Free Personality Theories Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Theory, Psychology, Personality, Behavior, Human, Sigmund Freud, Sociology, Trait

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/17

There has been an interest in the personality, its development, and the factors that influence our behavior since the existence of man. However, this was examined through religion, literature, and philosophy. However, psychologists are the first who tried to discover which factors make each individual in an empirical, scientific way. Nowadays, there are many personality theories but the most important theories that differ according to their approach, methods, and spheres of research are: trait personality theories, psychodynamic theories, humanistic theories, social learning and cognitive theories, and self theories.
The first theories that tried to analyzed people and classify them according to their traits are trait personality theories. The main goal of trait personality theory is to describe a personality through its traits or through relatively permanent affiliations towards a certain type of behavior. The representative of trait personality theory is Gordon W. Allport. The milestone in trait personality theory is that the basic units of an individual are traits. The goal is to discover the most important traits according to which a behavior can be predicted. "Allport identified three kinds of traits: cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits" (Understanding Human Personality 357). Allport's trait personality theory evolved over time and more divisions in describing human traits have been discovered, but this theory remain static. The main shortfall of this theory is that is describes the present behavior and neglects the origin of behavior. Trait personality theory does not deal with the subconscious motivation like psychodynamic theory.
On the contrary, psychodynamic theories of personality examine the inner self and the sources that exist in each of us as the main triggers of our behavior. The main representative is Sigmund Freud. At the time, his view on personality raised a great deal of conflicts amongst other psychologist but he maintained to claim that the human personality is defined through the triggers that motivate each individual. However, "Freud's great contribution was that he developed the first comprehensive theory of personality" (Curtis 114). Freud based his theory on studying his patients and his own self analysis. According to Freud each person is defined through sexual drive (Eros) that exists since the birth and consists of five stages of psychosexual development (rral, anal, phallic, latency, and genitals). "He used the term libido to identify the source of energy for sexual urges—a psychic energy that drives us toward sensual pleasures of all types" (Understanding Human Personality 363).Each individual needs to pass through every stage in order to develop in a fully matured individual. Freud also gave significance to dreams as dream represent our unconscious desires and urges and all the things that social rules, moral, and ethics prevents us from doing. Even though was critiqued, Freud's students Carl Jung and Alfred Adler reshaped the theory of Sigmund Freud and evolved the theory of psychoanalysis.
Contrary to theoretic approach of trait personality theory and psychodynamic theory of personality that are not based on research and methodological approach without giving attention to environment and prediction of our future behavior, humanistic theories, social learning theories and self theory regarded to analyzing human personality in correlation to the surrounding has an effect on its development. According to humanistic approach, psychology should study the problems that are important for every person. The most important representatives of humanistic theories are Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers. On the one hand, in psychodynamic approach to explaining human personality in individual there is always an ongoing battle between our id and superego, in humanistic theory a man is presented as a good and positive. Maslow develops a five ladder pyramid that describes the motives that each individual needs to achieve and overcome is order to reach self-actualization. According to Schultz and Schulz, "Their theories emphasize human strengths and aspirations, conscious free will, and the fulfillment of our potential" (Schultz and Schultz, 306).
Similarly to humanistic approach to personality, social-learning theory is based on a positive approach to human personality and its interaction with the surrounding. The main representative of social learning theory, Bandura, recognized the importance on the surrounding on our development. "Bandura’s theory points to a complex interaction of individual factors, behavior, and environmental stimuli. Each can influence or change the others, and the direction of change is rarely one way—it is reciprocal" (Understanding Human Personality 372).Unlike to psychodynamic personality theory where there are no studies to support the hypothesis that were presented by Sigmund Freud, social-learning studies support claims that are presented by Bandura. People learn by imitating their role model (children learn from their parents, a teacher) and by being reinforced by positive stimuli, the best results are achieved. The application of this theory has proved to be positive in an educational sphere where teachers frequently implement positive reinforcement for achieving the desired results among young students. However, social-learning and cognitive theories do not pay any attention to the subconscious and emotions that are analyzed only within the relation between our behavior and thoughts.
Similarly to psychodynamic theory, the self-theory analyzes three aspects of you being- the material me, the social me, and the spiritual me. A psychologist that advocated this view on the personality was William James. Self theories turn to analyzing the self. Self is a system of values that borders between self and objects. A person can support itself if he learns how to accept self with all of the flaws and virtues. Even though this theory is turned towards self, it also limited in because it does make a clear distinction about the importance of factors that contribute to the self.
Even though each of the theories analyzes human personality from different perspectives they are not complete as they complement each other. Their representatives criticize and attack different perspectives on personality, but the fact is that thanks to the variety that exists in the approach to human personality, psychologists were able to analyze our behavior and set standardized test that can measure and even predict our behavior. The fact that we are shaped by our genetics, our motives, and immediate contact of our surroundings remains. The only thing that differs is how much appreciation will be given to these factors. A lot has been done since the emergence of the first theory of personality, but there is lot more to learn about our personality and behavior.

Works Cited:

Understanding Human Personality. Chapter 13. Print.
Schultz P. Duane and Schultz Ellen Sydney. Theories of Personality. Eight Edition. Thomson Wadsworth 2005. Print.
Curtis C. Rebecca. Theoretical Convergences in Psychoanalysis & Social Psychology. The Guliford Press. 1991 Print.

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