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Chapter 14 - Personality, Psychology, by David G. Myers, 6th Edition Textbook


Personality is the unique attitudes, behaviors, and emotions that characterize a person.


Sigmund Freud- personality was essentially set in early childhood, psychosexual stages

Three parts to personality- id, ego, superego
Id contains instincts and energy.  Two types of instincts:

  • Eros- life instinct; often evidenced as a desire for sex
  • Thanatos – the death instinct;; seen in aggression

Defense Mechanisms-

Carl Jung- proposed unconscious consists of two different parts

  • Personal unconscious- similar to Freud’s idea, contains painful memories and thoughts the person does not wish to confront, complexes
  • Collective unconscious- passed down through the species, explains certain similarities we see between all cultures, contains archetypes (universal concepts we all share
  • Shadow- the evil side of personality
  • Persona- people’s creation of a public image

Alfred Adler – ego psychologist, downplayed the importance of the unconscious, Thought people are motivated by the fear of failure, inferiority; and the desire to achieve, superiority.  Also known for his work on the importance of birth order.


Trait theorists believe we can describe people’s personalities by specifying their main characteristics or traits.

  • Nomothetic approach. Theorists that believe that the same basic set of traits can be used to describe all people’s personalities
  • Hans Eyesenck- believed could classify all people along introversion-extraversion scale and a stable-unstable scale
  • Raymond Cattell- 16PF (personality factor) 16 basic traits in all people in varying degrees
  • A number of contemporary trait theorists believe that personality can be described using the big five personality traits- extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience emotional stability
  • The number of traits is derived from factor analysis- a statistical technique that allows researchers to use correlations between traits.
  • Idiographic theorists- argue that each person should be seen in terms of the few traits that best characterize their uniqueness

Gordon Allport- created a measure to identify each person’s ‘central traits’

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