GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Theories on Personality

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Psychology

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All GRE Subject Test: Psychology Resources

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Social

Jung began as a Freudian psychoanalyst but eventually broke away from Freud's theories. Jung's criticism of his mentor was mostly aimed at which of the following Freudian concepts?

Possible Answers:

Freud's focus on sexual drives as the root cause of neuroses

Biological determinism

The idea of coping mechanisms

All of these

The concept of the ego

Correct answer:

Freud's focus on sexual drives as the root cause of neuroses

Explanation:

According to Jung, behavior was motivated by a kind of continuous life "force" that included overall motivation and caused people to aim for wholeness and creativity, not simply sexual fulfillment.

Example Question #1 : Theories On Personality

Holland Occupational Themes is a personality test that measures vocational codes and corresponding personality traits. An individual is assigned three traits out of six based upon their corresponding scores on the test. Which of the following sets of three traits are least likely to appear on this test?

Possible Answers:

Realistic, artistic, and conventional

None of these

Investigative, artistic, and social

Social, enterprising, and conventional 

Realistic, investigative, and artistic

Correct answer:

Realistic, artistic, and conventional

Explanation:

Holland’s codes appear on a wheel with the acronym “RIASEC”—realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. Traits next to one another on the wheel are most likely to appear together in a personality code. Traits across from each other on the wheel, such as artistic and conventional, are much less likely to appear on a profile together.

Example Question #33 : Social

According to Gordon Allport's trait theory, a __________ trait is a significant part of a person's personality and others almost always associate these traits with these individuals. Allport also believed that this type of trait was rare, and that most people's personality instead included a combination of several traits. 

Possible Answers:

Secondary trait

Central trait

Cardinal trait

Primary trait

Correct answer:

Cardinal trait

Explanation:

A "cardinal trait" dominates a person's personality to the point that others almost always identify them with the trait. "Central traits" are also a significant part of a personality, but not as dominant as cardinal traits. "Secondary traits" tend to come out only in certain situations and are more flexible. Note that "primary trait" is not a term used in Allport's theory. 

Example Question #34 : Social

Which of the following is not one of the Big 5 personality traits?

Possible Answers:

Locus of control

Openness to new experiences

Conscientiousness 

Agreeableness

Neuroticism

Correct answer:

Locus of control

Explanation:

The Big 5 are dimensions of personality that spell out the acronym "OCEAN." They include the following: "openness to experience," "conscientiousness," extroversion/introversion, "agreeableness," and "neuroticism." "Locus of control" is not one of the Big 5 personality traits. It is a theory developed by Julian Rotter about how people perceive control over events in their lives. Locus of control can be divided into internal (i.e. people believe they have great control over their lives) and external (i.e. people feel they have little control over their lives). 

Example Question #2 : Theories On Personality

Which of the following is an example of reaction formation?

Possible Answers:

Forcing all anger toward your parents out of your mind

Attributing your own anger to someone else

Distancing yourself from your feelings by focusing on logical facts

Being loving and warm toward a person you are angry with

Feeling angry toward a family member instead of your boss

Correct answer:

Being loving and warm toward a person you are angry with

Explanation:

Defense mechanisms function to prevent the unconscious urges of the id (i.e. the part of the mind that relies on the pleasure principle) from entering into awareness. Reaction formation involves saying or doing the opposite of what you actually feel (i.e. "being loving and warm toward a person you are angry with"). Feeling anger toward a safer person or object is an example of displacement. Forcing uncomfortable feelings like anger out of your mind is an example of repression. Distancing yourself from feelings is an example of intellectualization. Last, attributing your own feelings to someone else is projection.

Example Question #36 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

Which of the following are considered tenants of personality according to trait theorists? 

Possible Answers:

Traits change based on situations and exposure, traits are affected by behavior, and traits do not affect each other (friendly and unfriendly at once) 

There are only five personality traits, people are born with and retain the same traits throughout their life, and traits are entirely based on nature

Traits are relatively stable over time, traits influence behavior, and traits are bipolar (friendly vs. unfriendly) 

Traits influence marketable intelligence and success, all people with the same traits respond similarly in certain situations, and traits hierarchically build upon and influence each other 

Traits are entirely influenced by genotypes, traits can be used to predict a person's behavior, and all people have the same definable traits

Correct answer:

Traits are relatively stable over time, traits influence behavior, and traits are bipolar (friendly vs. unfriendly) 

Explanation:

There are numerous trait theorists with various beliefs—traits are both nature and nurture influenced, traits are hierarchical and traits have no influence on each other, there are five key traits and there are dozens. The following core key factors are tenants of all trait personality theories: traits are relatively stable over time, traits influence behavior, and traits are bipolar.

Example Question #36 : Social

According to Freud, fixation during the oral psychosexual stage of development can lead to which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Excessive dependency

Excessive messiness

 Excessive libido

Excessive orderliness

Correct answer:

Excessive dependency

Explanation:

Freud's psychosexual stages of development are as follows: Oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. Unresolved conflicts (i.e., fixation) during each stage can lead to different personality characteristics that are maintained through adulthood. Fixation during the oral stage results in excessive dependency, while a fixation in the anal stage can lead to being overly orderly and rigid or overly messy. Libido is the or libidinal energy represents the drive that occurs in psychosexual development, according to Freud.

Example Question #38 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

According to Freud, libidinal energy is present from __________.

Possible Answers:

anal stage

puberty

phallic stage

birth

Correct answer:

birth

Explanation:

Unlike other personality theorists, Freud believed that libido was present from birth. He believed that libidinal energy and the drive to reduce libidinal tension were the underlying dynamic forces that accounted for human psychological processes.

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