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Systematic Influences that affect Personality Development Essay

The phrase “personality development” refers to the development of attitudes and organized pattern of behavior that results to distinction between different individuals. In personality development, the ongoing interaction of environment, character and temperament are very crucial. Every individual’s uniqueness is defined by his/her personality development (Allen, 2002). The three components of personality are very important in development. Temperament which is one of the components of personality refers to a set of genetically defined traits that influence how a child or an individual approaches the world.

The genes that control development such as the nervous system influence an individual’s behavior. The second component of personality is environment. The environment in which a person grows in influences the adaptive patterns. The other component of personality is character. Character refers to the set of behavioral, emotional and cognitive patterns that a person exhibits. The character that a person shows depends on his or her early experiences and the in-born traits. Personality development is influenced by systematic influences.

Research findings indicate that personal, societal, and cultural factors are some of the influences that affect personality development. Personality values and predispositions depend on the social and cultural structure of the society. Systematic influences on personality development that are closely related to personal factors include the cognitive abilities of a person and abuse one may experience, while those that are related to the societal factors are the technological changes and war. The cultural factors that influence personality development include urban living and migration.

In this paper, the systematic influences on personality development will be examined with the discussion exploring the cultural, societal and personal factors. An explanation on a personality theory that can be adapted to account for cultural, personal and societal factors that influence personality development will be given. Discussion Influence of personality factors on personality Development Personality influences people’s expectations, values and beliefs. Personal factors that influence personality development include cognitive abilities, abuse, gender, and personal beliefs.

The cognitive ability of an individual affects how an individual develops concepts. The term cognitive ability refers to the mental processes and the brain-based skills that an individual requires to undertake a certain task. In personality development, the brain based skills one acquires determines how well one can make sense of what happens around them. Individuals who have good cognitive abilities are better placed in reasoning and interpreting what happens around them. As a child develops, he or she tries to process what he/she hears.

In addition, the child tries to apply the knowledge he or she acquires during the process of development. This means that the ability of a child to process information, reason, and apply knowledge determines the kind of personality he or she develops. Mental processes such as decision making, learning, planning and comprehension depends on the cognitive ability of an individual. For instance, an individual can be able to recognize love and good care offered to him or her during the learning process of development.

An individual’s good cognitive ability to make sense of what is happening around them enables them to apply this knowledge as they develop; hence good treatment they receive may result to positive attitudes and behavior (Berger, 1999). An individual may develop mistrust if he or she is able to recognize ill treatment given to him or her . This is because, his or her good cognitive ability assists one to process and interpret what is happening around them or what one experiences. The application of the knowledge acquired as a result of good cognitive ability will influence one’s personality.

The capacity of one to perceive, reason or use intuition affects the personality, whereby poor cognitive abilities may negatively affect one’s personality. One’s capacity for abstract thinking and intelligence determines how he/she perceives what occurs around them, hence the learning ability of an individual will determine whether the attitudes and behavior that one adopts promote good behavior and positive attitudes or negative behavior. Abuse is another personal factor that affects personality development. Abuse refers to the use or treatment of a person in an unfriendly and harmful manner .

Because a person is able to recognize ill or good treatment from the others, abuse against an individual triggers negative attitude of that person against those he or she perceives as harmful to him or her. When a child is abused, there are long term negative effects on the child’s development. For example, abused individuals develop mistrust, become insecure, and tend to have a low self esteem. Due to the unfriendly treatment they get form the others, abused individuals may develop low ambitions and withdraw from interacting with the others. Furthermore, the individuals can become shy and abusive to others.

These behavior disturbances may develop due to the reaction of the abused individual to the people and the society. A behavior disorder that may result from abuse affects personality development. Since abuse has long term negative effects of development, abuse may result to deviant behavior and negative attitudes towards issues. Abused children may develop apathetic behavior, impaired self concept and ego, and become aggressive. On the other hand, children who receive good treatment and love tend to develop trust and show a high level of self esteem and confidence.

In addition, good treatment encourages a person to interact more easily with others (Bradberry, 2007). Gender influences personality development because the gender one belongs to affect how they relate with the others and the environment around them. The influence of gender on one’s personality development leads to the development of gender related traits. There are some traits are very dominant in men than in women and vice versa. This can be attributed to the society’s defined gender roles which put more emphasis on the importance of developing certain traits in one gender as compared to the other.

For example, women in many societies are expected to show care and love due to society’s expectations of their nurturing. This promotes the development of the traits that will enable them meet the expectations of the society. One’s age affect personality development. Because the development continues throughout one’s life, individuals age affect their attitudes and behavior. For instance, children between ages one and three tend to assert their independence hence the support they get as they seek independence can make them more confident. This has a positive impact on the child’s’ personality in future.

Lack of support and criticism of children at an early age may result to mistrust, shame and makes individuals feel inadequate. In addition, lack of proper support of an individual at an early age can lead to insecurity, lack of self esteem and overdependence on the others. The adolescents who might be exploring relationships and trying to find their identity may become lonely, isolated and depressed if they fail to achieve their goals. This affects their personality due to the negative impact it will have on their attitudes and behavior. Influence of Societal factors on personality development

The society in which one grows in affects the personality a person develops. People from different societies uphold varying cultural and social values. The social environment one lives in affects the social interactions one engages in. The socialization process allows people to interact with each other; hence it is important for their development. The socialization process in the society affects how people from different societies interact and address issues that affect them. Interpersonal events and unique situations that we experience in the society shape our personalities.

Because the events that are witnessed in a given society can either be positive or negative, the events in the society that are harmful to the society members affect their attitudes and behavior. A society that experiences conflict impacts negatively on the development of positive attitude and good behavior of the people. War and massive trauma experiences in the society have devastating effects on personality development since they affect the fundamental systems that parents and the society members use to nurture and protect individual’s development.

Basic needs are very vital for proper physical and personality development and conflicts and war in the society denies children the basic needs that they need to develop well. Lack of basic amenities and needs undermines the individual’s ability to recover from traumatic experiences. Due to the trauma that results from conflicts and wars, individuals tend to become hyperactive, frantic, stunned, unresponsive and hyper-vigilant. The worst effects of wars on personality development are witnessed when an individual loses a friend, parents, guardians or relatives (Jensen-Campbell et al, 2003).

When the people close to an individual are killed, harmed as a result of wars or conflicts, an individual’s response to the loss or harm affects their development. The effect of war on a person depends on the degree of exposure to a traumatic experience, and the degree of damage the event has on the development system of an individual. Individuals become insecure and scared due to wars or conflicts and, those who loose their loved ones may become withdrawn and develop low self esteem due to the trauma.

Individuals tend to experience anxiety and to panic every time they get separated from their parents or relatives and the long term war effects can lead to deviant behavior in children and young adults. Technological advancement in the society greatly affects the personality development of an individual. Technology has been evolving since the ancient times. The changes in technology affect the environment in which individuals grow in and these changes in environment affect the behavior and attitudes of the people towards certain issues.

Personality development involves the development of skills and learning, and technology plays an important role in the acquisition of the skills and knowledge. Technology affects the economic structure of a society, whereby advancement impacts positively on the knowledge and skills of the various members of the society. Technology affects the cognitive ability of an individual and it enhances learning and teaching when it demands for change in education systems. Technology is considered to be a very important factor in the intellectual development of an individual.

The technology that exists in a particular society affects the concepts and the languages that a child learn, whereby advancement in technology leads to high intellectual development in a person. Due to the skills and knowledge one acquires from the technology, individuals become very intelligent and acquire great knowledge (Shaffer, 1999). Technology that is integrated in early childhood education affects personality development, with concerns being raised that technology can over stimulate and negatively affect a child’s brain functioning.

Children who grow up in a high-tech world where the digital culture has become popular have less value for traditional knowledge and skills. In addition, the technological language adopted by individuals varies with the type of technology that exists at a particular time. Social interaction between people is increased by the technological innovations whereby development in technology enhances the quality of life. This promotes self confidence and friendship between people. Technology can be used to promote deviant behavior in those who may apply the technology in a negative manner.

The kind of language used in a given society influences development because each stage of development requires a child to learn new things through the use of language. Languages vary, hence the knowledge and skills one can learn from a language may vary. The knowledge and skills that one acquires from learning a particular language can promote responsibility and positive behaviour, while abusive language use results to bad behavior. A language may promote community co-operation hence it will cultivate co-operation and team work in an individual. Social isolation can have negative impact of personality development.

When individuals are isolated, they tend to have fewer interactions with the others. If isolation results from stigmatization or discrimination, the isolated individuals can develop a low self esteem and mistrust. Furthermore, ill treatment from other members of the society can result to deviant behavior as discriminated individuals react to the rejection. For example, members of communities that are marginalized or considered to be a minority can develop a low self-esteem or engage in deviant behavior as they try to resist the discrimination directed against them (Santrock, 2008).

Influence of Cultural Factors on personality development Because every person has his/her cultural background, the cultural factors in the society one lives in affect the personality. A culture provides a given group of people with common beliefs and practices . Through cultural beliefs and practices, the people are able to act appropriately and to monitor their own behavior. Cultural beliefs and practices define what is acceptable or unacceptable, hence as a child grows up, the parents/. guardians and other members of the society teaches the child how to behave well and to avoid bad behavior.

What a culture instills in an individual is reflected in the personality. For example, individuals tend to embrace attitudes and behavior that are perceived as fit or positive as they try to avoid getting engaged in immoral or socially unfit behavior. Various cultures promote certain positive values and behavior in the society. The children therefore tend to develop a personality based on the cultural values that are promoted in the society. Those that go against the values are punished in order to correct bad behaviour.

This cultivates responsibility and virtues in the society members. The cultural environment in a given society determines the basic personality types that are exhibited by the members of a given society (Roberts and Robins, 2004). Research findings show that different cultures give rise to particular personality traits. For instance, a culture may promote honesty and friendship hence people with that cultural background are likely to embrace behavior and attitudes that promote honesty and friendship. Another culture may promote individualism, competition and assertiveness.

Immigration may lead to adoption of new cultural values since a new environment that one lives in after immigrating may change one’s behavior and attitudes. Immigration allows individuals to interact with new people and can lead to erosion of good values and behavior. A new society may expose an individual to bad behavior when the individuals who one interacts with after moving to a new place impact negatively on a person’s behavior. Embracing new cultural beliefs and values can encourage one to develop a behavior that one did not have before the immigration (Biesanz et al, 2003).

People can move from one nation to another and the need to fit into a new society demands that one adopt certain behavior and attitudes. Urban migration just like immigration offers a new environment to the migrating persons. Due to the living together of people from different cultural background in one urban set up, a new urban culture changes the people’s behavior and culture. For, instance, the traditional values of the people from different ethnic backgrounds is replaced by new cultural values. This may lead to independent thinking, a high level of socialization, and an open mind.

Migration has led to multi-racial marriages and interactions whereby people tend to be more social with others from a different cultural background. A new urban culture which is different from the traditional culture will promote a certain personality not seen in homogenous society Erickson’s theory of personality in accounting for personal, societal, and cultural factors Erick Erickson Theory of personality development focuses on eight psychosocial stages of development. Each stage of development according to the theory is marked by a conflict.

The conflicts that one may experience during development are influenced by personal, societal and cultural factors. Through the psychosocial crises stages that are described by Erickson’s theory, a person’s growth and personality can be explained. The eight psychosocial crises stages explain why certain personal, societal or cultural factors result to as conflict. For instance, the first stage of development according to the theory determines whether an infant develops trust or mistrust based on the treatment the infant receives form those surrounding it. A child’s’ belief that its caregivers can be relied on is important at this stage.

It is the child’s cognitive ability that assists him/her to make conclusions whether it is good or ill treatment it receives from the parents/guardians or the caregivers. Personal factors such as abuse of a child results to mistrust rather than trust (Engler, 2006). The social factors such as war and technology can lead to conflicts in the various stages of development. The traumatic experiences such as war and conflicts make a child anxious and scared. In addition, a child becomes doubtful about the future even at the toddler stages, especially for children who loose their parents or close relatives through traumatic experiences.

During the play age which is referred by Erickson as the Initiative Vs. guilt stage, the expectations that a society has of a child determines whether the failure to meet the expectations makes a child guilty. When a child feels that he/she has not met the expectations, a child may make an initiative to accomplish what he or she failed to achieve due to guilt he or she feels (Erikson, 1993). Between the age of 6 and puberty, individuals become concerned about their achievement and ability as compared to the others. This stage explains why certain societal and cultural factors can make a child to feel inferior.

For instance, a feeling of inferiority may emanate from discrimination by others. One develops low self esteem due to the conviction that he or she is inferior to others. A child therefore feels incompetent and inferior because he or she becomes concerned with the level of competence one has based on the expectations of the others (William and Nancy, 2000). The adolescence stage also referred to as the Identity vs. Role confusion stage during development is marked with search for one’s identity when adolescents are try to explore who they are.

Factors such as the environment and cultural beliefs will determine whether one becomes confused or discovers his/her identity. The Intimacy vs. Isolation crisis stage is influenced by the environment and the cultural values and beliefs of the society. For example, immigration or urban migration determines whether one relates closely with the new environment and people or become isolated. A conflict arises when one tries to fit into the new environment. This can be attributed to the differences individuals who move to a new place may have with other society members (Shiner and Caspi, 2003).


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