Self And Personality Chapter 2 Notes, QnA 2023

Self And Personality 

The study of self and personality helps us understand who we are, our uniqueness as well as our similarities with others. Also we can understand our own as well as others’ behaviour in diverse settings. 

In this chapter you will get to know about some basic aspects of self and personality. You will learn some important theoretical approaches to self and personality, and certain methods of personality assessment.

Self and personality refer to the characteristic ways in which we define our existence. 

They also refer to the ways in which our experiences are organised show up in our behaviour. 

Generally we know that different people hold different ideas about themselves. These common ideas represent the self of a person.

We also noticed that different people behave in different ways in a given situation, but the behaviour of a particular person from one situation to another generally remains fairly stable. 

Such a relatively stable pattern of behaviour represents the “personality” of that person. Thus, different persons seem to possess different personalities which are reflected in the diverse behaviour of persons.


Concept Of Self 

Self-concept is a collection of beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others. 

Since the beginning of your childhood days, you must have thought about who you are, and how you are different from others. Your idea of self emerges and its formation begins. 

By now, you already have developed some ideas about yourself, although you may not be aware of it. 

Parents, friends, teachers and other related persons plays a vital role in shaping a child’s ideas about self. 

The structure of self is modifiable in the light of our own experiences and the experiences we have of other people.

All of us have our personal and social or cultural identities. Personal identity refers to those attributes of a person that make her/him different from others. 

When a person describes him by telling his name, his qualities or characteristics or his potentialities or capabilities, he discloses his personal identity. 

Social identity refers to those aspects of a person that link him to a social or cultural group or are derived from it. 

When someone says that he is a Hindu or a Muslim, a North Indian or a South Indian, he is trying to indicate his social identity. 

These descriptions characterise the way people mentally represent themselves as a person.

Thus, self refers to the totality of an individual’s conscious experiences, ideas, thoughts and feelings with regard to herself or himself. 

These experiences and ideas define the existence of an individual both at the personal and at social levels

Rogers’ Three Parts of Self-Concept

Humanist psychologist Carl Rogers believed that your self-concept was made up of three different parts:

  • Ideal self: The person you want to be
  • Self-image: How you see yourself, including attributes like your physical characteristics, personality traits, and social roles
  • Self-esteem: How much you like, accept, or value yourself, which can be impacted by a number of factors including how others see you, how you think you compare to others, and your role in society.

Kinds Of Self

Kinds Of Self

Personal Self:
It is primarily concerned with oneself, such as personal freedom, personal responsibility, personal achievement, or personal comforts

Social/Familial/Relational Self:
It emerges in relation with others, such as co-operation, unity, affiliation, sacrifice, support or sharing. This self values family and social relationships

Cognitive and Behavioural Aspects of Self

  • Self-esteem 

Self-esteem is the value judgement of a person about himself/herself. It is an important aspect of ourselves. 

Some people have high self-esteem, whereas others may have low self-esteem. In order to assess self-esteem we present a variety of statements to a person, and ask her/him to indicate the extent to which those statements are true for her or him.

By the age of 6 to 7 years, every child seems to have formed self-esteem at least in four areas: academic competence, social competence, physical competence, and physical appearance, which become more refined with age.

Self-esteem has a strong relationship with our everyday behaviour. Children with low self-esteem in all areas often display anxiety, depression, and increasing anti-social behaviour.

Children with high academic self-esteem perform better in schools and more liked by their peers than those with low social self-esteem.

Warm and positive parenting helps to  develop high self-esteem among children, which allows them to know they are accepted as competent and worthwhile.

  • Self-efficacy 

It is the extent to which a person believes they themselves control their life outcomes or the outcomes are controlled by luck or fate or other situational factors.

When a person believes that he has the ability or behaviour required by a particular situation demonstrates high self-efficacy.

The idea of self-efficacy is based on Bandura’s social learning theory. He showed that children and adults learned behaviour by observing and imitating others.

People’s expectations of achievement also determine the type of behaviour in which they would engage, as also the amount of risk they would undertake.

Strong sense of self-efficacy allows people to select, influence, and even construct the circumstances of their own life. They also feel less fearful.

  • Self-regulation 

Self regulation refers to the ability to organize and monitor one’s own behaviour. Those who are able to change their behaviour according to the demands of the environment are high on self-monitoring.

  • Will power:

It is the ability to resist situational pressure and control over ourselves.

Many situations of life require resistance to situational pressures and control over ourselves. This becomes possible through our ‘will power’.

  • Self-control:

We often decide to delay or defer the satisfaction of certain needs. Learning to delay or defer the gratification of needs is called self-control. Self-control plays a key role in the fulfilment of long-term goals.

Indian cultural tradition provides certain effective mechanisms (fasting in vrata or roza and non-attachment with worldly things) for developing self-control.

Techniques of Self-Control:

  • Observation of own behaviour: It provides necessary information that may be used to change, modify or strengthen certain aspects of self.
  • Self-instruction: It instructs ourselves to do something and behave the way we want to.
  • Self-reinforcement: It rewards behaviours that have pleasant outcomes.

Culture And Self

Several aspects of self seem to be linked to the characteristic features of the culture in which an individual lives. 

The most important difference between the Indian and the Western views is the way the boundary is drawn between the self and the other. 

Western boundary appears to be relatively fixed. The Indian view of self, on the other hand, is characterised by the shifting nature of this boundary. 

The Western view seems to hold clear division between self and other, man and nature, subjective and objective. The Indian view does not make such clear division. 

Concept Of Personality

Personality is an organised set of characteristics possessed by a person that influence his cognitions, emotions, motivation and behaviour in various situations.

It is the enduring personal characteristics of individuals, which is much more than outer appearance.

It includes the combination of emotional, attitude and behaviour response patterns of an individual.

People having good personalities are very likeable, interesting and pleasant to be with.

Personality derived from Latin word persona, means the mask used by actors in Roman theatre for changing their facial make-up.

Once we are able to characterize someone’s personality, we can predict how that person will probably behave in a variety of situations.

An understanding of true personality allows us to deal with people in realistic and acceptable ways.

Features of Personality

  • Personality has both physical and psychological components.
  • Its expression in terms of behaviour is fairly unique in a given individual
  • Its main features do not easily change with time.
  • It is dynamic in the sense that some of its features may change due to internal or external situational demands. Thus, it is adaptive to situations.

Hippocrates (Greek Physician)

  • Proposed personality which is based on fluid or humour.
  • He classified people into four types, viz. sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic and choleric. Which are characterised by specific behavioural features.

Charak Samhita (Treatise on Ayurveda)

Classifies people into the categories of vata, pitta and kapha on the basis of three elements called tridosha.

Each category refers to a type of temperament, called prakriti (basic nature) of a person.

  • Sattvik guna—cleanliness, truthfulness, dutifulness, detachment, discipline.
  • Rajsik guna—intensive activity, desire for sense gratification, dissatisfaction,envy, materialism.
  • Tamsik guna—anger, arrogance, depression, laziness, helplessness

All these gunas are present in every person in different degrees—the dominance of any of these guna leads to a particular type of behaviour.

William Sheldon

Defined body type on the basis of body built and temperament

  • Endomorphic (fat, soft and round)—relaxed and sociable.
  • Mesomorphic (strong musculature, rectangular, strong body build)—energetic and courageous.
  • Ectomorphic (thin, long, fragile)—brainy, artistic and introverted.

Carl Gustav Jung

Classified personality into two types:

? Introverts: People who prefer to be stsy alone, tend to avoid others, withdraw themselves in the face of emotional conflicts, and are shy.

? Extraverts: Sociable, outgoing, drawn to occupations that allow dealing directly with people, and react to stress by trying to lose themselves among people and social activity.

Friedman and Roesenman

Tried to identify psycho-social risk factors and discovered 4 types of personality 

  • Type-A (susceptible to hypertension and coronary heart disease): Highly motivated, impatience, feel short of time, be in a great hurry, and feel like being always burdened with work. Such people find it difficult to slow down and relax,
  • Type-B The absence of Type-A traits.

Moris continued this research and identified:

  • Type-C (prone to cancer): Co-operative, unassertive patient, suppress negative emotion, show compliance to authority.
  • Type-D (prone to depression): These individuals usually suffer from high degrees of de-stress. They have a fear of rejection or disapproval. 

Trait Approach

A trait is considered as a relatively enduring quality on which one individual differs from another. 

These people are relatively stable over time.

They are generally consistent across situations. Their strengths and combinations vary across individuals leading to individual differences in personality.

Allport’s Trait Theory 

Gordon Allport proposed that individuals possess a number of traits, which are dynamic in nature. They determine behaviour in such a manner that an individual approaches different situations with similar plans.

  • Cardinal Traits: These traits are highly generalized, indicating the goal around . which a person’s entire life revolves, e.g., Hitler’s Nazism.
  • Central Traits: These traits are often used in writing a testimonial for job recommendation for a person, e.g., sincere, warm, diligent.
  • Secondary trait least generalized characteristics of a person, e.g., likes mangoes or prefers ethnic clothes.

Cattell Personality Factors 

Raymond Cattell believed that there is a common structure on which people differ from each other. This structure could be determined empirically

He Identified primary traits from descriptive adjectives found in language. He applied factor analysis, a statistical technique to discover the common structure on which people differ from each other.

  • Source or Primary Traits: stable, building blocks of personality, which are described in terms of opposing tendencies.
  • Surface Traits:  Result out of the interaction of source traits.

Developed Sixteen Personality Factor (16PF) Questionnaire for the assessment of personality.

Eysenck’s Theory (H.J. Eysenck)

He reduced personality into two broad dimensions which are biologically and genetically based 

  • Neuroticism (anxious, moody, touchy, restless) vs. Emotional stability (calm, even tempered, reliable)—the degree to which people have control over their feelings.
  • Extraversion (active, gregarious, impulsive, thrill seeking) vs. Introversion (passive, quiet, caution, reserved)—the degree to which people are socially outgoing or socially withdrawn.

Later he proposed a third dimension, Psychoticism (hostile, electric, and antisocial) vs. Sociability, considered to interact with the other two dimensions.

He also developed Eysenck Personality Questionnaires to study dimensions of personality which is very useful in understanding the personality profile of people across cultures

Psycho-dynamic Approach (Sigmund Freud)

Levels of Consciousness

Conscious—thoughts, feelings and action of which people are aware.

Preconscious-—mental activity which people may become aware of only if they attend to it closely.

Unconscious—mental activity that people are unaware of.

Structure of Personality

  • Freud gave an imaginary division of mind; he believed in internal dynamics which can be inferred from the ways people behave.
  • Three competing forces—i.e. id, ego and superego influence behaviour relative strength of each structure determines a person’s stability.


  • Source of a person’s instinctual energy—deals with immediate gratification of primitive needs, sexual desires and aggressive impulses.
  • Works on the pleasure principle, which assumes that people seek pleasure and try to avoid pain.
  • Demanding, unrealistic and does not care for moral values, society, or other individuals.
  • Energised by instinctual forces


Ego seeks to satisfy an individual’s instinctual needs in accordance with reality.

It works on the reality principle, and directs the id towards more appropriate ways of behaving.


Superego is the moral branch of mental functioning.

  • It tells the id and ego whether gratification in a particular instance is ethical
  • It controls the id by internalising parental authority in the process of socialisation. 

According to Freud, personality is biologically determined. It is instinctive. Life instinct and death instinct determine behaviour.

• Life instinct is dominant in human behaviour.

Ego Defence Mechanisms

It is a defence mechanism that is a way of reducing anxiety by distorting reality unconsciously.

  • Projection: People attribute their own traits to others.
  • Denial: A person totally refuses to accept reality.
  • Reaction Formation: A person defends against anxiety by adopting behaviours opposite to his/her true feelings.
  • Rationalisation: A person tries to make unreasonable feelings or behaviour seem reasonable and acceptable.

Stages of Personality/Psychosexual Development (Five Stage Theory of Personality)

These core aspects of personality are established early, and remain stable throughout life, which can be changed with great difficulty.

This problems encountered at any stage may arrested development, and have long-term effect on a person’s life.

Oedipus Complex (Male)

Love for mother, hostility towards the father, and fear of punishment or castration by the father.

Electra Complex (Female)

Attaches her love to the father and tries to symbolically marry him and raise a family.

Identifies with her mother and copies her behaviour as a means of getting her father’s affection.

Behavioural Approach 

Focus on learning of stimulus, its response connection and their reinforcement.

Personality is the response of an individual as a sample for advancing generalization.

The concepts are not properly defined, and it is difficult to submit them to scientific testing.

Cultural Approach

It considers personality as an adaptation of individuals or groups to the demand of their ecology and culture.

A group’s economic maintenance system plays a vital role in the origin of cultural and behavioural variations.

The climatic conditions, the nature of terrain of the habitat and the availability of food determine people’s settlement patterns.

These elements constitute a child’s overall learning environment, e.g. skills, abilities, behavioural styles, and value priorities are viewed as strongly linked to these features.

Humanistic Approach (Carl Rogers)

The humanistic theories are mainly developed by Freud’s theory.

Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow have particularly contributed to the development of humanistic perspective on personality.

The most important idea proposed by Rogers is that of a fully functioning individual. He believes that fulfilment is the motivating force for personality development. 

People try to express their capabilities, potentials and talents to the fullest extent possible. There is an inborn tendency among persons that directs them to actualise their inherited nature.

People have a tendency to maximize self-concept through self-actualisation.

Positive social conditions lead to a high self-concept and self-esteem, generally flexible and open to new experiences.

ALSO READ: Variations In Psychological Attributes Chapter 1 Notes

Assessment of Personality

An effort that aims at understanding the personality of an individual is termed as personality assessment.

Assessment is the procedure used to evaluate or differentiate people on the basis of certain characteristics.

The main goal of assessment is to understand and predict behaviour with minimum error and maximum accuracy.

Assessment is also useful for diagnosis, training, placement, counselling, and other purposes.

Self-report Measures

It was Allport who suggested that the best method to assess a person is by asking him about himself. 

These are fairly structured measures, often based on theory, that require subjects to give verbal responses using some kind of rating scale.

This method requires the subject to objectively report his own feelings with respect to various items. 

The responses are accepted at their face value. They are scored in quantitative terms and interpreted on the basis of norms developed for the test. 

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

  • It is developed by HATHAWAY and McKINLEYVery effective in identifying varieties of psychopathology
  • It consists of 567 statements. The subject has to judge each statement as ‘true’ or ‘false’.
  • This test is divided into 10 sub scales which seek to diagnose hypochondriasis, viz, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviant, masculinity-femininity, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, mania and social introversion.
  • In India, Mallick and Joshi have developed the Jodhpur Muitiphasic Personality Inventory. (JMPI)

Projective Techniques

These techniques were developed to assess unconscious motives and feelings.

These are based on the assumption that a less structured or unstructured stimulus or situation will allow the individual to project his feelings, desires and needs on to that situation. 

Experts use various kinds of stimulus materials and situations for assessing personality. 

Some of them require reporting associations with stimuli (e.g., words, inkblots), some involve story writing around pictures, some require sentence completions, some require expression through drawings, and some require choice of stimuli from a large set of stimuli.

Behavioural Analysis

A person’s behaviour in a variety of situations can provide us with meaningful information about her/his personality.

Observation of behaviour serves as the basis of behavioural analysis. An observer’s report may contain data obtained from interview, observation, ratings, nomination, and situational tests.

Important Words To Remember 

Alienation: The feeling of not being part of society or a group.

Anal stage: The second of Freud’s psycho-sexual stages, which occurs during the child’s second year. Pleasure is focused on the anus and on retention and expulsion of faeces.

Antisocial Personality: A behavioural disorder characteristics by truancy, delinquency, promiscuity, theft, vandalism, fighting, violation of common social rules, poor work record, impulsiveness, irrationality, aggressiveness, reckless behaviour, and inability to plan ahead. The particular pattern of behaviour varies from individual to individual.

Archetypes: Jung’s term for the contents of the collective unconscious; images or symbols expressing the inherited patterns for the organization of experience. ”

Cardinal Trait: According to All port, a single trait that dominates an individual’s entire personality.

Central Traits: The major trait considered in forming an impression of others.

Client centred therapy: The theraphentic approach developed by Carl Rogers in which therapist helps clients to clarify their true feelings and come to value who they are.

Collective Unconscious: Inherited portion of the unconscious, as postulated by Carl Jung. The unconscious shared by all human beings.

Defence Mechanisms: According to Freud, ways in which the ego unconsciously tries to cope with unacceptable id impulses, as in repression, projection, reaction formation, sublimation, rationalisation, etc.

Deinstitutionalisation: The transfer of former mental patients from institution into the community.

Ego: The part of the personality that provides a buffer between the id and the outside.

Evolution apprehension: The fear of being evaluated negatively by others who are present (an audience).

Extraversion: One of the dimensions of personality in which interests are directed outward to nature and other people rather than inwards to the thoughts and feelings of self (introvert).

Humanistic Approach: The theory that people are basically good and tend to grow to higher levels of functioning.

Id: According to Freud, the impulsive and unconscious part of the psyche that operates through the pleasure principle toward the gratification of instinctual drives. The Id is conceived as the true unconscious, or the deepest part of the psyche.

Ideal Self: The kind of person we would like to be. Also called ego-ideal/idealized self-image.

Identity: The distinguishing character of the individual—who each of us is, what our roles are, and what we are capable of.

Inferiority Complex: According to Adler, a complex developed by adults who have not been able to overcome the feelings of inferiority they developed as children, when they were small and limited in their knowledge about the world.

Interview: Verbal interaction between a respondent and a researcher to gather information about the respondent.

Introversion: One of the dimensions of personality in which interests are directed inwards rather than outwards (extrovert).

Latency Period: In Freud’s theory of psycho-sexual stages, the period between the phallic stage and the mature genital stage (period from age 4 to 5 to about 12) during which interest in sex is sublimated.

Libido: Freud introduced this term. In Freud’s treatment, libido was quite simply a direct or indirect sexual expression.

Meta needs: In the hierarchy of needs, those at the top, such as self-actualisation, self-esteem, aesthetic needs, and the like, which can only be satisfied when lower order needs are satisfied.

Observational Method: A method in which researcher observes phenomenon that occurs naturally without being able to manipulate.

Oedipus Complex: The Freudian concept in which the young child develops an intense desire to replace the parent of the same sex and enjoy that affection of the opposite sex parent.

Personal Identity: Awareness of oneself as a separate, distinct being.

Phallic Stage: Third of Freud’s psycho-sexual stages (at about age five) when pleasure is focused on the genitals and both males and females experience the ‘Oedipus complex’.

Projection: A defence mechanism; the process of unwittingly attributing one’s own traits, attitudes, or subjective processes to others.

Projective Techniques: The utilization of vague, ambiguous, unstructured stimulus objects or situation in order to elicit the individual’s characteristic modes of perceiving his/ her world or of behaving in it.

Psycho-dynamic Approach: Approach that strives for explanation in terms of motives, or drives.

Psycho-dynamic Therapy: First suggested by Freud; therapy based on the premise that the primary sources of abnormal behaviour are resolved past conflicts and the possibility that unacceptable unconscious impulses will enter consciousness.

Rationalisation: A defence mechanism that occurs when one attempts to explain failure or shortcoming by attributing them to more acceptable causes.

Reaction Formation: A defence mechanism in which a person denies a disapproved motive through giving strong expression to its opposite.

Regression: A defence mechanism that involves a return to behaviours characterized of an earlier stage in life. The term is also used in statistics, in which with the help of correlation prediction is made.

Repression: A defence mechanism by which people push unacceptable, anxiety provoking thoughts and impulses into the unconscious to avoid confronting them directly. In short it is unconscious forgetting.

Self-actualization: A state of self-fulfillment in which people realise their highest potential in their own unique way.

Self-efficacy: Bandura’s term for the individual’s beliefs about his or her own effectiveness; the exception that one can master a situation and produce positive outcomes.

Self-esteem: The individual’s personal judgment of his or her own worth; one’s attitude toward oneself along a positive-negative dimension.

Self-regulation: It refers to our ability to organise and monitor our own behaviour.

Social Identity: A person’s definition of who he or she is; includes personal attributes (self¬concept) along with membership in various groups.

Super Ego: According to Freud, superego is the final personality structure to develop; it represents society’s standards of right and wrong as handed down by person’s parents, teachers, and other important figures.

Surface Traits: R.B. Cattell’s term for clusters of observable trait elements (response) that seems to go together. Factor analysis of the correlations reveals source traits.

Trait: A relatively persistent and consistent behaviour pattern manifested in a wide range of circumstances.

Trait Approach: An approach to personality that seeks to identify the basic traits necessary to describe personality.

Type Approach: Explanation of personality based on broad categories which are mostly determined by body constitution and temperament.

Typology: Ways of categorising individuals into discrete categories or types e.g., Type-A personality.

Unconscious: In psychoanalytic theory, characterising any activity or mental structure which a person is not aware of.

Values: Enduring beliefs about ideal modes of behaviour or end-state of existence; attitudes that have a strong evaluative and ‘ought’ aspect.

Textbook Questions With Answers

Q.1. What is self ? How does the Indian notion of self differ from the Western notion ?

Ans. (a) Self refers to the totality of an individual’s conscious experiences, ideas, thoughts and feelings with regard to herself or himself. It can be understood as a subject as well as an object. For example, “I am a dancer”. Here the self is a subject. “I am one who easily gets hurt.” Here I am an object which gets affected.

(b) The figure given below illustrates the difference between the Indian and Western notion of self.

Self and personality

From above it clear that there differences between the Western notion and Indian notion of self as mentioned below:

Western View

(i) There is a boundary drawn between the self and others. This boundary is relatively fixed.

(ii) The Western view seems to hold clear dichotomies between self and other, subjective and objective.

(iii) The Western culture are individualistic The self and the group exist as two different entities with clearly defined boundaries. The members of the group maintain their individuality. They often remain at a distance.

Indian View

(i) The Indian view of self is characterized by the shifting nature of this boundary. On some occasions it expands to include the others and on other occasions it is focussed fully on individual self i.e., our personal needs.

(ii) The Indian view does not make such clear dichotomies.

(iii)The Indian and Asian cultures are collectivistic. In Indian culture, self is generally not separated from one’s own group. Rather both remain in a state of harmonious co-existence

Q.2. What is meant by delay of gratification? Why is it considered important for adult development ?

Ans. (a) As human beings we can control our behavior the way we want. We often decide to delay or defer the satisfaction of needs is delay of gratification.

(b) Delay of gratification i.e.. satisfaction of needs is considered important for adult development. The delay of satisfaction of needs can be done by self-control. For adult development it is very important. They need self-control over their worldly desires according to their health and other conditions. 

The Indian cultural traditions provide us with certain effective mechanisms i.e., fasting in vrata ar roza and non-attachment with worldly things for developing self-control.

By delay of gratification, adults can maintain their health and remain happy in their lives. So it is important for adult development.

Q.3. How do you define personality? What are the main approaches to the study of personality ?

Ans. (A) In psychological terms, personality refers to our characteristic ways of responding to individuals and situations. Certain catchwords e.g., shy, sensitive, quiet, concerned and warm are often used to describe personalities.

(B) The main approaches to the study of personality are as mentioned below:

(i) Type Approaches

(ii) Trait Approaches-

(a) Allport’s Trait Theory

(b) Cattell- Personality Factors

(c) Eysenck’s Theory

(d) Psychodynamic Approach-Sigmund Freud.

(e) Post-Freudian Approaches-Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson.

(f) Behavioural Approach

(g) Cultural Approach

(h) Humanistic Approach.

Q.4. What is trait approach to personality ? How does it differ from type approach?

Ans. (a) The trait approach focuses on the specific psychological attributes along which individuals tend to differ in consistent and stable ways. For example, one person may be less shy, whereas another maybe more. Here shyness represents a trait.

Type approach: It is believed that personality can be classified into broad categories in the observed behavioral characteristics of individuals.

(b) The trait approaches differ from type approaches as mentioned below:

Trait approaches

(i) It focuses on the specific psychological attributes along which individuals tend to differ in consistent and stable ways.

(ii) On the basis of their traits, less or more such as shyness, individuals can be rated in terms of degree of presence or absence of the concerned behavioral quality or a trait.

(iii) The traits are overlapping.

Type approaches

(i) The type approaches attempt to comprehend human personality by examining certain broad patterns in the observed behavioral characteristics of individuals.

(ii) Each behavioral pattern refers to one type in which individuals are placed in terms of the similarity of their behavioral characteristics with that pattern.

(ii) Types do not overlap e.g. extravert or introvert.

Q.5. How does Freud explain the structure of personality ?

Ans. Freud was a physician and developed his theory in the course of his clinical practice. According to his theory structural elements of personality are three i.e., id, ego and superego as mentioned below

(a) Id: It is the source of a person’s instinctual energy. It deals with immediate gratification of primitive needs, sexual desires and aggressive impulses. It works on the pleasure principle, which assumes that people seek pleasure and try to avoid pain.

(b) Ego: It grows of id and seeks to satisfy an individual’s instinctual needs in accordance with reality. It works with the reality principle, and often directs the id towards more appropriate ways of behaving.

(c) Superego: It is the moral branch of mental functioning. The superego tells the id and the ego whether gratification in a particular instance is ethical.

In terms of individual functioning Freud thought of the unconscious as being composed of three competing forces. In some people, the id is stronger than the superego; in others, it is the superego. The relative strength of the id, ego and superego determines each person’s stability.

Freud also assumed that id is energized by two instinctual forces, called life instinct and death tention to the death instinct and focused more on the life instinct.

The instinctual instinct. He paid less the life force that energizes the id is called libido. It works on principle of pleasure and seeks immediate gratification.

Q.6. How would Horney’s explanation of depression be different from that of Alfred Adler ?

Ans. Horney’s expression of depression is different from that of Alfred Adler as mentioned below:


Psychological disorders were caused by inter-personal relationship during childhood when parents’ behavior towards a child is indifferent, discouraging and erratic, the child feels insecure and a feeling called basic anxiety results.

Deep resentment towards parents or basic hostility occurs due to this anxiety. By showing excessive dominance or

indifference, or by providing too much or too little approval, parents can generate among children feelings of isolation and helplessness which interfere with their healthy development.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler gives greater importance to personal goals of an individual. Our personal goals are the sources of our motivation.

Our personal goals that provide us with security and help us in overcoming the feelings of inadequacy are important in our personality development.

He viewed that every individual suffers from the feelings of inadequacy and quiet i.e… inferiority complex which arise from childhood.

Overcoming this complex is essential for optimal personality development. And if an individual fails to overcome this it leads to depression.

Q.7. What is the main proposition of a humanistic approach to personality? What did Maslow mean by self-actualisation

Ans. (a) The humanistic approaches to personality have been developed by Curl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Its main propositions are as given below:

(i) The most important idea is a fully functioning person. Rogers believes that fulfillment is the motivating force for personality development.

(ii) People try to express their capabilities, potentials and talents to the fullest extent possible.

(iii) Rogers makes two basic assumptions about human behavior. First, this behavior is goal-directed. Second is that people will almost always choose adaptive self-actualising behavior.

(iv) He assumes that people are constantly engaged in the process of actualising their true self.

(v) He suggests that each person has a concept of an ideal self.

(vi) Rogers views personality development as a continuous process.

(vii) He recognised the role of social influences in the development of self-concept. If social conditions are positive, the self-concept and self-esteem are high and if it is negative the self-concept and self-esteem is low.

Thus an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard must be created.

(b) (i) Maslow’s self-actualisation is a state in which people have reached their own fullest potential.

(ii) He had an optimistic and positive view of man who has potential for love, joy and to do creative work.

(iii) Human beings are considered free to shape their lives and to self-actualise.

Q.8. Discuss the main observational methods used in personality assessment. What problems do we face with these methods ?

Ans. (a) (i) Behavioral observation method is very commonly used for the assessment of personality.

(ii) This method is a very sophisticated procedure and cannot be carried out by untrained people.

(iii) It requires careful training of the observer, and a fairly detailed guideline about analysis of behaviors in order to assess the personality of a given person.

(b) Observation can be of two types i.e., Non-participant and Participant observation.

(c) It has following limitations :

(1) Professional training required for collection of useful data through these methods is quite demanding and time consuming or labor intensive.

(2) Maturity of the psychologist is a pre-condition for obtaining valid data.

(3) As a stranger, the observer may be biased.

(4) Our observation is influenced by our values and beliefs about the person or the event.

Q.9. What is meant by structured personality tests? Which are the two most widely used structured personality tests?


(a) (i) Allport suggested that the best method to assess a person is by asking about him/her.

(ii) This led to use of self-report measures or structured measures.

(iii) These are based on theory that require subjects to give verbal responses using some kind of rating scale.

(iv) The method requires the subject to objectively report her/his own feelings with respect to various items.

(v) The responses are accepted at their face value.

(b) Some of the structured personality tests are as mentioned below

(i) The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).

(ii) Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ).

(iii) Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire.

(c) Two widely used structured tests are as given below

(i) The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): It is widely used as a test in personality assessment. This was developed as a helping tool for psychiatric diagnosis. Its revised version is available as MMPI-2. The subject has to judge a statement as ‘true’ or ‘false’.

In India, Mallick and Joshi have developed Jodhpur Multiphasic Personality Inventory on the lines of MMPI.

(ii) Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) It was developed by Eysenck to assess two dimensions of personality called introverted-extraverted and emotionally stable-emotionally unstable. Later on, Eysenck added a third dimension, called psychoticism. It is also widely used.

Q.10. Explain how projective techniques assess personality. Which projective tests of are personality widely used by psychologists? [CBSE 2012, 2013]

Ans. (a) Direct methods of personality assessment cannot uncover the unconscious part of our behavior. Hence, they do not give a real picture of an individual’s personality. Therefore, projective methods are used to overcome this problem. The features of projective techniques are as mentioned below:

(i) Projective techniques were developed to assess unconscious motives and feelings.

(ii) These techniques are based Assumption that a less structured or unstructured stimulus or situation will allow the individual to project her/his feelings, desires and needs onto that situation.

(iii) These projections are interpreted by experts.

(iv) The person being assessed is usually not told about the purpose of assessment and the method of scoring and interpretation.

(v) The person is informed that there are no correct or incorrect responses.

(vi) Each response is considered to reveal a significant aspect of personality.

(b) The projective tests that are widely used are as mentioned below a

(i) The Rorschach Inkblot Test.

(ii) The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).

(iii) Rosenzweig’s Picture – Frustration Study (P-F Study).

(iv) Sentence Completion Test.

(v) Draw-a-Person Test.

Q.11. 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.

Ans. Rogers suggests that each person has a concept of an ideal self. An ideal self is the self that a person would like to be. When there is a correspondence between the real self and ideal self, a person is generally happy. 

Discrepancy between the real self and ideal self often results in unhappiness and dissatisfaction. According to Rogers, an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard must be created in order to ensure enhancement of people’s self-concept.

In the case of Arihant, he wants to be a singer but his family members are against it. Thus, there is a discrepancy between his real self and ideal self. This situation will result in unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

He cannot become a “fully functioning person”. It may be harmful for his psychological health and well-being too.

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