Psychology of personality is a very broad topic in the field of psychology. Numerous theories can be applied to personality but in this paper, I will only be concentrating on some but not all. The purpose of this paper is to define my definition of personality and how it is determined, whether by genetics or conditioning, how it is shaped and cultivated, and if personality is unique. I will provide supporting arguments based mainly on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, while pulling in theories of Erik Erikson, Alfred Adler and Albert Bandura.
Theory of Personality
Most people use the term “personality” to identify the most obvious characteristics of a person, or to refer to a person’s social skills. The word personality derives from the Latin word persona which refers to a mask used by actors (Schultz & Schultz, 2013, p. 7). Personality is organic, edifying, communal, situational, and involves family and environment in any occasion. Each individual has his or her own distinct, innate personality; intertwined with traits that define character, temperament, disposition, spirit and personality. Personality is a model of practical individuality, eternal qualities, and exclusive uniqueness that represent consistency and distinctiveness in one’s actions. Personality can vary with the situation and is generally resistant to sudden change (Schultz & Schultz, 2013, p. 7). Personality as defined is a sequence of comparative qualities and distinct attributes that provides constant and uniqueness to an individual’s behavior (Feist & Feist, 2009). Although it is possible for personalities to have similarities, it is impossible for two persons to possess the same, exact behaviors. The influence of psychology theories towards understanding human behavior in terms of individuals is very important. No single theory can provide a wholesome explanation. This calls for the need of various theories to help understand the different aspects and factors of human behavior. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is essential towards shedding light on the effect of the satisfaction of needs towards determining human behavior and interactions. In his theory, individuals who possess negative personalities are associated with having some unsatisfied needs while individuals who are full of self-confidence and will show positive emotions and personalities. He proposed five innate needs that activate and motivate direct human behavior. The needs are psychological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization (Schultz & Schultz, 2013, p. 246). The hierarchy is a pyramid and a person’s position in the pyramid may explain why they behave the way they do. The full satisfaction of needs in one level promotes an individual to the next level until they continuously move up the pyramid to fully satisfy all their needs. Psychological needs relate to the basic needs of a human being that are important for life. These needs are food, water, shelter, air and clothing. These are necessary as basics for life. Sexual gratification is also a basic physiological need whose satisfaction is more out of need for competitiveness among species as opposed to a means of propagating reproduction and continuing populations. Individuals who have not or are not able to meet these needs fully or to the comfortable levels of life are seen at times emotionally detached and may even be susceptible to stress and depression as they try to the world in order to fit it (Schultz & Schultz, 2013). Next in the hierarchy of needs comes safety. These needs relate to the human need for security and stability. The feeling of safety is very important towards shaping individual behavior. This need is demonstrated often in infancy. Infants and young children react visibly and immediately to any threat to their security. Children need structure and order and a predictable world to fulfill this basic need. Maslow pointed out that although most adults have met...
References: Feist, J., & Feist, G. J. (2009). Theories of Personality (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2013). Theories of Personality (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage.
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