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Development of Personality Theories

By dlogan20 Jun 10, 2012 575 Words
Development of Personality Theories
Diane Logan
Brandman University

An individual’s personality is what makes them unique. Whether personality is naturally born or developed through experience, behavior is based upon these tendencies. Temperaments, traits, and attitudes affect the quality of life of each individual. This is assuming one is in a non-oppressive relativity free environment. The examination of one’s own personality including their strengths, weaknesses, and talents is beneficial to their pursuit of happiness and optimal mental health. The misunderstanding of these qualities lowers one’s quality of life and or lead to mental disorders or unhappiness that might otherwise be preventable through self-analysis and understanding of self and others.

The purpose of this paper is to present the development of theories about personality throughout history with specific focus on factor models and the work and theories of psychologists Karen Horney and Gordon Allport. The proposed paper will begin with a timeline of interest in the topic of human personality which begins as early as philosophers Aristotle and Plato and explores its evolution from a popular public philosophical discussion to an actual field in the study of psychology.

Inspired by her disagreement with the ideas of women popularized by Sigmund Freud, Karen Horney specialized in the study of personality through psychoanalysis with much consideration given to her own personal life and how she delt with her problems as a woman. The discovery of a person’s innate traits can be assessed using the NPA personality test and other similar tests created based upon Horney’s main three primary behavioral trait concepts, sanguinity, or "narcissism" (N),  perfectionism (P) and aggression (A). I will relate the ideas of self-assessment through personality tests with the work of Gordon Allport. This American psychologist is famed for development measurements used in personality tests. Although, Allport does not consider his traits innate, they are still valuable in understanding motivation and predicting behavioral responses. I plan to discuss Gordon’s inspirations including psychologists of behavioral thought and the German inventers of the I.Q.

In conclusion, I will maintain the importance of the study of personality, the contributions of those specialists in the field and its interests to people throughout history. These ideas can be applied to today helping people to reach their full potential. I share a special interest in this topic because of my own feelings and desires to grow and overcome my weaknesses. I want others to understand as I have come to learn that we all have our own special talents and abilities. When we learn about these strengths they can be combined with focused effort in a positive way to promote a successful and fulfilling life. Life is composed of decisions and the more informed you are about yourself, the better you can make decisions. If more people understood personality it would help with communication and understanding of each other. It would make the world a better place to be.

References
Ellis, A. (2012, March 17). Psychological Bulletin, Vol 43(5), Sep 1946, 385-440. doi: 10.1037/h0055483 .

Ryckman, R., Thornton, B., Butler. J.(2012, March 18). Personality Correlates of the Hypercompetitive Attitude Scale: Validity Tests of Horney’s Theory of Neurosis. Journal of Personality Assessment. 1994, 62(1), 84-94.

Coolidge, L., Segal, D., Cahill, B., Archuleta, J. (2012, March 18). A New Five Factor Model of Psychopathology: Preliminary Psychometric Characteristics of the Five-Dimensional Personality Test (5DPT). ScienceDirect: Personality and Individual Differences 44. 2008, 1326-1334.

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