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Theories of Personality Essay

Theories of personality tend to explain what lies beneath the human person. They make us understand why one person is different from the other in terms of behavior, temperament and attitude. They put us in a position to predict the behavior of a person or even actions hence being able to compare and contrast different people depending on their personality. Personality theorists are usually interested with the structure of people. That is, what makes them who they are? Several theories have been put forward to explain human complexity. Of them include the Psychoanalytic theory of personality and the Behavioristic theory.

Psychoanalytic theory The psychoanalytic theory is divided into the conscious versus the unconscious mind which asserts that our actions are influenced by our thoughts. The inner being of the human person has a way of influencing our actions out of awareness or not and some things can only be explained to be caused by one’s state of mind at time of commission. The conscious mind includes actions and things that we are aware of, either; they are stored in the mind and are just processed (retrieval process) or are just perceived through hearing and or seeing (Ewen, 2003).

On the other hand, the unconscious mind is like a store of the urges, experiences, feelings, and thoughts that we are not particularly aware of at any given moment because either they were unpleasant or they just deserve to be forgotten. The Id, Ego, Super ego according to Sigmund Freud in his writings explained that the Id is that part of mind that is hidden and which cannot be accessed. It is based on the pleasure principle. It tends to avoid pain and instead tends towards what brings enjoyment.

The Id hinders good morals, evil, beliefs or even goodness and it expresses itself inform of sexual energy. The Ego, on its part, deals with the uneasiness brought about by the Id’s suppression of stimulation. It tries strike a balance between realism and Id’s demands so that it is possible to hold on impulses for a little longer. It is usually propelled by personal experiences. The superego is the conscious mind, that is, what can be perceived through the five senses in a societal setting and ensures that satisfactions demanded by the id are limited.

It is judgmental and evaluates an action before it is undertaken. Behaviorist theory Behavioral theories assert that personality is usually brought about by the interaction between a person and the environment. They deviate from the psychoanalytic theories of personality which propose that human personality is in the mind. These theories have their proponents as Albert Bandura and B. F Skinner. Personality is influenced by aspects which are measurable, observable and or manipulated and usually objective.

It experimental as variables of human behavior are measured against others to come up with a conclusion about a certain behavior observed in a person or a group of people. It alleges that behavior is influenced by the environment and vice versa (Ewen, 2003). Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory helps us to understand how the different parts of our mind interplay during depicting a certain behavior and how that influences one’s personality. It has formed a basis of psychology and it is used by psychiatrists to understand certain aspects of a person, may be who psychological support.

This theory shows how personality is build through the inner person and how impulses can lead to formation of one’s personality. Among its weaknesses, under normal circumstances, a reaction can be triggered by things that are not inside the brain but outside the setting (Ewen, 2003). Behavior can be influenced by genetic make up of a person meaning that, it can be inherited. The genetic make up influences other aspects of personality like looks, temperament, intelligence and learning pace.

On the other hand, behaviorist theories are more elaborative of personality. Besides the conscious and unconscious states of mind, other aspects like environment, interaction and learning add up to the personality of an individual. Though this is a better way of explaining personality, but, personality cannot be bound by realms advanced by these theories. This is because; there are many aspects that are within and without the human person. The complexity of personality is hard to explain and these just give a stint of what personality is.

Bodies of research continue to be developed to come up with a concrete answer to personality, if they can. The basic assumption of the psychoanalytic theory is that, an individual has brain which is divided to the conscious and the unconscious. The brain is fully developed without external injury. In terms of the deterministic or free will, these theories assert that it is out of predetermined state of mind that a person is who he/she is. It also puts forward that; one is either aware or unaware of what he/she is doing or his behavior (Ewen, 2003).

On their part, behaviorism theories assert that human personality is determined by many things from which either willingly or unwillingly on behaves. In conclusion, the basic assumption is that human beings are social, and live in an environment in which they are compounded by many things. They also have a brain which helps them to think rationally and they are either aware or unaware of what they are doing or why they are doing it.

References Ewen, R. (2003). An Introduction to Theories of Personality. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


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