Friday, November 29, 2013

Personality Analysis (Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers)

          In psychology, personality is one of the hardest “terms” to define. Feist and Feist (2009), “although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior” (p. 4). There is no single acceptable definition of personality, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Rogers developed theories of personality from their own point-of-view. Through an analysis of Freud’s and Rogers’ theories, one learns how both Freud and Rogers made basic assumptions regarding personality, how their theories had an effect on psychology and how both of their theories have real-world applications.
Basic Assumptions Regarding Personality
Freud’s Assumptions
          Through his psychoanalytic theory, Freud made several assumptions regarding personality. Freud assumed the mind occurred at different levels; the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious. Unconsciousness has instincts, drives, or urges beyond what one is aware of but are motives for one’s actions, such as feelings, and words. Therefore, an individual may have consciousness of unconcealed behaviors; however, he or she has no awareness of the mental process behind overt behaviors (Feist & Feist, 2009). The preconscious is a level of the unconscious as is the unconscious proper. It contains elements that do not start as consciousness but may result in consciousness readily or with some degree of difficultness (Feist & Feist, 2009). In Freud’s theory, consciousness has a minimal role. Consciousness is the mental elements one is aware of at no particular point.
          As for provinces of the mind, Freud assumed that personality consisted of three elements, which are the id, ego, and superego. The id is an unconscious psychical region at the center of personality. The id has no means of connection with reality, but continually makes an effort in reducing tension by the satisfaction of basic desires and needs. However, if satisfaction is not met the resulting outcome is a state of tension or anxiety. The id services the pleasure principle; therefore, its only function is seeking pleasure. The ego is the site of secondary process functioning. The mind’s only region that makes contact with any sort of reality is that the ego, and it grows during infancy out of the id. It becomes an individual’s only means of communication with the part of the outside world. The reality principle governs the ego, which is the id’s pleasure principle, which the ego tries to substitute.
          The ego is the decision-maker of personality because it is the only region with a connection regarding the outside world and because of it is partially conscious, preconscious, and unconscious it has the ability of making decisions on three levels of personality. The superego is a representation of the ideal and moral aspects of personality. Idealistic and moralistic principles guide the superego, instead of the id’s pleasure principle or ego’s realistic principle. The superego develops from the ego but has no energy, such as like the ego (Feist & Feist, 2009). The superego does not have a connection with the external world, and it demands unrealistic perfection. Conscience and the ego-ideal are superego’s subsystems. The conscience is a result of experiences of punishments for irregular behavior and provides the knowledge of what should not occur. The ego-ideal develops form one’s experiences of rewards for correct behavior and relays what should occur (Feist & Feist, 2009). The actions of the superego are of controlling aggressive and sexual impulses; a process of repression it cannot produce. It orders the ego to produce repressions. It also judges the actions and intentions of the ego.   
          As for his stages of personality development, Freud assumed that indeed one’s development of personality occurred in stages and that the infantile stage is the more crucial developmental stage. During one’s first four or five years they possess a sexual life. Therefore, infants proceed through a development period of sexuality called pregenital (Feist & Feist, 2009). There are three phases of this stage, which are the oral, the anal, and the phallic phases. During these phases a primary erogenous zone undergoes salient development (Feist & Feist, 2009). In the oral phase the specific erogenous zone is the mouth. In the anal phase the specific erogenous zone is the anus. In the phallic phase the specific erogenous zone is the penis. The infantile stage explains the behavior of individuals and how aspects of his or her personality develop in these phases.
Rogers’ Assumptions
          Through his person-centered theory, Rogers suggested extensive assumptions about formative and actualizing tendencies. As for the formative tendency, his belief was that there is the tendency for the evolution of matter (organic and inorganic), whereas it starts as a simple form and develops into a complex form (Feist & Feist, 2009). As for the universe, Rogers believed a creative process was occurring instead of a disintegrative process, which is the process Rogers called formative tendency. Examples of the formative tendency are how complex organisms develop from single cells develop into complex organisms and how the human consciousness evolved into a highly organized awareness from a primitive unconsciousness (Feist & Feist, 2009). As for actualizing tendency this is a more relevant and interrelated assumption of Rogers. Actualizing tendency or humans’, animals’ and plants’ internal tendency is to move toward fulfilling or completing potentials.
          As for humans, the only motive they possess is actualizing tendency. An example of the motive of actualization is the needs to express deep emotions when these emotions occur; another example is for a human to satisfy a hunger drive. Actualization involves the entirety of an individual because every individual operates as a complete organism (Feist & Feist, 2009). Under particular conditions humans only realize their actualization tendency. Feist and Feist (2009), “specifically, people must be involved in a relationship with a partner who is congruent, or authentic, and who demonstrates empathy and unconditional positive regard” (p. 314). Possessing a relationship with an individual who possesses these qualities does not enable an individual’s movement toward his or her constructive development, but it enables an individual actualization of his or her internal tendency toward self-fulfillment (Feist & Feist, 2009).
          An assertion of Rogers’ was that when empathy, congruence, and when unconditional positive regard occurs in a relationship, without exception psychological growth occurs. Therefore, Rogers consider these conditions a necessity and adequate conditions for an individual to become an individual who is a self-actualizing or who can function fully. Humans, nonhuman animals, and plants have an actualizing tendency; however, the concept of self and the self-actualization potential is only the possession of humans. Self-actualization and the actualization tendency are not synonymous; however, self-actualization is a subset of the actualization tendency.
The impact the theories had on Psychology
The impact of Freud’s theories
          As one of the most influential thinkers in psychology, Freud’s theories had a tremendous effect on psychology. Freud’s theories affected and shaped numerous views of childhood, childhood experiences, sexuality, and personality. Other influential thinkers either contributed to Freud’s theories or developed new theories in opposition of his ideas; therefore, Freud’s theories influenced new schools of thoughts.  Freud’s theories had such an effect on psychology that a school of thought developed from his work. This school of thought saw its replacement by the development and rise of behaviorism, but psychoanalysis had an enduring effect on psychology.
The impact of Rogers’ theories
            As an influential psychologist and thinker similar to Freud in psychology, Rogers’ theory had an influential effect on psychology and therapy. Rogers’ emphasis was on the human potential; therefore he had a tremendous influence on personality development and growth. Rogers introduced several concepts into psychology and therapy, such as congruence and unconditional positive regard, which can enhance psychological growth.
Real-world Applications of each theory
Real-world Applications of Psychoanalytic theory
          Freud and other psychologist through psychoanalytic theory developed numerous applications or methods useful in investigating and treating personality disorders, dream interpretation, and developed its usefulness in psychotherapy. This theory also possess the idea that what happens in an individual’s childhood can affect him or her as an adult, therefore it addressing childhood experiences in therapy, which allows an individual to heal or grow as an adult.   
Real-world Applications of Person-Centered theory
            Rogers and other psychologist through person-centered theory developed numerous applications of client-centered approach numerous fields, such as education, business, group work, leadership, cross-cultural communication, personal relationships, intergroup conflict resolution, international peacekeeping, and client therapy. In these cases Rogers successfully demonstrated how facilitative conditions of empathy, positive regard, and congruence could foster growth, learning, creativity, and healing in clients, children, families, students, group members, and others (Cornelius-White, Motschnig-Pitrik, & Lux, 2013).
          Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers were two influential men in psychology, who developed theories that made assumptions regarding personality. The effect the theories had on psychology helped to further psychology as a science, and helped in bettering the treatment of patients and understanding how and why personalities develop. The effect their theories had on psychology are important because their theories have furthered psychology and have had real-world applications that better the well-being of individuals in the future.    

Cornelius-White, J.H.D., Motschnig-Pitrik, R., & Lux, M. (2013). Interdisciplinary Applications of the Person-Centered Approach . New York, NY: Springe.

What is the difference between the ways in which mentally ill patients are treated in the present day and how they were treated 100 years ago? Why do these differences exist?

          There is a dramatic difference between the ways in which mentally ill patients are treated in the present day and how mentally ill patients were treated 100 years ago. In past years mental disorders were not fully understood, therefore effective treatments to alleviate mental illness did not exist. Why individuals suffered from mental illness was not understood as well. Therefore, with a lack of understanding, lack of empathy and compassion for mentally ill patients they suffered cruel methods of treatment, and were subjected to cruel experimental methods to alleviate their mental illness. As for the present day, treatments (therapy and medications), new research, theories, and perspectives in psychology exist to understand mental illness, to help alleviate mental illness, and empathy and compassion are shown to mentally ill patients; which in all enables mentally ill patients to function more effectively without suffering cruel treatment.    
          The difference between the treatment of mentally ill patients in the present day and 100 years ago exist partially because of the deinstitutionalization movement. The deinstitutionalization movement began in the 1960s, whereas patient numbers in psychiatric hospitals in the United States significantly decreased. The number of patients decreased from more than 500,000 in 1960 to more or less 150,000 in 1980 (Hansell & Damour, 2008). This movement also saw a dramatic change in conditions for hospitalized mentally ill patients. Deinstitutionalization and hospital care improvements were able to occur partially because of new psychiatric medication developments during the 1950s. These new psychiatric medications helped the majority of patients in hospital care and enabled the ability of many patients to function outside of a hospital setting (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The progression of psychology, as for the treatment of patients or clients, research, and understanding of mental disorders is the main reason why mentally ill patients receive better treatment in the present day.     
Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Explain in your own words operant conditioning as theorized by B. F. Skinner. If it would help, use an example to demonstrate how the concepts influence an individual’s personality.

          Conditioning is a type of learning. Operant conditioning as theorized by B.F. Skinner is one type of learning. Specifically, this type of conditioning or learning through Skinner's belief is that the majority of individuals' behaviors are a result of learning through operant conditioning. A key component of operant conditioning is immediate reinforcement of an organism's response. Reinforcement is performed through either a reward or punishment. Reinforcement is not the cause of behavior but it increases the likelihood that behavior will recur. Therefore, in operant conditioning when immediate reinforcement occurs a behavior is more likely to recur. Unlike in classical conditioning; this is where a behavior is given freely by an organism without reward or punishment. An example of operant conditioning is where I give my children an immediate reward for desirable behavior at school and at home. The reward in this case increases the likelihood that their good behavior will recur. Another example is when undesirable behavior occurs from one of my children then I immediately take away their reward, which is used to decrease or prevent their undesirable behavior. The reward is not reestablished until desirable behavior recurs. 

Albert Bandura believed that our personalities were a result of observational learning. Do you agree or disagree with Bandura’s belief that much of what individuals learn is acquired through observing others? Why or why not?

          Albert Bandura, Canadian psychologist proposed the social cognitive theory, which has become one of the most influential theories of learning and development. Bandura emphasized vicarious learning, which is learning through the observations of other individuals. Bandura also stressed the concept that reinforcement can be vicarious; therefore individuals can be reinforced by observing another individual who receives a reward (Feist & Feist, 2009). I do agree with Bandura’s belief that much of what individuals learn is acquired through observing others. This type of observational learning is used for explaining a variety of behaviors. As a father of three children I have seen first hand that children learn through watching their parents, caregivers, and even other individuals, such as classmates. Children can learn simple behaviors through observational learning, such as imitating facial expressions, and mouth movements. Children can also learn complex behaviors, such as playing sports. If a group of children are playing a game, such as baseball and a child who has never played the game before and is unsure of what to do can observe this group of children, and quickly learn the basics of the game and join in on playing the game. Much of what adults learn is through observing other individuals as a child.
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

According to the week's reading, can personality factors predict mortality? Why or why not?

          According to this week's reading personality factors are not a predictor of mortality, instead personality factors are a contributors of when diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) will be diagnosed. Personality factors, such as neuroticism play a role in the diagnosis of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The reason why is because Hans J. Eysenck and David Kissen during the early 1960, conducted research disproving this point but personality factors have an effect on and individual's mortality. Their research showed that individuals scoring low on neuroticism (N) on the Maudsley Personality Inventory had a tendency to prohibit his or her emotions, therefore these individuals are more likely than individuals who have a high neuroticism (N) score to receive a diagnosis of lung cancer later on in life (Feist & Feist, 2009). In 1996, Eysenck made the point whereas the study he conducted and other studies concerning the relationship between personality and disease cannot prove psychological factors predict mortality or cause diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Such diseases that contribute to mortality are the result of interactions of several factors but personality factors cannot predict mortality.   
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What are the characteristics of a healthy person according to Gordon Allport? How does this theory compare with Abraham Maslow’s concept of self-actualization?

     Gordon Willard Allport an American psychologist, as for personality Allport was one of the first psychologists to focus his or her work on it. Often Allport is referred to as a founding figure of personality psychology. According to Allport  the characteristics of healthy individuals consists of different aspects. Psychologically mature individuals possess characteristics of proactive behavior; whereas they react to external stimuli and have the capacity of consciously acting on his or her environment in both new and innovative means, which causes his or her environment to react to him or her (Feist & Feist, 2009). Proactive behavior is directed at reducing tensions and establishing new tensions. Also those that possess a mature personality are likely to be motivated by conscious processes rather than disturbed individuals. This allows one with a mature personality to be more autonomous and flexible unlike unhealthy individuals who are affected by unconscious motives from childhood experiences that dominate them (Feist & Feist, 2009). Individuals deemed healthy normally have relatively trauma-free childhood experiences.
     In comparison to Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, Allport emphasized an individual's uniqueness, and that individual's maturity is seen during different points in an individual's life; while Maslow's thought individuals had to go through a hierarchy of needs before reaching maturity.    
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Most existential theorists, such as Rollo May and Irvin Yalom, believe that much of human behavior is motivated by an underlying sense of anxiety. According to them, what drives or creates this anxiety and do you agree with their theory? Why or why not?

     As for anxiety, Rollo May, American existential psychologist, referred to it as an individual's subjective state of becoming aware that his or her existence may be destroyed, whereas he or she may become nothing (Feist & Feist, 2009). When events or experiences threaten an individual's psychological or physical existence then he or she experiences existential anxiety. The strongest threat to an individual's existence is death. May and Irvin Yalom, American existential psychiatrist, argued that when an individual deals with the terror of death it is a major developmental task (Feist & Feist, 2009). Life is but a process of confronting and coping with an individual's death, which brings about anxiety. I do agree with their theory because some individuals suffer or go through a midlife crisis when dealing with anxiety when it comes to aging. Aging threatens an individual's psychological or physical existence and the result is that some individuals behave or are driven to behave in certain ways. Although, a midlife crisis does not affect every individual I still agree with their theory because at some point and time in life individuals experience existential anxiety. Specifically, when an individual asks him or herself or answers questions that concern personal and professional fulfillment in life or if a individual lacks or thinks he or she lacks the ability to fulfill personal and professional goals. These state of uncertainty can raise existential anxiety.  
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carl Rogers profoundly impacted the field of psychotherapy with his person-centered theory of personality. Explain Rogers’ concept of actualizing tendency and discuss what impacts an individual’s ability to realize it?

     Carl Rogers, American psychologist and founder of client-centered therapy, was more concerned with helping individuals instead of trying to discover why individuals behave as they did (Feist & Feist, 2009). Rogers was more concerned with helping an individual grow and develop instead of questioning why an individual developed how he or she did. Rogers developed his humanistic theory of personality from experiences as a practicing psychotherapist. Rogers was a theorists who called for empirical research in support of his both his personality theory and therapeutic approach. Rogers concept of actualizing tendency is the tendency within humans (that only motive individuals possess), animals, and plants to move toward fulfillment and completion of potentials (Feist & Feist, 2009). These motives are the needs of one to satisfy an individual's hunger drive, the expression of deep emotions when an individual feels those emotions, and the acceptance of self, which are the single motive of actualization examples (Feist & Feist, 2009). Actualization involves the entirety of an individual because every individual operates as one complete organism, which includes the individual and his or her intellectual and physiological, emotional and rational, unconscious and conscious (Feist & Feist, 2009). The concept of actualizing tendency is one whereas individuals have a potential to discover the realization of his or her personal abilities when one is provided with a climate of facilitative attitudes, which are psychological. 
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Introduction to Personality

          One of the more so complex aspects of psychology is personality. Personality theorists have developed theories to explain personality. However, these theorists do not agree on a one definition of personality (Feist & Feist, 2009). Through each of the theories developed by these theorists one can gain a better understanding of personality and a personality definition. A personality definition; however, does not detail why an individual’s personality develops, therefore knowing what factors influence an individual’s personality development is key to understanding an individual’s personality.   
Definitions of Personality
          Defining personality is not a simple task because several theorists developed theories as for what personality is and why an individual’s personality develops. Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, Harry Stack Sullivan, Erik Erikson, and other theorists developed vital and unique theories because there was no agreement among them as for the nature of personality, and each had an individualist view of personality. Therefore, there is no single definition of personality agreed on by personality theorists. However, personality is a pattern of unique characteristics and relatively permanent traits, which are individuality and consistency to an individual’s behavior (Feist & Feist, 2009). Traits are what contribute to individual behavioral differences, behavioral consistency over time, and the behavioral stability across situations (Feist & Feist, 2009). Feist and Feist (2009), “traits may be unique, common to some group, or shared by the entire species, but their pattern is different for each individual” (p. 4). Therefore, each individual, although similar to other individuals in certain ways, have distinctive personalities. As for characteristics they are every individual’s unique qualities, which include attributes such as intelligence, physique, and temperament.
Factors that may Influence an Individual’s Personality Development
          An individual’s personality development and what factors influence it has been a topic of interest for personality theorists in psychology. Therefore, personality theorists developed several theories to describe the stages and steps that occur during personality development. Freud, one of the most influential thinkers of personality development, developed the stage theory of psychosexual development. Freud thought an individual’s personality developed in stages, which related to certain erogenous zones. Freud thought that when an individual failed to complete successfully any of the stages, he or she would have personality problems as adults. Freud thought individuals had barely any choice or no choice in the forming of personality. However, Adler developed individual psychology in disagreement of Freud, and thought individuals are responsible for who he or she is. Jung, also in disagreement of Freud thought an individual’s personality developed through a series of stages, (referred to as analytical psychology), which peak in self-realization or individuation.
          Of emphasizes was the second half of an individual’s life, or the time-frame after ages of 35 or 40, when individuals possess opportunities to bring certain aspects of personality to obtain self-realization (Feist & Feist, 2009). Klein developed object relations theory in opposition of Freud, whereas he emphasizes the importance of the first four to six months after birth, which contribute to an individual’s personality development. Klein thought that the drives of an infant, such as sex, hunger, and others direct toward an objects, such as a vagina, a breast, a penis, and so on. Horney developed psychoanalytic social theory, based on the assumptions whereas cultural and social conditions, particularly experiences during childhood, bare the responsibility of forming an individual’s personality. Fromm a student of Freudian psychoanalysis, who was also inspired by Horney, Karl Marx, and other social theorists, developed humanistic psychoanalysis. It emphasized that an individual’s personality development influences of history, sociobiological factors, class structure, and economics influence an individual’s personality development (Feist & Feist, 2009).
          Sullivan developed interpersonal theory, which emphasized the importance of developmental stages, such as infancy, childhood, juvenile era, preadolescence, early adolescence, late adolescence, and adulthood (Feist & Feist, 2009). Sullivan thought an individual develops personality within a social context. Erikson developed his Post-Freudian theory or eight-stage theory of human development built on Freud’s psychosexual development stages. Erikson focused on social relationships that affect personality development. His theory extends beyond childhood and looks at the development of an individual throughout his or her lifespan.
          Viewing the theories of these personality theorist and others, one sees how the formation of personality may form by different factors, whether biological or environmental. Basically, personality theorists do not agree on how an individual’s personality develops. Personality development seems to fall under the nature versus nurture debate because numerous factors influence an individual’s personality development, such as heredity and the environment. Heredity includes several internal factors, which may influence the development of personality. As for environmental factors that may influence personality development include experiences as a child and social interactions with other individuals. Several factors contribute to an individual’s personality development, whether as a means of heredity or the environment, which is evident because of the personality theories created by personality theorists.
          Personalities are patterns of unique characteristics and basically permanent traits, which are individuality and consistency to an individual’s behavior (Feist & Feist, 2009). Personality has no singular definition that is agreed on by personality theorists; however, an individual’s personality distinguishes him or her from any other individual, thus making an individual’s personality unique. Numerous factors, such as heredity, and the environment may influence the development of an individual’s personality, and understanding how these factors affect an individual helps to understand how personality develops. Personality theories help to understand how the development of personality occurs. Personality theories build foundations on heredity, social, and situational interactions, an individual’s response to environmental factors, and personal assumptions and observations.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What are the similarities and differences between Freud’s and Jung’s theories on personality? Which theory do you believe is more applicable and why?

     From their first meeting in Vienna in 1907, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung became friends and colleagues. Jung was even an admirer of Freud before and after their meeting. Theoretical differences ended the close relationship between Freud and Jung. Therefore, several similarities and differences exist between Freud’s and Jung’s theories on personality. Freud and Jung both based their personality theories on the assumption that the psyche or mind has both an unconscious and conscious level (Feist & Feist, 2009). Another similarity between Freud and Jung was that both thought the content of dreams needed to be interpreted, which would enable the effective treatment of patients. The main difference between Freud and Jung was that Freud thought sex was the motivating factor for psychological disorders and pathologies; while Jung thought that individual creates ideas that he or she tries to manifest in him or herself, which are the archetypes within one's psyche.
     I think that Jung's theory is more applicable and sex is important but it is not the main driving force in human nature as Freud thought. Jung's theory is more flexible as for the development of personalities, while Freud's is more structured and one dimensional. 
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

After reading the week's material, do you agree or disagree with Freud’s belief that the most crucial developmental stage in personality formation is the infantile stage? Why or why not?

          I do agree with Sigmund Freud's belief that the most crucial developmental stage in personality formation is the infantile stage. The infantile stage occurs during one's first four or five years of life, and Freud thought this was the most crucial stage for an individual's personality formation. During this stage infants are in possession of a sexual life and go through a pregenital sexual development period (Feist & Feist, 2009). Freud thought the infantile stage occurred in three phases, which are the oral phase, anal phase, and phallic phase. During each phase the three primary erogenous zones undergo the most salient development (Feist & Feist, 2009). The first phase or oral phase occurs in infancy and the particular part of the body is the mouth. The second phase or anal phase occurs in early childhood and the particular part of the body is the anus. The third phase or phallic phase occurs in the preschool years and the particular part of the body is the penis. The infantile stage details how an individual's behaves and how aspects of one’s personality develop during each phase.   
Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.