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Personality Theories Essay Sample

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Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what personality psychologists do. Personality psychology looks at the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique. Some of the best known theories in psychology are devoted to the subject of personality. Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what personality psychologists do. While our informal assessments of personality tend to focus more on individuals, personality psychologists instead use conceptions of personality that can apply to everyone. Personality research has led to the development of a number of theories that help explain how and why certain personality traits develop. Components of Personality

While there are many different theories of personality, the first step is to understand exactly what is meant by the term personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique. In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. Some of the fundamental characteristics of personality include: •Consistency – There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.

•Psychological and physiological – Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.

•It impacts behaviors and actions – Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.

•Multiple expressions – Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in our thoughts, feelings, close relationships and other social interactions. Theories of Personality

There are a number of different theories about how personality develops. Different schools of thought in psychology influence many of these theories. Some of these major perspectives on personality include: •Type theories are the early perspectives on personality. These theories suggested that there are a limited number of “personality types” which are related to biological influences.

•Trait theories viewed personality as the result of internal characteristics that are genetically based.

•Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, and emphasize the influence of the unconscious on personality. Psychodynamic theories include Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.

•Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and measurable behaviors, rejecting theories that take internal thoughts and feelings into account. Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson.

•Humanist theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality. Humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. The Conscious and Unconscious Mind

The Structure of the Mind According to Freud
Many of us have experienced what is commonly referred to as a Freudian slip. These misstatements are believed to reveal underlying, unconscious thoughts or feelings. Consider this example: James has just started a new relationship with a woman he met at school. While talking to her one afternoon, he accidentally calls her by his ex-girlfriend’s name. If you were in this situation, how would you explain this mistake? Many of us might blame the slip on distraction or describe it as a simple accident. However, a psychoanalytic theorist might tell you that this is much more than a random accident. The psychoanalytic view holds that there are inner forces outside of your awareness that are directing your behavior. For example, a psychoanalyst might say that James misspoke due to unresolved feelings for his ex or perhaps because of misgivings about his new relationship. The founder of psychoanalytic theory was Sigmund Freud.

While his theories were considered shocking at the time and continue to create debate and controversy, his work had a profound influence on a number of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, literature, and art. The term psychoanalysis is used to refer to many aspects of Freud’s work and research, including Freudian therapy and the research methodology he used to develop his theories. Freud relied heavily upon his observations and case studies of his patients when he formed his theory of personality development. Before we can understand Freud’s theory of personality, we must first understand his view of how the mind is organized. According to Freud, the mind can be divided into two main parts: 1.The conscious mind includes everything that we are aware of. This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally. A part of this includes our memory, which is not always part of consciousness but can be retrieved easily at any time and brought into our awareness. Freud called this ordinary memory the preconscious.

2.The unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the unconscious are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. According to Freud, the unconscious continues to influence our behavior and experience, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences.

Trait Theory of Personality he trait approach to personality is one of the major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are composed broad dispositions. Consider how you would describe the personality of a close friend. Chances are that you would list a number of traits, such as outgoing, kind and even-tempered. A trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic that causes individuals to behave in certain ways. Unlike many other theories of personality, such as psychoanalytic or humanistic theories, the trait approach to personality is focused on differences between individuals. The combination and interaction of various traits forms a personality that is unique to each individual. Trait theory is focused on identifying and measuring these individual personality characteristics. Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory

In 1936, psychologist Gordon Allport found that one English-language dictionary alone contained more than 4,000 words describing different personality traits.1 He categorized these traits into three levels: •Cardinal Traits: Traits that dominate an individual’s whole life, often to the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits. People with such personalities often become so known for these traits that their names are often synonymous with these qualities. Consider the origin and meaning of the following descriptive terms: Freudian, Machiavellian, narcissism, Don Juan, Christ-like, etc. Allport suggested that cardinal traits are rare and tend to develop later in life.2

•Central Traits: These are the general characteristics that form the basic foundations of personality. These central traits, while not as dominating as cardinal traits, are the major characteristics you might use to describe another person. Terms such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are considered central traits.

•Secondary Traits: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. Some examples would be getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while waiting in line. Raymond Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire Trait theorist Raymond Cattell reduced the number of main personality traits from Allport’s initial list of over 4,000 down to 171,3 mostly by eliminating uncommon traits and combining common characteristics. Next, Cattell rated a large sample of individuals for these 171 different traits. Then, using a statistical technique known as factor analysis, he identified closely related terms and eventually reduced his list to just 16 key personality traits. According to Cattell, these 16 traits are the source of all human personality. He also developed one of the most widely used personality assessments known as the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). Eysenck’s Three Dimensions of Personality

British psychologist Hans Eysenck developed a model of personality based upon just three universal trails: 1.Introversion/Extraversion:
Introversion involves directing attention on inner experiences, while extraversion relates to focusing attention outward on other people and the environment. So, a person high in introversion might be quiet and reserved, while an individual high in extraversion might be sociable and outgoing.

2.Neuroticism/Emotional Stability:
This dimension of Eysenck’s trait theory is related to moodiness versus even-temperedness. Neuroticism refers to an individual’s tendency to become upset or emotional, while stability refers to the tendency to remain emotionally constant.

3.Psychoticism:
Later, after studying individuals suffering from mental illness, Eysenck added a personality dimension he called psychoticism to his trait theory. Individuals who are high on this trait tend to have difficulty dealing with reality and may be antisocial, hostile, non-empathetic and manipulative.4 The Five-Factor Theory of Personality

Both Cattell’s and Eysenck’s theory have been the subject of considerable research, which has led some theorists to believe that Cattell focused on too many traits, while Eysenck focused on too few. As a result, a new trait theory often referred to as the “Big Five” theory emerged. This five-factor model of personality represents five core traits that interact to form human personality.5 While researchers often disagree about the exact labels for each dimension, the following are described most commonly: 1.Extraversion

2.Agreeableness
3.Conscientiousness
4.Neuroticism
5.Openness
Assessing the Trait Approach to Personality
While most agree that people can be described based upon their personality traits, theorists continue to debate the number of basic traits that make up human personality. While trait theory has objectivity that some personality theories lack (such as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory), it also has weaknesses. Some of the most common criticisms of trait theory center on the fact that traits are often poor predictors of behavior. While an individual may score high on assessments of a specific trait, he or she may not always behave that way in every situation. Another problem is that trait theories do not address how or why individual differences in personality develop or emerge. The Big Five Personality Dimensions

5 Major Factors of Personality
What Are the Big Five Dimensions of Personality?
Personality researchers have proposed that there are five basic dimensions of personality. Today, many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the “Big 5” personality traits. Previous trait theorist had suggested a various number of possible traits, including Gordon Allport’s list of 4,000 personality traits, Raymond Cattell’s 16 personality factors and Hans Eysenck’s three-factor theory. However, many researchers felt that Cattell’s theory was too complex and Eysenck’s was too limited in scope. As a result, the five-factor theory emerged to describe the basic traits that serve as the building blocks of personality. What Are the Big Five Dimensions of Personality?

Today, many researchers believe that they are five core personality traits. Evidence of this theory has been growing over the past 50 years, beginning with the research of D. W. Fiske (1949) and later expanded upon by other researchers including Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and McCrae & Costa (1987). The “big five” are broad categories of personality traits. While there is a significant body of literature supporting this five-factor model of personality, researchers don’t always agree on the exact labels for each dimension. However, these five categories are usually described as follows: 1.Extraversion: This trait includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness.

2.Agreeableness: This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other prosocial behaviors.

3.Conscientiousness: Common features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details.

4.Neuroticism: Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.

5.Openness: This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests. It is important to note that each of the five personality factors represents a range between two extremes. For example, extraversion represents a continuum between extreme extraversion and extreme introversion. In the real world, most people lie somewhere in between the two polar ends of each dimension. Big 5 Personality Research

McCrae and his colleagues have also found that the big five traits are also remarkably universal. One study that looked at people from more than 50 different cultures found that the five dimensions could be accurately used to describe personality. Based on this research, many psychologists now believe that the five personality dimensions are not only universal; they also have biological origins. Psychology David Buss has proposed that an evolutionary explanation for these five core personality traits, suggesting that these personality traits represent the most important qualities that shape our social landscape. Final Thoughts

Always remember that behavior involves an interaction between a person’s underlying personality and situational variables. The situation that a person finds himself or herself in plays a major role in how the person reacts. However, in most cases, people offer responses that are consistent with their underlying personality traits. These dimensions represent broad areas of personality. Research has demonstrated that these groupings of characteristics tend to occur together in many people. For example, individuals who are sociable tend to be talkative. However, these traits do not always occur together. Personality is a complex and varied and each person may display behaviors across several of these dimensions. Murray’s Theory of Psychogenic Needs

Henry Murray and Psychogenic Needs
American psychologist Henry Murray (1893-1988) developed a theory of personality that was organized in terms of motives, presses, and needs. Murray described a needs as a, “potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances” (1938).

Theories of personality based upon needs and motives suggest that our personalities are a reflection of behaviors controlled by needs. While some needs are temporary and changing, other needs are more deeply seated in our nature. According to Murray, these psychogenic needs function mostly on the unconscious level, but play a major role in our personality. Murray’s Types of Needs

Murray identified needs as one of two types:
1.Primary Needs
Primary needs are based upon biological demands, such as the need for oxygen, food, and water.

2.Secondary Needs
Secondary needs are generally psychological, such as the need for nurturing, independence, and achievement. List of Psychogenic Needs
The following is a partial list of 24 needs identified by Murray and his colleagues. According to Murray, all people have these needs, but each
individual tends to have a certain level of each need. 1. Ambition Needs

•Achievement: Success, accomplishment, and overcoming obstacles.

•Exhibition: Shocking or thrilling other people.

•Recognition: Displaying achievements and gaining social status.

2. Materialistic Needs
•Acquisition: Obtaining things.
•Construction: Creating things.
•Order: Making things neat and organized.
•Retention: Keeping things.

3. Power Needs
•Abasement: Confessing and apologizing.
•Autonomy: Independence and resistance.
•Aggression: Attacking or ridiculing others.
•Blame Avoidance: Following the rules and avoiding blame.
•Deference: Obeying and cooperating with others.
•Dominance: Controlling others.

4. Affection Needs
•Affiliation: Spending time with other people.
•Nurturance: Taking care of another person.
•Play: Having fun with others.
•Rejection: Rejecting other people.
•Succorance: Being helped or protected by others.

5. Information Needs
•Cognizance: Seeking knowledge and asking questions.
•Exposition: Education others.
Influences on Psychogenic Needs
Each need is important in and of itself, but Murray also believed that needs can be interrelated, can support other needs, and can conflict with other needs. For example, the need for dominance may conflict with the need for affiliation when overly controlling behavior drives away friends, family, and romantic partners. Murray also believed that environmental factors play a role in how these psychogenic needs are displayed in behavior. Murray called these environmental forces “presses.” Research on Psychogenic Needs

Other psychologists have subjected Murray’s psychogenic needs to considerable research. For example, research on the need for achievement has revealed that people with a high need for achievement tend to select more challenging tasks. Studies on the need for affiliation have found that people who rate high on affiliation needs tend to have larger social groups, spend more time in social interaction, and more likely to suffer loneliness when faced with little social contact. Horney’s List of Neurotic Needs

Psychoanalytic theorist Karen Horney developed one of the best known theories of neurosis. She believed that neurosis resulted from basic anxiety caused by interpersonal relationships. Her theory proposes that strategies used to cope with anxiety can be overused, causing them to take on the appearance of needs.

According to Horney, basic anxiety (and therefore neurosis) could result from a variety of things including, ” . . . direct or indirect domination, indifference, erratic behavior, lack of respect for the child’s individual needs, lack of real guidance, disparaging attitudes, too much admiration or the absence of it, lack of reliable warmth, having to take sides in parental disagreements, too much or too little responsibility, over-protection, isolation from other children, injustice, discrimination, unkept promises, hostile atmosphere, and so on and so on” (Horney, 1945).

These 10 neurotic needs can be classed into three broad categories: 1.Needs that move you towards others.
These neurotic needs cause individuals to seek affirmation and acceptance from others and are often described as needy or clingy as they seek out approval and love. 2.Needs that move you away from others.

These neurotic needs create hostility and antisocial behavior. These individuals are often described as cold, indifferent, and aloof. 3.Needs that move you against others. These neurotic needs result in hostility and a need to control other people.
These individuals are often described as difficult, domineering, and unkind. Well-adjusted individuals utilize all three of these strategies, shifting focus depending on internal and external factors. So what is it that makes these coping strategies neurotic? According to Horney, it is the overuse of one or more of these interpersonal styles. Neurotic people tend to utilize two or more of these ways of coping, creating conflict, turmoil, and confusion.

In her book Self-Analysis (1942), Horney outlined the 10 neurotic needs she had identified: 1. The Neurotic Need for Affection and Approval
This needs include the desires to be liked, to please other people, and meet the expectations of others. People with this type of need are extremely sensitive to rejection and criticism and fear the anger or hostility of others. 2. The Neurotic Need for a Partner Who Will Take Over One’s Life These involve the need to be centered on a partner. People with this need suffer extreme fear of being abandoned by their partner. Oftentimes, these individuals place an exaggerated importance on love and believe that having a partner will resolve all of life’s troubles. 3. The Neurotic Need to Restrict One’s Life Within Narrow Borders Individuals with this need prefer to remain inconspicuous and unnoticed. They are undemanding and content with little. They avoid wishing for material things, often making their own needs secondary and undervaluing their own talents and abilities. 4. The Neurotic Need for Power

Individuals with this need seek power for its own sake. They usually praise strength, despise weakness, and will exploit or dominate other people. These people fear personal limitations, helplessness, and uncontrollable situations. 5. The Neurotic Need to Exploit Others

These individuals view others in terms of what can be gained through association with them. People with this need generally pride themselves in their ability to exploit other people and are often focused on manipulating others to obtain desired objectives, including such things as ideas, power, money, or sex. 6. The Neurotic Need for Prestige

Individuals with a need for prestige value themselves in terms of public recognition and acclaim. Material possessions, personality characteristics, professional accomplishments, and loved ones are evaluated based upon prestige value. These individuals often fear public embarrassment and loss of social status. 7. The Neurotic Need for Personal Admiration

Individuals with a neurotic need for personal admiration are narcissistic and have an exaggerated self-perception. They want to be admired based on this imagined self-view, not upon how they really are. 8. The Neurotic Need for Personal Achievement

According to Horney, people push themselves to achieve greater and greater things as a result of basic insecurity. These individuals fear failure and feel a constant need to accomplish more than other people and to top even their own earlier successes. 9. The Neurotic Need for Self-Sufficiency and Independence

These individuals exhibit a “loner” mentality, distancing themselves from others in order to avoid being tied down or dependent upon other people. 10. The Neurotic Need for Perfection and Unassailability

These individuals constantly strive for complete infallibility. A common feature of this neurotic need is searching for personal flaws in order to quickly change or cover up these perceived imperfections. Defense Mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms and Ego Anxiety
You’ve probably heard people talk about “defense mechanisms,” or ways that we protect ourselves from things that we don’t want to think about or deal with. The term got its start in psychoanalytic therapy, but it has slowly worked its way into everyday language. Think of the last time you referred to someone as being “in denial” or accused someone of “rationalizing.” Both of these examples refer to a type of defense mechanism. In Sigmund Freud’s topographical model of personality, the ego is the aspect of personality that deals with reality. While doing this, the ego also has to cope with the conflicting demands of the id and the superego. The id seeks to fulfill all wants, needs and impulses while the superego tries to get the ego to act in an idealistic and moral manner. What happens when the ego cannot deal with the demands of our desires, the constraints of reality and our own moral standards? According to Freud, anxiety is an unpleasant inner state that people seek to avoid. Anxiety acts as a signal to the ego that things are not going right. Frued identified three types of anxiety:

1.Neurotic anxiety is the unconscious worry that we will lose control of the id’s urges, resulting in punishment for inappropriate behavior.

2.Reality anxiety is fear of real-world events. The cause of this anxiety is usually easily identified. For example, a person might fear receiving a dog bite when they are near a menacing dog. The most common way of reducing this anxiety is to avoid the threatening object.

3.Moral anxiety involves a fear of violating our own moral principles. In order to deal with this anxiety, Freud believed that defense mechanisms helped shield the ego from the conflicts created by the id, superego and reality. What is a Defense Mechanism?

Defense Mechanisms
Because of anxiety provoking demands created by the id, superego and reality, the ego has developed a number of defense mechanisms to cope with anxiety. Although we may knowingly use these mechanisms, in many cases these defenses work unconsciously to distort reality. While all defense mechanisms can be unhealthy, they can also be adaptive and allow us to function normally. The greatest problems arise when defense mechanisms are overused in order to avoid dealing with problems. In psychoanalytic therapy, the goal may be to help the client uncover these unconscious defense mechanisms and find better, more healthy ways of coping with anxiety and distress. Researchers have described a wide variety of different defense mechanisms. Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud described ten different defense mechanisms used by the ego. Follow the links below to read more about each type of defense mechanism as well as other defense mechanisms described by psychologists. Denial

Denial is probably one of the best known defense mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth (i.e. “He’s in denial.”). Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Drug addicts or alcoholics often deny that they have a problem, while victims of traumatic events may deny that the event ever occurred. Denial functions to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defenses are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness. Repression and Suppression

Repression
Repression is another well-known defense mechanism. Repression acts to keep information out of conscious awareness. However, these memories don’t just disappear; they continue to influence our behavior. For example, a person who has repressed memories of abuse suffered as a child may later have difficulty forming relationships. Sometimes we do this consciously by forcing the unwanted information out of our awareness, which is known as suppression. In most cases, however, this removal of anxiety-provoking memories from our awareness is believed to occur unconsciously. Displacement

Displacement
Have ever had a really bad day at work and then gone home and taken out your frustration on family and friends? Then you have experienced the ego defense mechanism of displacement. Displacement involves taking out our frustrations, feelings and impulses on people or objects that are less threatening. Displaced aggression is a common example of this defense mechanism. Rather than express our anger in ways that could lead to negative consequences (like arguing with our boss), we instead express our anger towards a person or object that poses no threat (such as our spouse, children or pets). Sublimation

Sublimation is a defense mechanism that allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form. For example, a person experiencing extreme anger might take up kick-boxing as a means of venting frustration. Freud believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity that allows people to function normally in socially acceptable ways. Projection

Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people. For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety. Intellectualization

Intellectualization works to reduce anxiety by thinking about events in a cold, clinical way. This defense mechanism allows us to avoid thinking about the stressful, emotional aspect of the situation and instead focus only on the intellectual component. For example, a person who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness might focus on learning everything about the disease in order to avoid distress and remain distant from the reality of the situation. Rationalization

Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true reasons for the behavior. For example, a person who is turned down for a date might rationalize the situation by saying they were not attracted to the other person anyway, or a student might blame a poor exam score on the instructor rather than his or her lack of preparation. Rationalization not only prevents anxiety, it may also protect self-esteem and self-concept. When confronted by success or failure, people tend to attribute achievement to their own qualities and skills while failures are blamed on other people or outside forces. Regression

When confronted by stressful events, people sometimes abandon coping strategies and revert to patterns of behavior used earlier in development. Anna Freud called this defense mechanism regression, suggesting that people act out behaviors from the stage of psychosexual development in which they are fixated. For example, an individual fixated at an earlier developmental stage might cry or sulk upon hearing unpleasant news. Behaviors associated with regression can vary greatly depending upon which stage the person is fixated at: •An individual fixated at the oral stage might begin eating or smoking excessively, or might become very verbally aggressive. •A fixation at the anal stage might result in excessive tidiness or messiness. Reaction Formation

Reaction formation reduces anxiety by taking up the opposite feeling, impulse or behavior. An example of reaction formation would be treating someone you strongly dislike in an excessively friendly manner in order to hide your true feelings. Why do people behave this way? According to Freud, they are using reaction formation as a defense mechanism to hide their true feelings by behaving in the exact opposite manner. Other Defense Mechanisms

Since Freud first described the original defense mechanisms, other researchers have continued to describe other methods of reducing anxiety. Some of these defense mechanisms include: •Acting out – The individual copes with stress by engaging in actions rather than reflecting upon internal feelings.

•Affiliation – Involves turning to other people for support.

•Aim inhibition – The individual accepts a modified form of their original goal (i.e. becoming a high school basketball coach rather than a professional athlete.)

•Altruism – Satisfying internal needs through helping others.

•Avoidance – Refusing to deal with or encounter unpleasant objects or situations.

•Compensation – Overachieving in one area to compensate for failures in another.

•Humor – Pointing out the funny or ironic aspects of a situation.

•Passive-aggression – Indirectly expressing anger.
While defense mechanisms are often thought of as negative reactions, some of these defenses can be helpful. For example, utilizing humor to overcome a stressful, anxiety-provoking situation can actually be an adaptive defense mechanism. Archetypes

Jung’s Archetypes
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that archetypes are models of people, behaviors or personalities. Jung suggested that the psyche was composed of three components: the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. According to Jung, the ego represents the conscious mind while the personal unconscious contains memories, including those that have been suppressed. The collective unconscious is a unique component in that Jung believed that this part of the psyche served as a form of psychological inheritance. It contains all of the knowledge and experiences we share as a species. The Origins of Archetypes

Where do these archetypes come from then? The collective unconscious, Jung believed, was where these archetypes exist. He suggested that these models are innate, universal and hereditary. Archetypes are unlearned and function to organize how we experience certain things. “All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes,” Jung explained in his book The Structure of the Psyche. “This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us.” Jung identified four major archetypes, but also believed that there was no limit to the number that may exist. The Self

Billy Alexander
The self is an archetype that represents the unification of the unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. The creation of the self occurs through a process known as individuation, in which the various aspects of personality are integrated. Jung often represented the self as a circle, square or mandala. The Shadow

Benjamin Earwicker
The shadow is an archetype that consists of the sex and life instincts. The shadow exists as part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts and shortcomings. This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos and the unknown. These latent dispositions are present in all of us, Jung believed, although people sometimes deny this element of their own psyche and instead project it onto others. Jung suggested that the shadow can appear in dreams or visions and may take a variety of forms. It might appear as a snake, a monster, a demon, a dragon or some other dark, wild or exotic figure. The Anima or Animus

Joe Zlomek
The anima is a feminine image in the male psyche and the animus is a male image in the female psyche. The anima/animus represents the “true self” rather than the image we present to others and serves as the primary source of communication with the collective unconscious. The combination of the anima and animus is known as the syzygy, or the divine couple. The syzygy represents completion, unification and wholeness. The Persona

The persona archetype
The persona is how we present ourselves to the world. The word “persona” is derived from a Latin word that literally means “mask.” It is not a literal mask, however. The persona represents all of the different social masks that we wear among different groups and situations. It acts to shield the ego from negative images. According to Jung, the persona may appear in dreams and take a number of different forms. Other Archetypes

Jung suggested that the number of existing archetypes is not static or fixed.
Instead, many different archetypes may overlap or combine at any given time. The following are just a few of the various archetypes that Jung described:

•The father: Authority figure; stern; powerful..
•The mother: Nurturing; comforting.
•The child: Longing for innocence; rebirth; salvation.
•The wise old man: Guidance; knowledge; wisdom.
•The hero: Champion; defender; rescuer.
•The maiden: Innocence; desire; purity.
•The trickster: Deceiver; liar; trouble-maker.

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