Personal Theory on Personality Development Term Paper

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Personal Theory of Psychological Development

The formal academic study of human psychology is not much more than a century old, with most of its fundamental concepts evolving only in the 20th century. The study of human personality is a particularly complex area of human psychology because it is a product of so many independent variables, as well as on their interrelationships.

Undoubtedly, there are biological components to the makeup of personality; there are also myriad environmental factors, some of which even alter physiological development and function. Early experiences, especially those within the nuclear family unit, can have profound influence on the personality of the individual; even birth order plays a role in various aspects of personality; they are also linked directly to specific physiological processes through which birth-order-based differences express themselves in behavioral tendencies.

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In some respects, infants are born with predisposition toward anxiety, stress response disorders, and other barriers to optimal psychological adjustment as a result of conditions in the family during their gestation. From the moment of birth, mothers differ in their ability to care for their infants and in the manner in which they interact with them. Experiences in that regard begin to play a role in shaping important elements of personality within the first few months of life. Meanwhile, there are just as powerful influences on the personality that arise strictly as a function of interpersonal and other social experiences outside the family, educational experiences, social norms, expectations, and culture. Besides providing the "software" for foundational beliefs and perspectives, social culture contributes to the personality of the individual in many ways as well.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Personal Theory on Personality Development Assignment

In the most general sense, human personality develops very similarly in different people, at least in terms of the identifiable patterns and interrelationships of different areas of focus. The same is substantially true of abnormal psychology and it is precisely the repeatability of psychological experiments into both normal and abnormal patterns of psychological development that is so important in so far as applying academic concepts to human behavior. However, determining exactly how much of every element of human psychology is expressed within the personality develop of the individual is much more difficult to measure precisely.

Likewise, the influence of social norms and cultural values often produces characteristic psychological expectations and orientation among different people. On one hand, they are expressed as parts of the personality of the individual; on the other hand, they are nothing more than the "programming" to which they were exposed through the socialization process. Moreover, the difference in the specific psychological influences or "themes" at work in different people means that the keys to understanding their psychology may require analysis through completely different schools of psychological study and thought. Whereas everyone's psychological development includes both

To develop a comprehensive approach to understanding the development of human personality, it is necessary to consider the various core elements of those schools of thought that have been empirically tested. In some respects, the more complex part involves distinguishing the various influences of so many variables that contribute simultaneously to the development of personality.

Major Psychological Perspectives and Personality Development

Very generally, psychological theorists typically focus on one of three approaches to understand the human mind: behaviorists study the manner in which the psychology of the individual is shaped by external experiences with the environment; biophysiologists focus on the biological or physiological root of human behavior; and psychoanalytical theorists emphasize the importance of subconscious experiences, reactions, and adaptations to experiences (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008). .

Behavioral and Humanistic Psychology

The principal tenet of behavioral and humanistic psychology is that biological organisms are directly influenced by their experiences in ways that contribute to psychological development (Bradshaw, 2002; Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008). Repeated experiences result in patterns of expectations and responses that are characteristic of specific types of experiences. Where those experiences are predominantly positive, they help establish healthy personality development; where they substantially (or traumatically) negative, they typically result in less well-adjusted personality development or in classical manifestations (Skinner, in: Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008).

Biophysiology and Cognitive Psychology

The main concept underlying the biological/physiological and cognitive approach to understanding human psychology is that the observable and measurable behavioral manifestations of human psychology and personality are substantially the product of biological influences, such as the genetics of heredity and structural differences in the brain or in brain functions (Pinker, 2002). Those aspects of physiology can also be heavily influenced by the environment (Sternberg & Ridgway, 2003) and the modern approach is to consider the influence of biological mechanisms and experiential influences jointly rather than separately (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008).Similarly, principals of cognitive psychology offer empirically documented operational stages of early psychological development (Piaget, in Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008) that are primarily dependent on chronological age. The modern view of psychology includes these concepts as well as principals of lifelong psychological development such as those of Maslow's Hierarchy as well as (Pinker, 2002).

The Psychodynamic Model of Freudian Psychoanalysis

The Freudian approach to understanding human psychological development and personality is based on the concepts introduced by Freud in connection with the influence of infant frustrations, very early conflicts, and the manner in which the human mind records and responds to those memories in specific patterns of perceptions, and behavior (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Shapiro, 1999). Modern psychodynamic theory does not discount other schools of psychological thought and the influences of non-psychodynamic factors, but it emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind and the long-term psychological effects of suppressed emotions (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Shapiro, 1999).

A Comprehensive Understanding of the Elements of Psychological Development

In retrospect, it seems that much of the mutual antagonism and disdain that characterized the beliefs of early and mid-20th century psychologists for schools of though other than their own was unnecessary. Modern experimental methods and technological capabilities have provided conclusive empirical evidence to validate major elements of all of the major psychological perspectives. Today, psychologists no longer discount one another's approaches; instead they collaborate to determine where the identifiable influences of certain types of factors end and where others begin.

Therefore, the most important aspect of any comprehensive modern approach to understanding human personality development must recognize the applicability of all of the major schools of psychological thought. Presently, most psychologists still identify primarily with one approach or another, but that is more likely attributable to the sheer volume of information within the existing schools. Ideally, the advanced formal study of psychology would provide thorough training in every school of psychology instead of specialization.

However, in light of the practical challenges of maintaining professional competence in every school of psychology, professionals in the field specialize in one of major interest and usually understand enough about the others to make appropriate recommendations and referrals based on the specific needs of patients. Naturally, one possible limitation of the effectiveness of that model is that even practicing psychologists are susceptible to subjective biases in the way they identify and frame potential issues.

Incorporating Influential Factors of Personality Development

A comprehensive view of the influential factors responsible for human personality development would start with a consideration of genetic inheritance, because it is fully understood that various psychological tendencies are genetically determined and that many more others are substantially or partially determined by genetics. Second, a comprehensive consideration of influential factors on personality development would include the potential influence of environmental experiences during gestation (Sternberg & Ridgway, 2003).

Third, a comprehensive approach to understanding the psychology of human personality development must include the character and quality of the maternal-infant bond and the various ways that maternal behavior and responses can determine significant issues in relation to patterns of expectation and sensitivity to perceived personal rejection (Branden, 2001; Lewis & Feiring, 1989). Fourth, a comprehensive model of understanding human psychological development would have to incorporate general patterns associated with the normal chronologically-based stages of initial cognitive development and the characteristic changes in psychological drives later in life.

Fifth, a comprehensive view for analyzing human personality development would have to consider the complex ways that different kinds of experiences at different stages of psychological development interrelate to produce external behavior. Finally, a comprehensive approach to understanding human personality development would include fundamental principles of psychoanalytical theory to address the undeniable influence of subconscious response patterns.

Measuring Personality Development

The most challenging problem of measuring human personality development is that the various different types of influences on human psychological development occur simultaneously. Moreover, similar (if not identical) externally measurable results are capable of being the product of multiple variables, or of multiple variables in specific combinations. Furthermore, there are also other differences among individuals that account for significant differences in the way that individuals respond to experiences and to the external environment. For one example, parental modelling, messages, and teaching all influence the way that children process their experiences. For another example, innate intelligence also plays an important role in the way that the developing individual interprets experiences and the environment.

It is likely impossible to quantify the complex… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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