Learning Personality Theories

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Learning Personality Theories

PSY/405
August 8, 2011
Linda O'Connor

Learning Personality Theories
Psychologists have attempted to explain personality with the development of various personality theories. Each theory varies in regard to explanations and views. Each theory of learning personality provides explanations, ideology, and dimensions. Learning personality theories focus mainly on interactions individuals have with his or her environment. Each theory believes that individuals react with his or her environment based largely on cognitive factors. In this paper, learning personality theories are examined. Behavior Analysis Theory

According to Feist and Feist (2009) behavioral theorist Skinner, Watson, and Thomdike believe free will is nonexistent in a person’s life as he or she are trained through conditioning regarding how to react and behave. Environmental stimuli and one’s previous experience with such stimuli determine how one will react to it each time. If the experience were a positive one, the person will be open to more experiences with it. This happens because the bond is strengthened to entice the person to repeat his or her experience with the stimuli whereas if the experience is negative, the bond will be weak, and the person will avoid such an experience again. According to Feist and Feist (2009) when dealing with interpersonal relationships one would rely on personal experiences with, for instance men or women named Angie. If a person were to have negative experiences with men in the past, he or she would avoid or be cautious of men in the future. If someone were to have a negative experience with someone named Angie, he or she would dread dealing with anyone named Angie in the future. However, if their experiences were positive, they would be completely open to associating previous experiences with these people. Social Cognitive Theory

According to Feist and Feist (2009) the social cognitive theory was founded by Albert Bandura. The theory focuses on how people learn behavior by observing the behaviors of others through social interactions. He believed that the process of learning through observation was more efficient than learning through direct experience. Bandura believed that people will adapt behavioral patterns by modeling others they observe. Observational learning can be broken down into four processes including attention, representation, behavioral production, and motivation. A person must first pay attention to the person he or she are observing. Representation is the part of the process when the person takes the representation of the person he or she are observing and stores in memory. Behavioral production is the step when the person attempts to behave similarly to the one they are observing and assesses what and how he or she is doing. Motivation, the final part of the process, is what inspires a person to continue modeling certain behaviors. According to this process, the social cognitive theory affects the individual personalities through the triadic reciprocal causation. Human actions result from three variables; behavior, environment, and person. The belief is that a person learns and develops behavior based on his or her experiences and through their interactions and observations of people. This theory influences interpersonal relationships because as people interact with each other, they learn different behaviors that they will or will not choose to model. The strengths of this particular theory include a stronger self-efficacy as the person sees his or her own personal behavioral growth something he or she have some control over through personal choices. One of the weaknesses of this particular theory is that although a person can choose positive role models to model behavior, dysfunctional behavior also can be observed and modeled. In addition, if a person believes they have complete control of his or her own growth and development, his or her accomplishments, or lack...
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