Please see Chapter 2 Self and Personality Exam Questions Class 12 Psychology below. These important questions with solutions have been prepared based on the latest examination guidelines and syllabus issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. We have provided Class 12 Psychology Questions and answers for all chapters in your NCERT Book for Class 12 Psychology. These solved problems for Self and Personality in Class 12 Psychology will help you to score more marks in upcoming examinations.
Exam Questions Chapter 2 Self and Personality Class 12 Psychology
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Question. Define personality assessment.
Answer : Personality assessment is formal way of understanding human behaviour.
The goal of personality assessment is to understand, modify and predict human behaviour with minimum error and maximum accuracy.
Question. How is personal identity different from social identity?
Answer : Personal Identity: It refers to those attributes of a person that make him different from others. e.g., name, qualities, characteristics, beliefs, etc.
Social Identity: It refers to those aspects of a person that link him to a social or cultural group or are derived from it. e.g., when someone says that he is a Hindu or a Muslim he is trying to indicate his social identity.
Question. What are Traits?
Answer : Traits are :
(a) Traits are relatively stable over time.
(b) They are generally consistent across situations.
(c) Their strength and combination vary across individuals leading to individuals differences and personality.
Question. Why social self is called familial or relational self?
Answer : Social self values family and social relationships. Hence, it is referred as familial or relational self.
Question. Explain interactional approach of personality.
Answer : This approach holds that situational characterises play an important role in determining our behaviour. People may behave as dependent or independent of their internal
personality traits but because of external rewards or threats available in a particular
Question. What is Libido?
Answer : Libido refers to instinctual life force that energises the Id. It works on the pleasure principal and seeks immediate gratification.
The concept of Libido was given by Dr. Sigmund Freud. According to him, Libido is the source of energy.
Short Answer Type Questions
Question. Define observation. Explain the limitations of observation as a method to evaluate personality.
Answer : • Observation refers to systematic, organised and objective gathering and recording relevant information by a trained observer from natural setting.
• It is careful perception.
• It is a sophisticated method and cannot be carried out by untrained people. It requires careful training of the observer.
Limitations of Observational Method:
1. Professional training is required for collection of useful data though these methods are quite demanding and time consuming.
2. Maturity of the psychologist is a precondition for obtaining valid data through these techniques.
3. Mere presence of the observer may contaminate the results.
Question. How does Erich Fromm differ from Freud’s approach to personality?
Answer : • According to Freud, approach personality is biologically oriented whereas Erich Fromm’s theory of personality has a social orientation.
• He viewed human beings basically as social beings.
• For him, personality traits develop due to social interaction whereas, according to Freud, roots of personality development lies in innate tendencies and unconscious desires.
Question. What is self-actualization?
Answer : Maslow proposed the concept of self-actualization. He proposed that human needs exist in a hierarchy, ascending from the basic biological and safety needs to the more complex psychological motivations to the final highest need at the top self-actualization.
By self-actualization he meant:
(i) The development of full individuality, with all parts of the personality in harmony.
(ii) It is a state in which individuals have attained their fullest true potential.
(iii) It is the basic motivating force.
(iv) It is a tendency towards fulfilment, towards actualization, towards the maintenance and enhancement of the organism. As the organism grows it seeks to fulfil its potential within the limits of its heredity.
Question. Discuss five-factor model of personality.
Answer : Paul Costa and Robert MacCrae have done extensive research on all the possible personality traits. They found that all the findings indicate a set of five-factors. They are often called ‘Big Five’. These factors are described below:
1. Openness to Experience: Those who score high on this factor are imaginative, curious, open to new ideas and interested in cultural pursuits. In contrast, low scoring persons are rigid.
2. Extroversion: It characterizes people who are socially active, assertive, outgoing, talkative, and fun a loving. It is the opposite of shy, timid and socially withdrawn.
3. Agreeableness: This factor represents the traits of people who are helpful, co- operative, friendly, caring and nurturing. It is the opposite of hostile and being self- centered.
4. Neuroticism: People scouring high on this factor are emotionally unstable, anxious, worried, fearful, distressed, irritable and hypertensive. Its opposite is well adjusted.
5. Conscientiousness: Those who display a high degree of this factor are achievement- oriented, dependable, responsible, prudent, hardworking, self-controlled. Its opposite is impulsivity.
Question. Explain behaviouristic approach of personality development.
Answer : Behaviourists Approach of Personality:
• This theory of personality was originally developed by J.B. Watson, an American psychologist.
• This approach does not give importance to the internal dynamics, i.e., intrapsychic conflicts of behaviour.
• Behaviourist believed in data which is definable, observable and measurable. They studied only the overt manifestation of behaviour.
• They focus on learning of stimulus-response connections and their reinforcement.
• According to behaviourists, response is the structural unit of personality.
• The response which is positively reinforced, i.e., satisfies the needs is repeated again and again and thus becomes a habit.
• Personality is simply a bundle of habits.
• Personality is not biologically determined, it is learnt and acquired through experience.
• This learning occurs through Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning, Skinner’s Operant Conditioning and Bandura’s Observational Learning.
Question. Distinguish between source traits and surface traits. Give suitable examples.
Answer : • Raymond Cattell applied a statistical technique called factor analysis.
• He emphasized that each individual has a common structure of personality, which is unique to each individual.
• He found 16 primary/source traits.
• Source traits are the more basic traits with opposing tendencies.
• They are the building blocks of personality and are largely stable because they develop step by step.
Example – Aggression – source trait.
Surface Traits: Surface traits are caused by the interaction of source traits. These traits are somewhat unstable and observable. Raymond B. Cattell described them in terms of opposing tendencies, such as cool verses warm, dominant verses passive, etc.
According to Cattell, ways of expressing aggression differ among different individuals and its root lies in source trait of aggression.
Question. How would Horney’s explanation of depression be different from that of Alfred Adler?
Answer : While Karen Horney focuses more on interpersonal relationships during childhood, Alfred gives greater importance to personal goals of an individual.
There are, in my opinion, Horney would attribute the cause of depression to parental relations with children which are characterized by excessive interference or indifference. Deep anxiety would result from the behaviour rewards the child which, if is erratic, indifferent and discouraging feelings of isolation and helplessness will also emerge.
Alfred Adler would, on the other hand, attribute depression to the feeling of inadequacy and guilt arising within the individual, due to the inability to achieve his/her personal goals. These goals provide an individual with security and are important in overcoming feelings of inadequacy. If individual is not able to attain the goals and could not overcome inferiority appropriately then it leads to depression.
Question. What is trait approach to personality? How does it differ from type approach?
Answer : Trait approach psychologists explain personality on the basis of specific psychological characteristics.
Type approach psychologists believe that personality can be classified into broad categories.
Traits are relatively stable, persistent and characteristic patterns of behaviour which makes the individual different from others.
(i) These are overlapping, i.e., inclusive in nature.
(ii) Traits are specific psychological characteristics. e.g., shy or timid. Types are cluster of similar traits.
(i) These are broad categories.
(ii) These do not overlap, i.e., exclusive in nature. e.g., extrovert or introvert.
Question. Differentiate between self and personality.
Answer : • Self is awareness of our being, i.e., our existence. It is the awareness of one’s individuality and uniqueness.
• Self is the core whereas personality is its manifestation.
• Personality is the expression of this notion of self, i.e., how do I behave across the situation based on my awareness of my being in the world.
Let’s take an example—when I say ”I am one who easily gets hurt”. This description of my ‘self’ leads to me being a very emotional, sensitive and touchy person. All my interactions and relations with the world and vice-versa are related to traits-described above what is called my ‘personality’.
Question. What is self-esteem?
Answer : • Self-esteem is cognitive component of self.
• The value judgment of a person about herself/himself is called self-esteem.
• It can be high or low. To assess it, we present a variety of statements to a person and ask him to indicate the extent to which they are true for him. e.g., we may ask a child to what extent the statement “I am good at homework” or “I am highly liked by my peers” is true. If he responds as them to be true, he will have a high self-esteem than someone who says “no”.
• Studies show that children seem to have formed self-esteem in atleast four areas by the age of 6-7, i.e., academic competence, social competence, physical/athletic competence, and physical appearance.
Question. How personality can be assessed through DAPT?
Answer : DAPT—Draw-A-Person-Test. It is a simple test based on the psycho-dynamic approach, where the subject is asked to draw a person on a sheet of paper. After that he/she is asked to draw a person of the opposite sex. Finally the subject is asked to make a story about the person assuming that he/she is one of them.
Some examples of interpretation are as follows:
• Missing of facial features suggests that person tries to evade a highly conflict ridden interpersonal relationship.
• If there is a graphic emphasis on the neck that suggests lack of control over impulses.
• Disproportionally large head suggests organic brain disease and a pre-occupation with headaches.
Question. Discuss Behavioural Rating to assess personality.
Answer : • Behavioural rating refers to degree of agreement or disagreement of the rater on a particular issue on three or five point scale.
• Ratings are used in education and industrial setting.
• These are taken from people who know each other intimately and have interacted with them.
• It attempts to put individuals into categories in terms of their behavioural qualities.
Limitations of Behavioural Rating:
(i) Raters display bias that influence their judgments of different traits.
Example: The single favourable or unfavourable trait forms the basis of a rater’s over all judgment of a person. This process is called the Halo Effect.
(ii) Raters have a tendency to put individuals in the middle of the scale, i.e., Middle Category Bias or in the extreme position, i.e., Extreme category bias.
The limitations can be overcome by either
• Appropriate training of the rater, or
• Developing scales with minimum biases.
Question. How do you define personality? What are the main approaches to the study of personality?
Answer : The word ‘personality’ is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’, which means a mask or false face which Greek actors used to wear when acting on stage. According to Gordon Allport “Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychological systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment.”
One of the major approaches to understanding personality was to develop theories on what it was. There are many broad personality theories, which can be grouped into four categories:
(i) Dynamic approaches, which emphasize on-going interaction among motives, impulses and psychological processes.
(ii) Type and train approaches, which focus on people’s characteristics, stubbornness, shyness and so forth and how these characteristics are organized into systems.
(iii) Humanistic approaches, which emphasize the self and the importance of the individual’s subjective view of the world.
(iv) Learning and behavioural approaches, which emphasize the way habits are acquired through basic learning process.
Question. Arihant wants to become a singer even though he belongs to a family of doctors. Though his family members claim to love him but strongly disapprove his choice of career. Using Carl Rogers’ terminology, describe the attitudes shown by Arihant’s family.
Answer : Arihant wants to become a singer even though he belongs to a family of doctors. His family ‘claims’ to love him, but disapproves of his choice of career.
This fact warrants my attention towards an important terminology given by Carl Rogers, i.e., unconditional positive regard.
As the desire of Arihant to become a singer is contradicted by his family, it results in a situation of negative social conditions which will reduce his level of self-concept and self- esteem.
His inability to fulfil his goal will prevent him from becoming a ‘fully functioning person’. Moreover, his conception of an ‘ideal self’ involves him being a singer, while his ‘real self’ is not one due to familial pressure. This discrepancy between the real and ideal self results in dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
The provision of unconditional positive regard which includes empathy, love and warmth irrespective of other factors is necessary for Arihant.
According to Rogers, a person attains self-actualization only when people have reached their own fullest potential.
His inability to pursue singing will not allow self-actualization to occur which will prevent his psychological health and well-being.
Question. What is self? How does the Indian notion of self differ from the Western notion?
Answer : Self is an organized cognitive structure. It can be understood in terms of subject and object or I and Me. It refers to the totality of one’s conscious thoughts, and feelings which pertain to one’s own self.
Indian Concept of Self
• Self is characterized by the shifting nature of the boundaries.
• The Indian view does not make rigid dichotomies.
• It is based on collectivistic Indian society.
Western Concept of Self
• The boundaries between self and the group are rigid.
• It holds clear dichotomies between self and group.
• It is based on individualistic society of the West.
Question. What is self-efficacy?
Answer : • Self-efficacy is cognitive component of self.
• Self-efficacy refers to ones own effectiveness in achieving ones life outcomes.
• It is an individual’s belief about his/her own capabilities to get success in specific situation.
• The notion of self-efficacy is based on Bandura’s social learning theory. His initial studies showed that children and adults learn behaviour by observing and imitating others. People’s expectations of mastery or achievement and their convictions about their own effectiveness determine the type of behaviour they would engage in. The amount of risk they would undertake also determines this.
• A strong sense of self-efficacy allows us to select, influence, and construct the circumstances of our life.
Question. Define personality.
Explain the concept of Personality.
Answer : • Personality refers to our characteristic ways of responding to individuals and situations.
• Personality is a dynamic organisation within the individual of those psycho-physical systems which determine individual’s characteristic pattern of behaviour and thought.
In simple words it is enduring characteristic of an individual which makes him different from others.
Personality is characterised by the following features:
• It has both physical and psychological components each personality is unique.
• Main features of personality do not easily change with time.
• Personality is a dynamic organization in the sense that some of its features may change due to internal and external situational demands.
Question. Explain concept of defense mechanism.
Explain interactional approach of personality.
Answer : Ego Defense Mechanisms
• A defense mechanism is a way of reducing anxiety by distorting reality unconsciously which are regulated by the ego.
• It defends the ego against the awareness of the instinctual needs.
• It is normal and adaptive; people who use defence mechanisms are often unaware of doing so.
1. Repression: Anxiety provoking behaviours or thoughts are totally dismissed by the unconscious. It is unconscious forgetting.
2. Projection: People attribute their own traits to others.
3. Denial: A person totally refuses to accept reality.
4. Reaction Formation: A person defends against anxiety by adopting behaviours opposite to his/her true feelings.
5. Rationalization: A person tries to make unreasonable feelings or behaviour seem reasonable and acceptable.
Question. Who is a healthy person?
Answer : According to humanistic theorists, healthy people share the following characteristics:
• Healthy people enjoy self-awareness and self-acceptance.
• They believe that their life outcomes are their own responsibility.
• They live in present.
• They do not live in the past and dwell in anxious future.
Question. What functions do dream serve according to Freud?
Answer : Dreams are considered as the royal road to unconscious. Mainly they serve following purposes:
— They work as safeguards of sleep.
— They work as wish fulfilment device. We can give expression to impulses and desires we find unacceptable during our waking hours.
— Dreams release unconscious tension arising out of conflicts between Id and Ego.
Question. Differentiate between Personal Self and Social Self.
Answer : Personal Self:
• Personal self leads to an orientation in which one feels primarily concerned with oneself.
• After fulfilling biological needs other components like personal freedom, personal responsibility, personal achievement or personal comfort, emerges as a part of personal self.
• It is different from personal identity. e.g., “I am A.K. Bhatnagar.” This is my personal identity. “I desire to teach in university.” This is my personal self.
• Social self emerges in relation with others.
• It emphasizes on aspects of life as co-operation, unity, affiliation, sharing and sacrifice etc. It focuses on family and relationship, therefore it is also called relational or familial self.
• Social self is different from social identity. e.g., “I am a psychology teacher in a school” is my social identity. “I am an understanding and empathetic teacher” is my social self.
Question. What are the broad dimensions of personality proposed by H.J. Eysenck?
Answer : • H.J. Eysenck proposed that personality could be reduced to two dimensions.
• These dimensions are presumed to be biologically and genetically based.
• They are opposed to each other. These dimensions include numerous specific traits.
These dimensions are as follows:
— Neuroticism vs. Emotional Stability:
• It refers to the degree to which people have control over their feelings.
• At one extreme of this dimension are highly neurotic people.
• They are anxious, moody, touchy, restless and quickly loose control.
• People, who are calm, even-tempered, reliable and remain under control, occupy the other extreme.
— Extroversion vs. Introversion:
• It refers to the extent to which people are socially outgoing or socially withdrawn.
• At one extreme are those who are active, gregarious, impulsive and thrill-seeking.
• At other extremes are the people who are passive, quiet, cautious and reserved.
— Psychotism vs. Sociability: A third dimension was developed by Eysenck later. This dimension results due to interaction with the above-mentioned two dimensions. A person who scores high on psychotism dimension tends to be hostile, ego-centric and anti-social.
Sociability refers to tendency of individual to follow social norms.
Question. Explain cultural approach of personality.
Answer : Cultural Approach of Personality:
• This approach explains personality in terms of individual ecology and cultural environment.
• Individual personality is determined by Group Economic Maintenance System.
• Personality is very much influenced by climatic conditions, availability of food, availability of employment and nature of terrain etc.
• The Economic Maintenance System determines people’s economic activities, settlement patterns, social structures, division of labour and other features like child-rearing practices.
• Individual psycho-physical system, skills, behavioural styles and value priorities are determined by the rituals, ceremonies, religious practices, art, games, etc.
• People develop various personality qualities in an attempt to adapt to the ecological and cultural features of a group’s life.
There may be two groups belonging to two different types of cultures:
1. Birhor Society: Children of this society are allowed from an early age to move into the forest and learn hunting and gathering skills independently. Thus children from this society get freedom, autonomy and achievement oriented from childhood.
2. Agricultural Societies: Children are socialized to be obedient to elders, nurturing to youngsters and responsible to their duties.
Question. What are defense mechanisms? Discuss few defense mechanisms.
Answer : • According to Dr. Sigmund Freud defense mechanisms are ways in which the ego unconsciously tries to cope with unacceptable libidinal desires and resolves conflicts.
• In simple words, Ego defense mechanism are ways of resolving the conflict by distorting the reality unconsciously.
• It distorts reality to resolve conflicts and therefore provides temporary relief.
• Its optimum use is healthy but excessive usage lead to maladjustment.
• Defense mechanisms are regulated by the ego. It is different from lying because lying is intentional but use of defense mechanism is unconscious.
Some important defense mechanisms are as follows:
1. Repression: In this type of defence mechanism, anxiety-provoking behaviours or thoughts are totally dismissed by the unconscious.
• People become totally unaware of that wish or desire when they have repressed it. When a person says, “I do not know why I did that.”
• Repression may be referred as unconscious forgetting. It is the basic defence mechanism.
• It is unconscious forgetting.
2. Regression: It occurs when a person’s resolutions of problems at any stage of development is less than adequate.
• It is going back to good old golden days of childhood.
3. Displacement: Redirective an impulse towards a less threatening or safer target.
4. Projection: People attribute their own traits, attitudes or subjective processes to others. A person who has strong aggressive tendencies may see other people as acting in an excessively aggressive way towards him.
• It is blaming others for ones own conflicts, anxieties and guilt.
5. Denial: A person totally refuses to accept the reality. Someone suffering from HIV/AIDS may altogether deny his/her illness.
6. Reaction Formation: Person denies a disapproved motive through giving strong expression to its opposite. e.g., a person with strong sexual urges, who channels his/her energy into religious activities, presents a classical example of reaction formation.
7. Rationalization: A person tries to make unreasonable feelings or behaviour seem reasonable and acceptable. When a student buys a set of new pens after doing poorly in an examination, he/she may try to rationalize his/her behaviour by asserting, “I will do much better with these pens.”
• It is giving good excuses and basically using ‘sour grape phenomena’.
Question. Explain the concept of self.
Answer : • Self is an organized cognitive structure.
• It refers to the totality of one’s conscious experiences, ideas, thoughts and feelings with regard to himself or herself.
• It is acquired and can be changed by the external environment.
• It involves mental representation of one’s personal experiences and thought processes.
• The self can be understood in terms of ‘I’ i.e., The subject and ‘Me’ i.e., the object. The ‘I’ aspect of self is the lower ‘Knower’ whereas the ‘Me’ aspect is the ‘Known’. e.g. “I am a teacher” is my ‘I’ whereas getting knowledge from any source gives me pleasure, is my ‘Me’.
• Self has two components one real self and another ideal self. Real or possible self is what we might become or should become an ideal self is what we aspire or want to achieve.
• We are not born with the notion of our ‘self’. It starts developing at the age of two years, due to social interaction with parents, peers, teachers, relatives, etc.
Question. How do the post Freudians differ from Freud?
Answer : Many brilliant students and colleague of Freud disagree with Freud on several issues like biological determination of human behaviour and Freud but too much emphasis on libido as a source of energy. According to these scholars, human personality is basically socially determined. On such issues they separated themselves from Freud and proposed their own theories although they believed in other postulates of Freud. These psychologists were known as post Freudians.
They disagreed with Freud particularly on the following views:
— They have given attention to social determinants of personality and conscious reality instead of Freud’s biological determinism.
— They put less emphasis on the importance of general sexual urges or libidinal energy.
— They have extended personality development beyond childhood to include the entire life-span.
— The ego is viewed as the seat of creativity, planning and the formation of self- fulfilling goals.
Question. Distinguish between cardinal, central and secondary traits proposed by Allport using suitable examples.
Answer : All port distinguished between cardinal, central and secondary traits – all these traits form a hierarchy.
Cardinal Traits: These are the traits which are so dominant that nearly all of the individual’s actions can be traced back to them.
• These are highly generalized dispositions. If a person’s whole life seems to be organized around the goal of achievement, it becomes a cardinal trait of his or her personality. Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence, Mother Teressa’s humanitarianism are examples of cardinal traits.
Central Traits: All port described them as characterizing an individual’s behaviour to some extent but not in a complete way as cardinal traits.
• These are less generalized disposition in comparison to cardinal traits.
• He described central traits as those that might be mentioned in a letter of recommendations or certification.
For Example: Honest, calm, talkative, touchy, etc.
Secondary Traits: These are the traits that exert relatively weak and limited effects on the behaviour. These are least generalized characteristics of the person like ‘likes chocolates’ or ‘prefer foreign cars’. These traits can be changed over time.
All port proposed that the way a person reacts in situations depends on his traits. However, people sharing the same trait may express it in different ways.
Question. What are the three levels of consciousness as proposed by Freud? How unconscious is important?
Answer : Freud proposed three levels of consciousness or awareness:
Conscious: This includes our current thoughts whatever we are thinking about or experiencing at a given moment.
Preconscious: Beneath the conscious is the much larger preconscious. This contains memories that are not the part of current thoughts but can be easily accessible with a moment’s reflection. For example, what we had for breakfast or our parents, first names. Unconscious: Beneath the preconscious and forming the bulk of human mind is the unconscious.
(i) It includes thoughts, desires and impulses of which we remain largely unaware.
(ii) Freud believed that much of it was once conscious but has been actively repressed— driven from consciousness because it was too anxiety-provoking. For example, Freud contended that shameful experiences or unacceptable sexual or aggressive urges are often driven deep within the unconscious.
(iii) The process of repression is itself unconscious and automatic. We do not choose to repress an idea or impulses, it just happens.
(iv) The fact that we are not aware of them, however in no way prevents them from affecting our behaviour. They continue to operate underground, often converting the repressed conflict into anxiety or even psychological disorders.
(v) It is storehouse of repressed libidinal energy.
Question. How Oedipus and Electra complex are different?
Answer : In the phallic stage, Freud speculated that at this time the child fraternizes sexual relation with parents of the opposite sex which Freud termed as the Oedipus complex for boys and Electra complex for girls.
A male child experiencing Oedipus complex tends to get sexually attracted toward his mother and has a hostility toward his father. They come to know this is unlikely, boys give up their sexual feelings for their mother and start to see their fathers as role models.
A female child experiencing Electra complex tries to act as his mother in order to get that love from his father. They have a feeling of hostility toward their mother.
Later on girls when realise that this is highly unlikely then they give up their sexual desire and start seeing their mother as a role model.
Question. What is an interview? Explain its limitations.
Answer : Interview refers to purposeful conversation between two or more than two people in a face-to-face situation. Interviews involve interacting with the person being assessed and asking questions. It is of two types. Unstructured and Structured.
Limitations of Interviews
Its limitations are as follows:
(a) Time consuming and demanding.
(b) Maturity of psychologist is a precondition for getting valid data.
Question. What is social learning?
Answer : Learning by observing others is referred as social learning.
• The concept was developed by Bandura.
• It is based on observation without any direct reward or reinforcement administrated to the learner.
• This kind of learning is also called modelling or observational learning.
• The social learning approach does not propose traits or dispositions.
• It uses the present conditions of learning and the case in the situation for determining the pattern of behaviour.
• The emphasis is on the current situation rather than other’s desire or conflicts in personality.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question. Discuss psycho-sexual stages of development.
Answer : Stages of Personality/Psycho-sexual Development (Five Stage Theory of Personality)
• The core aspects of personality are established early, remain stable throughout life, and can be changed only with great difficulty.
• Problems encountered at any stage may arrest development, and have long-term effect on a person’s life.
Question. Describe the type approach to personality. (Delhi Board 2008)
Answer : Type theories assume that people can be classified into a few categories or types on the basis of certain characteristics they possess. These categories do not overlap and represent a class of individuals said to share a common collection of characteristics. Following are the main type theories:
1. Theory of Tridoshas: Charak Samhita of Ayurveda or the Indian science of medicine classifies people on the basis of three elements called ‘Dashas’ i.e., vata, pitta and kapha—each of these refer to a type of temperament of the person.
(a) Kapha (Water) Element: It is produced by the joint action of Jala (water) and Prithvi (earth).
(b) Vata (Air) Element: Vata is produced by an interaction of Akasha (ether) and Vayu (air).
(c) Pitta (Fire) Element: Pitta emerges out of an interaction of Vayu and Agni.
2. Theory of Trigunas: According to Upnishad there are three types of personalities based on virtues (gunas)
(a) Sattva: Sattva Guna includes virtues like truthfulness, detachment, discipline, sharp intelligence, self-control and spirituality.
(b) Rajas: Rajas Guna includes some worldly attributes, like desire for sense gratification, and materialistic mentality etc. They are creative and jealous.
(c) Tamas: Tamas Guna consists of all the vices of the world, mental imbalance, anger, arrogance, lazyness, etc.
3. Hippocrates, a Greek physician known as ‘father of modern medicine’ classified personality on the basis of humours, fluids, temperament which are as follows:
(a) Sanguine: cheerful, active and optimistic.
(b) Phlegmatic: touchy, sluggish, calm and apathetic.
(c) Melancholic: sad, brooding and morose.
(d) Choleric: irritable, hot-tempered and excitable.
4. Sheldon has classified personality on the basis of body constitution.
(a) Endomorphic: They are fat, soft and round and are relaxed and sociable, fond of eating and pleasure-loving.
(b) Mesomorphic: They have strong muscular structure, have rectangular and strong body built. They are energetic and courageous, outgoing, assertive and dominating.
(c) Ectomorphic: They are thin, long and fragile in body built. They are brainy, artistic, introvert and are fond of solitude and inward-looking.
5. Carl Jung grouped all people into:
(a) Introverts: They are socially withdrawn, passive, quiet cautious and reserved.
(b) Extroverts: Socially outgoing, talkative, impulsive and thrill-seeking.
6. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman (1974) identified psychological variables related to heart disease and suggested that individuals can be grouped into two personality types:
(a) Type–A: Type–A, coronary-prone behaviour pattern, is characterized by high motivation, impatience and hyperactivity. They are always in hurry, over burdened with work, competitive and never satisfied.
(b) Type–B: Type B, neutral behaviour pattern, is characterized by an easy-going, non-competitive and relaxed life-style.
7. More recently researches by Moris have suggested ‘Type–C’ and ‘Type–D’ personality.
(a) Type–C personalities are cancer-prone and characterized by unassertiveness, suppression of anger and compliance with external authorities just to avoid confrontation.
(b) Type–D personalities are mostly pessimist and prone to develop depression.
Question. Discuss the main observational methods used in personality assessment. What problems do we face in using these methods?
Answer : • Observational method is a very powerful tool of psychological enquiry. It is an effective method of describing behaviour.
• A scientific observation differs from day-to-day observation in many respects.
(i) Selection: Psychologists do not observe all the behaviour that they encounter. Rather, they select a particular behaviour for observation.
(ii) Recording: While observing, a researcher records the selected behaviour using different means, such as marking tallies for the already identified behaviour whenever they occur, taking notes describing each activity in greater detail using short hand or symbols, photographs, video recording, etc.
(iii) After the observations have been made, psychologists analyse whatever they have recorded with a view to derive some meaning out of it.
(iv) Observation is a skill. A good observation is a skill. A good observer knows what he/she is looking for, whom he/she wants to observe, when and where the observation needs to be made.
• Observation can be of the following types :
(a) Non-Participant vs. Participant Observation:
1. Non-participant observation
(i) To observe the person or event from a distance.
(ii) The observer may become part of the group being observed.
(iii) In the first case, the person being observed may not be aware that he/she is being observed. For example, you want to observe the pattern of interaction between teachers and students in a particular class.
(iv) Install a video camera to record the classroom activities, which you can see later and analyse. Alternatively, you may decide to sit in a corner of the class without interfering or participating in their everyday activities. This type of observation is called non-participant observation.
2. Participant observation
(i) In participant observation, the observer becomes a part of the school or the group of people being observed.
(ii) the observer takes some time to establish a rapport with the group so that they start accepting him/her as one of the group members.
(iii) the degree of involvement of the observer with the group being observed would vary depending upon the focus of the study.
The advantage of the observation method is that it enables the researcher to study people and their behaviour in a naturalistic situation, as it occurs. However, the observation method is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and is susceptible to the observer’s bias. Our observation is influenced by our values and beliefs about the person or the event.
Question. What is the main proposition of humanistic approach to personality? What did Maslow mean by self-actualization?
Answer : Humanistic theories emphasise personal responsibility and innovate tendencies toward personal growth. They focus on the importance of people’s subjective attitudes, feelings and beliefs especially with regard to the self.
• According to humanistic approach, we human beings are most creative, growing, fully functioning and self-actualizing people.
• Fully functioning persons, according to Rogers theory, psychologically healthy persons who live life to the fullest.
• They live in the here and now and trust their own feelings. They are sensitive to the needs of others but they do not allow society’s standards to shape their feelings or actions to an excessive degree.
• Rogers suggests that each individual has a concept of ideal self. If there is discrepancy between real self and ideal self then individual develops maladjustment.
• Rogers proposed two basic assumptions:
(a) Human behaviour is goal-directed and worthwhile.
(b) People always choose adaptive and self-actualizing behaviour.
• Rogers believed that many individuals fail to become fully functioning persons because they grow up in an atmosphere of conditional positive regard and develop distorted self-concepts which interferes with personal growth. Such people fail to self-actualise.
• All human beings desire unconditional positive regard, freedom of choice and feeling of fulfilment for attainment of self-actualization.
• Humanistic theories don’t deny the importance of past experience but they generally focus on the present.
Maslow’s Contribution to Humanistic Approach
• It is a state which people have reached their own fullest potential.
• He had an optimistic view of man who has potentialities for love, joy and creative work.
• According to him, human beings are free to shape their lives and to self-actualise.
Question. How does Freud explain the structure of personality?
Answer : The Id:
(i) The Id is the original source of personality, present in the newborn infant, from which the ego and super ego later develop.
(ii) It consists of everything that is inherited, including the instinctual drives—sex and aggression.
(iii) It is closely linked to the biological processes and provides the energy source—the libido for the operation of all three systems.
(iv) It is totally unconscious and works on pleasure principles regardless of any external potential costs of seeking the gratification of impulses.
(i) The ego develops out of Id because of the necessity for dealing with the real world. The ego’s task is to hold the Id in check until conditions allows for satisfaction of its impulses.
(ii) It operates on reality principles. For example, a hungry man would want to have food at any cost due to id impulses, but it is the ego which delays this hunger impulse until the appropriate conditions are found.
(iii) The ego is essentially the executive of the personality. It keeps a person working for a living, getting along with people and generally adjusting to the realities of life.
(iv) Ego mediates between the demands of id, the realities of the world and the demands of the super ego.
The Super Ego:
(i) It is related to the values and morals of the society as taught to us by our parents and others. It works according to social norms.
(ii) It is concerned with morality—whether various ways that could satisfy id impulses are right or wrong.
The main functions of the super ego are:
(i) To inhibit the unacceptable impulses of Id such as sex and aggression.
(ii) Freud assumed that Id is energised by two instinctual forces, called life instinct and death instinct. Life instinct is individuals, tendency to construct whereas death instinct is for the destruction. According to Freud, life instinct is more dominant among human beings.
According to Freud, the instinctual life force that energises the Id is called Libido. It works on the pleasure principle, and seeks immediate gratification. It is source of energy.
Question. How personality can be assessed through behavioural analysis?
Answer : Personality of a person can be assessed though behavioural analysis by using observational report which contains data from the following.
• It involves interacting with the person being assessed and asking certain questions. It is of two types—unstructured interview and structure interview.
• The interviewer asks certain amount of questions and develops an impression.
• The answers given by the person are assessed and tell quite a lot about the personality of the person.
• The interviewer asks certain specific questions and it is done in a set procedure.
• This is done to make objective comparison of the people being interviewed.
It is a sophisticated method and cannot be carried out by untrained people. It requires careful training of the observer. Even though the technique is frequently used but has its own limitations.
Limitations of Observation
• It is professional training is required for collection of data.
• It is a time-consuming method.
• Maturity of the psychologist is required for obtaining valid data.
• Presence of the observer may contaminate results thus leading to manipulation of information.
3. Behavioural Ratings:
• Behavioural rating are used to assess personality in educational and industrial settings.
• They put people in categories in terms of their behavioural qualities which may involve different numbers or descriptive terms.
• These are device by which a rater can record his judgment of another person or of himself on the traits defined by the scale.
• The statements rating scales may create confusion therefore traits should be clearly defined.
For the success of raters familiarity of the event is important.
• Nomination is used to obtain peer assessment.
• Here each person is asked to choose one or more persons of the group with whom he/she likes to work, study, play, etc.
• The choosers are asked reasons for his/her choice.
• This is highly reliable method and thus tells us about the behavioural qualities of the person.
5. Situational Tests:
• Most common is the situational stress test which provides information about how a person behaves in a particular situation in stressful situation.
• This test involves role playing.
• The situation given may be a realistic or a created one through a video play.
Question. Discuss post Freudian approach to personality.
Answer : Post Freudian Approach: Post Freudians are those psychologists who separated themselves from Freud on two basic issues:
• Biological determinism, i.e., life instinct and death instinct regulate human behaviour.
• Freud’s too much emphasis on libido as a source of energy.
1. Carl Jung:
• He developed his own theory, i.e., analytical psychology.
• Basic assumption—personality consists of competing forces within the individual rather than between the individuals.
— According to Jung, individual’s aims and aspiration are the source of energy.
• Jung proposed a concept of Collective Unconsciousness, i.e., inherited part of the unconscious.
• It contains archetypes, i.e., Premordial Images. These images are not individually acquired but are inherited. e.g., the concept of God or fear of darkness.
• They gave a less prominent role to sexual and aggressive tendencies of the ID and expansion of the concept of EGO. They emphasized human qualities like creativity. Libido is not the source of energy.
2. Alfred Adler:
• His theory is known as Individual Psychology.
• Basic assumption–human behaviour is purposeful and goal directed.
• Personal goals are the source of our motivation like dominance and status.
• These goals provide us security and help us in overcoming feelings of inadequacy/inferiority.
• According to Adler, every individual suffers from the feeling of inferiority which arises during the childhood.
• Overcoming this inferiority is essential for optimum personality development.
3. Karen Horney:
• She said we are social beings.
• She adopted the optimistic view of human life with emphasis on human growth and self-actualization.
• She was opposed to Freud’s gender discrimination.
• According to her, each sex has equal attributes and gender differences are socially determined not biologically.
• She argued that psychological disorders were caused by disturbed interpersonal relationships during childhood.
• Due to faulty rearing practices, the child develops basic anxiety which leads to feeling of isolation and helplessness among children and interferes with their healthy development.
4. Erich Fromm:
• He viewed human beings as basically socially beings who could be understood in terms of their relationship with others.
• He argued that psychological qualities such as growth and self-actualization occur from a desire of freedom and striving for justice and truth.
• According to him, personality develops from our experiences with other individuals.
5. Erik Erikson:
• He believed that personality development is a continuous social process.
• He gave the concept of identity during adolescence.
• His theory lays stress on rational, conscious ego processes in personality development.
• He proposed eight stages of development on the basis of pshycho-social development.
• Development starts at the process of conception till death.
Question. Discuss Freud’s psycho-analytic theory of personality.
Answer : • One of the most comprehensive approaches to personality and its development was formulated by Sigmund Freud.
• According to him behaviour is determined by the interplay of events and conflicts
within the inner life of the individual is central to his approach.
Following are the postulates of psycho-analytic theory:
(i) Levels of Consciousness: Freud compared the human mind to an iceberg.
— The small part that shows above the surface of the water is conscious. It is individuals awareness. Beneath this conscious realm is the much larger Preconscious which contains information that is not currently on our mind but we could bring into consciousness if called upon to do so.
— Finally beneath the preconscious and forming the bulk of the iceberg below the water is the Unconscious which is a storehouse of desires, impulses and inaccessible memories which affect our thoughts and behaviour.
(ii) Structure of Personality: Freud divided personality into three major systems – Id, Ego and Super ego—that interact to govern human behaviour.
ID: Id is the most primitive part of the personality, it is the storehouse of all basic primitive needs. Id works on pleasure principle and seeks immediate gratification of the impulses.
Ego: Ego is the reality based aspect of self. It develops out of Id. It is governed by the reality principle – the gratification of impulses must be delayed until the situation is appropriate.
SUPER EGO: It is the inner voice of thoughts and should nots. It is the values and morals of society and comprises the individual’s conscience.
(iii) Ego-defense Mechanism: When conflicts among Id, ego and the super ego is not resolved then the ego experiences anxiety, intense feeling of nervousness, tension and worry. According to Freud the ego uses defence mechanism for the maintenance of the self.
Question. Discuss various projective techniques to assess personality.
Answer : The projective techniques were developed to assess personality based on the psycho- analytic theory of personality. Some of the projective techniques are:
1. The Rorschach Inkblot Test:
• A German psychiatrist, Herman Rorschach developed this technique.
• This test consists of 10 symmetrical unstructured Inkblots. Five of them are black and white and five are coloured.
• The cards are individually administered.
• The test is divided into two phases:
(a) Performance proper: In this phase, the person is asked what can he make out of the card and in the second phase.
(b) Inquiry: In this phase the person is asked to explain his responses. The interpretation requires training.
2. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT):
• The test was developed by Morgan and Murray in 1935.
• It consists of a series of 30 unstructured picture cards and one blank card. Some cards are for males (M), some for females (F), and some for boys (B) and girls or combination.
• The cards are presented one at a time.
• The person is asked to write a story involving whatever is shown on the cards including why this is occurred, who are these people, what are they doing end will be the and of this story.
3. Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Study (The P-F Study):
• This test was developed by Rosenzweig.
• This test uses frustration and aggression as the main focus.
• It presents a series of cartoons in which one cartoon frustrates another.
• The analysis of response is based on type and direction of aggression. They are obstacle dominance (emphasis on the frustrating object), ego defence (emphasis on protection of the frustrated person) and need persistence (emphasis on the constructive solution of the problem).
• Its Indian adaptation developed by Pareek is also available.
• Sentence Completion Test: In this test a number of stems consisting of a few words are presented. The task is to complete the sentence, e.g. my father…. It is expected that the type of ending used reflects the motivation, conflicts and attitudes of the person.
• Draw-A-Person Test: The examinee in this test is asked to draw a person, and then he/she is asked to draw the figure of another person of opposite sex.
• Finally the examinee is required to make up a story about the person as if he/she were a character in a novel or a play.
‘Machover’ has used it for personality assessment using psycho-dynamic approach to analyse the drawings.
Question. State in common features of projective techniques. Describe anyone projective technique.
Explain how projective techniques assess personality. Which projective tests of personality are widely used by psychologists?
Answer : • Projective tests of personality are widely used by psychologists.
• Projective techniques are most indirect method to assess personality.
• Psycho analytic theory proposed that behaviour is also determined by unconscious forces.
• The projective techniques were developed to assess unconscious motives and feelings.
— The stimulus material is relatively or fully unstructured and poorly defined.
— The person being assessed is usually not told the purpose and the method of scoring and interpretation before the administration of test.
— The person is informed that there are no right or wrong responses.
— Each response is considered to reveal a true and significant aspect of personality.
— The scoring and interpretation in projective assessment are lengthy and subjective.
— Developed to assess unconscious motives, feelings and conflicts.
— A less structured or unstructured stimulus or situation will allow the individual to project his/her feelings, desires and needs on to that situation.
— Projections are interpreted by experts.
— Cannot be scored objectively, require qualitative analysis for which a rigorous training is needed.
1. The Rorschach Inkblot Test (Hermann Rorschach)
• Consists of 10 inkblots—5 black and white, 2 with red ink, 3 in pastel colours.
• Blots are symmetrical in design with a specific shape or form, made by dropping ink on a piece of paper and then folding the paper in half (hence called inkblot test).
• The cards are administered individually in two phases:
— Performance proper: The subjects are shown the cards and are asked to tell what they see in each of them.
— Inquiry: A detailed report of the response is prepared by asking the subject to tell where, how, and on what basis was a particular response made.
• Fine judgment is necessary to place the subject’s responses in a meaningful context. Use and interpretation of this test requires extensive training
2. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Morgan and Murray
• This test consists of 30 black and white picture cards and one blank card—each
picture card depicts one or more people in a variety of situations.
• Some cards are used specifically with adult males or females, boys or girls—have
been modified for the children and the aged.
• The cards are presented one at a time and the subject is asked to tell a story describing the situation presented in the picture—what led up to the situation, what is happening at the moment, what will happen in the future, what the characters are feeling and thinking?
• Uma Chaudhury’s Indian adaptation of TAT is also available.
3. Rosenzweig’s Picture-Frustration Study (P-F Study)
• This study assesses how people express aggression in the face of a frustrating situation.
• Presents with the help of cartoon-like pictures a series of situations in which one person frustrates another, or calls attention to a frustrating condition.
• The subject is asked to tell what the other (frustrated) person will say or do.
• The analysis of responses is based on the type and direction of aggression—examine whether the focus is on the frustrating object (environment), or on protection of the frustrated person (oneself), or on constructive solution of the problem.
• Pareek has adapted this test for the Indian population
4. Sentence Completion Test
• This test makes use of a number of incomplete sentences—the starting part of the sentence is first presented and the subject has to provide an ending to the sentence.
• The type of endings used by the subjects reflect their attitudes, motivation and conflicts.
• The test provides subjects with several opportunities to reveal their underlying unconscious motivations.
5. Draw-a-Person Test
• In this test, the subject is asked to draw a person on a sheet of paper and then a
figure of an opposite sex person.
• Finally, the subject is asked to make a story about the person as if he/she was a
character in a novel or play.
• Some examples of interpretations are as follows:
— Omission of facial features suggests that the person tries to evade a highly conflict-ridden interpersonal relationships.
— Graphic emphasis on the neck suggests lack of control over impulses.
— Disproportionately large head suggests organic brain disease and pre- occupation with headaches.
• Interpretation of the responses requires sophisticated skills and specialized training.
• There are problems associated with the reliability of scoring and validity of interpretations.
Question. What is meant by delay of gratification? Why is it considered important for adult development?
Answer : (i) Learning to delay or defer from gratification of needs is called self-control. It emerges from self-regulation.
(ii) Self-regulation is behavioural component of self.
(iii) It refers to an ability to organize and monitor ones own behaviour. People who can change their behaviour according to the demands of the external environment are high on self-monitoring.
(iv) Self-regulation leads to self-control.
(v) It plays a key role in fulfilment of long-term goals.
(vi) Indian culture provides us effective mechanisms like fasting (vrata or roza) and non- attachment with worldly things to develop self-control.
(vii) It is ones ability to say ‘No’.
Psychological techniques to develop self-control are:
(a) Observation of Own Behaviour: it provides us with necessary information that may be used to change, modify, or strengthen certain concepts of self.
(b) Self-instruction: We often instruct ourselves to do something and behave the way we want.
(c) Self-reinforcement: It involves rewarding behaviours that have pleasant outcomes (like going to see a movie with friends if we do well in exams).
— Self-control is important for the development of mature personality. This is the reason that all cultures emphasise the self-control. It helps in the fulfilment of long-term goals. Indian cultural tradition provide us with certain effective mechanisms. e.g., fasting in varta or roja and know attachment with worldly things for developing self-control.
— Self-control is also important for effective functioning of social network.
Question. What is meant by structured personality tests? Which are the two most widely used structured personality tests?
Answer : Structured personality tests are self-report measures that have the following features:
• Questions are direct and structured.
• They are called self-report because the examinee has to respond objectively to the items of the measure and his/her response are accepted as they are.
• They are objective in nature and they deal with the present state of mind.
— Self-report measures use inventories and questionnaires to assess conscious part of personality.
— Goal of the test may be revealed.
— These tests assess only conscious part of personality
• Their results depend on motivation and emotional state of the examinee; they are non-projective and direct inferences are made.
Some of the self-report measures are:
1. Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ): This test was developed by Eysenck to assess two basic dimensions of personality namely introverted—extroversion and emotionally stable—emotionally unstable (Neuroticism).
2. MMPI: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. This test was developed by Hathaway and Mckinely.
• It has been found very effective in detecting psycho-pathology like hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria etc.
• The test is divided into 10 sub scales. This test helps in clinical diagnosis of various mental disorders like hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, etc.
• It has two sets MMPI–I and MMPI–II. Now-a-days, MMPI–II is being used.
• It has 567 items in the form of affirmative statements. The subject judges each item ‘statements’ as true or false.
• MMPI is one of the very good tests for clinical purposes (diagnosis).
• Indian version of MMPI is also available named as Jodhpur Multiphasic Personality Inventory (JMPI) by Malik and Joshi.
Question. Evaluate psycho-analytical theory of personality critically.
Answer : • Many psycho-analytical concepts are vague and not operationally defined and the hypotheses derived from them can not be tested. Thus, much of the theory is difficult to evaluate scientifically.
• Several of Freud’s postulates are not consistent with the findings of modern research—for instance his ideas about the meaning of dreams.
• The theory is based on a small number of clinical case studies especially of upper class
women, which cannot be considered as representative of human beings generally.
• This theory is criticized for having male-centered perspective and it views women as
more sensitive and dependent on men.
• The theory has been criticized for over-emphasis on sexual desires of Id because
social and cultural factors also influence personality development.
However some aspects of Freud’s theory continue to gain acceptance as they are modified and improved through empirical scrutiny. e.g., role of childhood experience in personality development is being recognized.