Psychology 3 - Theories of personality

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Psychology & Personality


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A person's unique long-term patter of thinking, emotions, and behavior. (Consistency on who you are, have been and will become)


The person has been evaluated not described


Hereditary aspects of your personality (Sensitivity, Irritability, etc.)

Personality Traits

Stable qualities thst a person shows in most situations.

Behavioral genetics

Study of inherited behavioral traits

Personality Type

People who have several traits in common

Who proposed people were Either introverts or extroverts?

Carl Jung


The mental "picture" you have of your own personality



Genuine self-esteem

Based on an accurate appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses (Positive self-evaluation that is bestowed too easily may not be healthy)

Personality theory

System of concepts, assumptions, ideas, and principles proposed to explain personality

Trait theories

Attempt to learn what traits makeup for personality and how they relate to actual behavior.

Psychodynamic theories

Focus on the inner workings of personality, especially internal conflicts and struggles

Behavioristic and social learning theories

Place importance on the external environment and on the effects of conditioning and learning.

Humanistic theories

Stress private, subjective experience, and personal growth

Current dominant method for studying personality

Trait approach

Objectives of trait theory

Predicting behavior, describing people

Predicting behavior

Knowing how you rate on a single dimension would allow us to predict behavior in a variety of settings

Describing people

Analyze, classify, and interrelate traits

Common traits

Characteristics shared by most members of a culture

Individual traits

Describe a person's unique qualities

Cardinal traits

Basic traits that all of a person's activities can be traced to the trait

Central traits

Basic building blocks of personality

Secondary traits

Superficial personal qualities

Surface traits

Visible features of personality

Source traits

Traits clustered together, deeper characteristics. The core of each individual's personality.

(Cattell) Factor analysis

A statistical technique used to correlate multiple measurements and identify general underlying factors

Source traits are measured by

the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF)

Five-factor model

System that identifies the five most basic dimensions of personality.

Trait-situation interaction

External circumstances influence the expression of a personality trait

Psychodynamic theory

Actions are based on hidden, or unconscious, thoughts, needs, and emotions

Freud's personality model is composed by

The id, the ego, and the superego


Innate biological instincts and urges, operates on the pleasure principle


Life instincts


Energy for the entire psyche, or personality


Death instinct


System of thinking, planning, problem solving, and deciding. Conscious control of the persionality and often delays action.


Judge or censor for the thoughts and actions of the ego.


Reflects actions for which a person has been punished

Ego ideal

Reflects all behavior one's parents approved of or rewarded. Source of goals and aspirations.

Neurotic anxiety

Impulses from the id when the ego can barely keep them under control

Moral anxiety

Threats of punishment from the superego

Defense mechanisms

Mental processes that deny, distort, or otherwise block out sources of threat and anxiety


Holds repressed memories and emotions, plus the instinctual drives of the id


Contains material that can be easily brought to awareness


Everything you are aware of at a given moment including thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and memories

According to Freud the core of personality is formed

before age 6 in a series of psychosexual stages

Psychosexual stages

  1. Oral

  2. Anal

  3. Phallic

  4. Genital

Erogenous zone

Area capable of producing pleasure