psychological theories of aging (personality) lecture 8 – chapter 7

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  • Slide 1
  • Psychological Theories of Aging (personality) Lecture 8 Chapter 7
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  • Personality???? Definition: (Costa & McCrae) Psychological organization of the individual as a whole and especially to those features that distinguish the individual from others "There is very little difference between one person and another; but what little difference there is, is very important." (William James, 1897) (Mischel) Distinctive patterns of behavior, thought, emotion that characterize each person's adaptation to the situations of life traitssituation Interval + Environment
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  • Does Personality Change Over Time? Depends on how you study personality Cross sectional studies vs Longitudinal studies Depends on how what aspect of personality you are measuringTheories of Personality
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  • Personality Theories Trait Theory - understand individuals by breaking down behavior patterns into observable traits (instead of observable behavior) Developmental (Stage) Theory - emphasizes different stages that occur during development (both traits & behavior)
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  • Trait Theory
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  • Trait Theories of Personality Assumption of trait stability has led researchers to examine personality traits longitudinally McCrae and Costa (1984, 1990) proposed 5- factor model of personality traits: Neuroticism Extraversion Openness to experience Agreeableness Conscientiousness
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  • Big Five Personality Traits Costa and McCrae (1992) - Broad dimensions Neuroticism- individuals who experience negative affects (tense, moody, anxious) tendency to easily experience unpleasant emotions Extroversion individuals who are sociable (talkative, energetic, assertive) a tendency to seek stimulation and the company of others Openness to Experience individuals who have have active imaginations and are attentive to their inner feelings a tendency to enjoy art, new intellectual experiences, and ideas Agreeableness - individuals who are fundamentally altruistic, (sympathetic, kind, affectionate) tendency to be compassionate rather than antagonistic towards others Conscientiousness - individuals who are purposeful (organized, thorough & planful) a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement
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  • Cross Sectional Studies neuroticism extroversion openness agreeableness conscientiousness Longitudinal Studies = neuroticism = extroversion = openness ? agreeableness ? conscientiousness Results on Older adults
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  • Trait (beliefs about control) Locus of Control (Rotter) InternalExternal I control what happens to me! People and circumstances control my fate!
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  • Locus of Control (Rotter) Internal External I control what happens to me! People and circumstances control my fate! College Students vs Older Adults (Rhee & Gatz, 1993) More internal LC older adults vs college students younger group assessed older adults as having more External older adults assessed younger group as having more Internal Longitudinal Study of four generations (Gatz & Karel, 1993) from young adulthood to middle aged more internal no difference between middle age and older adults (cross section)
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  • Developmental (Stage) Theories Based on Freudtook steps further : what happens when you are young impacts later life Stages of Life Erik Erikson (1902 - 1994) Carl Jung (1875 1961)
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  • Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life... we take the step into the afternoon of life... with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve as before. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of lifes morningfor what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at the evening have become a lie. For a young person it is almost a sin, or at least a danger to be too preoccupied with [the] self; but for the aging person it is a duty and a necessity to devote serious attention to [the] self. Carl Jung (1933) Carl Gustav Jung Feb. 1955
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  • Jungs Psychoanalytic Perspective (Stage Theory) Carl Jungs model of personality assumes changes throughout life Model emphasizes stages in the development of consciousness and the ego Focus early in life (youth and middle age) is extraversion (focus on external world) to introversion (focus on ones inner world in old age) Life must contract and attention needs to be paid to inner life.
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  • stages of life youth (puberty to 35 years old): narrow focus of childhood leads to. old age: expanded consciousness in old age Theory of Individualism: People either introverted or extrovertedIf balanced = good mental health Major focus of the second half of life should be mortality and that anything that took away from that was in the direction of not being mentally healthy 2 shifts in personality Extroversion-introversion Masculinity-femininity (anima-animus) most important and lifelong task is fulfillment through the process of individuation: achievement of harmony of ego and consciousness, which makes a person one and whole Jungs theory
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  • anima (Latin for soul) a wildly imaginative and seductive feminine power within man; eros... animus (Latin for spirit) a fiercely willful and visionary masculine luminosity within woman; logos... femininefeminine side of a male's unconscious mind male'sunconscious mind a set of unconscious masculine attributes and potentials for females masculine
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  • Masculinity/Femininity less differentiated in late life men nurturing, expressive qualities woman assertiveness, more dominant Turning Inwardness interiority w/ age - tendency to become more preoccupied w/ feelings, experiences
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  • Stage Theories of Personality Erik Erikson Focus on psychosocial development throughout the life cycle 8 Stages of ego development Last stage: ego integrity vs. despair Purpose: to establish a sense of meaning in ones life, rather than feeling despair or bitterness that life was wasted; to accept oneself and ones life without despair
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  • Erikson's Stages of Development (Personality development as epigenetic stages) Developmental processes of socialization 8 stages of development We develop through a predetermined unfolding of our personalities in eight stages Progress through each stage is in part determined by our success, or lack of success, in all the previous stages A little like the unfolding of a rose bud, each petal opens up at a certain time, in a certain order If we interfere in the natural order of development by pulling a petal forward prematurely or out of order, we ruin the development of the entire flower.
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  • Erik Eriksons 8 Stage of Man (woman!) trust vs. mistrust (0-1 infant) autonomy vs. shame (2-3 toddler) initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 preschooler) industry vs. inferiority (7-12 School age) identity vs. confusion (12-18 Adolescence) intimacy vs. isolation (20s Young adult) generativity vs. stagnation (late 20s to 50s middle Adult) integrity vs. despair (50 + Old Adult)
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  • Stage 7 - Generativity vs. Stagnation - middle adulthood. To establish a sense of care and concern for the well being of future generations; to look toward the future and not stagnate in the past (20 -50s) Stage 8 - Integrity vs. Despair - old age. To establish a sense of meaning in one's life, rather than feeling despaired or bitterness that life was wasted; to accept oneself and one's life without despair (50 & up)


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