AP Psychology – Chapter 15: Personality

an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting

free association
in psychoanalysis, a method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes and says whatever comes to mind, no matter how trivial or embarrassing

Freud’s theory of personality that attributes thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts

according to Freud, a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. According to contemporary psychologists, information processing of which we are unaware

contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to Freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives. The id operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification

the largely conscious, “executive” part of personality that, according to Freud, mediates among the demands of the id, superego, and reality


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col-lg-5">the part of personality that, according to Freud, represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment (the conscience) and for future aspirations

psychosexual stages
the childhood stages of development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital) during which, according to Freud, the id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones

Oedipus complex
according to Freud, a boy’s sexual desires toward his mother and feelings of jealousy and hatred for the rival father

the process by which, according to Freud, children incorporate their parents’ values into their developing superegos

according to Freud, a lingering focus of pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage, in which conflicts were unresolved

defense mechanisms
in psychoanalytic theory, the ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality

in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness

psychoanalytic defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated

reaction formation
psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites

psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others

defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one’s actions

psychoanalytic defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person, as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet

collective unconscious
Carl Jung’s concept of a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species’ history

projective test
a personality test, such as the Rorschach or TAT, that provides ambiguous stimuli designed to trigger projection of one’s inner dynamics

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
a projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interests through the stories they make up about ambiguous scenes

Rorshach inkblot test
the most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inkblots, designed by Hermann Rorschach; seeks to identify people’s inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots

terror-management theory
proposes that faith in one’s worldview and the pursuit of self-esteem provide protection against a deeply rooted fear of death

according to Maslow, the ultimate psychological need that arises after basic physical and psychological needs are met and self-esteem is achieved; the motivation to fulfill one’s potential

unconditional positive regard
according to Rogers, an attitude of total acceptance toward another person

all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in answer to the question, “Who am I?”

a characteristic pattern of behaviour or a disposition to feel and act, as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports

personality inventory
a questionnaire (often with true-false or agree-disagree items) on which people respond to items designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviours

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests; originally developed to identify emotional disorders, this test is now used for many other screening purposes

empirically derived test
a test (such as the MMPI) developed by testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminate between groups

social-cognitive perspective
views behaviour as influenced by the interaction between persons (and their thinking) and their social context

reciprocal determinism
the interacting influences between personality and environmental factors

personal control
our sense of controlling our environment rather than feeling helpless

external locus of control
the perception that chance or outside forces beyond one’s personal control determine one’s fate

internal locus of control
the perception that one controls one’s own fate

learned helplessness
the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events

positive psychology
the scientific study of optimal human functioning; aims to discover and promote strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive

spotlight effect
overestimating others’ noticing and evaluating our appearance, performance, and blunders

one’s feelings of high or low self-worth

self-serving bias
a readiness to perceive oneself favourably

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