Personality Assignment- Gleitman
Personality Assignment- Weiten
Personality Theories Link
Temperment Sorter Test

E-mail Mr. Kilford

History of Psych

Brain Anatomy








Health Psych



Testing and Individual Differences


Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Social Psychology

Scratchman, M.
Larson, D. 1996

What the college board is asking for: In this section of the course, students come to understand the major theories and approaches to personality: psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive, trait, and behaviorist. In the process, they learn about the background and thought of some of the major contributors to the domain of personality such as Adler, Allport, Bandura, Cattell, Jung, Mischel, and Rogers. Through their study in this area, students recognize that each of the approaches to personality has implications for their understanding of both normal and abnormal personality, the assessment of personality, models of personality development, and the treatment of dysfunctional behavior.

Students also learn about research in personality, including the kinds of methods that are employed (such as case studies and surveys), the differences among research orientations, and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. The course exposes students to the major assessment techniques used in the study of personality, such as personality inventories, projective tests, and behavioral observations. Discussion of these instruments necessarily includes consideration of the reliability and validity of each.

In addition, students examine the idea of the self and the related issues of self-concept and self-esteem. They learn how the self develops, how self-concept and self-esteem are assessed, and how both of these constructs are related to other aspects of the individual's functioning.

How we measure personality

There are a number of methods to assess one's personality. The major categories are interviews, observations, objective tests, and projective tests.

Interviews: First ask about their lifestyle, including job, family, and hobbies. Used for diagnosing psychological problems and disclose personality characteristics.

Observation: It's not just "watching people", actually it is extremely sophisticated. The psychologists are looking for very specific examples that follow strict guidlines. From a psychologist's observations, they can gather much information about one's personality.

Objective tests: They are also known as inventories, that are standardized questionnaires that require written responses, usually true-false or multiple choice. Can be administered to a large group of people. They are the most widely used method. The most widely researched and clinically used multitrait test is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

Projective tests: They use ambiguous, unstructured stimuli, such as inkblots or pictures. These projective tests are suppossed to reveal one's unconscious conflicts. The two most common projective tests are the Rorschach Inkblot and the Thematic Apperception Tests.

Rorschach Inkblot

Personality Theories

Trait theory: Traits are stable qualities that a person shows in most situations. The early trait theorists are Allport, Cattell, and Eysenck (not mentioned in Acorn). A difficult task, considering that their are nearly 18,000 adjectives to describe someone and 4,500 that trait theorists believed would be good words of description. To help break this down a bit, Raymond Cattell consdensced this list to 30 to 35 basic characteristics. Hans Eysenck narrowed this list even further, which is known as the acronym OCEAN. Gordon Allport found three types of traits: cardinal, central, and secondary. Trait theory seems to be the first model to achieve the ability to describe and organize personality characteristics. The arguement is that the human diversity in personality cannot be accounted for by only five traits.

Walter Mischel thought that rather than seeing personality as the consistent,internal traits of an individual, you must measure personality by how people respond to factors and conditions in the external environment. Basically, personality is determined by the situation in which people find themselves.

Eysenck, H., 1967

Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic: This theory attempts to explain personality by examining how unconscious forces interplay with thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The founder of this theory was Sigmund Freud. Among some of his followers and contributors to psycholanalytic theroy are: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Karen Horney.

So what exactly is the unconscious? Freud believed that the unconscious forms the majority of our mind. It stores our primitive, instinctual motives, plus memories that a laced with anxiety and emotion unable to make its way into the conscious mind. His personality structure is made of three parts: id, ego, and superego. Each accounts for a different aspect of one's personality.

The id is made up of biological instincts and urges. It is immature, irrational, and impulsive. The ego is the part of the mind that can plan, problem solve, reason and control the id. It is responsible for delaying gratification. The superego is our moral censor. It sets the ethical guidlines and rules of behavior. It is our conscience, I suppose.

Other Freud theories to be familiar with are: psychosexual development, defense mechanisms

Ralph Lauren Ad
Id, ego, and superego at work here? Oh yeah

Alfred Adler

He was the first of Freud's followers to leave him. His main difference was that he believed that consciousness was the center of personality, rather than the unconscious. He disagreed with radical determinism and felt that each of us has the capacity to choose. Our main goal in life is to find security and overcome feelings of inferiority. He coined the term inferiority complex, which he believed we all suffer from. He felt these feelings of inadequacy stem from being once a helpless, small, incompetent, and helpless child.

Carl Jung

Jung placed less emphasis on sexual and aggressive forces and emphasized on the positive and spiritual unconscious. He believed the unconscious is split into two parts: the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. The personal is created from our own individual experiences, whereas the collective is identical in each person and is inherited. Examples would be darkness, mother, and religion. These images, thoughts, behavior, and emotions are called archetypes.

Karen Horney

HORN-eye was cool in that she rejected a little bit from the previous guys, added her own concpets and thus came up with a theory all of her own. Her biggest problem with Freud was the biological differences between men and women. Freud believed that penis envy created biological inferiority in women, while Horney disagreed and said women's inferiority stems from cultural factors. She believed a child's relationship with its parents was the most important determinant in personality development.


From the humanistic point of view, people are innately good and they possess a positive drive toward self-fulfillment. The most important figure in humanistic personality development is Carl Rogers. Formation of personality comes from an early development of one's self-concept. Rogers used the term self-concept to refer to all the information and beliefs you have regarding your own nature, unique qualities, and typical behaviors. He was most concerned with one's self-concept and their experiences. The goal to achieving a "good" personality is to trust your internal feelings and allow them to guide you toward a healthy mind. This underlies his belief that humans have freedom of choice.

Unconditional Positive Regard: Roger's term for how we should behave toward someone to increase his or her self-esteem; positive behavior shown toward a person with no contingencies attached. Parents should accept positive nature and discourage negative nature.

Social/Cognitive Perspective

According to Albert Bandura each of us has a unique personality because of our individual history of interactions with the environment, and because we think about the world and interpret what happens to us. There is a continuing interaction between our environment, cognitions, and behaviors. This is a theory that branches from radical determinism proposed by the great behaviorist B.F. Skinner. This proposes that personality (honesty, kindness, hostility) are nothing more than a sum of reinforcement history. It was very evident, this theory, in Skinner's book Walden Two, in which a Utopian society is created with happy and content people because they get to do what they want to do. They are taught to cooperate through extensive operant conditioning. Reciprocal determinism is that people influence their environment, just as the environment influences them.

Jullian Rotter has a similar idea about personality development. She emphasizes the expectation of what will happen following a specific behavior and the reinforcement value that is attached to the outcome of this behavior. It depends on the degree to which you prefer one reinforcer to another.

Personality Notes