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Compare and contrast two of the main approaches to personality psychology

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Compare and contrast two of the main approaches to personality psychology Psychology of personality is a difficult concept to define and quantify, therefore most personality theories, however different they may be in other respects, share the basic assumption, that personality is a particular pattern of behaviour and thinking, that prevails across time and situations and differentiates one person from another. Most theories attempting to explain personality represent part of the classic psychological Nature verse Nurture debate. In other words, is personality "inherited", or developed through our interactions with the environment. In addition, we shall compare and contrast two of the main approaches to personality psychology by concentrating on Psychoanalytical Theory (Freud) and Social Learning Theory (Bandura). By looking at the Psychodynamic approach, developed by Freud, we can argue that it emphasizes the interplay of unconscious psychological processes in determining human thought, feelings, and behaviours. The basis of this approach is that psychological factors play a major role in determining behaviour and shaping personality. Freud argued that personality is composed of three major systems the id, the ego, and the superego. The id (biological part of personality) is present at birth and consists of inherited instincts and all psychological energies. ...read more.


The defence mechanism of the ego and the displacement of instinctual energy may prevent people from reaching mature genital sexuality and keep them fixed on "immature" forms of sexuality. Freud's theory created controversy in the Victorian era, the theory proposed that our thoughts and behaviour as adults steam from unconscious forces as well as from our early childhood experiences. However, there are couple of Neo- Freudians that didn't agree with Freud's theory. Carl Jung (1875-1961), argued that libido was a positive creative force that propels people towards personal growth. He also believed that forces other than id, ego, and superego, such as collective unconscious, form the core of personality. To Jung ego was totally conscious and contained the ideas, perceptions, emotions, thoughts and memories of which we are aware. Like Jung, Alfred Adler (1870-1937) felt that Freud overemphasised the role of sexuality in personality development. Adler argued that feelings of inferiority play the key role. Karen Horney (1885-1952) didn't believe that sex and aggression are the primary themes of personality. She did however agree with Freud, though, that anxiety is a basic problem that people must address to overcome. Like Adler, Horney though, the environmental variables influenced personality development. ...read more.


Locus of Control refers to whether one believes that the consequences of one's actions are controlled by internal, person variables or by external, environmental variables (Rotter 1954, 1966).A person who expects to control their own fate, or who perceive that reward are dependant upon their own behaviour has an internal locus of control. However, a person who sees their life as being controlled by external forces unaffected by their own behaviour has an external locus of control. By looking at those two theories, we can argue that they form part of Nature verse Nurture debate. Psychoanalytical theory justifies person's behaviour from biological point of view, focusing on the particular anatomical regions- mouth, anus, and genitals which makes it difficult to properly understand human development. He also explains behaviour through suppressed motives, conflicts and guilt; emphasize the role of unconscious, instinctual drives in personality development. The theory completely ignores the process of socialisation. Nevertheless, Social learning theorists emphasize the importance of the environment as an influence on individual's behaviour. The approach avoids examining internal concept such as motivation or traits. Social Learning theorists believe that perception, cognition and expectations play an integral part in determining individual's personality. They also examine conditions which seam to control behaviour, looking at how these behaviours are learnt and how to modify them. ...read more.

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This work has covered in some depth two different personality theories. Freud's theory of personality has been explained and the writer has shown an understanding of the struggles between the id, the ego and the superego. There is also mention of the psychosexual developmental stages too. A little more could have been written about Bandura since his work has been particularly influential with regards criminal behaviour. It would be advisable in order to avoid plagiarism, to not write long lists. However, overall this writing covers most of the necessary components

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 30/03/2013

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