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Module VI:-Personality: Meaning and Concept; The trait approach: Classification by Jung,

Kretschmer, and Sheldon; Psychoanalytic theory by Freud; Behaviouristic theories of Personality

by Pavlov, Skinner and Watson; Humanistic theory by Maslow and Rogers; Maslow’s hierarchy
of needs; Personality assessment



Gordon Allport defined personality as the “dynamic organization within the individual of
those psychophysical systems that determine his/her unique adjustment to his/her

Allport elaborated on this definition by explaining that the expression “dynamic organization”
emphasizes that personality is an organized system (unit as multiplex) that is constantly evolving
and changing. The term “psychophysical” means that personality is neither exclusively mental
nor exclusively neural, but a combination of the two. The verb “determine” indicates that
personality traits are determining tendencies that guide expressive and adaptive behaviours. The
expression “unique adjustment to the environment” has functional and evolutionary
significance pointing to personality as a mode of survival and, more generally, adaptation,
which is unique to each individual.

Basic functions of personality are to feel, to think, and to perceive, and to incorporate these
into purposeful behaviours.

1. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory proposed that childhood sexuality and unconscious
motivations influence personality.

2. The humanistic approach focused on our inner capacities for growth and self-fulfilment.
Today’s personality researchers study the basic dimensions of personality, the biological roots of
these basic dimensions, and the interaction of persons and environments. They also study self-
esteem and cultural influences on one’s sense of self.

Classification of Personality
Type Theories:

Type theorists have explained personality on the basis of physique and temperament.
Temperament refers to emotional aspect of the personality like changes in mood, tensions,
excitement, etc. A ‘type’ is simply a class of individuals said to share a common collection of

Three important ‘Type theories’ of personality are explained here:

CG Jung’s Classification:

CG Jung has classified personality on the basis of sociability character as Introverts and

1. Introvert: Introverts are described as people who share characteristics such as shyness,
social withdrawal, and tendency to talk less. Because of these characteristics these people
appear to be self-centered, unable to adjust easily in social situations. They are not easily
suggestible. They are future oriented, very sensible and rigid in ideas.
2. Extravert: Extraverts share a tendency to be outgoing, friendly, talkative, and social in
nature. They prefer social contacts, generous, sportive, and courageous. They are happy-
go-lucky persons and show interest in present reality than future. They express their
feelings openly. Take decisions quickly and act upon quickly. They are not affected
easily by difficulties.
3. Ambiverts: There are only few people who are pure introverts or pure extraverts. The
remaining majority of people possess both the qualities of introverts and extraverts. Such
people are called as Ambiverts. This classification was made by psychologists who came
after Jung.

Ernest Kretschmer’s Classification:

German psychologist Kretschmer has attempted to correlate physique and character. From his
studies on mental patients, he found that certain body types are associated with particular types
of mental disorders. He has classified personalities into four types:
1. Pyknic type: These are people who are short and having round body. They will have
personality traits of extraverts. These people are more prone to suffer from a mental
disorder called Manic Depressive Psychosis (MDP).
2. Asthenic type: These people will have a slender or slim body. They will have the
personality traits of introverts. These people are more prone to suffer from a serious
mental disorder called Schizophrenia.
3. Athletic type: These people will have strong body. They are more energetic and
aggressive. They will be strong enough, determined, adventurous and balanced. They are
comparable with ambiverts. They are more prone to suffer from MDP.
4. Dysplastic type: These people will have unproportionate body and do not belong to any
of the three types mentioned above. This disproportion is due to hormonal
imbalancement. Their behaviour and personality are also imbalanced.

William Sheldon’s Classification:

Sheldon has proposed a theory of personality correlating temperament and body type. He has
divided people into three types:

1. Endomorph: These people will have soft, fat and round body, having predominance of
abdominal region. They are sociable and relaxed (can be compared to pyknic type).
2. Ectomorph: These are the people who are tall, thin and flat chested, having the skin,
bones and neural structure predominantly. They are shy, reserved and self-conscious (can
be compared with asthenic type).
3. Mesomorph: These people are well built with heavy and strong muscles appear
predominantly. They are physically active, noisy, adventurous by nature (can be
compared to athletic type).

Development and Organisation of Personality:

As defined—the personality is a dynamic organisation of various qualities including physical and

psychological aspects. Personality is something that grows and develops as a result of interplay
of biological, sociocultural and psychological factors. Because of the developmental process, the
personality is subjected to change. That is why there are individual differences. What causes
these differences? The answer to this question lies in the factors influencing the development of
personality. These factors are classified into three categories:
Biological Factors:

These are also called as physiological factors which include endocrine glands, blood sugar and
other externally imposed biological conditions. There are many endocrine glands which are
situated in different parts of the body.

These glands produce different hormones. Normal secretion of these hormones promotes healthy
and normal personality. Abnormalities in secretion like over or under secretions lead to im-

In addition to the biological factors drug dependence, alcoholism also affects personality. Dietary
problems like—semi- starvation, vitamin deficiencies, diseases which are acute as well as
chronic—like toxic and bacterial infection due to syphilis, encephalitis or such other diseases
cause very severe damage to the personality development and functioning.

Sociocultural Factors:

The society and culture play important role in the development of personality. Among the factors
which influence the personality— the influence of home atmosphere is very crucial. Parental
behaviour will have greater impact on children.

Parental attitude towards children, pattern of care like over protection, over indulgence, rejection,
negligence, encouragement, discouragement, their attitude towards life, relationship with friends
and relatives all will affect the development. Number of children in a family, order of birth, peer
group, school atmosphere also influences personality development.

Psychological Factors:

The psychological factors like intelligence level, motives, different interests acquired by the
person, attitudes developed, will and character, thinking and reasoning abilities, perceptual
ability, emotional development and such other psychological factors also influence the
formation, development and organisation of personality.

Theories of Personality:

There are number of theories developed by psychologists to explain personality and its
development. Each theory is unique and explains personality development and functioning in its
own way. Some of the prominent theories are explained here under:

Psychoanalytical theory:

The Structure of the Mind

The mind, according to Freud, has three major parts or functions: the id, the ego, and the
superego. The id is the source of our strong sexual and aggressive feelings or energies. It is,
basically, the animal within us; if totally unchecked, it would make us all rapists or killers. The
energy or drive within the id is the libido.

The id operates according to the pleasure principle, with an overriding goal of

maximizing pleasure and eliminating any associated tension or conflicts. The goal of pleasure,
which is particularly prominent in childhood, often conflicts with social rules and regulations,

The part of our mind that ensures that we act realistically is called the ego, and it operates
according to the reality principle instead of the pleasure principle.

The third important structure within the mind, the superego, or what we might call
conscience, represents the moral principles inspired in us by our parents and our culture.

The role of the ego is to mediate conflict between the id and the superego, juggling their
demands with the realities of the world. The ego is often referred to as the executive or manager
of our minds. If it mediates successfully, we can go on to the higher intellectual and creative
pursuits of life. If it is unsuccessful, and the id or superego becomes too strong, conflict will
overtake us and psychological disorders will develop. Because these conflicts are all within the
mind, they are referred to as intrapsychic conflicts.

Levels of Consciousness

Freud specified three levels of consciousness: the conscious, the preconscious, and the
unconscious. The conscious includes sensations and experiences that the person is aware of at
any point in time. Examples include awareness of being warm or cold and awareness of this
book or of a pencil. Conscious awareness is a very small part of a person’s mental life.

The preconscious includes memories of events and experiences that can easily be
retrieved with little effort. Examples might include a previous examination taken, a phone call to
a friend, or a favourite dessert that was eaten yesterday. The preconscious forms a bridge from
the conscious mind to the much larger unconscious, which is the container for memories and
emotions that are threatening to the conscious mind and must be pushed away. Examples include
hostile or sexual feelings toward a parent and forgotten childhood trauma or abuse. Also
included are needs and motivations of which individuals are unaware. Although unconscious
motivations are out of awareness, they may still be exhibited in an individual’s thoughts or

Defense Mechanisms

The ego fights a continual battle to stay on top of the opposing id and superego.
Occasionally, their conflicts produce anxiety that threatens to overwhelm the ego. The anxiety is
a signal that alerts the ego to organize defense mechanisms, unconscious protective processes
that keep primitive emotions associated with conflicts in check so that the ego can continue its
coordinating function.

Although Freud first conceptualized defense mechanisms, it was his daughter, Anna
Freud, who developed the ideas more fully.

We all use defense mechanisms at times—they are sometimes adaptive and at other times
maladaptive. For example, have you ever done poorly on a test because the professor was unfair
in the grading? And then when you got home you shouted at your younger brother or perhaps
even your dog? This is an example of the defense mechanism of displacement. Because your
brother and your dog don’t have the authority to affect you in an adverse way, your anger is
displaced to one of them. Some people may redirect energy from conflict or underlying anxiety
into a more constructive outlet such as work, where they may be more efficient because of the
redirection. This process is called sublimation.

Defense mechanisms have been subjected to scientific study, and there is some evidence
that they may be of potential import in the study of psychopathology (Vaillant, 1992; 2012). For
example, Perry and Bond (2012) noted that reduction in unadaptive defense mechanisms, and
strengthening of adaptive mechanisms such as humor and sublimation, correlated with
psychological health.

Examples of defense mechanisms are (APA, 2000):

Denial: Refuses to acknowledge some aspect of objective reality or subjective experience that is
apparent to others
Displacement: Transfers a feeling about, or a response to, an object that causes discomfort onto
another, usually less-threatening, object or person

Projection: Falsely attributes own unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts to another

individual or object

Rationalization: Conceals the true motivations for actions, thoughts, or feelings through
elaborate reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations

Reaction formation: Substitutes behaviour, thoughts, or feelings that are the direct opposite of
unacceptable ones

Repression: Blocks disturbing wishes, thoughts, or experiences from conscious awareness

Sublimation: Directs potentially maladaptive feelings or impulses into socially acceptable


Psychosexual Stages of Development

Freud also theorized that during infancy and early childhood we pass through a number of
psychosexual stages of development that have a profound and lasting impact. This makes Freud
one of the first to take a developmental perspective on the study of abnormal behaviour.

Oral Stage
DefinitionEarliest stage of development in which the infant's needs, perceptions, and
modes of expression are primarily centred in mouth, lips, tongue, and other
organs related to the oral zone.
Oral zone maintains dominance in psychic organization through approximately
the first 18 months of life. Oral sensations include thirst, hunger, pleasurable
tactile stimulations evoked by the nipple or its substitute.
Excessive oral gratifications or deprivation can result in libidinal fixations
contributing to pathological traits. Such traits can include excessive optimism,
narcissism, pessimism (as in depressive states. Envy and jealousy often
associated with oral traits.

Anal Stage
Description: Period extends roughly from 1–3 years of age. Conflicts over anal control and
struggles with parents over retaining or expelling feces in toilet training give rise to
increased ambivalence together with struggle over separation, individuation, and
independence. Anal erotism refers to sexual pleasure in anal functioning, both in
retaining precious feces and presenting them as a precious gift to the parent. Anal
sadism refers to expression of aggressive wishes connected with discharging feces as
powerful and destructive weapons. These wishes often displayed in fantasies of
bombing or explosions.

Maladaptive character traits: Orderliness, stubbornness. Anal characteristics and

defenses are typically seen in obsessive-compulsive neuroses.

.Phallic Stage

Definition: Phallic stage begins sometime during 3rd year and continues until approximately end
of 5th year. Phallic phase characterized by primary focus of sexual interests,
stimulation, and excitement in genital area. Penis becomes organ of principal interest
to children of both sexes, with lack of penis in females being considered as evidence
of castration. Phallic phase associated with increase in genital masturbation
accompanied by predominantly unconscious fantasies of sexual involvement with
opposite-sex parent.
Phallic stage provides foundations for emerging sense of sexual identity, of a sense of
curiosity without embarrassment, of initiative without guilt, as well as a sense of
mastery not only over objects and people in environment but also over internal
processes and impulses. to constructive ends.

Latency Stage

Definition: Stage of inactivity of sexual drive during period from resolution of the Oedipus
complex until pubescence (from approximately 5–6 yrs of age until approximately
11–13 yrs of age).
Danger in latency period can arise either from lack of development of inner controls
or excess of them. Lack of control can lead to inability to sufficiently sublimate
energies in interest of learning and development of skills; excess of inner control,
however, can lead to premature closure of personality development and developed
elaboration of obsessive character traits.
The child can develop a sense of industry and capacity for mastery of objects and
Genital Stage

Definition: Genital or adolescent phase extends from onset of puberty from 11–13 years of age
until young adulthood. Current thinking tends to subdivide this stage into
preadolescent, early adolescent, middle adolescent, late adolescent and even post-
adolescent periods.
Physiological maturation of systems of genital (sexual) functioning and attendant
hormonal systems leads to increase of drives, particularly libidinal drives. This
produces a regression in personality organization, which reopens conflicts of previous
stages of psychosexual development and provides opportunity for resolution of these
conflicts in context of achieving a mature sexual and adult identity.
Pathological deviations due to inability to achieve successful resolution of this stage
of development are multiple and complex. Previous unsuccessful resolutions and
fixations in various phases or aspects of psychosexual development produce
pathological defects in the emerging adult personality.
Successful resolution and reintegration of previous psychosexual stages in adolescent
genital phase set stage normally for fully mature personality with capacity for full and
satisfying genital potency and a self-integrated and consistent sense of identity. This
provides basis for capacity for self-realization and meaningful participation in areas of
work, love, and in creative and productive application to satisfying and meaningful
goals and values.

The stages—oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital— represent distinctive patterns of
gratifying our basic needs and satisfying our drive for physical pleasure. For example, the oral
stage, typically extending for approximately 2 years from birth, is characterized by a central
focus on the need for food. In the act of sucking, necessary for feeding, the lips, tongue, and
mouth become the focus of libidinal drives and, therefore, the principal source of pleasure. Freud
hypothesized that if we did not receive appropriate gratification during a specific stage or if a
specific stage left a particularly strong impression (which he termed fixation), an individual’s
personality would reflect the stage throughout adult life. For example, fixation at the oral stage
might result in excessive thumb sucking and emphasis on oral stimulation through eating,
chewing pencils, or biting fingernails.

One of the more controversial and frequently mentioned psychosexual conflicts occurs
during the phallic stage (from age 3 to age 5 or 6), which is characterized by early genital self-
stimulation. This conflict is the subject of the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, in which Oedipus is
fated to kill his father and, unknowingly, to marry his mother. Freud asserted that all young boys
relive this fantasy when genital self-stimulation is accompanied by images of sexual interactions
with their mothers. These fantasies, in turn, are accompanied by strong feelings of envy and
perhaps anger toward their fathers, with whom they identify but whose place they wish to take.
Furthermore, strong fears develop that the father may punish that lust by removing the son’s
penis—thus, the phenomenon of castration anxiety.

This fear helps the boy keep his lustful impulses toward his mother in check. The battle
of the lustful impulses on the one hand and castration anxiety on the other creates a conflict that
is internal, or intrapsychic, called the Oedipus complex. The phallic stage passes uneventfully
only if several things happen. First, the child must resolve his ambivalent relationship with his
parents and resolve the simultaneous anger and love he has for his father. If this happens, he may
go on to channel his libidinal impulses into heterosexual relationships while retaining harmless
affection for his mother.

The counterpart conflict in girls, called the Electra complex, is even more controversial.
Freud viewed the young girl as wanting to replace her mother and possess her father. Central to
this possession is the girl’s desire for a penis, so as to be more like her father and brothers—
hence the term penis envy. According to Freud, the conflict is successfully resolved when
females develop healthy heterosexual relationships and look forward to having a baby, which he
viewed as a healthy substitute for having a penis. Needless to say, this particular theory has
provoked marked apprehension over the years as being sexist and demeaning. It is important to
remember that it is theory, not fact; no systematic research exists to support it. In Freud’s view,
all nonpsychotic psychological disorders resulted from underlying unconscious conflicts, the
anxiety that resulted from those conflicts, and the implementation of ego defense mechanisms.
Freud called such disorders neuroses, or neurotic disorders, from an old term referring to
disorders of the nervous system.


A major criticism of psychoanalysis is that it is basically unscientific, relying on reports

by the patient of events that happened years ago. These events have been filtered through the
experience of the observer and then interpreted by the psychoanalyst in ways that certainly could
be questioned and might differ from one analyst to the next. Finally, there has been no careful
measurement of any of these psychological phenomena and no obvious way to prove or disprove
the basic hypotheses of psychoanalysis. This is important because measurement and the ability to
prove or disprove a theory are the foundations of the scientific approach.

Psychoanalytic concepts and observations have been valuable, not only to the study of
psychopathology and psychodynamic psychotherapy but also to the history of ideas in Western
civilization. Careful scientific studies of psychopathology have supported the observation of
unconscious mental processes, the notion that basic emotional responses are often triggered by
hidden or symbolic cues, and the understanding that memories of events in our lives can be
repressed and otherwise avoided in a variety of ingenious ways. The relationship of the therapist
and the patient, called the therapeutic alliance, is an important area of study across most
therapeutic strategies. These concepts, along with the importance of various coping styles or
defense mechanisms.

Adler’s Theory of Striving for Superiority:

Alfred Adler was the follower of Freud, but opposed his views and established his own school of
thought called Individual Psychology. Adler stressed on the social, rather than biological
determinants of personality and on the upward drive of the self. In his view the prime source of
man’s motivation is the innate striving for superiority by attaining perfection.

According to Adler, every child will suffer from some weakness which results in development of
inferiority. But every child will try to compensate one weakness through some other ability. For
example, a bodily handicapped child may work hard and get a rank in the examination.

An ugly looking girl may gain social recognition by becoming a famous singer. Inferiority
feelings are thus essential requirements of psychological growth. Adler thought that under
optimal circumstances of development, striving for superiority take socially constructive forms
having to do with co-operative relationships with people, identification with the group and
efforts to bring about the ideal society.

Jung’s Theory of Personality:

C.G.Jung was the follower of Freud, but due to difference of opinion established his own school
of thought called ‘Analytical Psychology’. Jung opposed the views of Freud about psychosexual
development during childhood.

On the other hand, he stressed ‘adult adjustment’ aspect. Jung felt that the libido is not only
sexual energy but it is ‘continuous life energy’, a striving to live and insure the survival of one’s
species. He called unconscious as ‘Collective unconscious’ and divided it as ‘personal
unconscious’ and ‘racial unconscious’.

The personal unconscious is developed out of any of the individual’s conscious experiences that
had been repressed.

Collective unconscious grows out of the past experiences of the human race. He said, collective
unconscious will be stored with primitive fundamental images, impressions or predispositions
that were common to earlier members of the human race. He called these images, impressions or
predispositions as ‘archetypes’. He said these archetypes will cause emotion generated,

According to Jung, the self develops as a result of harmonisation of conscious and unconscious
and leads to unique patterns of behaviour. He called this process as individuation, i.e. every
individual is distinct from others.

Jung has also proposed two concepts to explain nature of personality, viz., extraversion and
introversion. He has also introduced a concept called ‘complexes’ which he defined as a
‘network of ideas bound together by a common emotion or a set of feelings’.

Karen Horney and Basic Anxiety:

Karen Horney concentrates mainly on ‘Basic anxiety’ as a prime concept to understand human
personality. Basic anxiety according to Horney—stems from anything that causes insecurity in
the child, especially in relation to his/her parents.

That is being dominated by parents, being inconsistently treated, being given too much or too
little responsibility, being treated with coldness or indifferences, being involved in parental
conflicts and so on.

The child tries to cope with this anxiety by various adjective and largely irrational acts. But if the
anxieties are intense and prolonged, it develops neurotic behaviour and requires treatment.
Horney stresses that the main cause of basic anxiety and other personality problems is the social
and culturally induced disturbances in the child’s developmental experiences.

Sullivan and Interpersonal Relations:

Harry Stack Sullivan describes personality as the relatively enduring pattern of recurrent
interpersonal situations which characterise a human life. According to him there is no personality
apart from its relations with other people; all that is distinctly human is a product of social
interactions from birth onwards and every individual is motivated towards achieving social and
interpersonal security.

Therefore, according to Sullivan the study of personality is really the study of the whole
interpersonal situation and not an isolated individual.

Erickson and Psychosocial Crisis:

Erik Erickson’s theory is known as Ego psychology. According to Erickson, as the individual
progresses through his developmental stages, meets with psychosocial crises peculiar to each
stage. It is psychosocial because, society has developed social institutions specific to each stage
in an attempt to mould and socialise the individual as he progresses through these stages.

In Erickson’s scheme, there are eight psychosocial stages extending through the life span from
infancy to old age. Each stage will experience certain conflicts called crises.

Among all the crises the ‘search for identity’ during adolescence is most powerful motive.
Erickson also states that the individual develops a healthy personality by mastering inner and
outer crises with positive solutions to life’s problems.

Theory of Learning and Personality Development:

Learning and conditioning in classical, instrumental and cognitive forms are highly relevant to
personality and its development. Dollard and Miller used animal experiments to test human
conflicts and repressions thus advancing social learning theory.

Albert Bandura and Walters extended social learning theory into the domain of observational
learning. They said that observational learning or imitation generally takes place in a social
situation involving a model and an imitator.

The imitator observes the model and experiences the model’s behaviour and its consequences
vicariously (observational learning).

This process is called vicarious learning. For example, seeing that one child is punished by
teacher for talking in the class, other child may stop talking. The observer himself will not
experience rewards or punishments that are imposed on the model, but vicariously experienced

Skinner developed a method called ‘Learning by conditioning’ in which the individuals as a

result of their experiences establish an association or linkage between two events. He used
Instrumental conditioning principles to explain the ways in which environmental conditions as
reinforcements influence people’s behaviour.
The approaches to study personality have been divided into two categories namely
Type approach and Trait approach.

Type approach:

Psychologists who believed in this approach are of the opinion that people can be divided into
definite types. Attempts to classify personality in terms of specific types go far back in human
history. Hippocrates developed a theory of personality types based on the pre- dominance of one
of the four humours or fluids of body they are blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm.

Pre- dominance of blood leads to choleric personality, if the yellow bile is pre- dominant it leads
to sanguine personality. Black bile indicates melancholic, the pre - dominance of phlegm leads to
phlegmatic personality.

Most recent theories have emphasized the relationship between body characteristics or
morphology and personality. The best known theory of this type was the one given by

Kretschmer described the three types of physique he believed to be basic. The first type was the
one short and heavy set and this was referred to as Pythic type, the second was called the athletic
type which was divided as having a strong development of skeleton and muscle with wide
shoulders and chest. The third type is called aesthetic, those who have slender in body build and

From his study of psychiatric patients, Kretschmer found that certain body types are associated
with certain types of mental disorder. For example Pythic is associated with manic depressive
psychosis. The aesthetic is associated with schizophrenia and the athletic if he were to be
abnormal may develop mild manic depressive psychosis.

Sheldon’s classification is primarily based on Kretschmer's theory. He tried to correlate

temperament with body type. According to Sheldon there are three basic types

 Endomorph, a person of relatively large body and short arms and legs.
 Mesomorph, harmoniously proportioned and mostly bone and muscle
 Ectomorph, who has long arms and legs and often skinny.
Sheldon classify temperaments into three types namely:

 Viscerotonia
 Cerebrotonia
 Somatotonia

Viscerotonia is characterised by love of comfort and food, sociability (friendly) and affection.
Cerebrotonia indicates excessive inhibition and love of solitude. Somatotania indicates a craving
for muscular activity. Sheldon found high correlation between body types and temperament
types. Thus endomorphy is closely related with viscerotonia, mesomorphy with somatotania and
ectomorphy with cerebrotonia.

In spite of this laborious work, this theory is being much criticised and other investigators have
not obtained the same results.

Carl G Jung's classification is based on concept of libido the life energy. According to Jung the
people can be divided into two types namely introverts and extroverts.

If the libido is flowing inward the individual is called introvert. In an extrovert the libido is
flowing outward. An introvert tends to withdraw into himself inhibits emotions. An extrovert
mixes freely with others and expresses emotions freely. Later psychologists criticize the theory
given by Jung, they added one more type namely 'ambivert' who has the qualities of both
introvert and extrovert.

Personality as Traits

Personalities are characterized in terms of traits, which are relatively persistent characteristics
that influence our behaviour across many situations. Personality traits such as introversion,
friendliness, honesty, and helpfulness are important because they help explain consistencies in
behaviour. The most popular way of measuring traits is by administering personality tests on
which people self-report about their own characteristics. Psychologists have investigated
hundreds of traits using the self-report approach, and this research has found many personality
traits that have important implications for behaviour. You can see some examples of the
personality dimensions that have been studied by psychologists and their implications for
behaviour in Table.

Trait Description Examples of behaviour

shown by the particular trait

Authoritarianism A cluster of traits including Authoritarians are more likely

(Adorno, FrenkelBrunswik, conventionalism, superstition, to be prejudiced, to conform to
Levinson, & Sanford, 1950) toughness, and exaggerated leaders, and to display rigid
concerns with sexuality behaviours.

Individualism collectivism Individualism is the tendency Individualists prefer to engage

(Triandis, to focus on oneself and one‘s in behaviours that make them
1989) personal goals; collectivism is stand out from
the tendency to focus on one‘s others, whereas collectivists
relations with others. prefer to engage in behaviours
that emphasize their
similarity to others.

Internal versus external In comparison to those with an People with higher internal
locus of control (Rotter, external locus of control, locus of control are happier,
1966) people with an internal locus less depressed, and healthier
of control are more likely to in comparison to those with an
believe that life events are due external locus of control.
largely to their own efforts
and personal characteristics.

Need for achievement The desire to make significant Those high in need for
(McClelland,1958) accomplishments by mastering achievement select tasks that
skills or meeting high are not too difficult to
standards be sure they will succeed in

Need for cognition The extent to which people People high in the need for
(Cacioppo & Petty, 1982) engage in and enjoy effortful cognition pay more attention
cognitive activities to arguments in ads.

Regulatory focus (Shah, Refers to differences in the People with a promotion

Higgins, & Friedman, motivations that energize orientation are more motivated
1998) behaviour, varying from a by goals of gaining money,
promotion orientation (seeking whereas those with prevention
out new opportunities) to a orientation are more
prevention orientation concerned about losing money
(avoiding negative

Self-consciousness The tendency to introspect and People high in self-

Fenigstein, Sheier, & examine one‘s inner self and consciousness spend preparing
Buss, 1975) feelings more time their hair and makeup before
they leave the house.

Self-esteem (Rosenberg, High self-esteem means High self-esteem is associated

1965). having a positive attitude with a variety of positive
toward oneself and one‘s psychological and health
capabilities outcomes.

Sensation seeking The motivation to engage in Sensation seekers are more

(Zuckerman, 2007) extreme and risky behaviours likely to engage in risky
behaviours such as
extreme and risky sports,
substance abuse, unsafe sex,
and crime.


Behaviourism as a Theory of Personality: Watson named the approach behaviourism as a form

of revolution against the then prevalent use of introspection to study the mind. Introspection was
subjective and variable, not a source of objective evidence, and the mind consisted of an inferred
entity that could never be observed. He insisted psychology had to be based on objective
observation of behaviour and the objective observation of the environmental events that cause
behaviour. Skinner’s radical behaviourism also has not established a systematic relationship to
traditional psychology knowledge.

Psychological behaviourism—while bolstering Watson’s rejection of inferring the existence of

internal entities such as mind, personality, maturation stages, and free will—considers important
knowledge produced by non-behavioural psychology that can be objectified by analysis in
learning-behavioural terms. As one example, the concept of intelligence is inferred, not
observed, and thus intelligence and intelligence tests are not considered systematically in
behaviourism. However, PB considers IQ tests measure important behaviours that predict later
school performance and intelligence is composed of learned repertoires of such behaviours.
Joining the knowledge of behaviourism and intelligence testing yields concepts and research
concerning what intelligence is behaviourally, what causes intelligence, as well as how
intelligence can be increased. It is thus a behaviourism that systematically incorporates and
explains, behaviourally, empirical parts of psychology.

Personality and Skinner

B.F. Skinner proposed that our differences in our learning experiences are the main reason
behind our individual differences in our behaviour. And we learn these patterns of behaviour
either directly (reward as positive reinforcement of good behaviour or punishment as a negative
reinforcement of bad behaviour) or indirectly (through observational learning or modeling).
Skinner believed that it is simply human nature that we behave in such a way that we would
receive rewards or favorable things. If we want to experience reinforcement, then we should
develop personality traits that are positive, such as those attributes included in the
"agreeableness" category of the Big Five (e.g. being understanding, compassionate, empathetic,
and a positive thinker). In this sense, Skinner argued that we respond to every kind of
reinforcement, and that our behaviour and personality traits can be shaped and controlled by the
society. In addition to this, Skinner implied that if we want our negative traits to be changed into
positive ones, we must change our environment first. This strict behaviourist point of view tries
to refute other psychologists belief that we must alter our inner self first (that is, our own
personality traits) before we can fully experience the change that we want.

Humanistic approaches to Personality

Basic Assumptions: Humanistic psychologists start from the assumption that every person has
their own unique way of perceiving and understanding the world and that the things they do only
make sense in this light. Consequently, the kinds of questions they ask about people differ from
those asked by psychologists from other approaches. Whereas other approaches take an objective
view of people, in essence asking about them, ‘what is this person like?’ humanistic
psychologists’ priority is understanding people’s subjectivity, asking ‘what is it like to be this
person?’ As a result, they reject the objective scientific method as a way of studying people.
Humanistic psychologists explicitly endorse the idea that people have free will and are capable
of choosing their own actions (although they may not always realize this). They also take the
view that all people have a tendency towards growth and the fulfilment of their potential. Much
of their research has focused on how people can be helped to fulfil their potential and lead more
contented lives.

Rogers’ and Maslow’s humanistic explanation for personality:

Carl Rogers’ idea about behaviour centre on the self, which is the person’s consciousness of their
own identity. Rogers believed that people could only fulfil their potential for growth if they had a
basically positive view of themselves (positive self-regard). This can only happen if they have
the unconditional positive regard of others – if they feel that they are valued and respected
without reservation by those around them.

The problem that most people have, as Rogers saw it, was that most people don’t perceive the
positive regard of others as being unconditional. Rather, they think they will only be loved and
valued if they meet certain conditions of worth (e.g. behaving well, passing lots of exams etc.)
These conditions of worth create incongruity within the self between the real self (how the
person is) and the ideal self (how they think they should be). The person tries to close the gap
between the real and idea self but most people do this in unhelpful ways, possibly by chasing
achievements that won’t actually make them content or by distorting their view of themselves or
the world.
For example a student who believes they are only worth anything if they get perfect exam scores
may deal with a grade ‘B’ either by dismissing it as outright failure, thereby robbing themselves
of an achievement, or by blaming their teachers, thereby preventing themselves from taking
action that might improve their grades.

Abraham Maslow’s view of human needs was more complex than Rogers’. Whilst Rogers
believed that people needed unconditional positive regard, Maslow acknowledged that people
have a variety of needs that differ in immediacy and which need satisfying at different times. He
arranged these needs in a hierarchy, whereby the more basic needs towards the bottom take
precedence over those higher up (e.g. everyone needs to have their achievements recognized, but
will put this need to one side if they are starving hungry). Maslow believed that those who
satisfied all their needs might become self-actualisers: rare, remarkable people who fulfil their
potential completely. However, he also thought that prolonged periods where a particular need
was not satisfied could result in a sort of fixation.

For example, a person who grew up in poverty might continue to be dominated by anxiety about
food even if they were lucky enough to escape poverty later.

Needs of Hierarchy theory

Abraham Maslow (1970) described these priorities as a hierarchy of needs. At the base of this
pyramid are our physiological needs, such as those for food and water. Only if these needs are
met are we prompted to meet our need for safety, and then to satisfy the uniquely human needs
to give and receive love and to enjoy self-esteem. Beyond this, said Maslow (1971), lies the need
to actualize one’s full potential. Near the end of his life, Maslow proposed that some people also
reach a level of self-transcendence. At the self-actualization level, people seek to realize their
own potential. At the self-transcendence level, people strive for meaning, purpose, and
communion that is beyond the self, that is transpersonal (Koltko-Rivera, 2006).

Maslow’s hierarchy is somewhat arbitrary; the order of such needs is not universally fixed.
People have starved themselves to make a political statement. Nevertheless, the simple idea that
some motives are more compelling than others provides a framework for thinking about
motivation. Life-satisfaction surveys in 39 nations support this basic idea (Oishi et al., 1999). In
poorer nations that lack easy access to money and the food and shelter it buys, financial
satisfaction more strongly predicts feelings of well-being. In wealthy nations, where most are
able to meet basic needs, home-life satisfaction is a better predictor. Self-esteem matters most in
individualist nations, whose citizens tend to focus more on personal achievements than on family
and community identity.
Evaluation of the humanistic approach:

The apparent lack of objectivity and rigour in humanistic methods is a significant criticism of the
humanistic approach. Other approaches would regard their methods as unscientific, vague and
open to bias and their attempt to ‘get inside’ other people’s way of perceiving the world as
misguided and quite possibly pointless. Humanistic psychologists would reject these criticisms
because they, in turn, would view the objective, scientific method as inappropriate for
understanding people. Other critics take issue with the positive view of human nature that the
humanistic approach endorses. Whilst it is flattering to view ourselves as basically good entities
striving to fulfil our potential, the humanistic approach is at a loss to explain the horrors that
people are capable of inflicting on each other. Faced with a world afflicted with warfare,
genocide, runaway greed, domestic violence and so on, humanistic talk about potential, growth
and positive regard seems trite at best. Some would even say that, with its focus on meeting our
needs and fulfilling our growth potential, the humanistic approach reflects an individualistic,
self-obsessed outlook that is part of the problem, not the solution. On the other hand, the
counselling approaches developed by Rogers and other humanists have helped many people
overcome difficulties they face in life, which is a significant contribution to improving people’s
In the nature-nurture debate, humanists favour nurture, because of the influence of experiences
on a person’s ways of perceiving and understanding the world, but also acknowledge the
influence of biological drives and needs. Their belief in the uniqueness of each individual
inclines them toward an ideographic approach to psychology. Because they believe that human
experience must be engaged with as such, humanistic psychologists do not attempt to break
behaviour down into more fundamental processes. As such, their approach to psychology is
explicitly holistic, rather than reductionist.

Personality assessments:

Objective and Projective Tests

Objective Tests


from birth or even before)

It was developed by Eysenck and Eysenck (1975)

It measures 3 dimensions: Extraversion and Introversion (E), Neuroticism and Stability (N),
Psychoticism and Super ego formation (P)

Total no. of items: 90

There is a Lie scale included in the questionnaire.


It is developed by Hathaway and McKinley in 1940

It measures the surface traits of an individual

MMPI has a 566 items

Restandardized of MMPI is known as MMPI –II

The restandardization of has been done by Butcher et al. in 1989

MMPI-II has 567 items

Clinical Scales

1. Hypochondriasis (Hs)

2. Depression (D)

3. Hysteria(Hy)

4. Psychopathic deviant (Pd)

5. Masculinity-femininity (Mf)

6. Paranoia (P)
7. Psychasthenia (Pt)

8. Schizophrenia (Sc)

9. Hypomania (Ma)

10. Social introversion (Si)

16 Personality Factors (16 PF): R. B. Cattell (Five Forms: Form A and B: 187 items; Form C
and D: 105 Items and Form E: 127 items)

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The MBTI categorizes people into one of four
categories on each of four dimensions:

1. Introversion versus extraversion

2. Sensing versus intuiting
3. Thinking versus feeling, and
4. Judging versus perceiving.

Costa & McCrae, 1992: 240 items). The Five Factors of the Five-Factor Model of Personality",
the five dimensions (sometimes known as the “Big Five) are

1. Agreeableness
2. Conscientiousness
3. Extraversion
4. Neuroticism, and
5. Openness to experience.

Projective Tests


Rorschach test, in its present form (i.e., set of 10 cards), was first released for professional use in

• In 1968, the Rorschach Research Foundation was established.

• In the leadership of Exner, the foundation started working on different interpretive systems in
order to incorporate best of all systems in one system. This system is generally known as the
‘Exner’s system.’

• The test contains 10 cards. Card nos. 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are completely achromatic; card nos. 2 and
3 are partially chromatic and card nos. 8, 9 and 10 are completely chromatic.

• Each card has white background.

• The 6½ by 9½ inch inkblot cards are the standard stimuli and by convention are referred to by
Roman numerals I to X.
THEMATIC APPERCEPTION TEST (Dynamic of personality)

Originally developed by Murray and Morgan in 1935

• TAT consists of 31 cards among which 1 card is blank whereas other cards depict some events,
mostly interpersonal events.

• Test administration: The subject is asked to write short stories on the events or situations
depicted on the cards. The story should contain few things. For example,

What happened in past that has led to the present condition.

What is happening now

Who is/are this/these person/people?

What is/are he/she/they doing?

What are the predominant emotions?

What is he thinking?

What will happen in future?

The subject is asked to be spontaneous and write the stories as fast as possible.

Sack’s Sentence Completion Test

Items: 60 incomplete items

Measures conflict

Major areas:

1. Family

2. Sex

3. Interpersonal

4. Self

Draw- A- Person Test (DAP): Projective, Cognitive function test (Karen Machover)

Draw- A- Person Test, or (DAP) as it is commonly called, simply requires that the patient draw a
person. The test subject is free to draw any type of person, male or female. After the completion
of the first drawing, he is asked to draw a person of the opposite sex.