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                Images] Personality I: The Big Five and Psychoanalysis (Outline)


What are they like?   Why are they like this?


In their behavior, human beings tend to be

  • Consistent
  • Distinctive

Trait Theory: The "Big Five"

Robert McCrae       Paul Costa

The "Five-Factor" model (also known at the "Big Five" model) -> traits, i.e., a set of durable dispositions to act or behave in a certain way across different situations.

Susan Cain: Quiet: The Power of Introverts (2012)
TED Talk: Feb 2012

Neurotic, anxious, guilty, worrying
Non-neurotic: 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, unreliable


Psychoanalytic (Freudian) Theory



Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Structure of the Personality -> TWO (2) different but complementary theories

(1) Structural Model

(Latin for "It")
  • Sexualized energy = libido + Aggressive energy = "thanatos" (death instinct)
  • Pleasure Principle
(Latin for "I")
  • In touch with world
  • Reality Principle
(Latin for "Above I")
  • Perfection Principle
  • Mostly unconscious
  • Develops at 4-6 years old
  • Conscience is the part of our superego that we are conscious of

(2) Levels of Awareness (or Consciousness) Model
The 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

Age Erotic Focus Experiences
Oral    Birth-1 Mouth Experience of mother's breast; weaning
Anal   2-3 Anus Toilet Training
Phallic 4-5 Genitals 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 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