Analyzing the Personality Psychology Phenomenon Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Personality Psychology

Character: Patrick Baterman- 'American Psycho'

A unique concept of personality theories is generated in American Psycho. This character has been cross examined through the principles of psychoanalytic theory. There character exhibits a super ego driven by skewed moral patterns and an id (self-perception) that lets out all the deeply held fantasies of which it has been deprived. The case demonstrates the possibility of the superego and the id coalescing to stir sadistic violence and failure to distinguish between the real and that exists only in perception. This unique predisposition also means that self-actualization is seen to be a possibility for any form of behaviour. Although it is easy to class Baterman as an evil person, his needs are met in line with the hierarchy of needs. This happens until his heinous and violent acts emerge a continuation of the skewed ideals shared in a way with his victims. The application of theories here presents a great opportunity to show the importance of extreme characters in fiction works to test the extent and limits of perspectives of theories (Schaffer, 2013).

a) Behavioural Theory and Character analysis

According to B.F. Skinner, people's differences in behavior are caused by the varying learning experiences. He points out that we acquire these behaviour patterns directly as positive reinforcements of behavior or even punishment as negative reinforcement. It may also occur indirectly through observational learning and modelling. Skinner observes that it is human to pursue good deeds to attract some form of reward. If we wish to experience reinforcement of behavior, we must always endeavor to grow positive personality traits. These include the attributes set out in the agreeable category of the Big Five, i.e. Compassion, Understanding, Positive thinking and being Emphatic. Skinner argues that we respond to all manner of reinforcement. He further states that out character can be shaped and determined by society (Sincero, 2014). A pervasive element in Baterman's narration reveals an unusual attention to details (Serpell, 2009). Such details span routine cleaning activities in the morning, diet and fitness. They are covered in many a page space and several minutes of movie time. The precise products used are pointed out. It also states the brand names and even why some products are used with a similar level of emotional content highlighted in the catalogues. For example, the detail about aftershave products in which the user is warned against using alcohol-based products because they dry out one's skin and leave it looking older (Ellis, 1991, p. 27). This type of attention to detail is typical to schizotypical personality (Schaffer, 2013). Baterman also manifests a range of other personality disorder traits including affective expression and self-perception that is classically schizotypical. Fluent speed excludes emotion and is typical of the language that has come to be associated with press releases, product reviews or even real catalogue descriptions. Baterman manifest a lot of disturbances in his speech patterns. It is associated with interruptions to a topic or thoughts not covered by a news article. Patrick has gone through text touching on a topic that has not been shown on the Patty Winters Show. The behaviour that Baterman displays in public, i.e. his violent behavior and private tendencies are brought out as Borderline Personality Disorder- BPD (Schaffer, 2013). Baterman shows contradicting behaviour towards others. His opinions towards others also seem to change fast at the slightest provocation- real or imagined. Such shifts in his perception of others can be observed in his verbal expressions that often turn into blatant violent behaviour including murder (Schaffer, 2013).

b) Social Cognitive Personality and Character Theory- analysis.

Albert Bandura presents the idea of observational learning as a major theoretical basis. He observed that reinforcement does not simply depend on a mechanism; rather, it provides information on the lined reinforcement to be granted if the behaviour is repeated. He observes that if a person is to…

Sources Used in Document:


Ellis, B. E. (1991). American Psycho (1st ed.). New York: Vintage.

Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: Classic theories and modern research (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon

Pearce, J. (2014, November 30). Patrick Bateman of American Psycho: A sexual profile. Retrieved from Lapsus:

Schaffer, C. (2013). Examining the Personality of Patrick Bateman of. Walden University.

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