Personality And Memory Theory – Psychology

This chapter covers Personality And Memory Theory Psychology.


A person’s internally based characteristic ways of acting and thinking.
Unique psychological qualities that influence a variety of characteristic patterns of behaviour and ways of thinking that determines a person’s adjustment to the environment.

Conscious mind

Freud’s term for what you are presently aware of

Preconscious mind

Freud’s term for what is stored in your memory that you are not presently aware of but can access

Unconscious mind

Freud’s term for the part of our mind that we cannot become aware of.


The part of the personality that a person is born with, where the biological instinctual drives reside, and that is located totally in the unconscious mind.

Pleasure principle

The principle of seeking immediate gratification for instinctual drives without concern for the consequences


The part of the personality that starts developing in the first year or so of life to find realistic outlets for the id’s instinctual drives.

Reality principle

The principle of finding gratification for instinctual drives within the constraints of reality (norms of society).


The part of the personality that represents one’s conscience and idealized standards of behaviour.

Defense mechanism

A process used by the ego to distort reality and protect a person from anxiety.

Erogenous zone

The area of the body where the id’s pleasure-seeking energies are focused during a particular stage of psychosexual development.


Some of the id’s pleasure-seeking energies remaining in a psychosexual stage due to excessive or insufficient gratification of instinctual needs.

Oral stage of psychosexual development

First stage in Freud’s theory
Birth to 18 months
Erogenous zones are mouth, lips, tongue
Child derives pleasure from oral activities such as biting, sucking, chewing

Anal stage of psychosexual devlopment

Second stage in Freud’s theory
18 months to 3 years
Erogenous zone is anus
Child derives pleasure from stimulation of anal area through having and withholding anal movements

Phallic stage of psychosexual development

Third stage in Freud’s theory
3 to 6 years
Erogenous zone is located at genitals
Child derives pleasure from genital stimulation

Oedipus Conflict

Phallic stage conflict in which boy becomes sexually attracted to mother and fears his father will find out and castrate him.


Process by which children adopt characteristics of same-sex parent and learn their gender role and sense of morality

Latency stage of psychosexual development

Fourth stage in Freud’s theory
6 years to puberty
No erogenous zone
Sexual feelings are repressed and the focus is on cognitive and social development

Genital stage of psychosexual development

Fifth stage in Freud’s theory
Puberty to adulthood
Erogenous zone is genitals
Child develops sexual relationships, moving towards intimate adult relationships

Hierarchy of Needs

Suggests that the innate needs which motivate our behaviour are arranged in a pyramid shape.
From bottom to top:
Physiological (hunger, thirst)
Safety (feel safe, secure, stable)
Belonging and love (to love and be love, belong, be accepted)
Esteem (self-esteem, achievement, competence, independence)
Self-actualization (live up to potential)


The fullest realization of a person’s potential

Conditions of worth

The behaviours and attitudes for which other people (starting with parents) will give us positive regard

Unconditional positive regard

Unconditional acceptance and approval of a person by others


The set of cognitive processes by which a person observes, evaluates, and regulates their behaviour


A judgement of one’s effectiveness in dealing with particular situations

External locus of control

The perception that chance or external forces beyond your personal control determine your fate

Internal locus of control

The perception that you control your own fate.

Learned helplessness

A sense of hopelessness in which a person thinks that he is unable to prevent aversive events.


The process by which we explain our own behaviour and that of others

Self-serving bias

The tendency to make attributions so that one can perceive oneself favourably


The relatively stable internally based characteristics that describe a person

Personal inventory

An objective personality test that uses a series of questions or statements for which the test taker must indicate whether they apply to him/her or not.

Projective test

A personality test that uses a series of ambiguous stimuli to which the test taker must respond about her perception of the stimuli

Personality Theories

Type Theories
Trait Theories

Type Theories

Distinct (no overlap) pattern of personality characteristics
– Sheldon Somatotypes
– Eysenck
– Type A vs. Type B

Sheldon Somatotypes

Type theory of personality
Based on body types
Endomorph – short, plump – sociable, relaxed, even tempered
Ectomorph – tall, thin – restrained, self-conscious, fond of solitude
Mesomorph – heavy-set, muscular – noisy, callous, fond of physical activity


Sheldon somatotype
Short, plump
Sociable, relaxed, even-tempered


Sheldon somatotype
Tall, thin
Restrained, self-conscious, fond of solitude


Sheldon somatotype
Heavy-set, muscular
Noisy, callous, fond of physical activity


Type theory of personality
Introvert vs. extrovert

Type A vs. Type B

Type theory of personality
Aggressive when frustrated, impatient, controlling.

Trait Theories of Personality

Characteristic patterns of behaviour or conscious motives.
Assumed that most traits exist in all people to a certain degree and that we can measure the degree to which a trait exists in a person
Thousands of words to describe traits.

Beauty and the Beast

In-class example of trait
Belle – innocent, intellectual, happy, nice
Gaston – arrogant, jerk, narcissistic


Research has shown that various traits tend to cluster (or appear together) in various dimensions (or factors)

5-Factor Model of Personality

Neuroticism – tendency to experience negative effects


5-Factor model of personality
Tendency to experience negative effects

Abnormal psychology

The scientific study of mental disorders and their treatment.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV)

The current version of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and classification guidelines for mental disorders.

Personality Disorder

A disorder characterized by inflexible, long-standing personality traits that lead to behaviour that impairs social functioning and deviates from cultural norms.

Biopsychosocial Approach

Explaining abnormality as the result of the interaction among biological, psychological (behavioural and cognitive), and sociocultural factors.

Anxiety Disorders

Disorders in which excessive anxiety leads to personal distress and atypical, maladaptive, and irrational behaviour.

Specific Phobia

An anxiety disorder indicated by a marked and persistent fear of specific objects or situations that is excessive and unreasonable.

Social Phobia

An anxiety disorder indicated by a marked and persistent fear of one or more social performance situations in which there is exposure to unfamiliar people or scrutiny by others.


An anxiety disorder indicated by a marked and persistent fear of being in places or situations from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing.

Panic Disorder

An anxiety disorder in which a person experiences recurrent panic attacks.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

An anxiety disorder in which a person has excessive, global anxiety that he or she cannot control, for a period of at least 6 months.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

An anxiety disorder in which the person experiences recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are perceived by the person as excessive or unreasonable, but cause significant distress and disruption in the person’s daily life.


A persistent, intrusive thought, idea, impulse, or image that causes anxiety.


A repetitive and rigid behaviour that a person feels compelled to perform in order to reduce anxiety.

Mood Disorders

Disorders that involve dramatic changes in a person’s emotional mood that are excessive and unwarranted.

Major Depressive Disorder

A mood disorder in which the person has experienced one or more depressive episodes.

Major Depressive Episode

An episode characterized by symptoms such as feelings of intense hopelessness, low self-esteem and worthlessness, extreme fatigue, dramatic changes in eating and sleeping behaviour, inability to concentrate, and greatly diminished interest in family, friend, and activities for a period of 2 weeks or more.

Manic Episode

An episode characterized by abnormally elevated mood in which the person experiences symptoms such as inflated self-esteem with grandiose delusions, a decreased need for sleep, constant talking, distractability, restlessness, and poor judgment for a period of at least a week.

Bipolar Disorder

A mood disorder in which recurrent cycles of depressive and manic episodes occur.

Psychotic Disorder

A disorder characterized by a loss of contact with reality.


A false sensory perception.


A false belief.


A psychotic disorder in which at least two of the following symptoms are present most of the time during a 1-month period: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behaviour, or negative symptoms such as loss of emotion.

Vulnerability-Stress Model

A biopsychosocial explanation of schizophrenia which proposes that genetic, prenatal, and postnatal biological factors render a person vulnerable to schizophrenia, but environmental stress determines whether it develops or not.

Biomedical Therapy

The use of biological interventions, such as drugs, to treat mental disorders.


The use of psychological interventions to treat mental disorders.


A naturally occurring element (a mineral salt) that is used to treat bipolar disorder.

Antidepressant Drugs

Drugs used to treat depressive disorders.

Neurogenesis Theory of Depression

An explanation of depression that proposes that neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons, in the hippocampus stops during depression, and when it resumes the depression lifts.

Antianxiety Drugs

Drugs used to treat anxiety problems and disorders.

Antipsychotic Drugs

Drugs used to treat psychotic disorders.

Tardive Dyskinesia

A side effect of long-term use of traditional anti-psychotic drugs causing the person to have uncontrollable facial tics, grimaces, and other involuntary movements of the lips, jaw, and tongue.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

A biomedical treatment for severe depression that involves electrically inducing a brief brain seizure.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

A neurostimulation therapy in which the left frontal lobe is stimulated with magnetic pulses via an electromagnetic coil placed on the patient’s scalp. It is only cleared for use in cases of severe depression for which traditional treatment has not helped.


A biomedical treatment in which specific areas of the brain are destroyed.


A type of psychosurgery in which the neuronal connections of the frontal lobe to lower brain areas are severed.


A style of psychotherapy originally developed by Sigmund Freud in which the therapist helps the person gain insight into the unconscious sources of his or her problems.

Free Association

A person spontaneously describes, without editing, all thoughts, feelings, or images that come to mind.


A person’s unwillingness to discuss a particular topic during therapy.

Manifest Content

Freud’s term for the literal surface meaning of a dream.

Latent Content

Freud’s term for the underlying true meaning of a dream.


A person undergoing therapy acts towards the therapist as he or she did toward important figures in his or her life, such as his or her parents.

Client-Centered Therapy

A style of psychotherapy developed by Carl Rogers in which the therapist uses unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and empathy to help the person gain insight into his or her true self-concept.

Behavioural Therapy

A style of psychotherapy in which the therapist uses the principles of classical and operant conditioning to change the person’s behaviour from maladaptive to adaptive.


A type of behavioural therapy in which a maladaptive response is replaced by an incompatible adaptive response.

Systematic Desensitization

A counterconditioning exposure therapy in which a fear response to an object or situation is replaced with a relaxation response in a series of progressively increasing fear-arousing steps.

Virtual Reality Therapy

A counterconditioning exposure therapy in which the patient is exposed in graduated steps to computer simulations of a feared object or situation.


A counterconditioning exposure therapy in which the patient is immediately exposed to a feared object or situation.

Cognitive Therapy

A style of psychotherapy in which the therapist attempts to change the person’s thinking from maladaptive to adaptive.

Rational-Emotive Therapy

A type of cognitive therapy developed by Albert Ellis in which the therapist directly challenges the person’s unrealistic thoughts and beliefs to show that they are irrational.

Beck’s Cognitive Therapy

A type of cognitive therapy developed by Aaron Beck in whcih the therapist works to develop a warm relationship with the person and has the person carefully consider the evidence for his or her beliefs in order to see the errors in his or her thinking.

Spontaneous Remission

Getting better with the passage of time without receiving any therapy.

Criticisms of both Type and Trait theories

Identify but don’t explain how behaviour is caused
People are not always consistent in different situations
Traits may emerge in more familiar situations
No conception of development

Identify but don’t explain how behaviour is caused

Criticism of type/trait theory
Descriptive not explanatory

People not always consistent in different situations

Criticism of type/trait theory
Punctuality on exam days vs. regular lecture days

Traits may emerge in familiar situations

Criticism of type/trait theory
When eating dinner at home you may be talkative but at a new girlfriend’s house you may be quiet

Type and Traits

Give us a way to describe individual differences in behaviour
Can be regarded as predispositions to respond in similar situations

Psychodynamic Theory

Sigmund Freud
Id. superego, ego
Stages of psychosexual development

Sigmund Freud

Physician from Vienna, Austria
Interested in treatment of nervous disorders (hysterical blindness)
Adopted “talking cure” though which patients were able to get rid of their symptoms by talking about their problems

Hysterical Blindness

Nervous disorder

Talking Cure

Patients able to get rid of their symptoms by talking about their problems

Id, Superego, Ego

Three parts of personality


Unconscious part of personality in which 2 types of instinct reside
Life instincts
Death instincts
Operates on pleasure principle
Seeks immediate satisfaction regardless of external considerations

Life instincts

Found in Id
Unconscious instincts,
(eros), reflect a source of energy (libido)

Death instincts

Found in id
Unconscious instincts
Responsible for aggression and destruction

Pleasure principle

Seeks immediate satisfaction of both instincts (life and death) regardless of external considerations (society’s rules or rights of others)

Iceberg Model

Relate to Freud’s three aspects of personality
Id – all below surface
Superego – half below, half above
Ego – half below, half above


Represents values and morals
Just as relentless as Id in trying to get own way
Seeks to keep Id in check

Ego (self)

Operates on reality principle
Balances Id and Superego

Reality Principle

Mediating impulsive demands of id and restraining demands of superego with real-life demands of external world

3 personality parts working together

Mr X sexually attracted to Ms Y (id)
Mr X does not feel that he should have sex (superego)
Mr X joins a club that Ms Y is in so he can be close to her (ego)

Why is it important to prevent unconscious conflicts between the id, superego, and ego becoming conscious?

To prevent anxiety

Defense Mechanisms

Used by the ego
Stop unconscious conflicts (between id, superego, ego) becoming conscious


Defense mechanism
Refusal to acknowledge a painful or threatening reality


Defense mechanism
Projecting your anger onto something that can’t hurt you


Defense mechanism

Personality Development

Believed that personality id affected by how a child deals with changes in the focus of the id on different parts of the body as the child grows older

Psychosexual Development (Psychodynamic Theory)

Various stages

Oral Stage

Mouth region
0-18 months old

Anal stage

Elimination then retention
(18 months – 3 years old)

Phallic stage

Sexual love towards opposite sex parent (3-6 years old)

Oedipus Complex

Family triangle of love, jealousy, and fear which is at the root of internalized morality and out of which grows the child’s identification with the parent of the same sex.

Stages of Oedipus Complex

Child seeks external object for his erotic urges
External object is mum
Dad is in the way
Fear of dad castrating him (castration anxiety)
Throws in the towel, renounces mum and identifies with dad

Why would a child seek an external object for his erotic urged during the Phallic stage of development?

He is told that masturbation is bad

What is the object of a male child’s erotic urges during the Phallic stage of development?


Who gets in the way of a male child’s erotic urges during the Phallic stage of development?


What is castration anxiety?

Male child (with erotic urges directed towards mum) fears that dad will castrate him

How is the Oedipus Complex resolved?

Boy throws in the towel (due to castration anxiety)–renounces mum and identifies with dad

Electra Complex

Phallic stage for girls
Named after Greek woman who got her brother to kill her mother.

Stages of the Electra Complex

Female decides mum castrated her (penis envy)
Hates mum, loves dad
Throws in towel, renounces dad, identifies with mum

Latency Stage

4th stage of psychosexual development
Ages 6 years to puberty
Exploring environment and developing skills
No interest in the opposite sex

What age characterizes the Latency Stage of Psychodynamic Theory?

6 years to puberty

What actions characterize the Latency Stage of psychosexual development?

Exploring the environment and developing skills
No interest in the opposite sex

First stage of Psychodynamic Theory


Second stage of Psychosexual development


Third stage of Psychodynamic Theory


Fourth stage of Psychodynamic Theory


Fifth stage of Psychodynamic Theory


Genital Stage

Sexual – puberty

Why is there a problem if someone becomes fixated at a particular stage of Psychodynamic Theory?

May cause problems later in life
Anal fixation – problems during toilet training can lead to a compulsive, stubborn, stingy person

Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory

Based on what he observed with emotionally disturbed ADULT patients (even though it was concerned with development)

Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory

Constructs are ambiguous, difficult to define or test

Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory

Offer after-the-facts explanations, not predictive

Criticisms of Psychodynamic Theory

Sexual conflicts from childhood are not the only cause of personality

Flashbulb memory

clear memory of an emotionally significant moment or event


processing of information into the memory system- for example, extracting meaning


retention of encoded information over time


process of getting information out of memory storage

Sensory memory

the immediate, very brief recording of sensory information in the memory system

Short-term memory

activated memory that holds a few items briefly, such as the seven digits of a phone number while dialing

Long-term memory

relatively permanant and limitedless storehouse of the memory system

Working memory

newer understanding of short-term memory that involves conscious, active processing of incoming auditory and visual-spatial information (another name for short-term)

Recency effect

our tendency to recall best the last items in a list

Acoustic encoding

encoding of sound, especially the sound of words

Semantic encoding

encoding of meaning, including the meaning of words


memory aids; like vivid imagery


organizing items into familiar, manageable units; often occurs automatically

Iconic memory

momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli

Echoic memory

momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; sounds can be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds


severe loss of memory

Implicit memory

retention independent of conscious recollection

Explicit memory

memory of facts and experiences that one can consciously know and “declare”


measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier


measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned


memory measure that assesses the amount of time saved when learning material for a second time

State dependent memory

tendency to recall experiences that are consistent with one’s mood at the time of the memory

Context dependent memory

tendency to recall experiences if you are in the environment in which the memory was formed


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

Maintenance Rehearsal

The process of repeatedly verbalizing or thinking about a piece of information.

Elaborative Rehearsal

A memory technique that involves thinking about the meaning of the term to be remembered, as opposed to simply repeating the word to yourself over and over.

Primacy Effect

This is the tendency for the first items presented in a series to be remembered better or more easily, or for them to be more influential than those presented later in the series.

Episodic Memory

A category of long-term memory that involves the recollection of specific events, situations and experiences.

Decay Theory

The act of forgetting something as the memory fades with time


the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.

Anterograde amnesia

a condition in which people lose the ability to form new memories

Retrograde amnesia

loss of memory from the point of some injury or trauma backwards, or loss of memory for the past

Infantile amnesia

the inability to retrieve memories from much before age 3

10-12 seconds

How long short term memory lasts unless you do something to move to long-term


Pieces of information a typical person can hold in their short-term or working memory

Positive aspects to Freud’s thinking

Emphasis on internal conflict (no doubt that happens to ALL of us)