Theory Of Personality Development


Personality development according to famous theorist Monique Laberge is the development of the organized pattern of behavior and attitudes that make a person distinctive. It includes the development of beliefs, moods an behavior that differentiate among the people. These unique attributes may result from a person’s unique experiences or because of his experiences shared with others. The combined effect of heredity and environment causes these attributes (Sturt Mary, 1999). Identical twins brought up together are more likely to show similar patterns of behavior than the identical twins reared apart.


However even twins reared apart are more similar than siblings who are not twins. (Heredity)

Early Work by Sigmund Freud

The best known theory of personality development developed from the works of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. Freud believed that personality has three basic components:- the id, the ego and the super-ego. Libido is the fundamental energy that provides the psychic energy for the achievements of goals. According to Freud sex and aggression are the only two drives and everything we do is motivated by one of them (Sturt Mary, 1999).

Sex, also called Eros or life force drives people to live , prosper and produce offspring Aggression, also called Thantos or death force, stresses on the need to stay alive and to stave off threats to our existence. Id is the devil on your shoulder. Super-ego is the angel on your shoulder Ego has to maintain a healthy balance between the two which it does with the help of defense mechanisms namely: denial, displacement, Intellectualization, projection, rationalization , reaction formation, regression, repression, sublimation and suppression.

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Freud proposed that development of personality advanced through psycho-sexual  stages.:- the oral stage, the anal stage, the phallic stage, the period of latency and genital stage The genital stage is reached through the onset of adolescence. This is the final stage of development. Libidinal energies are re-aroused and the individual attempts to achieve adult sexuality. But if there have been difficulties in the earlier stages, the giving and receiving of adult love may be difficult or impossible to achieve (Sturt Mary, 1999).

Carl Jung Theory of Personality Development

After Freud several other theories were developed by his associates or later psychologists. They are often referred to as Neo-Freudian theorists and prominent among them are Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Eric Eriksson. Carl Jung differed with Freud in many aspects. Jung gave more importance to current events rather than to childhood experiences. In his opinion social motives are far more important than sexual drives. His Analytic Theory also emphasized on spiritual needs and thoughts of future. Jung also differed with Freud in the conception of the Unconscious(Sturt Mary, 1999).

Carl Jung focused on understanding the psyche of an individual through the dreams, mythology, religion, arts and philosophy. Carl Jung is credited to be the pioneer of four psychological concepts in personality development, which are widely taught in universities today(Sturt Mary, 1999).

  1. The Archetype
  2. The collective Unconscious
  3. The Complex
  4. Individuation

The Archetype

The hero archetype was first described by Carl Jung and it straight away originated from his understanding of various cultures. According to Jung each culture have heroes – those who have extra-ordinary powers to do extraordinary tasks(Sturt Mary, 1999). He further elucidated on it by explaining an individuals’ urge to be larger than life and he finds rest in those heroes archetype. It is no surprises that after these revelation, ‘Super Man’ one of the biggest comic of all time published. The comic took clue from Jung study and captivated the hearts and minds of people from all cultures.

The Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious is one of the first things which led the differences between Freud and Jung. Unlike Freud, Jung believed that unconscious is more complex than just sexual motivations and aggression(Sturt Mary, 1999). As per Jung there are fears, anxieties etc which are common across cultures and they hugely influence the making of a personality.

The Complex

The complex self is best defined by Jung as the suppressed or repressed aspect of an individual’s conscious self. He categorized them into Constructive and Destructive types(Sturt Mary, 1999)

  • Constructive – It represents hidden positive affect or influence on an individual.
  • Destructive – It represents the side an individual doesn’t want to recognize in himself.


Jung explained Individuation as a process of growth and maturation which comes in an individual during the course of life. It is the process where he can detach from the inner self and find meaning in life.

Process of Personality Development as per Carl Jung

According to Jung each individual have an introvert and extrovert side and which side dominates the other influences the personality of an individual. As per Jung the conscious side helps an individual to adapt and orient while the unconscious self help in reacting or behaving in the particular manner. Jung categorized the behavior into four categories – sensation, thinking, feeling and intuition(Sturt Mary, 1999). He further defined that feeling and thinking is rational and comes with conscious side while intuition and sensation are irrational and originates from the unconscious.


STURT, MARY; OAKDEN, E C (1999) Modern Psychology and Education : A Text-Book of Psychology for Students in Training Colleges and Adult Evening Classes. Published by Routlege ISBN: 0-415-21009-7

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Theory Of Personality Development. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from

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