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Personality psychology

2791 words (11 pages) Essay in Psychology

5/12/16 Psychology Reference this

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Psychology 102

Personality Theory Module 2009

Tutorial Assignment 1

  1. Personality- refers to the totality of somebody’s attitudes, interests, behavioural patterns, emotional responses, social roles, and other individual traits that endure over long periods of time
  2. Trait- refers to a characteristic or quality that distinguishes somebody
  3. Temperament-refers to the quality of mind; a prevailing or dominant quality of mind that characterizes somebody
  4. Disposition- refers to a person’s personality, behavioural tendency and settlement ; somebody’s usual mood or temperament; an inclination or tendency to act in a particular way; settlement of a business or legal matter
  5. cardinal traits/dispositions- defines the individual
  6. central traits/dispositions-
  7. secondary traits/dispositions-are displayed under certain circumstances; superficial
  8. id-unconscious= instinctive impulses
  9. ego- refers mainly to self-esteem; somebody’s idea of his or her own importance or worth, usually of an appropriate level
  10. superego- Freudian Conscience; according to Freudian theory, the part of the mind that acts as a conscience to the ego, developing moral standards and rules through contact with parents and society.
  1. Which theorist first used the terms ‘cardinal’, ‘central’ and ‘secondary’ traits? What name is given to his theory?
  2. ¬ Gordon Allport. His theory is called the personality trait theory and lies in his suggestion that an individual manifests three types of traits, which he described as cardinal traits, central, and secondary traits.

  3. Which theorist first used the terms ‘id’, ‘ego’ and ‘superego’? What name is given to his theory?
  4. ¬ Sigmund Freud. The name given to the theory is ‘psycho-analytical theory’

  5. Write about 300 wordsdescribing the personality characteristics of any ‘well-known adult’ (e.g. politician, musician, movie/TV star, etc). Use the Five Factor model: In your opinion, based on what you know of the person, is she/he average, above average, or below average on each of the 5 factors? For each of these ratings, provide examples (either real or fictitious) to support your evaluation.
  6. ¬ The big 5 of the Five Factor Model comprise of:

    I will describe the personality of President, Barack Obama. Obama’s combination of confidence, assertiveness, and congeniality fits the profile of a charismatic leader. Specifically, Obama’s profile indicates that he has an extraordinary mix of ambitious, dominant, and outgoing traits foundational to the political skillsrequired to advance a personal vision, connect with people, and inspire followers. First, Obama’s level of ambition is at a moderate level that generally conveys self-confidence, social composure, poise, level-headedness, stability, and charm rather than narcissistic self-absorption or arrogance. Similarly, Obama’s modest degree of dominance finds expression in deliberative, forceful assertiveness rather than the hot-headed combativeness found in more extreme variants of this particular tendency. I believe that he poses such an enigmatic character. He is energetic and assertive which add to his leadership qualities. He has an agreeable personality trait; he is sympathetic, kind, and affectionate. He is organized in my opinion very thorough, insightful and passionate. I would rate him a high score [above average] for agreeableness.

  • Extraversion (sometimes called Surgency). The broad dimension of Extraversion encompasses such more specific traits as talkative, energetic, and assertive. [above average]
  • Agreeableness. Includes traits like sympathetic, kind, and affectionate. [above average]
  • Conscientiousness. Includes traits like organized, thorough, and planful. [above average]
  • Neuroticism (sometimes reversed and called Emotional Stability). Includes traits like tense, moody, and anxious. [below average]
  • Openness to Experience (sometimes called Intellect or Intellect/Imagination). Includes traits like having wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful. [above average]

5. Defense Mechanisms

5.2 Now read through the brief scenarios below and decide which defense mechanism is operating in each one. Write the name of the appropriate defense mechanism alongside each scenario.

  1. Even a top golfer will sometimes miss an easy putt. When this happens, his next action may be to throw his putter, shove it roughly into his bag or shout orders at his caddy =Displacement.
  2. Mrs Matiwane often accuses other women of talking too much and spreading rumors. It is rather obvious to those who know her that she is far from innocent in this area herself =Projection.
  3. Parents might be reassured to know that children who pull the wings off flies and jab pins in the dog may eventually experience great success in the areas of dentistry and surgery =Sublimation.
  4. A student forgot that his dreaded final exam in psychology was scheduled for Friday. This seemed unusual as the date of the exam had been marked on his calendar for several weeks = Projection.
  5. Ted is likely to become annoyed if he is reminded of his earlier conviction as a Peeping Tom. Ted has left his sordid past behind and now is a busy photographer for Playboy magazine= Sublimation.
  6. Maggie is convinced that she received a ‘C’ for Psychology instead of an ‘A’ because of widespread cheating by her fellow students. She is sure that she must be as capable in Psychology as in her other subjects =Rationalisation.
  7. It is possible that smokers have graduated from earlier stages of thumb-sucking and pencil-chewing, neither of which would be socially acceptable behavior in adult society. Smoking is a socially acceptable expression of unmet oral needs =Sublimation.
  8. Lindi has secretly disliked her mother-in-law since they first met. As these feelings arouse anxiety, Lindi usually tells friends that she loves her mother-in-law very much and she goes out of her way to express affection towards her= Rationalisation.
  9. Zac is a heavy drinker but has managed to keep this behavior secret from his family. He is sure that most people actually drink as much as he does= Rationalisation.
  10. It is typical for the person who is most difficult to convince in an argument to say that everyone else is stubborn=Rationalisation.
  11. A six-year-old child, who gave up bed-wetting at the age of three, moves with his parents to a new town. During the stressful period of adjusting to his new home, he again wets the bed for several nights =Regression.
  12. Zandile always teases and annoys his younger brother after he himself is disciplined by his parents= Displacement.
  13. People exposed to traumatic experiences in concentration camps during World War II sometimes displayed amnesia: they were unable to recall parts of the ordeal =Repression.
  14. Mr. J can’t understand why his wife has been so grumpy and irritable for the past week. It certainly isn’t his fault that she didn’t receive the anticipated promotion in her company =Displacement.
  15. Jacob has suffered heavy financial losses recently while playing the stock market. Upon trading his big luxury car for an old small car, Jacob informed his associates that he had bought the cheaper car to do his part in the battle against global warming =Rationalisation.

Psychology 102 : Personality Theory Module 2009

Tutorial Assignment 2

  1. A table is attached to this assignment sheet which compares six of the major personality theories along various dimensions. The first theory, namely Trait Theory, has been completed for you, as an example. Complete (fill in) the rest of the table with relevant information from your prescribed textbook, the personality chapter in your orange module outline/reader booklet and your lecture notes. If you use any additional sources of information please provide full references.
  2. On the first day of lectures you were asked to write a description of your own personality and the personality of someone you know well. Have another look at what you wrote and then answer the questions below.

2.1 Where would you locate your own theory of personality (the system of beliefs you hold about personality) on each continuum of underlying philosophical assumptions below. Explain why you have located yourself there or why that particular dimension is irrelevant to your theory.











2.3 Write a half page description of / account of either your own or your friend’s personality from the perspective of two different personality theories (NOT Five Factor Theory – you did that last week). E.g. Humanist perspective and Social-Learning perspective OR Cognitive perspective and Psychoanalytic perspective.

Look at the text block headed ‘One problem, many perspectives’ on p 132 of your prescribed textbook: Swartz, L., de la Rey., C, Duncan, N., Townsend, L. (2008). Psychology, an introduction (2nd ed.). Oxford. Cape Town. This provides a brief example of what I am asking you to do…I would be hoping for more detail than they have provided.

2.4 Which description/account of your personality appeals to you most? Why?

Psyc 102 Personality Tutorial Assignment 2 Kim Barker July/August 2009







Social Learning


State or Trait


Inherently good and growth-focussed



Learnt in continuous reciprocal interactions





McCrae & Costa


Between WWI and WWII





Life and death instincts



Personal constructs



(Ideas & terms that the theorists constructed to explain their theory)

Cardinal, central, secondary traits

Factor analysis 16PF

Prediction of behaviour

Five Factor Theory:





Openness to experience


(How change in personality takes place over time)

No change, continuity and stability of characteristic traits










Factor Analysis

Psychology 102 : Personality Theory Module 2009

Tutorial Assignment 3: Psychopathology

1. Read the article in your reader:

de Valda, M. (2003). From paranoid schizophrenia to hearing voices – and other class distinctions. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, 3, 13-17.

  1. How did the diagnosis of ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ affect Mickey de Valda’s life? Mickey was quite shocked after the diagnosis. It appears that though he doesn’t fully understand the disorder, from a lack of education and knowledge, and perhaps it is this fact that made him fear himself. He became very self-conscious. He developed what some may call irrational fears and doubted himself and what he may do.
  2. What factors, other than class, might influence who is diagnosed with mental illness/psychopathology and who is not?
  3. The educated folk, more “powerful”, psychiatrists. Individuals deemed ‘productive’ agents of society.

  4. Do we need a classification system for psychopathology? Give reasons for your answers.
  5. I’m not sure if we need a classification system for psychopathology, perhaps we do; The DSM’s operationism entails that the meaning of a disorder is exhausted by the way of recognizing the disorder. The DSM itself is little more than a catalogue of ways of recognizing disorders as they occur in people. Klerman (1991) describes the philosophy underlying the DSM: “The criteria for assigning individuals to diagnostic categories [are] based on algorithms, which should be based, whenever possible, on operationally defined, observable manifestations of psychopathology, with minimal inferences as to presumed causation” (p. 75).

    Because the DSM provides explicit ways of recognizing disorders, it is possible to categorize people as either having the “disorder” or not having it. However, this categorization is based on a criterion philosophy that fails to establish a correspondence between the classification system and the external world. It is possible to make up a categorical classification system about anything whatsoever–if one is willing to abide a certain arbitrariness and artificiality in one’s conceptual scheme. Social constructionists would be right in arguing that such a scheme bears little correspondence to reality (Eisenberg, 1988; Rothbart and Taylor, 1992).

  6. What are some of the dangers and limitations of using the DSM-IV system?

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the APA and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.

    The DSM has attracted controversy and criticism as well as praise. There have been al illness in the field of psychiatry ; a problem the DSM sidesteps by referring only to “mental disorders”, defined modestly as dysfunctional psychological or behavioral patterns; the DSM-IV has come under various criticisms over the years.

2. Read the two case studies attached. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Is ‘paedophilia’ diagnosed on Axis I, Axis II, or Axis III of the DSM-IV-TR.
  2. What are the diagnostic criteria for paedophilia? (Provide reference for this answer).

    Axis I: Clinical disorders. These include major mental disorders, developmental disordefive revisions since it was first published in 1952, gradually including more disorders, though some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders.

    Beginning with the problem that there is no single objective diagnostic test for a mentrs and learning disabilities. Common disorders on this axis may include: depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, ADD, and schizophrenia.

    Mthunzi Banga claims that he was ‘mentally ill’ when he committed the double murder that he is currently standing trial for. What categories of psycn the case described the ‘two victims as ‘walking corpses’ who have been “severely affected psychologically” and noted that both viticims had developed abnormal behaviour due to Doyle’s actions’. Do you think that this is a helpful or unhelpful way of describing the victims? Give reasons for your answer.

  3. hological disorder do you think the staff at Fort England might be considering as they assess whether or not this is the case?

  4. Do you think the outcome of the court case for Herbert Doyle was influenced by the diagnosis of ‘paedophilia’? Give reasons for your answer.
  5. Do you think that a diagnosis of psychological disorder should or should not influence the judgement and/or sentencing in a court case?
  6. In your opinion, was the sentence in Herbert Doyle’s case fair and just?
  7. The judge in the case described the ‘two victims as ‘walking corpses’ who have been “severely affected psychologically” and noted that both viticims had developed abnormal behaviour due to Doyle’s actions’. Do you think that this is a helpful or unhelpful way of describing the victims? Give reasons for your answer.
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