Essentials of Psychology 211
March 8, 2014
What is personality? According to Hockenbury and Hockenbury (2014), personality is a person’s distinctive and rather consistent patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. But how is that personality developed? What influences certain personality traits and can we find the root of them? Countless theorists have studied and dissected this provocative subject.
Cherry (n.d.), “The psychoanalytic perspective of personality emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences and the unconscious mind” ...view middle of the document...
Albert Bandura (b. 1925) was likely most prominent theorist that embraced this approach to explaining personality (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014).
The trait perspective of personality is centered on identifying, describing and measuring the specific traits that make up human personality (Cherry, n.d.). In contrast to the previous perspectives described, trait perspective focuses primarily on describing individual differences. Raymond Cattell (1905-1998) was a strong advocate of the trait approach to personality. His research led to the one of the most widely used psychological personality tests, the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014).
Theories of Personality Development
There are many theories that attempt to explain how personality is formed. Many prominent theorists have put out explanations on how they think this happens. Following are a few of those theories.
Freud argued that personality is made up of three conflicting psychological forces: id- personality dimension ruled by the pleasure principle, ego- dimension that works according to the reality principle, and superego- moralistic self-evaluative personality consisting of internalized parental values (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014). This is what Freud coined as ego defense mechanism. These three components together create complex human behaviors.
One of Freud’s more controversial and well-known theories is the psychosexual development theory. “The psychosexual stages are age-related developmental periods, and each stage represents a different focus of the id’s sexual energies” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014, p. 426). Freud explained that people progress through five psychosexual stages of development and through these stages molds the foundation of adult personality (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014).
Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that archetypes are representations of people, behaviors or personalities. Jung argued that the mind was composed of three parts: the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. He suggested that these models are inborn, universal and inherited. Archetypes function to organize how we experience certain things (Cherry, n.d.).
There are a couple of approaches to personality assessment. One approach is projective tests, which include Rorscharch Inkblot Test and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). These types of tests are based on psychoanalytic perspective. The person is asked to respond to vague stimulus like an ambiguous image or an inkblot. “The person’s response is thought to be a projection of her unconscious conflicts, motives, psychological defenses, and personality traits” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2014, p. 447). These tests are subjectively scored.
There are many downsides to projective tests. The test setting and the examiner’s...