Psychology 33: Theories of Personality
Professor: Dr. Travis Gibbs
November 29, 2005
Personality is the permanent pattern of traits, dispositions, or characteristics that create a degree of consistency to people's behavior. Personality influences everything that people do in their lives; giving people the idea of what is right and wrong. There are six dimensions in the personality of individuals. The dimensions that will be examined are: determinism versus free choice, conscious versus unconscious determinants of behavior, biological versus social influences on personality, and teleology versus causality. Determinism and free choice deal with whether or not people's life is predetermined, or their choices determine life. Biological and social influences on personality are a paradox concerning what influences our personality, our genetics, or society. The paradox of causality versus teleology is the topic of if the present is determined by our past, or the future. Conscious versus unconscious determinants of behavior deals with the paradox of people's unconscious mind determining their behavior, or the conscious mind determining it.
Determinism versus free choice is the paradox that people's lives are determined by things not of their control, and free choice is the idea of their lives being determined by their behavior, and the things they do. The things people do are influenced by the religion their parents had, which was inherited by them. But, people do not always carry on their parent's religion, because people can be catholic, with Christian parents, and this favors the idea of free choice. When people are raised, they often have their parent's views on politics, as a democrat or republican, because of what their parents told them, which results with their political views are predetermined be their parents. However, many people change their views on politics to the opposite of their parents, as a form of rebellion against their parent's beliefs, which is an example of free choice. A controversial example of determinism is people's views of racism. Many Caucasian people are known to be racist because of their parents, and how they viewed African Americans during slavery. But, the majority of Caucasian people are not racist against African Americans, which are a clear example of free choice; otherwise everyone would be racist against African Americans. In the United States it is clear that people do not have free choice, because they are not allowed to do anything they want, they are controlled by the laws of the constitution. People's choices are determined in part by the laws they have, because they must obey them, or be punished. Like the psychologist Fromm said, personality can only be understood in the light of history, in his Assumption of Personality, which leads people towards determinism. According to Fromm, people's past have powerful implications on creating and playing out their human lives. Also, Allport viewed freedom versus determinism as freedom is limited but it could be deterministic.
The second dimension of personality deals with conscious versus unconscious determinants of behavior. People's behavior determined by their conscious mind is defined as behavior made by mental elements in awareness at any given time. People's behavior determined by their unconscious is defined as behavior made by mental elements of which a person is unaware. This deals with the question: are unconscious and conscious processes actually determinants in our behavior? Fromm said that people may be conscious of their overt behaviors, but we are not often aware of the mental processes that lie behind them. Fromm thought of people's behavior as being controlled by the conscious, stating that the outer world acts as a medium for the perception of external stimuli. A question to this would be does this relate to the...