Freud felt that aggression was a derivative of the death instinct , and that it could be channeled in two different directions . If directed toward the self , then the individual risks self-destruction . If directed away from the self , aggression is the result . Because of the instinct demands some kind of expression , a decrease in aggression increases the risk of self-destruction (Freud , 1977 . Freud 's views on aggression are controversial in a number of respects . For one thing , he tells us that civilization itself is part of our problem

IV . Conclusion

From a practical point of view , Freud 's notion that aggression is an instinct that demands some kind of release - instead of a form of social behavior that can be increased or decreased through environmental circumstances - is especially controversial . Consider the case of television violence . If Freud 's views are correct , then watching televised violence might actually be a good thing . People could reduce their aggressive instincts through catharsis , on relief of the emotions from viewing the experiences of others

Perhaps no aspect of everyday life is more common than watching television . In the average American household the television set is on more than 6 hours a day , and the average child between the ages of 2 and 11 watches it for about 3 hours daily . Estimates are that by high school graduation , the average American child will have spent 11 ,000 hours in the classroom and 15 ,000 hours watching television . Programs aimed specifically at children , such as Saturday morning cartoons , contain a great deal of violence . The National Institute of Mental Health 's report on television and behavior estimates that children 's weekend programs contain more violence than do prime-time shows (NIMH , 2002 Hundred of studies have examined the relationship between television violence and actual aggression among viewers . In one of these studies more than 500 children in grades 1 through 5 participated in a short-term longitudinal study


Alexander , I (2003 . Personality , psychological assessment , and psychobiography . Journal of Personality , 56 , 265-294

Craik , F .I .M (2003 . Personality research methods : A Historical perspective . Journal of personality , 54 , 18-51

Freud , S (1977 . Analysis of a phobia in five year old boy . In A Strachey J . Strachey (Eds . And Trans (Vol . 10 ,pp . 165-305 . New York : Penguin (Penguin Freud Library

Mischel , W (2001 . Continuity and change in personality . Amer . Psychol 34 :1012-1018

National Institute Mental Health (2002 . Television and behavior : Ten years of scientific progress and implications for the eighties : Vol . 6 Summary report (DHHS Publication No . ADM 95-1195 . Washington , DC :US Government Printing Office

Pervin , L .A (2005 . Personality : Current controversies , issues , and directions . Annual Review of Psychology , 36 , 83-114

Runyan , W .M (2003 . Progress in psychobiography . Journal of Personality , 56 , 295-326


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