Personality Theories

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There are many theories as to what makes up a person, and there are just as many theories about what makes up someone’s personality. One of the main theories is the learning approach to personality. The learning approach states that out personality is shaped by past experiences and situations, and how we use these experiences to deal with similar situations. Unlike other theories that are fueled by thoughts, feelings, and motivations, in the learning theory all this is put aside and it adheres to just what has been learned. Although the existence of personality is not denied, learning theorists say that it is best understood by looking at features of a person’s environment.

B.F. Skinner is the most influential person of this theory, he states that personality is a collection of learned behavior patterns. Strict learning theorists such as Skinner are less interested in the consistencies in behavior across situations than in ways of modifying behavior. Their view is that people are infinitely changeable by learning new traits and patters from experience. Such as, if I am sociable both at parties and at meetings, it is because I have been reinforced for displaying social behaviors. And all of this is believed to have come from an outside source and not from the need to fulfill some childhood wish that is buried deep in your unconsciousness. There is also another approach to personality known as the social cognitive. Social cognitive emphasize the influence of cognition—thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values—as well as observation of others’ behavior, on personality. According to Albert Bandura, one of the main proponents of this point of view, people can foresee the possible outcomes of certain behaviors in a specific setting without actually having to carry them out. This understanding comes primarily through observational learning and viewing the actions of others and observing the consequences.

Bandura, a scientist that studies this approach, places...
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