Personality: Components and Assessments


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COMPONENTS AND ASPECTS OF OUR PERSONALITY The Three Components of Personality Sigmund Freud is known for his study on the three basic components that greatly affect our personality. He created the three levels of awareness that are congruent to the three different parts of the mind: conscious mind, preconscious mind, and subconscious mind. According to him, our conscious mind includes our current or present mental processes contributing a major part in our current awareness. The next level of mental awareness is our preconscious mind which, according to Freud, comprises those that we are aware of, but we do not really give focus or pay attention. We can either decide to take notice of these things and purposefully let our conscious mind be aware of them. The third part of the human mind is the subconscious where some of our thoughts surpass the conscious level. From these levels of awareness by Freud, he then developed the three components of our personality: the id, ego, and super ego. These are the results of our thinking, feeling, and behaviors. The id functions primarily based on pleasure principle wherein our mind seeks to achieve pleasure and avoid any form of pain. Freud mentioned that the id consists of two major instincts and these are eros and thanatos. The former is otherwise known as the life instinct that urges us to seek for pleasurable activities while the latter is our death instinct that stimulates us to cause to destroy. The ego is the next component of our personality which is the heart of our consciousness. It is characterized by either of the dominant functions which are introversion or extraversion along with the other functions. It is based on the reality principle which states that our mind acknowledges what is real and currently existing. It also understands that there are corresponding consequences to our behaviors. The super ego is the last component of our personality in which our values and morals are contained. Our super ego can also offset or compensate the id. The Big Five Factors Our various personality traits are generally categorized into what is referred to as the Big Five Factors: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Extraversion pertains to being outgoing, sociable, full of energy, enthusiasm, and action-oriented. Introversion, on the other hand, refers to lack of liveliness and energy. Agreeableness manifests our differences in terms of cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable people like getting along with each other well while disagreeable individuals are more concerned with self-interest and personal well-being. Conscientiousness focuses on how we manage and control our impulses and desires. Conscientious people are intelligent, organized, and persistent. Neuroticism is evident in individuals who are emotionally reactive and may have gone through or are going through a particular strong negative feeling. Openness to experience is a trait that characterizes people who are creative, imaginative, curious, and intellectuals. COMPONENTS OF PERSONALITY ACCDG TO SIGMUND FREUD Three components of personality Clinical psychologist Don Bannister has described Freud's position on the human personality as being: "... basically a battlefield. He is a dark-cellar in which a well-bred spinster lady (the superego) and a sex-crazed monkey (the id) are forever engaged in mortal combat, the struggle being refereed by a rather nervous bank clerk (the ego). " Thus an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego. This creates conflict, which creates anxiety, which leads to Defense Mechanisms. Id The Id contains our primitive drives and operates largely according to the pleasure principle, whereby its two main goals are the seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. It has no real perception of reality and seeks to satisfy its needs through what Freud called the primary processes that dominate the existence of infants, including hunger and self-protection. The energy for the Id's actions come from libido, which is the energy storehouse. The id has 2 major instincts: Eros: the life instinct that motivates people to focus on pleasure-seeking tendencies (e. . , sexual urges). Thanatos: the death instinct that motivates people to use aggressive urges to destroy. Ego Unlike the Id, the Ego is aware of reality and hence operates via the reality principle, whereby it recognizes what is real and understands that behaviors have consequences. This includes the effects of social rules that are necessary in order to live and socialize with other people. It uses secondary processes (perception, recognition, judgment and memory) that are developed during childhood. The dilemma of the Ego is that it has to somehow balance the demands of the Id and Super ego with the constraints of reality. The Ego controls higher mental processes such as reasoning and problem-solving, which it uses to solve the Id-Super ego dilemma, creatively finding ways to safely satisfy the Id's basic urges within the constraints of the Super ego. Super ego The Super ego contains our values and social morals, which often come from the rules of right and wrong that we learned in childhood from our parents (this is Freud, remember) and are contained in the conscience. The Super ego has a model of an ego ideal and which it uses as a prototype against which to compare the ego (and towards which it encourages the ego to move). The Super ego is a counterbalance to the Id, and seeks to inhibit the Id's pleasure-seeking demands, particularly those for sex and aggression. ASSESSMENT/MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY Personality Assessments are Mainstream Personality assessments have been used by individuals and psychologists for years to help them understand how a person is likely to act, or react, and how that person can more effectively interact with others. The use of personality assessments in the workplace is on the rise. 1 Organizations’ use of personality assessments has increased from 34 percent in 2005 to 65 percent in 2006. These assessments can provide HR professionals with insight into an employee’s professional self. Based on our research, the most commonly used personality assessments (not in order of utilization) are: • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on Carl Jung’s typology of the functions of the human psyche. • Insights Discovery System is a model based on the personality profiling work of Jung. Profiles XT Assessment is billed as a “total person assessment. ” This assessment measures behavioral traits, occupational interests and thinking styles. • The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) measures normal personality, predicts employee performance. It was developed specifically for the business community. • The DiSC Assessment explores four domains: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. • 16PF (Pearson Assessments) have been commonly used for a variety of applications, including support for vocational guidance, hiring and promotion recommendations. The Birkman Method focuses on five domains: productive and stress behaviors, underlying needs, motivations and organizational orientation. Personality assessments are generally used to understand the connection between people’s personalities) and their performance. While personality assessments are intended to measure personality traits, personal styles and behavioral inclinations, not work performance, these assessments can be used to explore how a person may perform in the workplace in certain situations. The Birkman’s Five Perspectives Productive Behavior—an individual’s effective behavioral style of dealing with relationships and tasks • Stress Behaviors—an individual’s ineffective style of dealing with relationships or tasks • Underlying Needs—an individual’s expectations of how relationships and social situations should be governed in the context of the relationship or situation • Motivations—an individual’s expressed preferences • Organizational Orientation—a perspective in which an individual views problems and creates solutions relating to organizational goals. Despite best practices emerging in the use of personality assessments in the workplace, Birkman’s survey indicates that no standard assessment or manner of use has been established. Depending on which assessment is used, the most common functional applications of these assessments are: • Team Building • Career Guidance • Conflict Resolution • Executive Coaching • Succession Planning • Employee Retention • Hiring and Selection • Leadership Development • Organizational Alignment • Competency Development
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