This paper will discuss and explain the influences that contribute to personality development. The following paragraphs will include information that examines theoretical approach that is used to study personality development. This paper will also analyze the many different types of environmental and biological factors that play a role in personality development. But first we must know what personality is. As many theorist have tried so hard to define over the years there still is no one answer that everyone can agree on. So what exactly is personality? Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.
Traits contribute to individual differences in behavior, consistency of behavior over time, and stability of behavior across situations. Traits may be unique, common to some group, or shared by the entire species, but their pattern is different for each individual. Thus each person, though like others in some ways, has a unique personality. Characteristics are unique qualities of an individual that include such attributes as temperament, physique, and intelligence (Feist, J., & Feist, G. J.2009). So basically personality consists of set of characteristics that manifest into certain behaviors that a person may ordinarily display.
Factors that Influence Personality
The following paragraphs will include information on the wide variety of environmental and biological influences that contribute to the development of a person’s unique personality. Some argue that heredity plays a significant role in how personality types are developed. Some say that perception is the main influence on personality development. The role of perception and cognitive development plays a significant role in how a young child views themselves in the world. Some children that come from broken homes see the world in a different light because their home life is unstable in some way making them feel insecure about themselves and the people around them. For example, If an impressionable child is constantly told they are stupid or bad then it may become a self fulfilling prophecy if they take on that type of negative thinking thus shaping their pessimistic characteristics.
That is why parenting is such an important and critical role to play and in order to raise healthy and well rounded children a parent must needs to be strict yet supportive and loving. Socializing is another important part of child rearing as well. Even though parenting practices all over the world vary in so many ways, the ways in which girls and boys are socialized are always different to some extent. For example, boys are quickly introduced to their responsibilities and roles that they will play as a young man and these learned behaviors will carry on into adulthood. However, regardless of what a child is taught by their parents, in some cases it does not matter what they were taught certain events, experiences, and environmental factors can shape and alter personality development.
The Theoretical Approach
In order to understand the theoretical approach we must first recognize what makes a good theory. When analyzing personality there are many factors to take into consideration. One of the main two theories circle around personality development theories is the well known debate of nature versus nurture. Some theorists argue that nurturing plays a more significant role in personality development than the nature of a person based on heredity and other biological predispositions. Sigmund Freud is a popular name in psychoanalytic theories because he believed that sex and aggression were the basic motivational forces for human behavior. Freudian theories emphasized how our subconscious desires are contributors to our personality through our egos. All theorist can agree on one thing personality development is a very complex process that is influence by many external and internal factors. Alfred Adler had a significant influence on many theorists that came after him with his theories that made a great deal of sense.
One of the tenants for the first theory is that the main source of motivation stems from the need to achieve success and even superiority (Adler, 1964). Many people can agree with this because that is what gets them out of bed in the morning even though they are still tired. The second theory was that people perceptions shaped how they viewed the world and themselves. I find this one very interesting as people are defined as normal or acceptable based societal norms or standards. Often teenagers change the way they act when they are around their peers and sometimes these changes are permanent. One perspectives and perceptions of people, places and things contribute to how they feel about the world and how they should conduct themselves in it. Social motives of acceptance also feed this theory as well.
Organ dialect is another one of Alders terminologies used when describing body language. For example the elderly man with shaking hands struggling to open a jar may express to someone watching to step in and help him faster than words can say. Adler recognized how the individual personality operates in ways that are consistent with their motives. Observational learning is a critical aspect to learning and teaching and that does contribute to personal growth and understanding.
Adler made it clear that as soon as we recognize that the conscious mind is closely linked to the unconscious mind. Adler states that the conscious life becomes unconscious as soon as we fail to understand it. Environmental influences provided by a child’s parents helps to contribute to their social interests which directly influence a child’s early socialization skills. Infancy is an intricate process of social development mainly developed through the relationship between the relationships with the mother or another mother like caretaker who possessed some level of social interest in the infants well being. The seeds of social desires are planted during infancy (Adler, 1964).
There is no single definition of personality however, all theorist agree that early childhood development contributes to the type of personality that a person develops. Many factors like heredity and environment contribute to ones individual growth and shape their perception as they mature. Overall personality can be identified through behavior patterns and characteristics that are linked to those behaviors. Individual perceptions of what is right and wrong contribute to the development of morale and values that affect personality. Many factors make up the full picture of what is a person’s true personality but overall it depends on perceptions and motives those two factors produce behaviors that become more and more consistent as desires are fulfilled in the lifelong pursuit of happiness.
Theories of personality (Adler, 1964). Retrieved from https://portal.phoenix.edu/classroom/coursematerials/psy_405/20130108/OSIRIS:43747563 Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Retrieved from https://portal.phoenix.edu/classroom/coursematerials/psy_405/20130108/OSIRIS:43747563