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Ramos, Angelo

BSHRM 1A

THEORIES OF PERSONALITY

Major Theories Personality psychology is the focus of some of the best-known


psychology theories by a number of personality while others attempt to explain personality
much more broadly.

Biological Theories Biological approaches suggest that genetics are responsible for
personality. In the classic nature versus nurture debate, the biological theories of
personality side with nature.
Research on heritability suggests that there is a link between genetics and personality
traits. Twin studies are often used to investigate which traits might be linked to genetics
versus those that might be linked to environmental variables. For example, researchers
might look at differences and similarities in the personalities of twins reared together
versus those who are raised apart.
One of the best known biological theorists was Hans Eysenck, who linked aspects of
personality to biological processes. For example, Eysenck argued that introverts had high
cortical arousal, leading them to avoid stimulation. On the other hand, Eysenck
believed extroverts had low cortical arousal, causing them to seek out stimulating
experiences.

Behavioral Theories Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson.


Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the famous
thinkers including Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson. Some of these theories attempt to
tackle a specific area of individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study
observable and measurable behaviors, rejecting theories that take internal thoughts and
feelings into account.

Psychodynamic Theories Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced


by the work of Sigmund Freud and emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind and
childhood experiences on personality. Psychodynamic theories include Sigmund
Freud's psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial
development.
Freud believed the three components of personality were the id, the ego, and the
superego. The id is responsible for all needs and urges, while the superego for ideals and
morals. The ego moderates between the demands of the id, the superego, and reality.
Freud suggested that children progress through a series of stages in which the id's energy
is focused on different erogenous zones.
Erikson also believed that personality progressed through a series of stages, with certain
conflicts arising at each stage. Success in any stage depends on successfully overcoming
these conflicts.
Humanist Theories
Humanist theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the
development of personality. Humanist theorists also focused on the concept of self-
actualization, which is an innate need for personal growth that motivates behavior.
Humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.

Trait Theories
The trait theory approach is one of the most prominent areas within personality
psychology. According to these theories, personality is made up of a number of broad
traits. A trait is basically a relatively stable characteristic that causes an individual to
behave in certain ways. Some of the best-known trait theories include Eysenck's three-
dimension theory and the theories of personality.
Eysenck utilized personality questionnaires to collect data from participants and then
employed a statistical technique known as factor analysis to analyze the results. Eysenck
concluded that there were three major dimensions of personality: extroversion,
neuroticism, and psychoticism.
During his initial examination, he described two major dimensions of personality which he
referred to as Introversion/ Extroversion and Neuroticism/Stability. Extroversion and
introversion related to how people tend to interact with the world while neuroticism and
stability related to emotionality.
Eysenck believed that these dimensions then combine in different ways to form an
individual's unique personality. Later, Eysenck added the third dimension known as
psychoticism, which related to things such as aggression, empathy, and sociability.
Later researchers suggested that there are five broad dimensions that make up people's
personalities. Often referred to as the Big 5 theories of personality, this theory suggests
that the five major personality dimensions are Openness, Conscientiousness,
Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism, sometimes identified with the useful
acronym OCEAN
Ramos, Angelo
BSHRM 1A