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Discipline Based Literature Review
Psyc 615: Personality Theories
Dr. Julian Achim
An individual's personality is unique to who they are. No one has the same personality as another and this is due in large part to the different experiences, genetic makeup, social environments and cultures that vary depending on who a person is. There are multiple reasons why personality is of interest in psychology but one of the main reasons is because of its complexities and variables. Not only does personality depend on the person's life experiences but it could also be shaped by something formed within their mind before they were even born. Something as simple as having one p arent instead of two shapes personality and even what order a person is born within their family makes a huge impact on personality. No theory of personality development is wrong, although some might be more controversial than others, they all work to explain how each human develops their own se nse of self. Here, I will discuss five perspectives: psychodynamic, humanistic, trait, social and behavioral.
Do you know yourself? It's a tantalizing question at best however, it has a much deeper meaning in humanistic psychology. The humanistic perspective takes one's adherence to realizing their "self-hood" as the core achievement that a person aims for. Personality development is dependent on what a person thinks of th emselves in the humanist's eyes . According to the article by Eugene DeRobertis (2008) "from a humanistic perspective, the self is the fountainhead of personality integration." But when there is conflict within the self, negative personality aspects form. For example, a neurotic person is constantly in battle with their actions, how they interact with others and what decisions they make, they are not able to work towards a "true-self" or self-actualization. External factors are usually the root of conflicts one would have with themselves but a person who deals with inner conflict in a healthy and positive way may ultimately achieve their goal. Personality is the key to how the conflict will be handled in many cases . DeRobertis also notes that " the self is the creative , experiential hub of the personality" (2008) which further implies the notion that the views we have of ourselves correlates with how we present that self to others (i.e. our personality). The argument presented throughout the article was rather or not finding yourself means being selfish. The author states the disposition many "pop" psychologists have which is that the humanistic approach fosters a path of self-centeredness in many individuals who follow this method of personality development. It has been stated in recent literature that a person's focus on self is an example of negative personality traits such as egocentrism and narcissism but that would make the humanistic view sort of contradictory if this held validity. Contrary to what is being said about self and personality, humanism leans on a connected sense of "we-ness" that many must have in order to achieve personality integration that will bring about a positive sense (or view) of self. Being self-centered or selfish is not a result of humanistic theorizing but rather a consequence for poor self-development as it pertains to interacting with others. This is something that has to be a part of someone's personality in the first place for it to manifest.
One of the theorists in humanistic psychology, who was also referenced in DeRobertis ' article, is Carl Rogers (1902-1987). Rogers believed that each child's experiences and rather or not they got love and support from their care givers encourages their need for self-realization. Self-development must be nurtured and cared to by paying attention to each child's individuality (S. M. Sincero , 2017). However, personality forms from external constraints, such as certain expectations and reinforcements, and then a personality will develop that will either accept the standards imposed or will work against them. In all aspects, the goal in Rogers' opinion is to be the best self a person can be while still maintaining good interpersonal relationships with others. Personality can be deeply impacted by how we see ourselves.
Psychodynamic approach to personality development is on e of the oldest there is. In this theory, personality