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Unformatted text preview: Personality Theory in a Cultural Context By: Mark Kelland Personality Theory in a Cultural Context By: Mark Kelland Online: < > OpenStax-CNX This selection and arrangement of content as a collection is copyrighted by Mark Kelland. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 ( ). Collection structure revised: November 4, 2015 PDF generated: November 4, 2015 For copyright and attribution information for the modules contained in this collection, see p. 496. Table of Contents 1 Introduction to Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 Culture and Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 3 Sigmund Freud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 4 Alfred Adler and Harry Stack Sullivan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 5 Neo-Freudian Perspectives on Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 6 Karen Horney and Erich Fromm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 7 Psychology of Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 8 Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 9 Viktor Frankl, Rollo May, and Existential Psychology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 10 Trait Theories of Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 11 Biology and Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 12 Erik Erikson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281 13 Carl Jung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303 14 Yoga and Buddhism as Personality Development Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327 15 Religious Perspectives on Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351 16 African Perspective on Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363 17 Learning Theory and Personality Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371 18 Social Learning Theory and Personality Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389 19 Cognitive Perspectives on Personality Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415 20 Personality Disorders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439 21 References for Personality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 445 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494 Attributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496 iv Available for free at Connexions < ; Chapter 1 1 Introduction to Personality When you rst think of personality, what comes to mind? When we refer to certain people as being personalities, we usually mean they are famous, people like movie stars or your favorite band. When we describe a person as having lots of personality, we usually mean they are outgoing and fun-loving, the kind of person we like to spend time with. But does this tell us anything about personality itself ? Although we may think we have an understanding of what personality is, professional psychologists always seek to move beyond what people think they know in order to determine what is actually real or at least as close to real as we can come. In the pursuit of truly understanding personality, however, many personality theorists seem to have been focused on a particularly Western cultural approach that owes much of its history to the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud. Freud trained as a physician with a strong background in biomedical research. He naturally brought his keen sense of observation, a characteristic of any good scientist, into his psychiatric practice. As he worked with his patients, he developed a distinctly medical model: identify a problem, identify the cause of the problem, and treat the patient accordingly. This approach can work quite well, and it has worked wonderfully for medical science, but it has two main weaknesses when applied to the study of personality. First, it fails to address the complexity and uniqueness of individuals, and second, it does not readily lend itself to describing how one chooses to develop a healthy personality. 1 This content is available online at < ;. Available for free at Connexions < ; 1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO PERSONALITY 2 Figure 1.1 The diversity that is the human experience can be seen in the faces of the people around us. Quite soon in the history of personality theory, however, there were inuential theorists who began to challenge Freud's perspective. Alfred Adler, although a colleague of Freud's for a time, began to focus on social interest and an individual's style of life. Karen Horney challenged Freud's perspective on the psychology of women, only to later suggest that the issue was more directly related to the oppression of women as a minority, rather than a fundamental dierence based on gender. And there were Carl Jung and Carl Rogers, two men profoundly inuenced by Eastern philosophy. Consequently, anyone inuenced by Jung or Rogers has also been inuenced, in part, by Eastern philosophy. world? What about the rest of the Have we taken into account the possibility that there are other, equally valuable and interesting perspectives on the nature of people? Many elds in psychology have made a concerted eort to address cross-cultural issues. The primary purpose of this textbook is to address some of these dierent cultural perspectives, and to compare them to, and contrast them with, the traditional Western perspectives. In addition, we will examine the relationships between the traditional approaches as well. In particular, the nal section of this book introduces a number of paths developed throughout history to help people choose how to live their lives. Although each path is intimately identied with a religious perspective, the paths themselves represent more of a style of life. As we examine these perspectives, you will see that they are all quite similar in their essential elements, making it clear that the principles involved transcend religious culture. My hope is that when you have read this book, you will have a broad understanding of the eld of personality, and an appreciation for both what we have in common and what makes us unique, as members of our global community. Available for free at Connexions < ; 3 1.1 Denitions and Descriptions of Personality It would seem to make sense that we should begin our study of personality by dening the term. Unfortunately, there is no single denition that ts the variety of theories that have been developed in the eld of personality research. Most psychologists agree that the term personality comes from the Latin word persona, a term referring to the masks worn by actors performing ancient Greek plays. Often there were not enough actors available to play all of the roles in a play, so they would wear these masks to let the audience know that they were playing dierent roles. But are our personalities just masks? Freud certainly considered the unconscious mind to be very important, Cattell considered source traits to be more important than surface traits, and Buddhists consider the natural world (including the self ) to be an illusion. Adler believed the best way to examine personality is to look at the person's style of life, and Rogers felt that the only person who could truly understand you is yourself. What denition could possibly encompass all that? Still, we need a working denition as a starting point for discussion. Borrowing loosely from Allport's denition of personality, personality can be viewed as the dynamic organization within an individual of various psychological factors that determines the person's characteristic thoughts and behaviors. In simpler terms, a variety of factors blend together to create each person, and as a result of those factors the individual is most likely to think and act in somewhat predictable ways. However, given the complexity of human life, those predictions may prove to be elusive. Theodore Millon (1996, 2004; Millon & Grossman, 2005), a renowned clinician and theorist in the eld of personality disorders, has sought a denition of personality broad enough to encompass both normal and abnormal personality. Millon describes the modern view of personality as a complex pattern of psychological characteristics that are deeply embedded, largely unconscious, and resistant to change. These intrinsic and pervasive traits arise from a complex matrix of biological dispositions and experiential learning, and express themselves automatically in nearly every aspect of the individual's unique pattern of perceiving, feeling, thinking, coping, and behaving (e.g., Millon, 1996). Another challenge we face in dening personality is how we approach the question in the rst place. nomothetic perspective idiographic perspective. The nomothetic perspective seeks to identify general rules that pertain to personality as a construct (a working hypothesis or concept used to identify something we can describe Traditionally, there have been two basic approaches to the study of personality: the and the but not see, such as IQ or the self ). Thus, it can be rather abstract, and often fails to appreciate the uniqueness of individuals. In contrast, the idiographic perspective focuses specically on the individuality and uniqueness of each person. Although the idiographic approach often seems more appealing to students, especially since it enhances their self-esteem by considering them as individually important, it is dicult for any theory of personality to encompass research that treats only one person at a time. Such a theory would naturally suer from problems of generalizability, and may be useful for therapists working with one patient or client at a time, but it will not be particularly useful for enhancing our overall understanding of personality in general. It is important to note, however, that many early personality theories were based on individual case studies, and this critique is one that we will see several times in this book. As is often the case in psychology, the best approach may be to attempt blending the nomothetic and idiographic perspectives, seeking the generalizability of the nomothetic perspective's general principles on personality and personality development - while maintaining an appreciation for the idiographic perspective's recognition of the value of an individual's unique character. Millon (1996) suggests an integrative approach to dening personality. Not only would an integrative approach combine the nomothetic and idiographic perspectives, it would also help to bring together the two broad traditions of clinical and applied psychology. Clinical psychologists are compelled by the nature of their work with patients, or clients, to try to understand the individual. Thus, they need to follow a more idiographic approach. In contrast, applied psychologists (e.g., experimental psychologists) are more construct-focused, and nd the nomothetic approach more appealing and useful for developing generalizable theories on the nature of various aspects of personality. If personality can be dened in a satisfactory way by an integrative approach, then clinicians may benet more from applied research, and experimental psychologists may see their work more directly applied in clinical settings where it may help people in our society. In order to better understand how some of the dierent disciplines within the eld of psychology contribute to our denition of personality, let's take a brief look at some of the widely recognized factors that come into Available for free at Connexions < ; CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO PERSONALITY 4 play: Discussion Question: The nomothetic and idiographic perspectives approach personality in very different ways. Do you believe that your personality can be described in a way that might also be used to describe the personalities of other people (maybe your friends), or do you feel it is necessary to describe each person as an individual? Psychodynamic Factors The very word psychodynamic suggests that there are ongoing interactions between dierent elements of the mind. Sigmund Freud not only oered names for these elements (id, ego, and superego), he proposed dierent levels of consciousness. Since the unconscious mind was very powerful according to Freud, one of the rst and most enduring elements of psychodynamic theory is that we are often unaware of why we think and act the way we do. Add to that the belief that our personality is determined in early childhood, and you can quickly see that psychological problems would be very dicult to treat. Perhaps more importantly, since we are not aware of many of our own thoughts and desires, it would dicult or even impossible for us to choose to change our personality no matter how much we might want to. Most psychodynamic theorists since Freud have expanded the inuences that aect us to include more of the outside world. emphasized the ego. Those theorists who remained loyal to Freud, typically known as neo-Freudians, Since the ego functions primarily in the real world, the individual must take into account the inuence of other people involved in their lives. Some theorists who diered signicantly from the traditional Freudian perspective, most notably Alfred Adler and Karen Horney, focused much of their theories on cultural inuences. Adler believed that social cooperation was essential to the success of each individual (and humanity as a whole), whereas Horney provided an intriguing alternative to Freud's sexist theories regarding women. Although Horney based her theories regarding women on the cultural standing between men and women in the Victorian era, to a large extent her theory remains relevant today. Learning and Cognitive Factors As a species, human beings are distinguished by their highly developed brains. Animals with less- developed nervous systems rely primarily on instinctive behavior, but very little on learning. While the study of animals' instinctive behavior is fascinating, and led to a shared Nobel Prize for the ethologists Nikolaas Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, and Karl von Frisch, animal behavior remains distinctly limited compared to the complex learning and cognitive tasks that humans can readily perform (Beck, 1978; Gould, 1982). Indeed, the profound value of our abilities to think and learn may be best reected in the fact that, according to Tinbergen's strict denition of instinct (see Beck, 1978), humans appear not to have any instinctive behavior anymore. Yet we have more than made up for it through our ability to learn, and learning theory and behaviorism became dominant forces in the early years of American psychology. John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner are among the most famous and inuential of American psychologists. Learning about their groundbreaking research on classical and operant conditioning is standard fare in psychology courses. More recently, Albert Bandura has enjoyed similar popularity and respect in the eld of social learning theory. Anyone who has children knows full well how eagerly they observe us and mimic our actions and speech. An important aspect of the learning perspective is that our personalities may develop as a result of the rewards and/or punishments we receive from others. Consequently, we should be able to shape an individual's personality in any way we want. Early behaviorists, like Watson, suggested that they could indeed take any child and raise them to be successful in any career they chose for them. Although most parents and teachers try to be a good inuence on children, and to set good examples for them, children are often inuenced more by their peers. What children nd rewarding may not be what parents and teachers think is rewarding. This is why a social-cognitive approach to learning becomes very important in understanding personality development. Social-cognitive theorists, like Bandura, recognize that children interact with their environment, partly determining for themselves what is rewarding or punishing, and then react to the environment in their own unique way. As suggested by the blend of behaviorism and cognition that Bandura and others proposed, there is a close association between behaviorism and the eld of cognitive psychology. Although strict behaviorists rejected the study of unobservable cognitive processes, the cognitive eld has actually followed the guidelines of behaviorism with regard to a dispassionate and logical observation of the expression of cognitive processes Available for free at Connexions < ; 5 through an individual's behavior and what they say. Thus, the ability of human beings to think, reason, analyze, anticipate, etc., leads them to act in accordance with their ideas, rather than simply on the basis of traditional behavioral controls: reward, punishment, or associations with unconditional stimuli. The success of the cognitive approach when applied to therapy, such as the techniques developed by Aaron Beck, has helped to establish cognitive theory as one the most respected areas in the study of personality and abnormal psychology. Biological Factors Although humans may not exhibit instinctive behavior, we are still ultimately a product of our biological makeup, our specic DNA pattern. Our individual DNA pattern is unique, unless we happen to be an identical twin, and it not only provides the basis for our learning and cognitive abilities, it also sets the conditions for certain aspects of our character. Perhaps the most salient of these characteristics is temperament, which can loosely be described as the emotional component of our personality. In addition to temperament, twin studies have shown that all aspects of personality appear to be signicantly inuenced by our genetic inheritance (Bouchard, 1994; Bouchard & McGue, 1990; Bouchard et al., 1990). Even such complex personality variables as well-being, traditionalism, and religiosity have been found to be highly inuenced by our genetic make-up (Tellegen et al., 1988; Waller et al., 1990). Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists also emphasize the role of genet...
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