Think of some of the most vivid individuals in contemporary life


What are/were they like? Why are/were they like this?


In their behavior, human beings tend to be

Trait Theory: The "Big Five"

Robert McCrae     Paul Costa


Neuroticism Non-Neurotic
Extroversion Introversion
Openness to Experience Closed-mindedness
Agreeableness Disagreeableness,unpleasant
Conscientiousness Unconscientious, lazy, undependable


Psychoanalytic (Freudian) Theory



Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Structure of the Personality

(Latin for "It")
  • Operates according to the Pleasure Principle: the demand for instant gratification of all its urges
  • Employs Primary-Process Thinking which is characterized as primitive, illogical, irrational, and directed toward fantasy.
(Latin for "I")
  • Operates according to the Reality Principle: that behavior accord with what the world accepts (requires delay of gratification & often a modification of how urges are met)
  • Employs Secondary-Process Thinking which is characterized as developed, logical, reasonable, and directed toward what is real.
(Latin for "Above I")
  • Operates according to the Perfection Principle which requires that behavior be morally perfect or be punished

Levels of Awareness (Consciousness)

What we are currently aware of (thoughts, memories, desires, goals, etc.) at any particular point of time
What we can easily become aware of (memories, etc.) which are just below the surface of consiousness
What we cannot easily become aware of (thoughts, memories, desires, urges, goals etc.) that are deeply buried beneath the surface but which continue to exert significant control on our behavior

Conflict: Sex and Aggression


This page was originally posted on 10/24/03 and last updated on 10/24/03.