Perspectives of Human Development, from Where Does Personality Come?

Topics: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Jean Piaget Pages: 11 (4042 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Perspectives of Human Development, From where does personality come? The search for where does personality come from is the question this paper will try to answer by exploring of psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, and systems theories. The Oxford dictionary defines personality as “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.” With this definition in mind, we will explore the different theories, ideas, and assumptions on the subject of personality. The different theories ask relevant questions such as from a psychoanalytical perspective, tell me what, was your childhood like (McLeod, 2007)? As where a behaviorist would be, asking questions on how to apply reinforcements for the desired behavior (Miller, 1999). A cognitive theorist would be asking a question; to reveal what stage of development a person has reached (Cherry, 2012). The system theorist would ask has there been a change on the micro level between the child and caregiver (Suzuki, 2001). With each theory assumptions and questions answered, this paper will try to explore and answer how the theories view the impact on nature verse nurture and different developmental stages a person passes through while developing a personality. Psychoanalytic Theory

A psychoanalytic view is to establish the idea that human behavior and personality have been shaped by early childhood experiences, often driven by influential unconscious forces, which affect decisions made every day and during a lifetime. Freud’s theories have many different characteristics and core concepts that he revised over his professional career. The one’s that shape his theories and affect psychology and culture to this day are the Id, Ego, and Superego. This trio considered by Freud, shapes personality by the interplay and connections of biological needs being satisfied on the Id level. Here, is where the ego starts to develop on how to act and make a decision between the needs of the Id and the new developing outside world full of dangers and risks. The ego is walking a thin line on using logic and rational thought to provide for the Id and survival. When the ego is overcome by anxiety or the Id, other concepts from Freud’s theories provide relief through defense mechanisms, which have a bearing on behaviors and personality. These mechanisms are used by the ego to control or reduce anxiety producing moments by changing reality. These defenses include repression, reaction formation, projection, regression, and fixation. Freud believed using these defenses during each anxiety moment might prohibit normal personality growth due to its ability to change reality and deluding oneself. Freud added a third element to his personality theory that individuals have a superego. The superego is the last to develop as a child acts on relationships with adults that provide food, security, love, and discipline. Freud believes the superego is the conscience and regulates the quilt and thoughts of the ego (Miller, 1999). Other fundamental concepts from Freud’s theories of personality have caused a lot of controversy in the psychology field to this day. The psychosexual stages of infancy, and child development and its effect on personality. Freud believed by knowing how behavior develops in a person’s early years leads, to understanding how learning and dealing with anxiety later in life (Miller, 1999). These stages are defined as movement in growth (or not) driven by biological and physical growth. “Although a stage builds upon and is dominant over the previous stage, it does not entirely replace that stage” (Miller, 1999, p. 125). This is where Freud’s defense mechanisms would use early behaviors to stem off the feeling of anxiety. These stages of oral, anal, phallic, period of latency, and genital, all require the infant to learn the difference between pleasure, frustration, and anxiety. While learning how to gain acceptance and self-control, and a maturing ego to...
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