Identity and Personality
All characteristics of a person
Self-understanding, self-esteem, self-concept
Who a person is.
Enduring personal characteristics of individuals.
Young children perceive self as external characteristics.
Older children recognize difference between inner and outer states.
Self-descriptions are unrealistic
Individual differences in
social understanding linked to caregivers.
Middle and Late Childhood
Self-understanding: (5 key changes)
Internal characteristics emphasized
More referencing in social descriptions
More use of social comparisons
Distinguish between real self and ideal self
Realistic in self-evaluations
Increased perspective taking.
Ability to assume another’s perspective and understand his or her thoughts and feelings.
Self-Understanding in Adolescence
Abstract and idealistic
Self-conscious; preoccupied with self
Contradictions within the self – multiple roles in different contexts realized
Fluctuating self over time and situations
Compare real and ideal selves
Possible selves: what persons may be, would like to be, and are afraid of becoming
Self-integration in sense of identity
Changes in Self-Understanding in Adulthood
Awareness of strengths and weaknesses
Improves in young and middle adulthood
Get fewer and more concrete with age
Some revise throughout adulthood
Some in middle age, common in older adults
Evaluations of successes and failures
Issues with Self-Esteem
Modest correlations link self-esteem and school performance; links vary between adult job performance and selfesteem
Self-esteem related to perceived physical appearance across life-span
Depression lowers high self-esteem
Persons with high self-esteem:
Have greater initiative
Prone to both prosocial and antisocial actions
Undeserved high self-esteem:
Narcissism: self-centered, self-concerned
Lack of awareness linked to adjustment problems
Self-Esteem in Childhood and Adolescence
Accuracy of self-evaluations increases across the elementary school years
Majority of adolescents have positive self-image crossculturally
Girls’ self-esteem is lower than boys’ by middle school years
Self-Esteem in Adulthood
Some researchers find drops in self-esteem in late adulthood; others don’t.
Older adults with positive self-esteem:
May not see losses as negatively
Decrease in knowledge-related goals
Increase in emotion-related goals
Compare themselves to other older adults
Self-Esteem Across the Lifespan
Self-Regulation in Infancy and Early Childhood 12-18 months
Depend on caregivers for reminder signals about acceptable behaviors
Begin to comply with the caregiverâ€™s expectations in the absence of monitoring
Learn to resist temptation and give themselves instructions that keep them focused
Self-Regulation in Middle/Late Childhood and Adolescence
Self-regulation increases from about 5 or 6 years up to 7 or 8 years of age
Across elementary school years, children increase beliefs that behavior is result of own effort and not luck
From 8 to 14 years of age, children increase perception of self-responsibility for failure
self-regulation in aging linked to:
Reduction in performance
Continue practice, use of technology
Concealment; offsetting or counterbalancing a deficiency
Primary control striving:
One’s efforts to change external world to fit needs and desires.
Attain personal goals, overcome obstacles.
Secondary control striving:
Targets one’s inner worlds: motivation, emotion, and mental representation.
What is Identity? Self-portrait of many identities:
• • • • •
Sexual Cultural/ethnic Interests Personality Physical
Erikson’s Ideas on Identity Erickson:
Identity versus identity confusion:
Adolescents examine who they are, what they are about, and where they are going in life.
Gap between childhood security and adult autonomy, part of adolescent identity exploration.
Individuals go through periods of-
Crisis: exploring alternatives during identity development.
Commitment: individuals show personal investment in what they are going to do.
Marciaâ€™s Identity Statuses
Early Adolescence to Adulthood
Most important changes occur ages 18 to 25
“MAMA” cycle: pattern for positive identity moratorium • achievement • moratorium • achievement
Democratic foster identity achievement
Autocratic foster identity foreclosure
Permissive foster identity diffusion
Trait Theories and the Big Five Factors of Personality ď‚˘
Trait Theories: ď‚—
Personality is broad dispositions or traits that tend to produce characteristic responses.
Views On Adult Development
Levinson’s Seasons of a Man’s Life-
Stage and transitions occur in life span.
Tasks or crisis in each stage shape personality.
Levinson’s midlife crisis in 40s.
Age and WellBeing
The Life-Events Approach
Now contemporary life-events approach.
How a life event influences individual’s development depends on:
The life event
Individual’s adaptation to the life event
Generativity versus Stagnation
Seventh stage in Erikson’s life-span theory:
Encompasses adults’ desire to leave legacy to next generation
Middle-aged adults develop in number of ways
Also self-absorption, develops when one senses s/he has done nothing for next generation
Stability and Change
Many longitudinal studies have found evidence for both change and stability in personality in adulthood:
Smith College Study
Costa and McCrae’s Baltimore Study
Berkley Longitudinal Studies
Helson’s Mills College Study
Stability and Change
Cumulative Personality Model:
With time and age, people become more adept at interacting with environment in ways that promote stability
Overall, personality is affected by: