Saturday, January 28, 2012

Personality Theories and Assessment


Personality is generally defined as an individual's unique and relatively stable patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.

Personality and attitudes represent important micro, cognitively oriented variables in the study of organizational behavior


Freud’s Mind: Three Levels of Consciousness

Freud viewed what we were aware of at any time (conscious level) as only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath this level was the vast majority of our consciousness. The preconscious is just below the conscious level. This contains memories and stored knowledge which we are not immediately aware of but which we can retrieve at any time. Beneath the preconscious and forming the largest portion of the human mind is the unconscious. These are thoughts, desires, and impulses of which we are not aware. Even though we are not aware of these, Freud saw these as controlling our behavior and it is the goal of psychoanalysis to get at these unconscious factors.

Freud’s Mind: Id, Ego, and Superego

Present at birth. Operates on the pleasure principle. It is there to serve your instincts and it wants immediate gratification.

Develops later when start learning and thinking logically. Realize that sometimes you may have to delay gratification or find other ways to get it. Works on reality principle, tries to find realistic ways of gratifying instinct.

This is the ideal moral part. Strives for perfection rather than pleasure or reality. Works through making you feel guilty or ashamed when you do bad. Develops about 5-6 years of age.


Role of Learning in personality
In the social learning theory view, a person will develop an adequate personality only if he or she is exposed to good models and is reinforced for appropriate behaviour.

Role of Cognition in Personality
According to Bandura, our cognitions affect our personality. If somebody believes that helping others will make them dependent he will be stingy. (cognition is belief here).


Maslow's need hierarchy: Maslow's need hierarchy is also considered a humanistic theory. The key here is self-actualization, the top of the hierarchy. Maslow saw psychologically healthy people as ones who have attained self-actualization. They have reached their true potential, they recognize their shortcomings as well as their strengths, and they are interested in maintaining their own standards which may not necessarily be societies.

Rogers' Self Theory - Carl Rogers proposed that all humans are striving to become fully functioning persons. These are psychologically healthy people who enjoy life to the fullest. Why aren't we all this way? Because a gap develops between of self-concept (the beliefs we have about ourselves) and reality. This creates anxiety and to reduce this anxiety we do things like distort our perceptions of reality or deny reality. This leads to maladjustment and personal unhappiness. This happens because we grow up in an atmosphere of conditional positive regard, our parents approve of us only when we behave in certain ways. To overcome this, you need an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard where you know you will be accepted no matter what you do or say.


Interviews and observational Methods
Projective Personality Tests
Objective Personality Tests
Evaluation of Personality tests

Test Your Personality

MBTI (16 Personality Factors)

For Further Reading

Jerome Kagan and Julius Segal (1992), Psychology: An Introduction, 7th Edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Fort Worth, USA.

Related Knols

Web References

Knol Number 161

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