AP Psychology

Unit 10: Personality

In this section of the course, students explore major theories of how humans develop enduring patterns of behavior and personal characteristics that in uence how others relate to them The unit also addresses research methods used to assess personality.

AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:

Lord ofthe Rings hobbit-hero Frodo Baggins knew that throughout his difficult journey there was one who would never fail him – his loyal and ever-cheerful companion, Sam Gamgee. Even before they left their beloved homes in the Shire, Frodo warned Sam that the journey would not be easy.

"It is going to be very dangerous, Sam. It is already dangerous.

Most likely neither of us will come back."

"If you don't come back, sir, then I shan't, that's certain," said Sam. "[The Elves told me] 'Don't you leave him!' Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon; and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954, p. 96)

And so they did! Later in the story, when it becomes clear that Frodo's path will lead him into the dreaded land of Mordor, it is Sam who insists he will be at Frodo's side, come what may. It is Sam who lifts Frodo's spirits with songs and stories from their boyhood. And it is Sam whom Frodo leans upon when he can barely take another step. When Frodo is overcome by the evil of the ring he carries, it is Sam who saves him. In the end, it is Sam who helps Frodo successfully reach the end of his journey. Sam Gamgee – cheerful, optimistic, emotionally stable – never falters in his faithfulness or his belief that they will overcome the threatening darkness.

As he appears and reappears throughout the series, Tolkien's Sam Gamgee exhibits the distinctive and enduring behaviors that define personality – a person's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. Earlier units have focused on our similar ways of developing, perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, and feeling. This unit focuses on what makes us each unique.

Much of this book deals with personality. We have considered biological influences on personality, personality development across the life span, and personality- related aspects of learning, motivation, emotion, and health. In later units we will study social influences on personality and disorders of personality.

Two historically significant theories have become part of our cultural legacy. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory proposed that childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations influence personality. The humanistic approach focused on our inner capacities for growth and self-fulfillment. These sweeping perspectives on human nature laid the foundation for later personality theorists and are complemented by what this unit goes on to explore: newer scientific research of specific aspects of personality. Today's personality researchers study the basic dimensions of personality, the biological roots of these dimensions, and the interaction of persons and environments. They also study self-esteem, self-serving bias, and cultural influences on one's sense of self. And they study the unconscious mind – with findings that probably would have surprised Freud himself

 55Freud's Psychoanalytic Perspective: Exploring the Unconscious
 56Psychodynamic Theories and Modern Views of the Unconscious
 57Humanistic Theories
 58Trait Theories
 59Social-Cognitive Theories and Exploring the Self

PowerPoint: Chapter Slides 10 | Chapter Definitions 10
Study Guide 10 (and Answers 10)
Textbook (sort of an "e-book")
A Quick, 4-Question Personality Test