Introduction to Personality
May 21, 2012
Introduction to Personality
Personality seems like such a straight forward concept. Any one asked could most likely tell you what they perceive personality to be. Simply stated, personality is what makes a person individual. It is the behaviors and attitudes put forth that one can define a person by in regards to what kind of person they are. What is it exactly that defines personality and how is that definition determined? Many different viewpoints and theories exist but all concede that personality is unique to each individual and no two are ever the same.
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The psychoanalytical theory gets in to study the detail of the human mind. It was developed by Sigmund Freud and was truly the introduction into the era of psychology. Freud believed the defining aspect for personality existed deep within the human psyche. He promoted such ideas as the conscious, preconscious and unconscious mind driving personality and behavior such as repressed desires, memories or anxieties. He also theorized that the ID, ego and superego of an individual motivated one to behave in a certain manner. The ID operates within the pleasure principle and demands instant gratification without regard to the external environment. The ego participates by trying to use a more realistic approach in serving the desires of the ID, taking into account the surrounding environment. The superego which is the conscious considers morals and societal expectations and rules and applies them to the ego.
This approach to defining personality states that people are basically good. People can and will comprehend responsibility and accept it as part of their necessary behavior. This theory is more focused on the present in regard to behavior than that of the past or attempting to predict the future. The humanistic theory also suggests that being human allows one to possess worth in themselves and that self-improvement and knowledge can make for a happy person in life. Some characteristics of this self-actualizing theory are that one will have awareness, they will act with reality, they will have acceptance and spontaneity in their behavior, and they will display an non-hostile attitude and sense of humor toward others.
The behaviorist theory states that one’s personality is a result of the interaction and connection between the environment and the individual. This theory studies behaviors that are measureable and observable and it tends to discount theories that give weight to internal feelings and thoughts. The aspect of thought and response or response and consequence is what this theory is based on. Much like when a child acts out in bad behavior because they have received attention for it in the past, one’s actions or behavior will be determined by the expected result or how that person’s environment has responded before.
Observation learning theory
This learning theory produces a type of learning that comes as a result of direct observing and possibly retaining and duplicating the behavior. The theory states that observational learning can take place at any stage in life but it is focused primarily on childhood. The best and most productive models for this theory are people that are one to two years older than the individual subject learning through observed behavior.