|PSY 101 Personality I: The Big Five and Psychoanalysis|
Think of some of the most vivid individuals in contemporary life over the last 20 years...
What are they like? Why are they like this?
In their behavior, human beings tend to be
- Consistent: tendency to behave regularly in a certain way
- Distinctive: each person has a particular set of individual or characteristic qualities or combination of traits
|Trait Theory: The "Big Five"|
Robert McCrae Paul Costa
The "Five-Factor" model (also known at the "Big Five" model) argues that personality characteristics are grounded in five basic traits, i.e., a set of durable dispositions to act or behave in a certain way across different situations. Our personalities are varying mixtures and combinations of these five traits.
Susan Cain: Quiet: The Power of Introverts (2012)
TED Talk: Feb 2012
Neurotic, anxious, guilty, hostile, worrying
Non-Neurotic (Stable): Secure, placid, flexible, unruffled, solid Extraversion Outgoing, sociable, talkative, affectionate Introversion, inward-looking, thinking, secure with self, solo reflection, quiet
Openness to Experience Inquisitive, daring, nonconforming, imaginative, tolerant Closed-mindedness Agreeableness Warm, pleasant, trusting, empathetic Disagreeableness,unpleasant Conscientiousness Dependable, ethical, goal-directed Lazy, undependable
|Psychoanalytic (Freudian) Theory|
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
- Came from middle-class Jewish household & raised in Vienna, Austria
- Trained as a doctor specializing in neurology.
- Many early patients (late 1880s-early 1890s) came to him with vague symptoms of anxiety, unexplained weaknesses and paralyses, and other impairments without clear-cut origin. His approach to treating these patients was increasingly comprised of innovative strategies which he would eventually label as "psychoanalysis".
Structure of the Personality
Freud actually had TWO (2) different but complementary theories of how we as persons are constituted. One is a structural model and the second is a "level of consciousness" model.
(Latin for "It")
The primitive component of the personality, completely unconscious, which is filled with tremendous psychic energy (which Freud termed "libido"). This energy forms a set of biological urges to eat, defecate, engage in sex, etc.
After World War I, Freud also proposed the presence of an aggressive (destructive) energy [which he termed "Thanatos" (the "Death" instinct)].
- Operates according to the Pleasure Principle: the demand for instant gratification of all its urges
- Acts like a 2-year-old child
(Latin for "I")
The last component of the personality to develop fully, the ego mediates among the demands of the id, the superego, and reality (the world). Thus, it is always making decisions about how best to act.
- 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)
- Acts like an "Adult Executive"
(Latin for "Above I")
Arising in childhood around ages 4-6 as a response to parental demands, the superego serves as a moral component of the personality. Mostly unconscious, the superego has incorporated the rules, regulations, and moral viewpoints of society, particularly those of parents. That small part of the superego which is conscious is our conscience.
- Operates according to the Perfection Principle which requires that behavior be morally perfect or be punished
- Acts like an "uncompromising 7-year-old"
Levels of Awareness (or Consciousness) Model
- 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 behaviorThe graphic below uses the metaphor of the iceberg which is mostly below water (i.e., below the level of consciousness) to portray Freud's two theories of how the mind works.
Stages of Psychosexual Development
We've already looked at the way in which Erik Erikson altered Freud's understanding of development. Here is the original outline. Freud argued that we grow up through a set of psychosexual stages in which difference parts of our bodies become the focus of our erotic (libidinal) energies.
Stage Age Erotic Focus Experiences Oral Birth-1 Mouth: Sucking, feeding, biting Experience of mother's breast; weaning Anal 2-3 Anus: Expelling or retaining feces Toilet Training Phallic 4-5 Genitals: Masturbatory stimulation Oedipal Crisis: Identification with same-sex parent Latency 6-12 None (repression of sexual feelings) Learning in school and social contact with outside world Genital From onset of puberty Genitals: Sexual intimacy & intercourse Developing capacity for Love and Work (Lieben und Arbeiten)
This page was originally posted on 10/24/03 and last updated on October 28, 2016