What Is Personality Structure?

1. Personality Structure Described: What is personality structure and what does it let us do? What are some similarities between personality structure and the structure of a city?

2. Uses of Personality Structure: Several reasons are given for the importance of understanding personality structure. How can they help us understand the many parts of personality? How can they help us make sure we have a comprehensive picture of an individual when studying a specific case?

3. Multiple Personality Structures: The chapter outlines several valid types of personality structure. Personality, like other complex systems, can be divided in more than one way, and more than one division can be valid, even when they are quite unlike one another. Do you know the criteria for valid or good structural divisions?

 

What Models Organize Personality Traits?

4. Thinking about the Big Two and Big Three: Before there was a Big Five set of personality traits, there were earlier models of big traits. What are the Big Two and Big Three—and what is a “big” trait?

5. The Big Five: What is the lexical hypothesis, and how did it lead to the Big Five personality traits? What advantages do you see, if any, of the Big Five model relative to earlier models?

6. What are the specific traits that make up the Big Five personality traits? Suggestion: the mnemonic OCEAN can be helpful for learning the five factors: O= openness, C=conscientiousness . . ., can you fill in the rest?

7. The Big Six: Although many psychologists are happy with the Big Five model of personality trait structures, others would like to add in more dimensions. Why would they like to do so, and what are some suggestions of additional dimensions they would like to add?

 

What Models Describe the Functions of Personality?

8. The Id, Ego, and Superego: What work areas of personality did Freud’s id, ego, and superego describe?

9. The Trilogy and Quaternity of Mind: Long before modern psychology, many philosophers and “faculty psychologists” had begun to divide the mind into its basic functional areas. The trilogy-of-mind refers to three functions; can you name them? When consciousness is added in as a fourth area, the quaternity-of-mind is formed.

10. A Brain to Match: Some brain scientists have suggested a rough division of the brain according to its evolution into the reptilian brain, paleo or old-mammalian brain, and neo-mammalian brain. The neo-mammalian brain corresponds to cognition. What functions of the trilogy do the reptilian and old-mammalian brain correspond to? What evolutionary pressures prompted the development of the old-mammalian brain?

11. Multilevel Personality in Context (MPIC): What is the MPIC model and how does it divide personality?

12. The Systems Set: As structural divisions are better understood, along with the criteria they must meet, it becomes more readily apparent how personality might be divided. One such new division is the systems set. Can you name its four areas?

 

How Do Structural Models Include the Unconscious?

13. Self-Awareness and Its Importance: Among the first structural models of personality was Freud’s division of the mind into conscious and unconscious processes. Why is the distinction between consciousness and unconscious important?

14. The No-Access Unconscious (or Unconscious Proper): Most mental processing takes place in the no-access unconscious. For example, when we perceive depth, and visual illusions, or mentally construct an image, it occurs unconsciously. What are the defining characteristics of this no-access unconscious?

15. The Implicit or Automatic Unconscious: The implicit or automatic unconscious refers to memory events that often take place under the threshold of awareness. It is often demonstrated with the use of memory priming—that is, showing stimuli and then covering them up. Can you describe an experimental demonstration of the operation of the implicit, automatic unconscious?

16. The Unnoticed Unconscious: Many mental functions would be accessible to us if only we noticed them. Can you give an example of an experimental phenomenon that illustrates that people don’t notice what is actually influencing their behavior?

17. The Dynamic Unconscious: Freud’s idea was that some material resides outside of awareness because it is too threatening to enter into consciousness. These motives and associated ideas, nonetheless, can influence our thinking and may be exhibited through dreams and errors in behavior, including slips of the tongue. Can you give an example of a study that demonstrates the action of the dynamic unconscious?

 

How Does Personality Connect to the Environment?

18. Structures of Social Interaction: The social-cognitive perspective of the mind focuses on relating personality to its acts in the outside world. For example, Mischel and Shoda’s CAPS model states that a person’s expectancies of reward are very important to what they do. What other elements are important in that model?

19. Using Structural Divisions to Fill In Personality: As we saw in Chapter 1, two dimensions, the molecular-molar and internal-external, can be used to arrange personality amid its surrounding system. These dimensions can also be employed to organize parts of personality. What parts are most molecular to personality? What parts are more molar?

20. Extending Personality to the Life Space: Just as personality has a structure, so does the environment surrounding it. When people are asked questions about their environment, what sorts of dimensions of the surrounding environment are obtained?

 

What Can Structures Do?

21. Organizing Traits by Processing Area: Psychologists have sought to organize traits according to the part of the trilogy (or quaternity) of mind they describe. Can you give an example of a trait that would describe each of the three areas?