August 3, 2014
In history, many psychologists have had theories such as Freud, Jung, Rogers, and Maslow. These psychologists have suggested a number of theories based on personality to attempt to explain similarities and offer reasons for differences in personalities. The following approaches such as psychoanalytic, humanistic, social learning, type, and trait theories will be defined through emphasizing both the strengths and weaknesses for the different theories. Sigmund Freud was the main promoter of the Psychoanalytic Theory; however, other psychologists known as Neo-Freudians such as Jung, Adler, Erikson, and Horney are also major contributors (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Freud believed that every personality has an unconscious component and that childhood experiences, even if not consciously recalled, continue to influence people's behaviors (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). The psychoanalytic theory states that a personality has three parts such as the id, the ego, and the superego, which assist to regulate instinctual energies, and shapes our personalities (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). The dynamic unconscious is populated by anxiety that drives ideas, which have been exiled from conscious awareness by psychological defense mechanisms such as repression (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Defense mechanisms are the domain of the Ego, the portion of personality concerned with mediating between external reality (material reality) and the internal reality (psychical reality). They operate to prevent the experience of intense conscious anxiety caused by a conflict between base energies and the moral aspect of the psyche, known as the Superego (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Freud proposed that the molding of the core of personality is during the first six years of life, which is known as the Psychosexual Stages of Development (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). A maturing child theoretically experiences a number of discrete and biologically motivated psychosexual phases, during this time, their essential sexual energies become invested in particular areas of the body (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Therefore, the Id dominated oral stage, where sensual pleasure is derived by means of the mouth, gives way to the anal stage and the birth of the Ego. The Ego stage leads to the phallic stage, during which the Oedipus occurs complex that consists of children aspire to be the partner of the opposite-sex parent (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Resolution of this complex results in the formation of the superego. However, unsuccessful resolution and development of any stage leads to a fixation within that particular stage defining hyperbolic characteristics related with that physical zone on the body (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). An example would consist of an individual that experienced excessively strict potty training would in turn be plagued with an anal fixation or anal personality and would typically exhibit excessive discipline (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Psychoanalytic theory of personality has both strengths and weaknesses. Unlike some other theories, the psychoanalytic approach is a complete theory and can explain behavior. In addition, the psychoanalytic approach emphasizes the role of the unconscious and that the unconscious part of the mind can distinguish things without conscious awareness (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). On the other hand, its main weaknesses are that any experimental evidence does not back it up (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Freud’s case studies were subjective and interpretative. Freud also placed an over emphasis on sexual drive and provides us with an extremely negative outlook on personality (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). The role of emphases in the unconscious and conscious from Freud and Jung’s theories were the importance in the change of view in the past up and until now (Coon and Mitterer, 2013). Sigmund Freud found the unconscious and attempting to embrace...
References: Coon/Mitterer (2013) Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior with Concept Maps and Reviews, Thirteenth Edition, © Cengage Learning.
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