This journal provides raw material for your two major essays.
The journal is an exercise in applying the principles of various approaches of personality to your life. Post at least one journal entry for each chapter read that week(CHAPTER 1,2, & 3). More posts are welcome, as you make connections and discoveries in your learning.
Journal entries are meant to reflect how you and other people react to day-to-day life situations, both positive and negative. Describe the strategies you and others may use to successfully navigate the challenges of life.
For example, and regarding the writings of A. Ellis, you might want to share how your language habits impact your perception of events (as seen in the four examples listed under the Ellis lecture). Considering Jung, you may address how some archetypes are notable in your character. Be as creative and prolific as possible in making relevant connections between lectures, readings, and your own life experiences.
PSY 429 Week 1
The Psychoanalytic Approach
Carl G. Jung:
PSYCHOLOGY 429 Week One
“Personality as a Vase” (a Metaphor)
Conesa-Sevilla, J (2017)
Voice-Over: This lecture introduces the construct “personality,” a complex notion, using a vase as a metaphor.
Personality is an agentic “organizing principle.”
VO: While employing the metaphor of personality as a vase (or any other container), we are saying that it acts as an organizing vehicle for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
“Personality” is an individual’s* unique combination, interaction, and manner of expressing emotions (& feelings), thinking (thought processes), and actions (behaviors)
VO: Most definitions of personality include at least these three factors (thinking, feeling/emotions, and behaviors) whether we study human or non-human animals.
Both nature and nurture . . .
VO: In this course we’ll stay away from “either-or” thinking if dualities (dichotomies), their extreme views, do not contribute to a realistic assessment of personality. For example, right from the start, and given the evidence, we will agree that both nature and nurture shape personality.
Forged, tempered, or hardened by individual experiences.
VO: We will agree that personal experiences are also important in the study of personality.
‘Tis dispositional (self-driven, innate, personal)
VO: We will agree that agentic modes of acting in the world also describe personality.
‘Tis situational (other-affected, other-directed)
VO: We will agree that our interactions with others, from cradle to death, are important in the study of personality.
Multiple layers & levels
VO: With Freud and most psychologists we will agree that a full description of personality must include conscious and unconscious processes.
Dynamic . . .
VO: With Freud and most psychologists we will agree that personality is dynamic—ever changing.
“Ornamented” . . . a persona.
VO: With Freud and many psychologists we will agree that humans disguise true intentions and cloak themselves in the robe habits of societal roles (image versus substance/authenticity)—masks.
Fragile, resilient, and/or malleable
VO: William James, S. Freud, and others wrote about the diversity of human’s capacity for resiliency. Psychological resilience is influenced by nature and nurture.
Can become disorganized (falters and breaks).
VO: Mental illness, social mal-adaptiveness, or other types of psychological dysfunctions illustrate the fact that a class of symptoms reveal problems with personality per se.
Light (ideal) & dark (“The Shadow”)
VO: Just like we accept that both conscious and unconscious processes influence and shape personality, it may be that some aspects of who we are (that we are likely to be) are unsavory and contradict our idealized versions of ourselves.
Language defines (delimits) “personality.”
VO: Language processes, link to, thinking, feelings, and emotions thus it is not surprising that it figures prominently in personality theories (for example, S. Freud, A. Ellis). At the very least we can all agree that language is an important diagnostic tool with which to assess personality.
In Eastern conceptual frames (e.g., Taoism, Buddhism), “Being-in-the-flow” implies an acceptance of the continuity or extension (permeability) of “personhood” into “Nature” (no separation, non-duality).
VO: More fluid and less static definitions of personality can be found in Eastern psychological systems, at the very least, as an ideal. Concordant with present-day ideas about personality as a social construction, Eastern psychological approaches equate creativity with a less determined self.
In Green Psychological conceptual frames (e.g., “Ecopsychology”), too, a “self” continues and extends (it is permeable) into “Nature.”
An ecological continuity & INTER-dependence.
VO: Any psychological proposal (for example, green psychology) that envisions ideal (healthy) personality as an extension of larger processes (for example, “nature,” “god”) make a case for interdependence. For example, in ecological terms, humans are said to be extensions (rungs within) of inter-dependent natural and social systems. In this sense, personality is a collective property.
Stable and changing . . .
VO: We will agree that personality can be observed and assessed in terms of stable and changing features. Early childhood experiences and innate tendencies make it possible to track aspects of personality throughout the lifespan of an individual.
In psychological work: An assessment of “the real.”
VO: Most therapies seek to uncover “the real us,” for doing so enables full agency.
Vs. the unrealistic . . . unauthentic . . . moralized.
VO: Conversely, personality is an accumulation of social influences some of which contradict or impede the healthy expression of agency.
Ideally, a work in progress . . .
VO: Personality is never a finished product to the extent that continuing experiences might shape our thinking leading to new ways of evaluating ourselves—new ways of being in the world.
Introduction to Theories of Personality
PSYCHOLOGY 429 Week One
Philosophical & Psychological Approaches
What is a “Theory”?
GENERAL UNIT CONTENT
Suboptimal/Dysfunctional Agency/Structure Mismatches
Agency and Structure
VO: This course begins with surveying the various ways to ask questions about and define what psychologists define as “personality.”
VO: The various approaches might include “debates” about which approach may yield the most accurate description of “personality.” In reality, most of these approaches, together, converge on richer and more complex ways to study distinct aspects of a developing personality.
Traits and Types
Historical & Recent Approaches to Studying Personality
VO: Starting with Freud’s clinical approach, the study of personality has been undertaken by focusing on different aspects of how humans think, feel, and act.
“Personality,” like other grand psychological constructs (e.g., “Intelligence,” “Consciousness,” “Love”), has proven to be a difficult construct to define/research—to everyone’s satisfaction—to the extent that it was singularly or simplistically defined.
“Theories” of Personality
VO: The variety of approaches suggest that personality, like other ‘grand’ psychological constructs, undermines easy or simplistic definitions. One may, for example, decide that Astrology says something definite and important about personality. Is Astrology a scientific method? Do the position of celestial bodies during our births truly determine our personalities until the moment we die?
Our everyday sense and use of the word “theory” is very different from its academic or scientific definition and connotation. To say that something “is just a theory” is to misunderstand or confuse the context from which these ideas emerge.
False equivalence (1) – person in the streets “knows better” than the expert who has multiple degrees and works with clients (has patients).
False equivalence (2) – an expert’s “theory” is as good (valid) as that of another expert—because they are both “experts.”
“Theories” of Personality (1)
VO: While assessing and evaluating testable theories of personality it is important to think about what ideas are more likely to yield useful information. With due scientific diligence, one can rule out what approaches are not empirically testable. Not all “theories” have equal merit.
“Good (scientific) Theories”:
Organize relevant (evident/testable) facts
Make it easy to be disproven (falsify)
Predict likely, logical outcomes
Suggest methodologies for testing
Can (should) be updated with new information
A “Good Theory” vs. “It’s Just a Theory” (2)
VO: Scientific progress, both theoretical and empirical, has identified a rubric with which to evaluate which theories that are said to be “good.” A good (scientific) theory is transparent with regards to likely observations, makes testable predictions, opens the door to new methods and technologies, organizes a body of knowledge, and more importantly, are (should be) amenable to change.
“Agency” – our perceived and actual (imagined and real) sense of self governance, including notions of self-determination, free will, and liberty. It biases and shapes our sense of freedom and basic functionality.
Personality as “Agency”
VO: A lot of what one might describe as personality includes an understanding of “agency,” or the capacity to enact actions plans, deal effectively with the environment, and posses coping strategies to help us navigate psychologically internal and social spheres. Faulty agency translates into psychological dysfunction.
From an agency perspective, one asks the following:
Is our perceived & actual (imagined and real) sense of self governance (e.g., notions of self-determination, free will, and liberty, etc.) threatened or impeded in any way?
What are the obstacles (internal and external) that impede maximizing our individual potential?
How do we address these obstacles?
Personality as “Agency” (2)
VO: There are questions that psychologists (social and behavioral scientists) pose about our sense of agency. For example, A. Bandura makes this questioning a central component of his own ideas about personality. In a nutshell, and to the extent that the very definition of agency implies the ability to move toward desired goals, any obstacles (internal or external) that stand before the fulfillment of these goals limit our sense of agency.
Invariably, most (if not all) “theories” of personality are mindful of accounting for (describing) how a human “agent” stops being effective (having self-governance) and becomes dysfunctional (not effective).
Invariably, most (if not all) “theories” of personality describe the conditions under which anxiety (neurosis) becomes too much a burden to bear leading to limitations in self-governance.
Personality as “Agency” (3)
VO: No matter what theory of personality we study, be alert to what they have to say about agency. The various proposals may not use the word “agency” overtly but descriptions of human potential, our failure to reach our potential, or specific psychological conditions that limit our ability to “be the best that we can be” are all code for agency.
Agency and Structure
The complex dynamics between agency (self) and structure (society) have been examined by the authors of most credible and enduring “theories of personality.”
. . . a person
. . . a social group
VO: A theory of personality, for example, that does not describe how personality is influenced by culture (society) may not be as inclusive as another one that does. Conversely, a theory of personality that ignores individual agency (or lack thereof) but focuses more on social processes (structure) may miss innate propensities that contribute to personality.
In other words, the study of “personality,” from an agentic perspective, can bee seen as a struggle between what the human agent is capable of doing (wants to do) and pre-existing and/or developing restrictions found in society which might prevent h/her from realizing h/her goals.
Agency (agentic) Dysfunctionality in Personality (4):
VO: As Freud and many other psychologists have observed, the struggle between individual agency and societal demands (structure) offers important insights and contributes to the study of personality.
Agency (agentic) Dysfunctionality in Personality
VO: Although the dynamics of agency as it fulfills its quest toward “happiness,” for example, are complex, the above illustration is a map for tracking where these obstacles and tensions might occur. The illustration also shows the role that therapy plays in assisting with the task of fortifying human agency.
Types of Agency (After A. Bandura)
VO: A. Bandura and others have identified different types of agency. Agency is shaped by human social arrangements, for example, when we designate a person speaks on our behalf (proxy), when we act with full knowledge of the consequences of actions, or when we merely react impulsively to environmental challenges.
Agency, By Any Other Name . . .
|Self + Mode + Kind||Functionality||Beliefs + Proxy||Control|
VO: In clinical terms, one can assess (diagnose) psychological wellness by describing what types of agentic function are at play.
Three Modes of Being
|Modes of Being|
|Active “I make things happen”||Passive “Thins happen to me”||Proxy “I let others make decisions on my behalf”|
VO: In sum, most of what humans do as agents can be described by three modalities of agentic being. Interestingly, interacting developmental and cultural factors lead to notions (stereotypes) and modes of exercising agency. A person from the United States, a country with strong democratic ideals, is likely to identify with more active modes of agentic being. Can you think of other societies where agency might be interpreted and enacted differently?
The Psychoanalytic Approach
PSYCHOLOGY 429 Week One
The Psychoanalytic Approach
Image source: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/786/sssl_img/worldmapCCEPMEMBERS.jpg.
Began as a physician and medical researcher (neurobiology). Came close to discovering a synaptic theory of neuronal architecture and functionality. Ramón y Cajal, won a Nobel prize for this discovery instead. While seeing patients and anatomical experimenting, he began to formulate the basis for later theories:
Biological propensities (aggression and sexuality), when repressed (or as an ingredient of trauma), gave rise to neurotic symptoms.
VO: S. Freud’s medical and scientific background prepared the way for his way of approaching the study of personality as “analysis.” Lacking today’s brain imaging technologies, he developed a set of techniques aimed at allowing unconscious processes to be studied.
Are the basic elements of personality:
Life instincts – serve the purpose of survival
Libido – pleasurable behaviors (includes sexuality but also biophilia—love of/for life/living)
Death instincts – an unconscious but very real drive of/toward death and destruction (compare to E. Fromm)
Aggressive drive – compulsion to destroy, conquer, kill (compare to E. Fromm)
VO: As mentioned in previous lectures, S. Freud, among other psychologists, made use of evolutionary science ideas to make sense of human personality. Although the term “instinct” is used by Freud in a very strict sense, he does observe the obvious, namely, that humans are driven to act in certain innate ways.
Conscious – self-awareness and attention in the moment (present)
Preconscious – potential information
Memories of which we are not consciously aware, but can be easily called into consciousness
Unconscious – instincts, wishes and desires that direct all behaviors (compare to Jung’s ideas of the unconscious)
Levels of Personality
VO: He also formalizes ways of classifying personality into three empirically testable levels. Today, with the advent of brain imaging techniques, we refer to Freud’s idea as the “dual processing” mind consisting of at least two levels: conscious and unconscious processes.
Id – real, bodily processes
Ego – virtual, language mediated
Mediator between id and superego
Superego – (virtual)
Ego ideal – ideal self toward which a person should strive (compare to Maslow’s Self-Realization)
Structures of Personality
VO: Later on, Freud formulated another way of classifying “personality” in order to understand how human agency evolved, developed, and became language driven.
“Personality”: Model and a Metaphor
VO: He first used the metaphor of mycelia and mushrooms (he was an avid mushroom hunter) to describe the above structure before settling on this “iceberg” model integrating all his ideas about personality. The metaphor of mind as an iceberg is clearly graspable.
Feeling of fear and dread:
Real – fear of tangible dangers in the real world
Neurotic – conflict between id and ego
Moral – conflict between id and superego
Compare Freud’s ideas to E. Fromm’s “psychological problem” and to Morita’s
VO: During the Victorian Era, when European society had been static for a while, rapid changes (industrialization, urbanization, war) were afoot that made for increased anxiety. Male and female role expectations were about to be tested and individuals came into conflict with social norms of propriety. It is not by chance that Freud and others focus their attention on Anxiety (neurosis). Neurotic fear, Freud observed, was rooted in internal conflicts that involve incongruencies or contradictions between what the individual (agent) desires to or could do and what society said h/she must do.
Function – used by ego to defend against anxiety and real threats
Involve distortion of reality
VO: The language of fear and anxiety, Freud observed, is often cloaked in automatic responses or defense mechanisms that are deployed unconsciously.
Defense Mechanisms (cont’d)
VO: From a longer list of observed defense mechanisms Freud noticed that some of these were more often deployed earlier in life (repression and regression) whereas others depend on more developed linguistic processes (rationalization). At least one, sublimation, Freud thought was an acceptable compromise and way of dealing with the exigencies of our biological needs and competing societal pressures.
Latency (not an actual stage)
Fixation – portion of libido is stuck in any given stage because of excessive frustration, pain, or gratification
A severe fixation can lead to trauma
Psychosexual Stages of Development
VO: In order to track the genesis of maladaptive behaviors associated with neurosis, he looked at developmentally driven concentrations of behaviors that began as biological imperatives. These he arranged into four stages and a latency period focusing on the types of behaviors the human organism is observed to exhibit. The genesis of maladaptive behaviors and thoughts, he thought, was centered around “fixations,” or undue and prolonged focusing on a particular aspect of behaviors centered around each erogenous zone (mouth, anus, genitalia).
Birth to 1 year
Mouth is pleasure center
State of total dependence on caregivers
VO: Even casual observations of infants and babies up to one year of age reveal that the mouth is an important vehicle of exploration. As a pleasure (pain and dissatisfaction also) center it acts as an introduction to a world of textures, temperatures, tastes, and the possibility for communication.
Ages 1-3 years
External reality (toilet training) interferes with gratification received from defecation
Learn to control id impulses
VO: A willful and yet sensitive two–year-old, for example, being taught to use a potty chair by a distracted or uncaring adult, may develop, according to Freud, anxieties related to the acts of elimination. Under ideal conditions this stage represents a leap forward toward self-regulation.
Pleasure derived from genitals
Oedipus complex – uncs desire of a boy for his mother, desire to replace his father
Electra complex – uncs desire of a girl for her father, desire to replace her mother
VO: His most controversial proposal and stage, later amended by Freud himself, charted a path toward gender identification that even today is hard to reconcile with actual observations. Salvageable still, is the idea that boys and girls, right around this age period, begin to develop a sense of gender identity.
Structures of personality largely formed by age 5
Sexual instinct temporarily dormant
In Freud’s thinking this is a period of calm before the “storm” of puberty
At age 5 kids are entering 1st grade and are focused on formal learning in a way they were not before
Compare Freud’s ideas to E. Erikson’s Industry vs Inferiority Stage–Competence
VO: At around this age most children in western societies are sent to school. This period, not a true stage, is a time of relative psychological calm as children are preoccupied with adjusting to new environments and learning routines.
If no major fixations from earlier stages are present, the individual leads a “normal life”
Sexual energy finds acceptable outlets
Relationships (romantic or platonic—friendships) form the basis of healthy adult development
VO: The term “genital” for this stage (as opposed to “phallic’) suggested for Freud an abstraction of filial undercurrents that led to making long lasting connections with others—friendships.
Free association – patient says whatever comes to mind
Catharsis – expression of emotions that is expected to lead to the reduction of disturbing symptoms
Dream analysis – the royal road to the uncs
Mapping the Unconscious
VO: Earlier, we saw how “mapping the unconscious,” around Freud’s time, without the benefit of today’s brain imaging approaches involved indirect methods. To Freud it seemed as if all of us lived at least two lives. On the surface we seemed to behave rationally. But underscoring this veneer of rationality we unconsciously behaved in ways that seem counterintuitive and maladaptive.
Case study method
Personality formed by age 5
Studies show changes over time from preschool to ages 12-13
Middle childhood years may be more important in adult personality (ages 7-12)
Notion of uncs well-supported by neuro-imaging and electrophysiological measures
Defense mechanisms – use simpler ones earlier in life, more complex later (repression and regression—early; displacement and sublimation—later)
VO: While embracing the scientific method Freud explored new ways of obtaining information from his patients in a structured way. Although not perfect, his analyses produced sufficient data with which to begin to explore psychological disorders.
Deterministic view of human nature
Use of few case studies (WWI ‘Shell-Shock” soldiers)
Emphasis on past events and experiences
Both a predicted and also sympathetic view of Victorian-age women judged by the standards of the day
Criticisms of Freud
VO: Nevertheless, some of his methods and hypotheses did not yield useful information. Freud, like all researchers, was a man of his time both biased and equally revolutionary in interpreting cultural influences on personality.
First steps toward empirical studies in psychology.
Role of uncs in behavior.
Role of childhood experiences.
Cell biology (how neurons work).
Rejection of “hysteria” as an all-purpose and single causal mechanism for a variety of maladies.
The Talking Cure.
VO: It has been said that one of the lasting legacies of Freud’s approaches is his “talking cure.” His method of interviewing, cajoling, questioning, and supporting a patient during difficult times, by itself, seems to open the door for further exploration and psychological insight.
Carl G. Jung:
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
VO: C. G. Jung’s contributions to the study of personality dovetailed with and resisted some of the theoretical foundations put forth by his mentor (S. Freud).
First ideas were published in Psychology of the Unconscious (mythological content that drew parallels between myths and psychotic fantasies). He develops his own theory called analytic psychology, for half a century he wrote about personality and its expression in symbolic and mythological forms.
VO: Jung defined his approach as analytic psychology to differentiate himself from Freud’s psychoanalysis. This shift gave more predominance to unconscious processes that Freud did not explore (the collective unconscious).
In 1921 he published Psychological Types included his perspective of different personality types and the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious. This work was reinterpreted and adopted, giving rise to the much-maligned Myers-Briggs test.
VO: Jung, an introvert, paid attention to obvious polarized aspects of personality, for example, introverts versus extroverts. Subsequent adaptations of Jung’s ideas (for example, the Myers-Briggs test) oversimplified his observations.
Focused on the unconscious and conscious mind. He believed that the unconscious played a greater role in controlling our thought processes (particularly during dreaming).
The collective unconscious was a more dominant factor in the development of human personality.
Other Ideas (1)
VO: By far, Jung is often talked about and credited with introducing the idea of the collective unconscious, a reservoir of human experiences and personality prototypes ready to be enacted under the appropriate circumstances.
Carl Jung’s Structural Model
|Three Levels of Consciousness|
|Ego||Conscious level; carries out daily activities||Like Freud’s Conscious|
|Personal Unconscious||Individual’s thoughts, memories, wishes, impulses||Like Freud’s Preconscious + Unconscious|
|Collective Unconscious||Storehouse of memories inherited from the common ancestors of the whole human race||No counterpart in Freud’s theory|
VO: His structural model of personality thus includes a personal and the collective unconscious.
It contains archetypes, emotionally charged images and thought forms that have universal meaning. Archetypes cause us to respond in certain ways to common human experiences. Key archetype:
Mandala – “magic circle”, an image symbolizing the unity of life (“Self”)
The Collective Unconscious
VO: As a way of describing the prototypical contents of the collective unconscious, the archetypes, he made use of (like Freud) of cross-cultural symbols, themes, and motifs as evidence that these universal patterns represented an organizing principle of human personality.
Persona – your public personality, aspects of yourself that you reveal to others
Shadow: – prehistoric fear of wild animals, represents animal side of human nature
Anima: feminine archetype in men
Animus: – masculine archetype in women
Others – God, Hero, Nurturing Mother, Wise Old Man, Wicked Witch, Devil, Powerful Father
VO: Jung noticed that many cultures have similar mythical motifs, narratives, and examples of being human. He explored, for example, personality as genderization into masculine and feminine attributes.
Introversion – focused inward
The person is cautious, shy, timid, reflective
Extroversion – focused outward
The person is outgoing, sociable, assertive, energetic
Basic Personality Orientations
VO: As stated before, Jung thought that an understanding of the basic and innate propensities, particularly their extreme polarized versions, of introversion and extraversion could be helpful in therapy.
Thinking – naming and interpreting experience
Feeling – evaluating an experience for its emotional worth to us
Sensing: – experiencing the world through the senses without interpreting or evaluating it
Intuiting – relating directly to the world without physical sensation, reasoning, or interpretation
VO: Jung also thought it was useful to classify human personality in terms of the following modalities: thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting. Notice that all but one, behaviors, are dimensions we have already included in our class definition of personality. It is less clear, even today, if the dimensions “sensing” and “intuiting” can be thought of being functionally independent of “feeling” or “thinking.”
The self is the fully developed personality. It is attained by balancing and integrating all parts of the personality. Jung was the forerunner of the humanistic movement, with its emphasis on self-actualization.
The Concept of Self
VO: The words “self” and “personality” are often understood to be one and the same. In Jung’s conceptual frame the Self represents the fully matured personality, although achieving this may be elusive. He made use of mandalas, or symmetrical designs, to represent the Self.
He agreed with others that there were two basic personality types:
Introverts – someone who keeps to himself/herself and is emotionally self-sufficient
Extroverts – someone who is outgoing and use his/her psychological powers to draw people towards them
Ideas (2) (cont’d)
VO: All great thinkers, and Jung is one of them, produce original ideas and are remembered for their lasting contributions. An understanding of introversion and extroversion as these dimensions (in their extreme and polarized expressions) shape personality is one his most influential and lasting contributions.
Much of his work is esoteric and unproven (scientifically untestable). Specifically, his ideas about the collective unconscious have not been validated by scientific means. His ideas about “complexes” and “archetypes” have some heuristic value (more metaphors than real ontologies).
VO: Other ideas, for example, the notion of a collective unconscious, cannot be tested and may simply illustrate that humans make use of simple and stylized symbols in order to convey abstract ideas.