How do psychologists define and study personality? What advantages and limitations exist for each of the psychologists' theoretical description of personality? How do psychologists reliably measure personality and interpret personality's role in behavior? Psychologists agree that "Personality is one’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting." What differs is the many ideas about how our personality develops.We will explore the major theories and approaches to personality (psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive,trait, social learning and behavioral). We will also learn about research, the differences among research orientations, and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
I. Introduction and the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Define personality, and explain how Freud’s treatment of psychological disorders led to his study of the unconscious mind.
Describe Freud’s view of personality structure in terms of the id, ego, and superego.
Identify Freud’s psychosexual stages of development, and describe the effects of fixation on behavior
Discuss how defense mechanisms serve to protect the individual from anxiety.
Contrast the views of the neo-Freudians and psychodynamic theorists with Freud’s original theory.
Describe two projective tests used to assess personality, and discuss some criticisms of them.
Summarize psychology’s current assessment of Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis, including its portrayal of the unconscious.
II. The Humanistic Perspective
Describe the humanistic perspective in terms of Maslow’s focus on self-actualization and Rogers’ emphasis on people’s potential for growth.
Explain how humanistic psychologists assessed personality, and discuss the major criticisms of the humanistic perspective on personality.
III. The Trait Perspective
Discuss psychologists’ interests in personality types, and describe research efforts to identify fundamental personality traits.
Discuss the value of using personality inventories to assess traits, and identify the Big Five trait dimensions.
Summarize the person-situation controversy, and explain its importance as a commentary on the trait perspective.
IV. The Social-Cognitive Perspective
Describe the social-cognitive perspective, and discuss the important consequences of personal control and optimism.
Explain why social-cognitive researchers assess behavior in realistic situations, and state the major criticism of the social-cognitive perspective.
V. Exploring the Self
Explain why psychology has generated so much research on the self, and discuss the importance of self-esteem to human well-being.
Discuss some evidence for self-serving bias, and contrast defensive and secure self-esteem.
Identify some ways a primarily individualist culture differs from a primarily collectivist culture.
Khan Academy Videos on Biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors influence behavior and behavior change.
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Psychological Disorders & Treatment
How do psychologists measure and define abnormal behavior? What is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 that is published by the American Psychiatric Association? How are the various psychological disorders identified, studied, and what impact do these disorders have on individuals, families, communities and society? We will begin this unit with a discussion on the various criteria psychologists have used to define what is normal behavior. We will give specific attention to the cause and diagnostic criteria for disorders such as anxiety, somatoform, mood, schizophrenic, organic, personality and dissociative.
We will discuss the varying perspectives on how to address abnormal behavior.
What are the categories of mental health therapies? How might therapists draw from a variety of techniques when treating psychological disorders? Psychologists and other practitioners use practices that are based on a variety of treatment orientations. In this unit, you will be introduced to the characteristics of treatment as they are influenced by the following perspectives: behavioral, humanistic, psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and biological. We will make connections to earlier definitions of personality as advanced by these same perspectives. Finally, we will examine how psychotherapy is ultimately an integration of assorted techniques into a single, coherent system.
1. Identify the criteria for judging whether behavior is psychologically disordered, and discuss the controversy over the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
2. Contrast the medical model of psychological disorders with the biopsychosocial approach to disordered behavior.
3. Describe the goals and content of the DSM-5, and discuss the potential dangers and benefits of using diagnostic labels.
4. Define anxiety disorders, and contrast the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
5. Explain how a phobia differs from the fears we all experience.
6. Describe the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
7. Describe the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and discuss survivor resiliency.
8. Discuss the contributions of the learning and biological perspectives to understanding the development of anxiety disorders.
9. Describe somatoform disorders, and explain how the symptoms differ from other physical symptoms.
10. Describe the symptoms of dissociative disorders.
11. Define dissociative identity disorder, and discuss the controversy regarding its diagnosis.
12. Define mood disorders, and contrast major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder
13. Explain the development of mood disorders, paying special attention to the biological and social-cognitive perspectives.
14. Describe the symptoms of schizophrenia, and differentiate delusions and hallucinations.
15. Distinguish the five subtypes of schizophrenia, and contrast chronic and acute schizophrenia.
16. Outline some abnormal brain chemistry, functions, and structures associated with schizophrenia, and discuss the possible link between prenatal viral infections and schizophrenia.
17. Discuss the evidence for a genetic contribution to the development of schizophrenia, and describe some psychological factors that may be early warning signs of schizophrenia in children.
18. Contrast the three clusters of personality disorders, and describe the behaviors and brain activity associated with antisocial personality disorder.
Rates of Psychological Disorders
19. Discuss the prevalence of psychological disorders, and summarize the findings on the link between poverty and serious psychological disorders.
General Overview Question
20. Discuss how psychotherapy, biomedical therapy, and an eclectic approach to therapy differ.
21. Define psychoanalysis, and discuss the aims, methods, and criticisms of this form of therapy.
22. Contrast psychodynamic therapy and interpersonal therapy with traditional psychoanalysis.
23. Identify the basic characteristics of the humanistic therapies, and describe the specific goals and techniques of Carl Rogers’ client-centered therapy.
24. Explain how the basic assumption of behavior therapy differs from those of traditional psycho-analytic and humanistic therapies, and describe the techniques used in exposure therapies and aversive conditioning.
25. State the main premise of therapy based on operant conditioning principles, and describe the views of proponents and critics of behavior modification.
26. Contrast cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, and give some examples of cognitive therapy for depression.
27. Discuss the rationale and benefits of group therapy, including family therapy.
28. Explain why clients and clinicians tend to overestimate the effectiveness of psychotherapy, and describe two phenomena that contribute to clients’ and clinicians’ misperceptions in this area.
29. Discuss some of the findings of outcome studies in judging the effectiveness of psychotherapies, and describe which psychotherapies are most effective for specific disorders.
30. Evaluate the effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMIR) and light exposure therapies.
31. Describe the three benefits attributed to all psychotherapies.
32. Discuss the role of values and cultural differences in the therapeutic process, and identify some guidelines for selecting a therapist.
The Biomedical Therapies
33. Define psychopharmacology, and explain how double-blind studies help researchers evaluate a drug’s effectiveness.
34. Describe the characteristics of antipsychotic, antianxiety, antidepressant, and mood-stabilizing drugs, and discuss their use in treating psychological disorders.
35. Describe the use of brain stimulation techniques and psychosurgery in treating specific disorders.
36. Explain how therapeutic life-style change reflects the idea that humans are integrated biopsychosocial systems.
Preventing Psychological Disorders
37. Explain the rationale of preventive mental health programs.
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Psychological Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #28
OCD & Anxiety Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #29
Depressive and Bipolar Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #30
Trauma & Addiction: Crash Course Psychology #31
Schizophrenia & Dissociative Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #32
Eating and Body Dysmorphic Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #33
Personality Disorders: Crash Course Psychology #34
Getting Help - Psychotherapy: Crash Course Psychology #35
Biomedical Treatments: Crash Course Psychology #36
How do we explain (or "attribute") the behavior of others? What impact do these "attributions" have on individuals and on society as a whole? How are individuals affected by a group? Under what conditions do people obey, conform, make friendships, find love and help others? How do attitudes and actions influence individual and group behavior?How do psychologists define culture? What influence does culture have on individuals and groups? Psychologists focus on a variety of social phenomena when exploring how we relate to one another in social situations. We will learn what their research reveals about the structure and function of groups; the basic concepts of social cognition and attribution; the key studies that have contributed to the body of knowledge about social relations; and, the social psychologist's perspective of organizational behavior (e.g., businesses, etc.).
1. Describe the three main focuses of social psychology, and explain how the fundamental attribution error impacts our judgments of others.
2. Define attitude, and explain how attitudes and actions affect each other.
3. Describe the chameleon effect, and discuss Asch’s experiments on conformity, noting the difference between normative and informational social influence.
4. Describe Milgram’s experiments on obedience, and explain how the conformity and obedience studies can help us understand our susceptibility to social influence.
5. Describe the conditions in which the presence of others is likely to result in social facilitation, social loafing, or deindividuation.
6. Discuss how group interaction can facilitate group polarization and groupthink.
7. Describe how behavior is influenced by cultural norms.
8. Identify the characteristic common to minority positions that successfully sway majorities.
9. Identify the three components of prejudice, and contrast overt and subtle forms of prejudice.
10. Discuss the social factors that contribute to prejudice, and explain how scapegoating illustrates the emotional component of prejudice.
11. Cite three ways that cognitive processes help create and maintain prejudice.
12. Explain how psychology’s definition of aggression differs from everyday usage, and describe various biological influences on aggression.
13. Outline psychological and social-cultural triggers of aggression, noting the relationship between violent video games and aggressive behavior.
14. Describe the influence of proximity, physical attractiveness, and similarity on interpersonal attraction.
15. Describe the effect of physical arousal on passionate love, and identify two predictors of enduring companionate love.
16. Define altruism, and describe the steps in the decision-making process involved in bystander intervention.
17. Explain altruism from the perspective of social exchange theory and social norms.
18. Explain how social traps and mirror-image perceptions fuel social conflict, and discuss effective ways of encouraging peaceful cooperation and reducing social conflict.
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Khan Academy Videos
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