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41 Cards in this Set

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An individual's characteristic style of behaving, thinking, and feeling.


A method in which a person provides subjective information about their own thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, typically via questionnaire or interview.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

A well-researched, clinical questionnaire used to access personality and psychological problems.

Projective Test

Tests designed to reveal inner aspects of individuals' personalities by analysis of their responses to a standard series of ambiguous stimuli.

Rorschach Inkblot Test

A projective technique in which respondents' inner thoughts and feelings are believed to be revealed by analysis of their responses to a set of unstructured inkblots.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

A projective technique in which respondents' underlying motives, concersn, and the way they see the social world are believed to be revealed through analysis of the stories they make up about ambiguous pictures of people.


A relatively stable disposition to behave in a particular and consistent way.

The Big Five

The traits of the five-factor personality model: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (or O.C.E.A.N. for short).

Psychodynamic Approach

An approach that regards personality as formed by needs, strivings, and desires largely operating outside awareness - motives that can produce emotional disorders.

Dynamic Unconscious

An active system encompassing a lifetime of hidden memories, the person's deepest instincts and desires, and the person's inner struggle to control those forces.


The part of the mind containing the drives present at birth; it is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives.


The mental system that reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly learned as parents exercise their authority.


The component of personality, developed through contact with the external world, that enables us to deal with life's practical demands.

Defense Mechanisms

Unconscious coping mechanisms


Removing painful experiences and unacceptable impulses from the conscious mind: "motivated forgetting".


Supplying a reasonable sounding explanation for unacceptable feelings and behavior to conceal (mostly from oneself) one's underlying motives or feelings.

Reaction Formation

Unconsciously replacing threatening inner wishes and fantasies with an exaggerated version of their opposite.


Attributing one's own threatening feelings, motives, or impulses to another person or group.


Reverting to an immature behavior or earlier stage of development, a time when things felt more secure, to deal with internal conflict and perceived threat.


Shifting unacceptable wishes or drives to a neutral or less threatening alternative.


Dealing with feelings of threat and anxiety by unconsciously taking on characteristics of another person who seems more powerful or better able to cope.


Channeling unacceptable sexual or aggressive drives into socially acceptable and culturally enhancing activities.

Psychosexual Stages

Distinct early life stages through which personality is formed as children experience sexual pleasures from specific body areas and caregivers redirect or interfere with those pleasures.


A phenomenon in which a person's pleasure-seeking drives become psychologically stuck, or arrested, at a particular psychosexual stage.

Oral Stage

The first psychosexual stage, in which experience centers on the pleasures and frustrations associated with the mouth, sucking, and being fed.

Anal Stage

The second psychosexual stage, in which experience is dominated by the pleasures and frustrations associated with the anus, retention and expulsion of feces and urine, and toilet training.

Phallic Stage

The third psychosexual stage, in which experience is dominated by the pleasure, conflict, and frustration associated with the phallic-genital region as well as coping with powerful incestuous feelings of love, hate, jealousy, and conflict. (Ex: Oedipus conflict).

Oedipus Complex

A developmental experience in which a child's conflicting feelings toward the opposite-sex parent are (usually) resolved by identifying with the same-sex parent.

Latency Stage

The fourth psychosexual stage, in which the primary focus is on the further development of intellectual, creative, interpersonal, and athletic skills.

Genital Stage

The fifth and final psychosexual stage, the time for the coming together of the mature adult personality with a capacity to love, work and relate to others in mutually satisfying and reciprocal manner.

Self-Actualizing Tendency

The human motive toward realizing our inner potential.

Existential Approach

A school of thought that regards personality as governed by an individual's ongoing choices and decisions in the context of the realities of life and death.

Social-Cognitive Approach

An approach that views personality in terms of how the person thinks about the situations encountered in daily life and behaves in response to them.

Person-Situation Controversy

The question of whether behavior is caused more by personality or by situational factors.

Personal Constructs

Dimensions people use in making sense of their experiences.

Locus of Control

A person's tendency to perceive the control of rewards as internal to the self or external to the environment.


A person's explicit knowledge of his or her own behaviors, traits, and other personal characteristics.


The tendency to seek evidence to confirm the self-concept.


The extent to which an individual likes, values, and accepts the self.

Self-Serving Bias

People's tendency to take credit for their successes but downplay responsibilities for their failures.


A grandiose view of the self combined with a tendency to seek admiration from an exploit others.