What is personality? You ask different people and you will get pretty good answers for the question. However, most of us are still looking for a concrete answer on what is personality, where does it come from and does it change with age? These are some of the common questions that have held psychologists for a long time as well. These are the questions that inspired several personality development theories as well.
Before we move ahead, let us define personality. Simply put, personality is the inherent traits and characteristics of an individuals. Personality is also defined by the way a person behaves or reacts in a particular situation. Personality is something that make you, You.
When we try to answer the question of what affects our personality, the thoughts vary a lot. A few researchers would say that personality remains the same no matter what are the internal as well as external factors. One the other end of the spectrum, a few psychologists would argue that personalities do change with the changing environment. Well, this would depend from personality to personality.
As personality is so critical for a human’s survival and it is such an interesting element of a human being, a whole branch of psychology has been dedicated to study this fascinating topic.
Before we move forward to understand the various theories of personality, let us understand what are the basic characteristics of a personality:
• Personality of a person is organized and consistent
• Personality is largely stable, but it is affected by the surrounding environment and factors.
• We react because we have a personality. Thus, personality is always reactive.
Theories of Personality
Various scientists and psychologists have studied different personalities to give us some immaculate theories to delve into. Some of these theories would help us understand a specific area of personality while some would help to tackle issues related to them. Let us have a look at some of them here:
1. Biological Theories: Hans Eysenck was the first one to link personality with biological processes. He did extensive research in the field and argued that the stress hormones influence a human’s personality. He talked more about introverts and extroverts in his theory. His approach suggested that genetics are responsible for personality development.
2. Behavioural theories: As the name suggests, the behavioural theories say that personality is a result of the interaction between the individual and the environment. The two major theorists who came up with this argument are B.F. Skinner and Joh B. Watson. They say that the environment we live in shape our personalities.
3. Humanist Theories: These theories based on free will of the individual. Here, the individual may act differently in different situations leaving a scope of benefit of doubt. The main theorists who argued for these humanist theories are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They have promoted the concept of self-actualization, which is the base for personal growth and it motivates their behaviour.
4. Psychodynamic Theories: Last, we would talk about psychodynamic theories. Sigmund Freud worked on these theories to tell us that the activities of our unconscious mind and the childhood memories have a lasting impact on our personalities. Freud believe that the id, ego and the super ego are responsible to generate a personality within us.
If we pay attention, understanding a person’s personality is a very interesting thing. We can relate all these theories with the personality traits and have out own conclusions. After all, psychology is all about that, you will always have a different definition with each new research.