Personality Theories ANgelina Palacios

Psychoanalytic Theory

Major Theorist- Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud was born in Freiberg, which is now known as the Czech Republic, on May 6, 1856. Freud developed psychoanalysis, a method through which an analyst unpacks unconscious conflicts based on the free associations, dreams and fantasies of the patient. His theories on child sexuality, libido and the ego, among other topics, were some of his most influential academic concepts of the 20th century.

Freud's many theories—including those about "psychic energy," the Oedipus complex and the importance of dreams—were no doubt influenced by other scientific discoveries of his day. Charles Darwin's understanding of humankind as a progressive element of the animal kingdom certainly informed Freud's investigation of human behavior.

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
Key Terms: The id is based on the pleasure principle that makes demands. The superego is more of the moral arm. The ego is based on the reality principle that gives the conscious a reality check.

Defense Mechanisms- unconscious mental operations that deny or distort reality

Psychosexual Stages- during which the id's pleasure seeking tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive areas of the body -- the erogenous zones

Electra Complex- the female counterpart of the Oedipus Complex

Oedipus Complex- involving love for the mother and hostility toward the father

Humanistic Theory

Major Theorists- Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers

"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself." -Abraham Maslow


Maslow believed we are all born good and move toward self-actualization - the process of fulfilling our potential Self-actualized people share specific characteristics that constitute a healthy personality

Terms associated-

Positive Psychology- The scientific study of optimal human functioning

Pervasive – counseling, education, parenting, management

Ideal self – who you want to be

Real self – who you actually are

Congruence – real self and ideal self match → positive self-concept

Incongruence – disparity between real self and ideal self → negative self-concept

Trait Theory

Major Theorists- Carl Jung

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."


Personality is the result of stable and enduring traits.

Terms Associated-

Temperament (emotional reactivity) is in some part biologically determined.

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