Personality Overview Paper

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  • Topic: Personality psychology, Sigmund Freud, Psychology
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Personality Overview

Kathleen Randles

August 23, 2012

PSY/405

Fernanda Mendieta

This paper will discuss some of the theories of personality. It will cover the basic assumptions that are part of the theories. It will cover free will verses deterministic control. It will cover awareness of self which is also known as conscious versus unconscious motives for the behavior that a person has.

The use of the word personality is part of a person’s everyday life. It is used to describe the way the person they are talking about acts in different situations (Kowalski & Westen, Chapter 12, 2009). It is defined as “an encoding of patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviors that are expressed by individuals in different circumstances” (Kowalski & Westen, Chapter 12, 2009).

According to Feist and Feist (2009), It is defined as a global concept that refers to almost permanent pattern of traits, dispositions, or characteristics that give a person’s behavior some sort of consistency ("Glossary").

Looking at the theories of personality it is discovered that one of the theories that is one of the major fields of theoretical study we find trait theory. It suggests that a person’s individual personality is composed of broad dispositions (Cherry, 2012). Two of the theorists of this is Gordon Alloport and H.S. Odbert, they reduced the very large number of words found in dictionaries that describe personality traits to 4,504 adjectives that he believed best described the observable and relatively permanent traits of people.

However Raymond Cattell reduced it further to just 16 traits; these include the traits such as warm, emotionally stable, cheerful, suspicious, imaginative, sensitive, and tense. To find these traits Cattell relied on factor analysis so he could group together the adjectives that made up the list of Gordon Alloport and H.S. Odbert (Kowalski & Westen, Chapter 12, 2009) ("Big Five Personality Traits", 2012).

Allport himself categorized the traits into three levels and they are Cardinal traits which are traits that dominate a person’s whole life. Many times the person becomes known for having these traits. When we look closer we find that people with these types of personality often become well known for these traits. Look at the terms Freudian and Machiavellian. These are terms that are used to describe a specific type of person. When looking at these traits Allport suggested that they are rare and tend to develop later in life (Cherry, 2012).

Then there are central traits which are the general characteristics which form the personality’s basic foundation. Though these traits are not dominant they are major characteristics that another person might use to describe someone. These central traits are one such as honest, intelligent, shy or anxious (Kowalski & Westen, Chapter 12, 2009) (Cherry, 2012).

Then there are the secondary traits, these are at times related to attitude and performance. They tend to only appear under specific circumstances or situations. These situations may include getting impatient while waiting in a line (Cherry, 2012).

Then we look at Hans Eysenck’s theory (1953) it shows that he identified three psychological types. They are extraversion/introversion which is the tendency to be sociable, active, as well as willing to take risks. With introversion the person has a low score on the extroversion scale and have social inhibitions, seriousness, as well as caution (Kowalski & Westen, Chapter 12, 2009) (Cherry, 2012).

Then there is neuroticism which defines a continuance from emotionally stable to that of instability. When looking at people with neuroticism levels tend to report that they feel anxious, guilty, tense, moody, and they seem to have low self-esteem (Kowalski &...
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