Psychology of Personality

Introduction

Individuals convey different psychological lives depending on their environment, social status, among other factors. Nonetheless, just a few psychological behaviors are noticed easily. These include personality, among others. Personality defines the whole mental organization of humans at every stage of their development.

In this regard, various theorists, psychologists and psycho-socialists, as well as psychoanalysts have proposed several theories that they feel describe human behavior and personality. These theorists include Freud, Fromm, Erickson, Bandura, Skinner, Allport, and Rogers, among others. The theories they postulated include psychosexual theory, which was done by Freud and psychosocial theory, which was proposed by Erickson.

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Others include behavioral analysis, by Skinner, Bandura’s social cognitive analysis, Allport’s ideas of the psychologically healthy personality, Adler’s Individual Psychology, Rogers’ “person of tomorrow” and Fromm’s Humanistic Psychoanalysis. Some of these theories are complex to understand as they sometimes vary in results depending on the individual. This paper will explore the similarities and differences of pairs of these theories as well as my views on them (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Psychology of personality

Personality psychology is usually defined in terms of mental system of an individual. Moreover, the primary concern of personality is on the most noticeable parts of human’s psychological life. The noticeable parts of an individual form its main elements. Several definitions have come up to describe personality psychology. Most of these have mainly focused on the mental state of individuals. They try to bring out a description of the overall mental system or organization.

It may therefore refer to the complete organization of mentality of an individual at any stage of his/her development. It forms the sense of being human. Every individual conveys some form of personality. Among those usually shown concerns people who are sad or happy, dull or smart, and apathetic or energetic, among others. In essence, personality concerns itself with the pattern of operation of mental systems in individuals (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Freud’s psychosexual theory of personality versus Erikson’s psychosocial theory of personality

Freud postulated his theory on psychosexual development with emphasis on people as pleasure seekers. According to him, people come into the world as seekers of pleasure. He points out that these pleasures are sought from erogenous zones. The zones are wide and require further categorization.

He categorizes the theory of psychosexual development into two ideas. These are the fact that one’s childhood experiences determines his future, that is a child’s first few years determines his whole life. This is mainly because the childhood experiences act as a blueprint to future functions. In addition he talks of the fact that development gives a story of how individuals can handle impulses that are antisocial through ways that are sociable. These are categorized in fixation and reaction formation (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Freud’s psychosexual theory of personality

Freud states that people come into the world to seek pleasure. He proposed 5 stages of development, which he felt that people go through, even though he also stated that most people ended up tied to one stage of development than others. The stages of development he gives for this are the oral stage, Anal, Phallic, latency and genital.

The oral stage occurs between birth and one year. In this stage, one may get frustrated at waiting on others or depending on them. A fixation at this state would mean extreme use of oral stimulation. These may include excessive drinking, cigarettes, among others.

The second stage is Anal, which occurs between two to three years. Children are introduced to rules that they are to follow as well as regulations. Libido is therefore focused anally, leading to stinginess, messiness, or stubbornness, among others. These results are only achieved when one remains fixated at this stage. The third stage (phallic) starts between 4-5 years and is characterized with boys’ sexual desire for their mothers, combined with fear of the father’s suspicion and punishment.

This phase of phallic stage is known as Oedipus conflict. It is then followed by castration anxiety. In this phase, the boy ends up renouncing his sexual feelings for his mother for fear of punishment by his father. He then becomes the father’s friend and hopes to have relations with a woman like his father, some day (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

For girls, it is slightly different in the phallic stage, this is because they develop desire for penis and thinks that their mothers are penis less and therefore unworthy. However, just as the boys renounce their desire for mothers, girls also renounce their desire for fathers. The fourth stage is Latency, which starts from about age 7 to puberty. The stage is also known as a period of rest as there is no significant developmental occurrences.

The fifth and last, involves genital developments, which starts at puberty. The child begins to utilize the roles of libido and genitals. However, these feelings act as a source of anxiety since they remind them of feelings for their parents in earlier stages (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Erikson’s psychosocial theory of personality

Erickson provided one of the best known stages of development in personality psychology. His main emphasis is on ego identity which is identified as a sense of self awareness. In this regard, Erickson postulates eight stages of development. These are majorly on conflicts. They include Trust vs. mistrust, Autonomy vs. Doubt and shame, Inferiority vs. industry, confusion vs. identity, isolation vs. intimacy, stagnation vs. generativity and integrity vs. Despair (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Similarities

The two theorists have several similarities. These include the fact that just like Freud, Erickson believed that personality involves several stages of development (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Differences

The two theories also have points of divergence. For instance, Freud speaks of 5 stages of development while Erickson talks of 8 stages of development (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Skinner’s Behavioral analysis versus Bandura’s social cognitive theory

Skinner was one of the pioneers of behavioral analysis in his time. He spent his time on physiology and emphasized the need for experimental results as opposed to observation of phenomena studied. He therefore placed much of his behavioral analysis methods on control of experimental variables.

On the other hand, Bandura emphasizes on observation learning in his concept of social cognitive approach. He puts more efforts on the social origins of individual’s behavior. In addition to this, he considers the contributions to this behavior that arises from cognitive thought.

His theory on social cognitive approach diverges from the common theories that usually associate cognitive factors with human functioning. These theories usually convey cognitive factors to function in the absence of direct enforcement. Enforcement of laws and regulations in a society as well as punishment of those who violate it proves more relevant to performance than acquisition according to Bandura (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Skinner’s Behavioral analysis

Skinner emphasized on control of experimental variables as opposed to observation of phenomenon. Through this, he was able to device apparatus that could control some specific behaviors of rats. Skinner was also able to distinguish his method of behavioral analysis from stimulus response postulated by Pavlov.

This he did by first acknowledging Pavlov’s work and then emphasizing on operant conditioning. In addition, Skinner tried his best to use his theories on making a better world. In this, he used his theory on operant technique the emphasized positive reinforcement (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Bandura’s social cognitive theory

Bandura emphasizes on observation learning in his concept of social cognitive approach. He puts more efforts on the social origins of individual’s behavior. In addition to this, he considers the contributions to this behavior that arises from cognitive thought. His theory on social cognitive approach diverges from the common theories that usually associate cognitive factors with human functioning.

These theories usually convey cognitive factors to function in the absence of direct enforcement. Enforcement of laws and regulations in a society as well as punishment of those who violate it proves more relevant to performance than acquisition according to Bandura (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Similarities

Both theories of Bandura and Skinner dismiss performance through simple observation learning and instead focus on control as in Skinner’s theory and reinforcements as in Bandera’s theory (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Differences

While Bandura emphasizes on enforcements such as laws to achieve performance and in the process utilize his approach of social cognitive theory, Skinner emphasizes on control of experimental variables behavioral analysis (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Allport’s ideas of the psychologically healthy personality versus Rogers’ “person of tomorrow”

Gordon Allport’s main point of emphasis was on the uniqueness of every individual. He therefore used this to develop his theory of personality that stressed on making a psychologically healthy personality. To achieve this, he had to differ with other theorists, especially those who professed non-humanistic positions.

However, Allport also acknowledged other theorists by accepting a number of them. Rogers, on the other hand, is widely known for his client-centered therapy. He came up with a format if/then which je used in developing his theory (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Allport’s ideas of the psychologically healthy personality

The main point of emphasis for Allport was on the uniqueness of every individual. He therefore used this to develop his theory of personality that stressed on making a psychologically healthy personality. In his theory of a psychologically healthy personality, Allport believed that these individuals (with psychologically healthy personality) were motivated by present. This is the commonly conscious drive. In addition, he believed that these individuals sought to reduce tensions as well as renew them.

Allport also believed that individuals were capable of conveying proactive behavior. This implied that people can behave in new and creative ways that may be instrumental in shaping their growth and subsequent changes. His theory differs with the traditional nomothetic science. He therefore defines personality as a vibrant association within a person. The structures of personality as entailed by Allport are personality proprium and dispositions.

In his theory, the source of motivation for psychologically healthy personality is out of their need to fit into the new environment. They are therefore very likely to engage in the following proactive behaviors: insight and humor, realistic view of surrounding, extension of self-sense, self-acceptance, unifying philosophy of life as well as warm relationships with neighbors or other individuals (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Rogers’ “person of tomorrow”

Rogers, on the other hand, is widely known for his client-centered therapy. He came up with a format if/then which je used in developing his theory. He used his client-centered format to develop a person centered theory which emphasized on personality issues. The theory depends on two assumptions.

These are actualizing tendency as well as formative tendency. He believes that individuals have the capacity to grow and change, but only if certain favorable conditions are met. The theory therefore relies on optimism and encourages free choice, conscious motivation and uniqueness of persons, among others (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Similarities

The two theorists emphasize uniqueness of individuals when their methods are well followed. The two theories also focus on motivation which is essential in personality development (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Differences

Rogers used his if/then format, which is client centered, to develop personality, while Allport emphasizes on Morphogenic Science to develop his theory. The format used by the two theorists differs widely on their research (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

View of personality development using Adler’s Individual Psychology and Fromm’s Humanistic Psychoanalysis

Adler’s Individual Psychology

Adler developed theories on birth order. He believed that the order of birth in families affected children’s personality. In this regard, he holds that first-borns undergo more problems than the rest of the children. This, according to him, is due to the sudden change in attention, after considerable pampering, when the other siblings arrive.

He also believes that the middle born children tend to have it easy as they have the luxury of trying to achieve superiority over their elders as well as remaining well above their younger siblings. The last born, on the other hand, is likely to experience major personality problems, according to Adler. This is because they get more pampering than even the oldest children do. They are therefore significantly inferior to their siblings and unprepared to face the problems of the world (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Fromm’s Humanistic Psychoanalysis

Fromm describes three methods that would assist an individual to escape from freedom. These are Authoritarianism, destructiveness and Automaton conformity. Fromm explains that freedom forms the greatest problems to majority of people. He also believes that freedom comes with inability to gain authority as well as an overwhelming loneliness. According to him, people employ different methods of alleviating anxiety, which may be directly linked to their opinion of freedom.

These include individualization, destructiveness, conformity and automaton as well as authoritarianism. In authoritarianism, people tend to submit to entities that they believe are greater than them to escape freedom. They may also make themselves authoritative over those who, in their opinion are enemies. These authorities may be religious, political, or social leaders or beliefs (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

View of personality development

These theories are important in establishing the forces that drive individuals. For instance, Fromm, talks of our need to escape from freedom, which leads to anxiety and loneliness. He also talks of the techniques we employ to help us manage these problems. These include destructiveness, automaton conformity, as well as authoritarianism.

In concluding, he states that people should embrace freedom, as this is the only healthy way of dealing with their problems as well as attaining individuality. This is quite important in encouraging the world to be original and unique in their activities. This will make them poses the highly needed individuality. Adler, on the other hand, talks of the drive or motivational force on individuals.

He then explains that those who desire to be important people in society feel so out of inferiority in their respective desires. If this problem exceeds, one may experience inferiority complex, which is a complete opposite of striving for superiority. This theory applies to individuals who know their drives; the knowledge of what drives an individual helps him /her manage the goals. It also helps save people from developing inferiority complex due to unattainable objectives (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Conclusion

Several theories have been brought forward to explain psychology of personality. These include individual psychology and humanistic psychoanalytic, psychosexuality, among others. These theories were developed by various theorists such as Freud, Adler, Erickson, Bandura, Rogers, Allport and Fromm, among others. The paper analyses various theories on psychology of personality including similarities and differences of their pairs, as well as my views on them (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 12-67).

Reference List

Feist, J. & Feist, G. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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