Syllabus : Definition and concept of personality; Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches); Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test); The Indian approach to personality; Training for personality development ; Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory; The notion of self in different traditions.
Previous Year Questions
Q. Are projective tests really projective in nature ? Describe Rorschach and TAT tests and comment on their reliabilities. 15 marks 
Q. Describe the Indian approach to personality as evident in tri-gunas. 15 marks 
Q. Highlight the problems in assessment of personality using the pencil-paper tests. 10 marks 
Q. Describe the trait and type approaches to personality. Highlight Jung’s typology with its weaknesses. 20 marks 
Q. State the components of Big-5 factor theory of personality. Why is it considered superior to other factor theories of personality ? 15 marks 
Q. How is self related to culture ? Discuss in the light of studies on self construal and individualism-collectivism. 20 marks 
Q. Briefly discuss the evolution of psychoanalytic theory as reflected in the works of Fromm, Erikson and Sudhir Kakar. 20 marks 
Q. What is the situational critique of trait psychology? 10 marks  (Mischel)
Q. Describe the Indian approach to personality as reflected in the principle of three Gunas. 15 marks 
Q. What is the essence of projective technique? Critically evaluate perceptive, appreciative and productive projective tests in the measurement of personality. 30 marks 
Q. How is the information we hold about ourselves organized and interpreted ? 10 marks  (not very sure whether it should be here or in memory chapter)
Q. Compare the Indian and western constructions of ‘Self’ with reference to cross – cultural studies and bring out their implication for well – being. 30 marks 
Q. Discuss the stages of psychosexual development according to Freud. 10 marks 
Q. What are the 'big' five' personality factors? Critically examine their conceptual basis. 30 marks 
No questions asked from Personality Chapter in 2009.
Q. Give a comparative account of ‘Self’ as conceived by Adler and Rogers. 60 marks 
1.11.1 Definition and concept of personality
Q. Define clearly the psychological connotations of Personality, Self, Personal Identity and Social Identity ?
Personality : Refers to unique and relatively stable qualities that characterize an individual’s behaviour across different situations over a period of time. It refers to our "characteristic" ways of responding to individuals and situations.
Self : self refers to the totality of an individual’s conscious experiences, ideas, thoughts and feelings with regard to herself or himself.
Personal identity refers to those attributes of a person that make her different from others. When a person describes herself by telling her name (e.g., I am Sanjana or Karim), or her qualities or characteristics (e.g., I am honest or hardworking person), or her potentialities or capabilities (e.g., I am a singer or dancer), or her beliefs (e.g., I am a believer in God or destiny), disclosing her/his personal identity.
Social identity refers to those aspects of a person that link her to a social or cultural group or are derived from it. When someone says that s/he is a Hindu or a Muslim, a Brahmin or an adivasi or a North Indian or a South Indian, etc., s/he is trying to indicate her social identity.
Q. Explain how sometimes 'self' can be referred to as an object and at other times as a subject.
When Self is the "doer", i.e. an entity which does something, it is described as the subject. e.g. : "I am a dancer"
When self is the one getting effected, i.e. an entity on which something is done; it is described by individuals as the object . e.g. " I am one who gets easily hurt".
Q. What are the different types of "self"
Personal Self : Emerges since childhood while crying for milk which slowly develops into the awareness with age which says "I am hungry". Such a self emerging out of biological needs may be described as biological self. Personal self is an orientation in which one is primarily concerned with oneself. Emphasis comes to be laid on those aspects of life that relate only to the concerned person, such as personal freedom, personal responsibility, personal achievement, or personal comforts.
Social/Familial/Relational Self : emerges in relation with others and emphasises such aspects of life as cooperation, unity, affiliation, sacrifice, support or sharing. This self values family and social relationships.
Q. What are 'self-concept' and 'self-esteem' and what are the common ways of measuring them ?
Self-Concept: The way we perceive ourselves and the ideas we hold about our competencies and attributes is also called self-concept. At a very general level, this view of oneself is, overall, either positive or negative. At a more specific level, a person may have a very positive view of her/his athletic bravery, but a negative view of her/his academic talents. At an even more specific level, one may have a positive self-concept about one’s reading ability but a negative one about one’s mathematical skills. Finding out an individual’s self-concept is not easy. The most frequently used method involves asking the person about herself/himself.
Self Esteem: judgment about our own value or worth. This value judgment of a person about herself is called self-esteem. In order to assess self-esteem we present a variety of statements to a person, and ask her to indicate the extent to which those statements are true for her or him. e.g. we may ask a child to indicate the extent to which statements such as “I am good at homework”, or “I am the one usually chosen for the games”, or “I am highly liked by my peers”, are true of her/him. If a child reports these statements to be true for her, her self-esteem will be high in comparison to someone who says “no”.
Our capacity to view ourselves in terms of stable dispositions permits us to combine separate self-evaluations into a general psychological image of ourselves. This is known as an overall sense of self-esteem.
Q. How are the cognitive and behavioral aspects of "self" related ? Explain with special reference to self-esteem.
Self-esteem shows a strong relationship with our everyday behaviour. For example children with high academic self-esteem perform better in schools than those with low academic self-esteem, and children with high social self-esteem are more liked by their peers than those with low social self-esteem. On the other hand, children with low self-esteem in all areas are often found to display anxiety, depression, and increasing antisocial behaviour.
Q. How are parenting styles related to self esteem in children ?
Studies have shown that warm and positive parenting helps in the development of high self-esteem among children as it allows them to know that they are accepted as competent and worthwhile. Children, whose parents help or make decisions for them even when they do not need assistance, often suffer from low self-esteem.
Q. What is "self-efficacy" and how is it related to Bandura's social learning theory ?
Self Efficacy: is a part of "self" which refers to the cognitive belief of possessing potential to control a situation by self-efforts. People differ in the extent to which they believe they themselves control their life outcomes or the outcomes are controlled by luck or fate or other situational factors, e.g. passing an examination. A person who believes that s/he has the ability or behaviours required by a particular situation demonstrates high self-efficacy. A strong sense of self-efficacy allows people to select, influence, and even construct the circumstances of their own life. People with a strong sense of selfefficacy also feel less fearful.
The notion of self-efficacy is based on Bandura’s social learning theory. Bandura’s initial studies showed that children and adults learned behaviour by observing and imitating others. People’s expectations of mastery or achievement and their convictions about their own effectiveness also determine the types of behaviour in which they would engage, as also the amount of risk they would undertake.
Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. The theory of self-efficacy lies at the center of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. The main concept in social cognitive theory is that an individual’s actions and reactions, including social behaviors and cognitive processes, in almost every situation are influenced by the actions that individual has observed in others. Because self-efficacy is developed from external experiences and self-perception and is influential in determining the outcome of many events, it is an important aspect of social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy represents the personal perception of external social factors. According to Bandura's theory, people with high self-efficacy—that is, those who believe they can perform well—are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.
Q. Can self-efficacy be developed or is it innate. Comment.
Ans : Self Efficacy can be developed. A/c to Bandura's Social Cognitive theory, self efficacy is formed, increased or decreased by observational learning and social experience. Thus, positive social interaction, family encouragement and own positive experiences can help in the development of a strong sense of self-efficacy by presenting positive models during the formative years of children.
Q. What is Self-Regulation and Self-Control? How practices in Indian culture try to promote these. Enumerate some psychological techniques to enhance self-control.
Self-Regulation refers to our ability to organise and monitor our own behaviour. People who are able to change their behaviour according to the demands of the external environment, are high on self-monitoring.
Self-Control : Learning to delay or defer the gratification of needs is called self-control. Self-control plays a key role in the fulfilment of long-term goals.
Indian cultural tradition provides us with certain effective mechanisms (e.g., fasting in vrata or roza and nonattachment with worldly things) for developing self-control.
Psychological techniques for self control
- Observation of own behaviour: This provides us with necessary information that may be used to change,modify, or strengthen certain aspects of self.
- Self-reinforcement : involves rewarding self behaviours that have pleasant outcomes.
Q. What are the main differences in the way "self" is perceived in Indian/Asian culture and in the western cultures ? Cite research studies to support your answer.
Several aspects of self seem to be linked to the characteristic features of the culture in which an individual lives.
The most important distinction between the Indian and the Western views is the way the boundary is drawn between the self and the other. In the Western view, this boundary appears to be relatively fixed. The Indian view of self, on the other hand, is characterised by the shifting nature of this boundary. Thus, our self at one moment of time expands to fuse with the cosmos or include the others. But at the next moment, it seems to be completely withdrawn from it and focused fully on individual self (e.g., our personal needs or goals). The Western view seems to hold clear dichotomies between self and other, man and nature, subjective and objective. The Indian view does not make such clear dichotomies.
In the Western culture, the self and the group exist as two different entities with clearly defined boundaries. Individual members of the group maintain their individuality. In the Indian culture, the self is generally not separated from one’s own group; rather both remain in a state of harmonious co-existence. In the Western culture, on the other hand, they often remain at a distance. That is why many Western cultures are characterised as individualistic, whereas many Asian cultures are characterised as collectivistic.
Chen, Lee, and Stevenson (1995) : strongly agree–disagree study
These researchers examined the possibility that persons from different cultures would react differently to one standard format used in many personality inventories—a format in which individuals indicate their reactions to various statements by choosing a number ranging from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 5 (“strongly agree”). Different reactions to this questionnaire format had already been found within the United States: African American adolescents were shown to be more likely than white adolescents to choose the extreme numbers. Would members of Asian cultures, where making extreme statements is considered to be impolite, show a similar tendency?
To find out, Chen, Lee, and Stevenson asked several thousand high school students living in Taiwan, Japan, Canada, and two parts of the United States (Virginia and Minnesota) to respond to questionnaires using the “strongly agree–strongly disagree” format. Results were clear: Across a wide range of items dealing with many different issues (e.g., the value of higher education, the importance of having many friends, self-confidence), cultural differences emerged. Specifically, students from the United States were more likely to make extreme judgments than those from the other countries. Why was this the case? Other findings indicated that U.S. students scored higher on individualism—on “doing their own thing”—than students in the other cultures.
Triandis : 1985 : Egypt-Germany study
Triandis in 1985, assessed in two groups of male and female students, in Egypt and Germany. The results conﬁrm that cultural background affects individualist vs collectivist orientations in both of these cultures for male and female students. Men and women scored higher on individualism in Germany than in Egypt, whereas collectivism scores were higher in Egypt than in Germany
Q. What are the major features of Personality ?
1. It has both physical and psychological components.
2. Its expression in terms of behaviour is fairly unique in a given individual.
3. Its main features do NOT easily change with time.
4. It is dynamic in the sense that some of its features may change due to internal or external situational demands. Thus, personality is adaptive to situations.
Q. Clearly define the terms : temperament, trait, disposition, character, habit and values - terms which often get confused with Personality.
Temperament: Biologically based characteristic way of reacting.
Trait: Stable, persistent and specific way of behaving.
Disposition: Tendency of a person to react to a given situation in a particular way.
Character: The overall pattern of regularly occurring behaviour.
Habit: Over learned modes of behaving.
Values: Goals and ideals that are considered important and worthwhile to achieve.
Q. Is personality a real and measurable quantity or is it just a vague notion ? Does consistency in behaviour of individuals really exist as expected by the definition of personality ? Support your answer with research evidences.
Some psychologists have argued that personality is NOT real and that behavior is largely determined by external factors rather than by stable traits (Mischel, 1985). According to these critics, the very concept personality is misleading, because the kind of stability it implies does not really exist. Rather, individuals behave very differently in different situations; our perception that people possess specific traits and behave in accordance with those traits much of the time is largely an illusion, stemming from our desire to simplify the task of understanding others.
While these arguments are intriguing ones, the weight of existing evidence seems to be against them: Personality, defined in terms of stable behavior tendencies, is indeed real. Many studies indicate that people do show at least a moderate degree of consistency with respect to many aspects of behavior. Some of these research projects have continued for more than fifty years, studying the same people from early childhood to old age; and in general they have reported an impressive amount of consistency in at least some traits (e.g., Heatherton & Weinberger, 1994).
Moreover, a growing body of evidence suggests that some aspects of personality are influenced by genetic factors, as well as life experiences and the environment. Indeed, recent findings suggest that genetic factors may account for as much as 50 % of individual variability in the tendency to behave aggressively (Miles & Carey, 1997).
However, such consistency over long periods of time does not exist for all traits or in all persons. In fact, the extent to which people show such consistency across time and situations may itself be an important aspect of personality. Some people are more consistent than others!
Also, the existence of stable traits in no way implies that situational factors are not important. On the contrary, most psychologists agree that both traits and situations shape behavior. If situations permit, then traits and dispositions may well be expressed in overt behavior. If situations make it very costly or difficult for these characteristics to appear, they may not.
1.11.2 Theories of personality
Q. Distinguish b/w type, trait and interactional approaches to personality ?
The type approaches attempts to comprehend human personality by examining certain broad patterns in the observed behavioural characteristics of individuals. Each behavioural pattern refers to one type in which individuals are placed in terms of the similarity of their behavioural characteristics with that pattern.
In contrast, the trait approach focuses on the specific psychological attributes along which individuals tend to differ in consistent and stable ways. For example, one person may be less shy, whereas another may be more. Here “shyness” represents traits along which individuals can be rated in terms of the degree of presence or absence of the concerned behavioural quality or a trait.
The interactional approach holds that situational characteristics play an important role in determining our behaviour. People may behave as dependent or independent not because of their internal personality trait, but because of external rewards or threats available in a particular situation. The cross-situational consistency of traits is found to be quite low. The compelling influence of situations can be noted by observing people’s behaviour in places like a market, a courtroom, or a place of worship.
Q. Discuss various kinds of "type-approaches" to personality since ancient to modern times.
A.) Greek physician Hippocrates had proposed a typology of personality based on fluid or humour. He classified people into four "types"
- sanguine (optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation)
- phlegmatic (having an unemotional and stolidly calm disposition "MS Dhoni")
- melancholic (feeling or expressing pensive sadness.)
- choleric (bad-tempered or irritable)
each characterised by specific behavioural features.
B.) Charak Samhita, a famous treatise on Ayurveda, classifies people into the categories of
on the basis of three humoural elements called tridosha. Each refers to a type of temperament, called prakriti (basic nature) of a person.
C.) Apart from this, there is also a typology of personality based on the trigunas, i.e.
- sattva : includes attributes like cleanliness, truthfulness, dutifulness, detachment, discipline
- rajas : includes intensive activity, desire for sense gratification, dissatisfaction, envy for others, and a materialistic mentality
- tamas : characterises anger, arrogance, depression, laziness, feeling of helplessness, etc.
All the three gunas are present in each and every person in different degrees. The dominance of one or the other guna may lead to a particular type of behaviour.
D.) Another classification popular within psychology was given by Sheldon. He made body build and temperament as the main basis and proposed the typology :
- Endomorphic : fat, soft and round. By temperament they are relaxed and sociable.
- Mesomorphic : strong musculature, are rectangular with a strong body build. They are energetic and courageous.
- Ectomorphic : thin, long and fragile in body build. They are brainy, artistic and introvert.
E.) Jung has proposed another important typology by grouping people into
- introverts :people who prefer to be alone, tend to avoid others, withdraw themselves in the face of emotional conflicts, and are shy.
- extraverts :sociable,outgoing, drawn to occupations that allow dealing directly with people, and react to stress by trying to lose themselves among people and social activity.
F. Friedman and Rosenman have classified individuals into
- Type-A : seem to possess high motivation, lack patience, feel short of time, be in a great hurry, and feel like being always burdened with work. Such people find it difficult to slow down and relax. People with Type-A personality are more susceptible to problems like hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD). The risk of developing CHD with Type-A personality is sometimes even greater than the risks caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or smoking.
- Type-B : Yahan alag andaaz hai . can be understood as the absence of Type-A traits.
The two researchers were trying to identify psychosocial risk factors when they discovered these types.
This typology has been further extended. Morris has suggested a
- Type-C personality, which is prone to cancer. such individuals are cooperative, unassertive and patient. They suppress their negative emotions (e.g., anger), and show compliance to authority.
More recently, a
- Type-D personality has been suggested, which is characterised by proneness to depression.
Q. Critique "type-approaches" to personality.
Pros : Personality typologies are usually very appealing,
Cons : too simplistic. Human behaviour is highly complex and variable. Assigning people to a particular personality type is difficult. People do not fit into such simple categorisation schemes so neatly.
Q. What does "trait" refer to in the trait approaches to personality ? Enumerate characteristic features of "traits".
A trait is considered as a relatively enduring attribute or quality on which one individual differs from another. They include a range of possible behaviours that are activated according to the demands of the situation.
Thus traits have the following features :
(a) traits are relatively stable over time
(b) they are generally consistent across situations
(c) their strengths and combinations vary across individuals leading to individual differences in personality.
Q. Explain and critique Allport’s Trait Theory.
Gordon Allport is considered the pioneer of trait approach. He proposed that traits determine behaviour in such a manner that an individual approaches different situations with similar plans. The traits integrate stimuli and responses which otherwise look dissimilar. Allport argued that the words people use to describe themselves and others provide a basis for understanding human personality. He analysed the words of English language to look for traits which describe a person.
Allport, based on this, categorised traits into
- Cardinal : highly generalised dispositions. They indicate the goal around which a person’s entire life seems to revolve.e.g. Gandhi’s non-violence and Hitler’s Nazism. Such traits often get associated with the name of the person so strongly that they derive such identities as the ‘Gandhian’ or ‘Hitlerian’ trait
- Central : Less pervasive in effect, but still quite generalised dispositions e.g., warm, sincere, diligent, etc. These traits are often used in writing a testimonial or job recommendation for a person
- Secondary : Traits such as ‘likes mangoes’ or ‘prefers ethnic clothes’ are examples of secondary traits.
While Allport acknowledged the influence of situations on behaviour, he held that the way a person reacts to given situations depends on her/his traits, although people sharing the same traits might express them in different ways. Allport considered traits more like intervening variables that occur between the stimulus situation and response of the person. This meant that any variation in traits would elicit a different response to the same situation.
Pros : Simplistic ; easy to relate
Cons : no causal factors explained for the traits; which traits change, which remain stable ? ; vagueness; lack of objectivity
Q. Explain and critique Cattell’s Trait Theory.
Raymond Cattell tried to identify primary traits from a huge array of descriptive adjectives found in language. He applied factor analysis, to discover the common structures. He found
- 16 primary or source traits: stable, considered building blocks of personality.
- many surface traits: result out of the interaction of source traits.
Cattell described the source traits in terms of opposing tendencies. He developed a test, called Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), for the assessment of personality. This test is widely used by psychologists.
Critics : same as for Allport's theory
Q. Explain and critique Eysenck’s Theory of Personality.
H.J. Eysenck proposed that personality could be reduced into two broad dimensions. These are biologically and genetically based. Each dimension subsumes a number of specific traits. These dimensions are:
(1) Neuroticism vs. emotional stability : refers to the degree to which people have control over their feelings.
(2) Extraversion vs. introversion : refers to the degree to which people are socially outgoing or socially withdrawn.
In a later work Eysenck proposed a third dimension,
(3) Psychoticism vs.Sociability : considered to interact with the other two dimensions mentioned above. A person who scores high on psychoticism dimension tends to be hostile, egocentric, and antisocial.
Eysenck Personality Questionnaire is the test which is used for studying these dimensions of personality.
Critics : same as for Allport's theory
Q. Explain and critique Big-5 Theory of Personality.
Paul Costa and Robert McCrae have examined all possible personality traits. The findings indicate a set of five factors called Big Five Factors :
- Openness to experience : high score = imaginative, curious, open to new ideas, and interested in cultural pursuits; low score =low are rigid.
- Conscientiousness : high score = achievement-oriented, dependable, responsible, prudent, hardworking and self-controlled; ; low score =impulsive
- Extraversion : high score = socially active, assertive, outgoing, talkative, and fun loving; low score = shy
- Aggreableness : high score= helpful, co-operative, friendly, caring, and nurturing; low score = hostile and self-centered
- Nueroticism : high score= emotionally unstable, anxious, worried, fearful, distressed, irritable and hypertensive; low score = well adjusted.
- has been found useful in understanding the personality profile of people across cultures.
- is consistent with the analysis of personality traits found in different languages,
- it is also supported by the studies of personality carried out through different methods.
Hence, it is now considered to be the most promising empirical approach to the study of personality
Q. What is the situational critique of trait psychology? 10 marks 
Some psychologists have argued that personality is NOT real and that behavior is largely determined by external factors or situations rather than by stable traits (Mischel, 1985). According to these critics, the very concept personality is misleading, because the kind of stability it implies does not really exist. Rather, individuals behave very differently in different situations; our perception that people possess specific traits and behave in accordance with those traits much of the time is largely an illusion, stemming from our desire to simplify the task of understanding others.
Q. Explain and critique Psycho-dynamic (aka Psychoanalytic) approach of Personality.
Given by Freud. According to Freud’s theory, the primary structural elements of personality are :
- id : works on the pleasure principle, does not care for moral values, society, or other individuals.
- ego : works by the reality principle
- superego :
They reside in the unconscious, subconscious and conscious as forces, and can be inferred from the ways people behave.
The relative strength of the id, ego and superego determines each person’s stability/personality.
Ex: the id of a boy, who wants an ice-cream cone, tells him to grab the cone and eat it. His ego tells him that if he grabs the cone without asking, he may be punished. Working on the reality principle, the boy knows that the best way to achieve gratification is to ask for permission to eat the cone. If the boy sees and wants an icecream cone and asks his mother for it, his superego will indicate that his behaviour is morally correct. This approach towards obtaining the ice-cream will not create guilt, fear or anxiety in the boy.
Q. What are Life instinct (Eros) and death instinct (Thanatos) as found in Freudian Theory ?
Freud assumed that id is energised by two instinctual forces, called life instinct and death instinct. He paid less attention to the death instinct and focused more on the life (or sexual) instinct. The instinctual life force that energises the id is called libido. It works on the pleasure principle, and seeks immediate gratification.
Life Instincts (Eros)/sexual instincts
Sometimes referred to as sexual instincts, the life instincts are those that deal with basic survival, pleasure, and reproduction. These instincts are essential for sustaining the life of the individual as well as the continuation of the species. While they are often called sexual instincts, these drives also include such things as thirst, hunger and pain avoidance. The energy created by the life instincts is known as libido. Behaviors commonly associated with the life instinct include love, cooperation and other prosocial actions.
Death Instincts (Thanatos)
The concept of the death instincts was initially described in Freud's book Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which he proposed that “the goal of all life is death” (1920). He noted that after people experience a traumatic event (such as war), they often reenact the experience. He concluded that people hold an unconscious desire to die, but that the life instincts largely temper this wish.
Q. What are the different Ego Defence Mechanisms as found in Freudian Theory ? What are its criticisms.
According to Freud, much of human behaviour reflects an attempt to deal with or escape from anxiety and that people avoid anxiety mainly by developing defence mechanisms that try to defend the ego against the awareness of the instinctual needs.
Thus, defence mechanism are techniques used by the ego to keep threatening and unacceptable material out of consciousness and so to reduce anxiety by often distorting the reality. They are :
“Forgetting”—or pushing from consciousness into unconsciousness— unacceptable thoughts or impulses
when a person says, “I do not know why I did that”, some repressed feeling or desire is expressing itself.
people attribute their own traits to others.
person who has strong aggressive tendencies may see other people as acting in an excessively aggressive way towards her/him.
person totally refuses to accept reality.
someone suffering from HIV/AIDS may altogether deny her/ his illness.
Sublimation aka reaction formation
threatening unconscious impulses are channeled into socially acceptable forms of behavior
Instead of trying to seduce the young man, as Freud would say the widow’s id wants to do, she might “adopt” him as a son and provide financial support to further his education.
Conjuring up socially acceptable reasons for thoughts or actions based on unacceptable motives
A young woman explains that she ate an entire chocolate cake so that it wouldn’t spoil in the summer heat.
Redirecting an emotional response from a dangerous object to a safe one
A man redirects anger from his boss to his child.
People who use defence mechanisms are often unaware of doing so.
- Role of defence mechanisms have been questioned. For example, his claim that projection reduces anxiety and stress has not found support in several studies.
- Difficult to verify
- Lack of objectivity
Q. Describe Freud's Stages of Personality Development aka stages of Psycho-sexual Development.
Freud claims that the core aspects of personality are established early, remain stable throughout life, and can be changed only with great difficulty. He proposed a five-stage theory of personality.
Result of Fixation/problems at the stage
Oral Stage 0–2
Infant achieves gratification through oral activities such as feeding, thumb sucking, and babbling.
people’s basic feelings about the world are established
an adult who considers the world a bitter place probably had difficulty during the oral stage of development
Anal Stage 2–3
The child learns to respond to some of the demands of society (such as bowel and bladder control).
Process of elimination becomes the primary focus of pleasure.
overly harsh toilet training experiences may result in individuals who are excessively orderly or compulsive—they can’t leave any job unfinished and strive for perfection in everything they do.
Very relaxed toilet training may result in undisciplined, impulsive, and excessively generous personality
pleasure is centered in the genital region. It is during this stage that the Oedipus complex (a character in ancient Greek literature who unknowingly killed his father and then married his mother) develops. In girls, it is Electra complex (a Greek character, who induced her brother to kill their mother).
critical component in resolving the Oedipus complex is the development of identification with the same sex parents. In other words, boys give up sexual feelings for their mothers and begin to see their fathers as role models rather than as rivals; girls give up their sexual desires for their father and identify with their mother.
The child learns to realize the differences between males and females and becomes aware of sexuality.
a child who does not pass successfully through the phallic stage fails to resolve the Oedipal complex and may still feel hostile toward the parent of the same sex.
Such a boy may come to consider that men are generally hostile, and may wish to relate to females in a dependable relationship.
The child continues his or her development but sexual urges are relatively quiet or at a minimum.
Much of a child’s energy is channelled into social or achievement related activities
The growing adolescent shakes off old dependencies and learns to deal maturely with the opposite sex; becomes capable of adult love.
progression to this final stage is possible only if serious fixation has not occurred at earlier stages. If such fixation exists, development is blocked and various disorders result.
Regression is also common in which, people display behaviours typical of a less mature stage of development.
Neo-Freudian Approaches to Personality
Q. Explain and critique key features of Carl Jung's Neo-Freudian approach to personality which he termed as Analytical Psychology.
Carl Jung worked earlier with Freud but later founded his own Analytical Psychology. Major features are :
- Jung saw human beings guided as much by aims and aspirations as by sex and aggression.
- Basic assumption : personality consists of competing forces and structures within the individual (that must be balanced) rather than between the individual and the demands of society, or between the individual and reality.
- There exists a collective unconscious consisting of archetypes (archetype= a very typical example of a certain person or thing). or primordial images (primordial = existing at or from the beginning of time). These are not individually acquired, but are inherited. e.g. of archetypes = The Young Hero, Wise old man, The God, the Mother Earth. They are found in myths, dreams and arts of all mankind.
- Two especially important archetypes in Jung’s theory are :
- Animus = masculine side of females
- Anima = feminine side of males
Jung believed that in looking for a mate, we search for the person onto whom we can best project these hidden sides of our personality. When there is a good match between such projections and another person, attraction occurs.
- Jung labeled persons as
- introverts: hesitant and cautious; do not make friends easily and prefer to observe the world rather than become involved in it.
- extroverts: open and confident, make friends readily, and enjoy high levels of stimulation and a wide range of activities.
- Jung held that the self strives for unity and oneness. It is an archetype that is expressed in many ways. For achieving unity and wholeness, a person must become increasingly aware of the wisdom available in one’s personal and collective unconscious, and must learn to live in harmony with it.
Pros of Jung :
dimension of introversion–extroversion appears to be one of major importance; it is included in several trait theories (although in these modern theories the term is spelled extraversion)
Cons of Jung :
many aspects including and especially the idea of the collective unconscious in Jung’s theory have been rejected by psychologists.
Difficult to verify ; vague ; lacks objectivity
Q. Explain key features of Karen Horney's Neo-Freudian approach.
Karen Horney : Optimism
Horney adopted a more optimistic view of human life with emphasis on human growth and self-actualisation.
Challenged Freud’s treatment of women as inferior and said that each sex has attributes to be admired by the other, and neither sex can be viewed as superior or inferior.
She countered that women were more likely to be affected by social and cultural factors than by biological factors and rejected Freudian idea of penis envy.
She argued that psychological disorders were caused by disturbed interpersonal relationships during childhood rather than from fixation of psychic energy as contended by Freud. When parents’ behaviour toward a child is indifferent, discouraging, and erratic, the child feels insecure and a feeling called basic anxiety results. Deep resentment toward parents or basic hostility occurs due to this anxiety. By showing excessive dominance or indifference, or by providing too much or too little approval, parents can generate among children feelings of isolation and helplessness which interfere with their healthy development.
Pros : she emphasized the importance of social factors in shaping personality—a view echoed by modern psychology.
Cons : Lack of objectivity with terms such as "self-actualisation"
Q. Explain key features of Alfred Adler's Neo-Freudian approach which is also termed as Individual Psychology.
Alfred Adler : Lifestyle and Social Interest
Basic assumption : human behaviour is purposeful and goal-directed. Each one of us has the capacity to choose and create.
Our personal goals are the sources of our motivation. The goals that provide us with security and help us in overcoming the feelings of inadequacy are important in our personality development.
In Adler’s view, every individual suffers from the feelings of inadequacy and guilt, i.e. inferiority complex, which arise from childhood because as children we feel inferior due to our small size and physical weakness. Overcoming this complex is essential for optimal personality development.
He viewed personality development as a process of overcoming this inferiority complex by overcome such feelings through compensation i.e. striving for superiority.
Like Horney and other neo- Freudians, Adler also emphasized the importance of social factors in personality; for instance, he emphasised birth order. He suggested tha Only children are spoiled by too much parental attention, while firstborns are “dethroned” by a second child. Second-borns, in contrast, are competitive, because they have to struggle to catch up with an older sibling.
Q. Explain key features of Erich Fromm's Neo-Freudian approach.
Erich Fromm : The Human Concerns
Fromm focused more on social orientation than biological orientation as suggested by Freud.
viewed human beings as basically social beings who could be understood in terms of their relationship with others.
argued that psychological qualities such as growth and realisation of potentials resulted from a desire for freedom, and striving for justice and truth.
held that character traits (personality) develop from our experiences with other individuals.
While culture is shaped by the mode of existence of a given society, people’s dominant character traits in a given society work as forces in shaping the social processes and the culture itself.
His work recognises the value of positive qualities, such as tenderness and love in personality development
Q. Explain key features of Erik Erikson 's Neo-Freudian approach.
Erik Erikson : Search for Identity (details in human dev. chapter)
Erikson’s theory lays stress on rational, conscious ego processes in personality development.
In his theory, development is viewed as a lifelong process, and ego identity is granted a central place in this process.
His concept of identity crisis of adolescent age has drawn considerable attention. Erikson argues that young people must generate for themselves a central perspective and a direction that can give them a meaningful sense of unity and purpose.
Q. Explain key features of Sudhir Kakar's Neo-Freudian approach to Psychoanalysis.
- emphasised the role of multiculturalism on personality development.
- argued for the absence of Oedipus and Electra complexes in Indian context.
- explained prejudice by dividing personality into "good me" and "bad not me" (which later gets displaced and projected on scapegoats)
- also explored the link between mysticism and psychoanalysis.
Q. How are Neo-Freudian approaches are an improvement over Freud's theory ?
Neo-Freudians, while accepting many of Freud’s basic ideas, did not agree with his emphasis on innate patterns of development.
On the contrary, they perceived personality as stemming from a complex interplay between social factors and the experiences we have during childhood, primarily in our own families.
While the theories proposed by neo-Freudians are not widely accepted by psychologists today, they did serve as a kind of bridge between the provocative views offered by Freud and more modern conceptions of personality. Neo-Freudians like Karen Horney tried to promote female perspective of personality development which was overlooked in Freud's theory.
Q. What are the major criticisms of Psycho-dynamic/Psychoanalytic theories of personality ?
(1) The theories are largely based on case studies; they lack a rigorous scientific basis.
(2) They use small and atypical individuals as samples for advancing generalisations.
(3) The concepts are not properly defined, and it is difficult to submit them to scientific testing.
(4) Freud has used males as the prototype of all human personality development. He overlooked female experiences and perspectives.
Behavioural Approach to Personality
Q. What are the major features of Behavioural approach to personality ?
Behavioural approach does not give importance to the internal dynamics of behaviour. Behaviourists believe in data, which they feel are definable, observable, and measurable. Thus, they focus on learning of stimulus-response connections and their reinforcement.
According to them, personality can be best understood as the response of an individual to the environment.
They see the development simply as a change in response characteristics, i.e. a person learns new behaviours in response to new environments and stimuli.
For most behaviourists, the structural unit of personality is the response. Each response is a behaviour, which is emitted to satisfy a specific need.
e.g. Many children do not like eating many of the vegetables (e.g., spinach, pumpkin, gourds, etc.), but gradually they learn to eat them. Why do they do so? According to the behavioural approach, initially they may learn to eat such vegetables in anticipation of appreciation (reinforcement) from their parents. Later on they may eventually learn to eat vegetables not only because their parents are pleased with this behaviour, but also because they acquire the taste of those vegetables, and find them good.
Principles of behaviourist theories of C.C., O.C. and observational learning (Bandura) have been widely used in developing personality theories.
A/c to behaviourist approach, the uniqueness in our personalities are a result of our varied experiences in life and as a result, varied responses - which essentially define us.
They explain stability of personality claiming that individuals often find themselves in situations very similar to the ones in which they acquired their characteristic tendencies and thus their behavior too tends to remain quite stable.
Bandura's social learning theory is an example of the behaviourist approach to personality.
Socio-cultural approach to personality
Q. Explain major features of socio-cultural approach to personality. Cite an example to show how personality development is dependent on cultural and societal structure.
This approach attempts to understand personality in relation to the features of ecological and cultural environment.
Major shapers of personality are construed to be :
- ‘economic maintenance system’
- climatic conditions
- nature of terrain of the habitat
- availability of food (flora and fauna)
- people’s economic activities
- settlement patterns
- social structures
- division of labour
- childrearing practices.
- Rituals, ceremonies, religious practices
- arts, recreational activities, games and play
Taken together these elements constitute a child’s overall learning environment. People’s skills, abilities, behavioural styles, and value priorities are viewed as strongly linked to these features.
People develop various personality (behavioural) qualities in an attempt to adapt to the ecological and cultural features of a group’s life.
e.g. In the Birhor society of Jharkhand, children from an early age are allowed enormous freedom to move into forests and learn hunting and gathering skills. Their child socialisation practices are also aimed at making children independent (do many things without help from elders), autonomous (take several decisions for themselves), and achievement-oriented (accept risks and challenges such as those involved in hunting) from an early age of life.
On the contrary, in agricultural societies, children are socialised to be obedient to elders, nurturant to youngsters, and responsible to their duties. Since these behavioural qualities make people more functional in agricultural societies, they become dominant features of people’s personality in contrast to independence, autonomy and achievement, which are more functional (and thus highly valued) in hunting-gathering societies.
Because of different economic pursuits and cultural demands, children in hunting-gathering and agricultural societies develop and display different personality patterns.
Humanistic Approaches to personality
Q. Explain the characteristic features of Carl Roger's humanistic approach to personality.
Most important idea : fully functioning person
Rogers suggested that fulfillment is the motivating force for personality development. People try to express their capabilities, potentials and talents to the fullest extent possible. There is an in born tendency among persons that directs them to actualise their inherited nature.
2 basic assumptions of Rogers regarding human behaviour
- Behaviour is goal-directed and worthwhile.
- The second is that people (who are innately good) will almost always choose adaptive, self-actualising behaviour.
Rogers suggests that each person also has a concept of ideal self.
When there is a correspondence between the real self and ideal self, a person is generally happy. Discrepancy between the real self and ideal self often results in unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
Rogers recognises the role of social influences in the development of self-concept. When social conditions are positive, the self-concept and self-esteem are high and vice-versa. People with high self-concept and self-esteem are generally flexible and open to new experiences, so that they can continue to grow and selfactualise.
This situation warrants that an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard must be created in order to ensure enhancement of people’s self-concept. The client-centred therapy that Rogers developed basically attempts to create this condition.
Q. Explain the characteristic features of Maslow's humanistic approach to personality.
Maslow stressed on attainment of self-actualisation by psychologically healthy people. It is a state in which people have reached their own fullest potential.
Maslow had an optimistic and positive view of man who has the potentialities for love, joy and to do creative work.
Human beings are considered to have free-will to shape their lives and to self-actualise. Self-actualisation becomes possible by analysing the motivations that govern our life.
Survival needs =biological, security, and belongingness needs - commonly found among animals and human beings. Thus, an individual’s sole concern with the satisfaction of these needs reduces her/him to the level of animals.
Higher Needs = self-esteem and self-actualisation needs - real journey of human life begins.
# P S B E A : Putting Sunscreen Before Every Afternoon
1.11.3 Measurement of personality
Q. Enumerate commonly used techniques for assessment of personality.
- Psychometric Tests/objective personality scales
- Remote behavior sampling
- Self-Report Measures
- Projective Techniques
- Behavioural Analysis
Psychometric tests/objective personality scales and Self report measures are forms of pencil-paper tests, in which participants provide written responses to written items. Responses can be given by marking out items on the assessment form itself or electronic forms. Typically, paper-pencil assessments include questions to answer, topics to address through paragraph responses, problems to solve, etc.
Q. Describe the origin and general methodology of self report measures of personality assessment.
It was Allport who suggested that the best method to assess a person is by asking her/him about herself/himself. This led to the use of self-report measures (SRMs).
SRMs are fairly structured measures, often based on theory, that require subjects to give verbal responses using some kind of rating scale.
The method requires the subject to objectively report her/his own feelings with respect to various items. The responses are accepted at their face value. They are scored in quantitative terms and interpreted on the basis of norms developed for the test. Some examples are : Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) (dev by Hathaway and McKinley), Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF) (developed by Cattell), NEO-PI (measures individual differences in the Big Five factors)
Q. Discuss salient features of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
- Is a self-report measure developed by Hathaway and McKinley as a helping tool for psychiatric diagnosis. Its revised version is available as MMPI-2.
- Consists of 567 statements
- subject has to judge each statement as ‘true’ or ‘false’ for her/him.
- The test is divided into 10 subscales, which seek to diagnose the following 10 :
- hypochondriasis (Obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition)
- psychopathic deviate
- psychasthenia (disorder characterized by phobias, obsessions, compulsions, or excessive anxiety)
- social introversion.
- In India, Mallick and Joshi have developed the Jodhpur Multiphasic Personality Inventory (JMPI) along the lines of MMPI.
Q. Discuss salient features of Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ).
Developed by Eysenck this test initially assessed two dimensions of personality,
- emotionally stable-emotionally unstable.
These dimensions are characterised by 32 personality traits. Later on, Eysenck added a third dimension,
- psychoticism. : It is linked to psychopathology that represents a lack of feeling for others, a tough manner of interacting with people, and a tendency to defy social conventions. A person scoring high on this dimension tends to be hostile, egocentric, and antisocial.
Q. Discuss salient features of Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF) developed by Cattell.
On the basis of his studies, Cattell identified a large set of personality descriptors, which were subjected to factor analysis to identify the basic personality structure. The test provides with declarative statements, and the subject responds to a specific situation by choosing from a set of given alternatives. The test can be used with high school level students as well as with adults. It has been found extremely useful in career guidance, vocational exploration, and occupational testing.
Q. Critique the self report measures/pencil-paper tests of Personality assessment./Highlight the problems in assessment of personality using the pencil-paper tests. 10 marks 
Pros of SRM :
- Easy to administer
Cons of SRMs :
- Social desirability : It is a tendency on the part of the respondent to endorse items in a socially desirable manner.
- Acquiescence : a tendency of the subject to agree with items/questions irrespective of their contents. It often appears in the form of saying ‘yes’ to items.
These tendencies render the assessment of personality less reliable.
Q. Why is there a need for projective techniques for personality measurement ?
- While measuring personality via direct methods such as self report measures, people generally become self-conscious and hesitate to share their private feelings, thoughts, and motivations. Even when they do so, they often do it in a socially desirable manner. Thus it becomes imperative to use indirect methods to measure personality such as Projective Tests.
- A/c Psychoanalytic theory, a large part of human behaviour is governed by unconscious motives. Direct methods cannot uncover the unconscious part of our behaviour. Hence, they fail to provide us with a real picture of an individual’s personality.
Q. What is the basic assumption behind projective tests ? Enumerate different kinds of projective tests and their common features. In what way do they differ from Psychometric tests?
Basic assumption: a less structured/unstructured stimulus or situation will allow the individual to project her feelings, desires and needs on to that situation; thus making it easier to uncover her unconscious. People are thought to project their unconscious thoughts onto the ambiguous stimuli.
Different kinds of projective tests based on various stimulus materials and situations for assessing personality are :
- requiring reporting associations with stimuli (e.g., words, inkblots) (perceptive)
- story writing around pictures (perceptive ?)
- sentence completions (productive ? )
- expression through drawings (productive ?) e.g. draw a person test
- requiring choice of stimuli from a large set of stimuli (appreciative ?)
(1) The stimuli are relatively or fully unstructured and poorly defined.
(2) The person being assessed is usually not told about the purpose of assessment and the method of scoring and interpretation.
(3) The person is informed that there are no correct or incorrect responses.
(4) Each response is considered to reveal a significant aspect of personality.
(5) Scoring and interpretation are lengthy and sometimes subjective.
(6) One most common feature is presenting subjects with ambiguous stimuli and asking for some interpretation of them.
Psychometric vs Projective tests :
- Projective tests cannot be scored in any objective manner.
- They generally require qualitative analyses for which a rigorous training is needed.
Q. Describe Rorschach and TAT tests and comment on their reliabilities. 
Rorschach Inkblot Test
- developed by Hermann Rorschach.
- consists of 10 inkblots. 5 in black and white, 2 with some red ink, and rest 3 in some pastel colours.
- blots are symmetrical in design with a specific shape or form.
- each blot is printed in the centre of a white cardboard of about 7” x 10” size.
- blots were originally made by dropping ink on a piece of paper and then folding the paper in half (hence called inkblot test).
- cards are administered individually in two phases.
- in phase 1 aka performance proper, subjects are shown cards and asked to tell what they see in each of them.
- in phase 2 aka inquiry, a detailed report of the response is prepared by asking the subject to tell where, how, and on what basis was a particular response made.
- Fine judgment is necessary to place the subject’s responses in a meaningful context.
- use and interpretation requires extensive training and is a complex process. e.g. not only the content people describe but also
- the way they hold and turn the card and
- whether they focus on the whole inkblot or just a portion of it - are to be taken into consideration.
- computer techniques too have been developed for analysis of data.
Criticism and comment on Reliability of Rorscharch Test:
different examiners may interpret the same response very differently, producing unreliability among examiners. Although there have been attempts to achieve uniformity in the scoring system e.g. Exner (1991) developed a scoring system with specific coding categories and scoring criteria; but the subjectivity still remains because of lack of research support to these scoring methodologies.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
- developed by Morgan and Murray.
- more structured than the Inkblot test and the ambiguity in pictures is also less.
- consists of 30 black and white picture cards and one blank card.
- each picture printed on a card depicts one or more people in a variety of situations.
- some cards are used with adult males or females, others are used with boys or girls. Still others are used in some combinations.
- 20 cards are appropriate for a subject, although a lesser number of cards (even five) have also been successfully used.
- cards are presented one at a time.
- subject is asked to tell a story describing the situation presented in the picture: What led up to the situation, what is happening at the moment, what will happen in the future, and what the characters are feeling and thinking?
- standard procedure is available for scoring TAT responses.
- TAT has been modified for children and for the aged.
- Uma Chaudhury’s Indian adaptation of TAT is also available.
Cricticisms of TAT and Comments on its reliability
The TAT, like the Rorschach, typically relies on the subjective interpretation of test responses, which can result in different interpretations of the same stories. Since not everyone can be right, the possibility of erroneous interpretations is obvious.
- TAT has proven to be a useful and valid test where specific systems have been developed to score stories (Atkinson, 1958).
- TAT is used by researchers to measure achievement motivation.
- TAT appears to provide a more valid measure of N-Ach and other motives, such as power, than do objective self-report measures of the same motives, showing stronger relations with motivated behavior (Ferguson,2000).
Q. Discuss Rosenzweig’s Picture-Frustration Study (P-F Study)
- Assesses how people express aggression in the face of a frustrating situation.
- The test presents with the help of cartoon like pictures a series of situations in which one person frustrates another, or calls attention to a frustrating condition.
- Subject is asked to tell what the other (frustrated) person will say or do.
- Analysis of responses is based on the type and direction of aggression.
- An attempt is made to examine whether the focus is on
- the frustrating object
- or protection of the frustrated person
- or on constructive solution of the problem
- The direction of aggression may be
- towards the environment
- towards oneself
- or it may be tuned off in an attempt to gloss over or evade the situation.
- Pareek has adapted this test for use with the Indian population.
Q. Explain the features of "Sentence completion test" and "Draw a person test" as projective measures of personality.
Sentence Completion Test
- makes use of numerous incomplete sentences.
- starting part of the sentence is first presented and the subject has to provide an ending to the sentence.
- type of endings used by the subjects reflect their attitudes, motivation, conflicts and underlying unconscious motivations
e.g. 1. My father——————————————.
2. My greatest fear is —————————.
3. The best thing about my mother is ——————————.
4. I am proud of ———————————— ————————.
- subject is asked to draw a person on a sheet of paper.
- A pencil and eraser is provided to facilitate drawing.
- After the completion of the drawing, the subject is generally asked to draw the figure of an opposite sex person.
- Finally, the subject is asked to make a story about the person as if s/he was a character in a novel or play.
- Some examples of interpretations are as follows:
(1) Omission of facial features suggests that the person tries to evade a highly conflict-ridden interpersonal relationship.
(2) Graphic emphasis on the neck suggests lack of control over impulses.
(3) Disproportionately large head suggests organic brain disease and preoccupation with headaches.