Personality Assessment and Theories

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Personality Assessment and Theories
Deana Paul
University of Phoenix

Both of the theories I chose to write about are ways for psychologists to evaluate people and get an idea of how and why people act the way they do. According to the trait theory genetics determine the traits for a healthy personality. The sociocultural theory is individualism versus collectivism.

How the traits in the trait theory are expressed is influenced by learning experiences, development of skills, and the ability to choose our own actions. Theorists of the trait theory think that it is more productive to change, or modify, behaviors as opposed to changing embedded traits. It is about developing skills that enable use to better handle our inherited traits that are not always pleasing, such as neuroticism. People tend to think that trait theories are labeling behavior instead of explaining it.

Sociocultural theory is the view that our sense of self and our ability to adjust to society is based on social and cultural factors. These factors include discrimination, gender, culture, and socioeconomic status. Individualism versus collectivism is also a big part of the sociocultural theory. These parts tend to be derived from the culture a person grows up in. According to the sociocultural theory a healthy personality has to do with understanding who we are in a collective sense.

As one can see these two theories are very different. Trait theory focuses on the inner workings of a person. A person is given traits for a healthy personality through genetics. These traits may or may not be expressed due to influences that are taught. The sociocultural theory is more based on the surroundings a person grows up in or how he or she is treated. Trait theory is thought to give circle explanations. A person uses another person’s action, or behavior, to define is his or her trait. The trait is used to define the action. Nothing is given a true explanation.
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