Theories of Personality - Kickoffall Info Hub

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Theories of Personality

Personality, its differences among individuals and various psychological forces of personality change are scientifically studied by personality psychology. The major personality theories are:
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Trait theory
  • Humanistic theory
  • Social cognition theory

Psychoanalytic theories
Sigmund Freud developed the Psychoanalytic theories which explain the human behavior based on the interaction of 3 components of personality: the id, ego, and super-ego. The ‘id’ acts on pleasure fulfillment principles that require immediate fulfillment of needs without considering the external environment. Then ego acts on reality principle which tries to achieve the needs of the id considering the outside world. Finally, the superego acts on morality principles where moral judgment and societal rules are preferred over the ego and the id. The superego is the highest order function of personality development so that parental/social ideals are established during childhood. According to Psychoanalytic theory, personality is developed based on the dynamic interactions of these three components.
Trait Theory of Personality
Initially, Gordon Allport developed the trait theory which explains that personality is developed based on various stable characteristics, or traits, that direct an individual to act in a particular way.  
According to trait theory, personality is made up of five broad traits; they are called the Big Five Model.
Openness refers to the level of open-mindedness of a person and willing to try new things. People with a high level of openness are Intuitive who likes new challenges and dislikes the same thing over time. People with a low level of openness dislike new problems and challenges and prefer the same routines.
Conscientiousness refers to the reliability, discipline and hardworking qualities of a person. People with a high level of Conscientiousness are decisive, good planners, efficient and organized and people with a low level of Conscientiousness are flexible, adaptable, easy-going and careless.
Extraversion: it refers to the level of energy a person gets from interaction with others. People with low extraversion are introverts who gain energy from themselves. Extroverts are outgoing, aggressive, dominant, and change seekers while the introverts prefer to work silently, focused, loneliness and to a pursuit in depth.
Agreeableness: it refers to the level of friendliness, tolerance and compassion of a person. People with a high level of agreeableness have ‘feeling’ nature which is awareness about other peoples and their feelings and people with a low level of agreeableness have ‘thinking nature’ which is unemotional and uninterested in people’s feelings.
Neuroticism: it refers to the emotional instability of a person. People with a high level of Neuroticism are sensitive and nervous, while people with high Neuroticism are secure and confident.
All persons have all these traits to a greater or lesser the degree which is composed in different ways to form a person's unique personality.
Humanistic Views
Abraham Maslow developed humanistic views which explain that personality is not a matter of nature or nurture but of personal choice where people have free will and are motivated to search the things to reach their full potential as human beings.
Maslow developed a pyramid model that elaborates on these needs. The bottom tier of the pyramid is built up of the most basic needs such as water, food, cloth, and shelter. People first try to meet these basic needs. Once they are fulfilled, people move to the second stage of the pyramid; the needs of safety, then to the third stage; belonging, then the fourth stage; self-esteem and the final stage; self-actualization.
People are always looking for new ways to fulfill their needs, to improve, to learn and to grow and it's these choices that determine the personality and behavior of a person.
Social Cognition Theory
Albert Bandura developed the social cognition theory which explains that personality is framed based on social interactions and based on the integration of personality traits with the environment.  Social Cognition Theory explained the effect of other people on personality development of an individual that when a person sees someone gaining benefit from a certain behavior, he copies that behavior to get a similar benefit.

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