Personality: A Summary of Theories, Concepts, and Stages

Personality: A Summary of Theories, Concepts, and Stages






The psychoanalytic view

(Freud and followers)

Early childhood experiences and unconscious forces can shape behaviors    
The developmental “crisis” (stages with conflicts)
Trait theory Essential traits for personality    
The humanistic view

(Maslow and Rogers)

The innate desire to be good    
The social-cognitive view


Behavior-internal processes-environmental feedback interactions decide personality    
Biological perspectives Biological basis (genetics, neuroscience, etc.)    
Personality components


Id (“it”) Primitive and unconscious  
The pleasure principle
Ego (“I”) The reality principle  
Superego (“over I”) Conscience; neurosis  
Defense mechanisms Rationalization Making up reasons
Sublimation Distracting attention
Projection Accusing others
Displacement Venting anger at another source
Reaction formation Saying opposite feelings
Undoing To “undo” an act
Denial Not admitting
Repression “Forgetting”
Suppression Trying not to think about it
Regression Acting younger
Daydreaming Retreating to fantasy
Personality development stages


Oral 0-1 year  
Anal 1-3 years Anal-retentive (over-controlled)
Anal-expulsive (under-controlled)
“Phallic” 3-6 years Oedipal/Electra complex
“Latency” 6 years – puberty  
Genital Adolescence – adulthood  
Carl G. Jung Transpersonal Animus, anima  
Collective unconscious
Archetypes (figure, images in cultures can shape personality)
Alfred Adler Inferiority complexes in early childhood    
Strive for superiority
Karen Horney Basic anxiety Moving toward others for acceptance  
Moving against others for control
Moving away others for independence
Traits Basic interactive features that shape personality    
5 personality factors (“OCEAN”)

(McCrae and Costa, Goldberg)

Openness E.g., Creative E.g., Practical
Conscientiousness E.g., Responsible E.g., Careless
Extraversion E.g., Outgoing E.g., Shy
Agreeableness E.g., Easygoing E.g., Argumentativeness
Neuroticism E.g., Insecure E.g., Confident
Humanistic theories Self-actualization (Maslow)    
Self-concept (Rogers)    
Social-cognitive perspective


Reciprocal determinism    
Locus of control


Expectancy Internal locus of control  
External locus of control  
Personality tests Objective tests (self-report) Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) True-false format
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Based on Jung’s theory, forced-choice format
Projective tests (for unconscious processes) Rorschach Inkblot Test 10 blots
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Stimulus cards; story analysis
Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank Incomplete statements
Human Figure Drawings/House-Person-Tree Drawing
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