An individuals personality is the complex of mental characteristics that makes them unique from other people. It includes all of the patterns of thought and emotions that cause us to do and say things in particular ways. Personality is expressed through our temperament or emotional tone. However, personality also colours our values, beliefs, and expectations. There are many potential factors that are involved in shaping a personality.
Research by psychologists over the last several decades has increasingly pointed to hereditary factors being more important, especially for basic personality traits such as emotional tone. However, the acquisition of values, beliefs, and expectations seem to be due more to socialization and unique experiences, especially during childhood.
There are several psychologists who experimented with personality development, and showed us different reasonable and rational explanations.
Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development
Freud’s (1905) in his Stages of Psychosexual Development. believed that we develop through stages based upon a particular erogenous zone. During each stage, an unsuccessful completion means that a child becomes fixated in that particular erogenous zone and either overor under-indulges once he or she becomes an adult. He proposed the following Stages
1. The Oral Stage (Birth to 18 months). During the oral stage, the child if focused on oral pleasures (sucking). Too much or too little gratification can result in an Oral Fixation or Oral Personality which is evidenced by a preoccupation with oral activities. This type of personality may have a stronger tendency to smoke, drink alcohol, over eat, or bite his or her nails, and personality.
2. Anal Stage (18 months to three years). The child’s focus of pleasure in this stage is on eliminating and retaining faeces. Through pressure, mainly via parents, the child has to learn to control anal stimulation. In terms of personality, the effects of an anal fixation during can result in an obsession with cleanliness, perfection, and control (anal retentive). On the opposite end of the spectrum, they may become messy and disorganized (anal expulsive).
3. Phallic Stage (ages three to six). The pleasure zone switches to the genitals. Freud believed that during this stage boy develop unconscious sexual desires for their mother. Because of this, he becomes rivals with his father and sees him as competition for the mother’s affection. During this time, boys also develop a fear that their father will punish them for these feelings, such as by castrating them.
Later it was added that girls go through a similar situation, developing unconscious sexual attraction to their father.
According to Freud, out of fear of castration and due to the strong competition of his father, boys eventually decide to identify with him rather than fight him. By identifying with his father, the boy develops masculine characteristics and identifies himself as a male, and represses his sexual feelings toward his mother. A fixation at this stage could result in sexual deviancies (both overindulging and avoidance) and weak or confused sexual identity according to psychoanalysts.
4. Latency Stage (age six to puberty). It’s during this stage that sexual urges remain repressed and children interact and play mostly with same sex peers.
5. Genital Stage (puberty on). The final stage of psychosexual development begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. adolescents direct their sexual urges onto opposite sex peers, with the primary focus of pleasure is the genitals.
Structure of the human psyche
Sigmund Freud, also studied a theory involving the brain, which he thinks influences the way people behave. He separated the brain into three entities. The id, the ego and the superego. The id, exist from birth and functioned on the pleasure principle. It satisfies the need for food, water, warmth, shelter and clothing and our psychological needs. The id wants immediate gratification regardless of the consequences. The ego develops in childhood it, operates on the reality principle. It acts as a balance between the id and superego. It accesses what is realistic to achieve. The superego forms during early childhood. It houses the child sense of what is right and wrong. The child learns morality by imitating the values of the parents and their immediate culture.
The id, ego, superego, shapes the personality of the person and as the person grows older it changes according to the need to be satisfied.
Eric Erikson Theory of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan.
One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. This is constantly changing due to new experiences and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence motivates behaviors and actions. The theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which is sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality. If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy.
Erikson believed people experience a conflict that serves as a turning point in development. In Erikson’s view, these conflicts are centered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that quality. During these times, the potential for personal growth is high, but so is the potential for failure.
Eysenck’s Three Dimensions of Personality
British psychologist Hans Eysenck developed a model of personality based upon just three universal trails:
Introversion involves directing attention on inner experiences, while extraversion relates to focusing attention outward on other people and the environment. So, a person high in introversion might be quiet and reserved, while an individual high in extraversion might be sociable and outgoing.
2. Neuroticism/Emotional Stability:
This dimension of Eysenck’s trait theory is related to moodiness versus even-temperedness. Neuroticism refers to an individual’s tendency to become upset or emotional, while stability refers to the tendency to remain emotionally constant.
A personality dimension he called psychoticism to his trait theory. Individuals who are high on this trait tend to have difficulty dealing with reality and may be antisocial, hostile, non-empathetic and manipulative.
As a result, a new trait theory referred to as the “Big Five” theory emerged. This five-factor model of personality represents five core traits that interact to form human personality.
The “big five” are broad categories of personality traits. They are described as follows:
1. Extraversion: This trait includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness.
2. Agreeableness: This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other prosocial behaviors.
3. Conscientiousness: Common features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details.
4 Neuroticism: Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.
5. Openness: This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests.
Persons with an ultimate personality may exhibit the following characteristics:
4. Trustworthy, High integrity and Responsibility.
5. Knowledgeable, in depth.
7. Effective Communication & Efficiency.
8. Economic independence.
9. Morality / Character.
10. Being beneficial / advantageous.
Person who exhibits a negative personality may exhibit the following characteristics:
2. Hurting attitude.
3. Useless approach.
4. Non-beneficial communication.
5. Untrustworthy, Irresponsible, Lack of integrity.
6. Below average performance.
7. Powerless egoism.
8. Financial indiscipline.
10· Uncontrolled burst of negative emotions.
Factors for Personality Improvement
1. Pleasing Physical Presentation.
2. Body Language.
4. Maturity in Socio-Cultural Values.
5. Beneficial Interactions
6. Grasping & Understanding circumstances and environment.
8. Outwitting Defensive Smartness.
9. Concentration and Devotion in duties with (developed) liking/interest.
10. Taking care with responsibility as if own.
11. Accountable action without attracting negative reaction.
12. Will to achieve.
13. Convinced stand and inner-strength to withstand.
14. Analytical decision of choosing the best suitable of all the available practical alternatives with maturity and in the interest of purpose.
15. Risk taking with accountability for calculations.
16. Maturity of values.
17. Convincing nature.
18. Make them to dance to your tune without their knowledge.
19. Speak to them the language they understand
In order for us to understand and improve our personality the following pre requisites must be present.
2. Growth/improvement/Solving oriented Positive thinking.
3. Helping tendency.
4. Zeal to grow.
5. Sincerity, integrity and gratitude.
6. Concentration and devotion.
7. Awareness and Alertness.
10. Not hurting attitude
11. Interest in clean and neat appearance.
12. Command over language
13. Responsible output.
14. Accountable actions.
15. Utilizing Time Preciously.
16. Lack of: lies, laziness, jealousy, exploitation, action and words differing, selfishness at other’s cost arguments outside competition, revenge, lust, hurting egoism, ignorance.
Socialization and moral development
Socialization plays a key role in the development of a child’s moral thought and behaviour. The way in which parents socialize their children can affect the extent to which their children internalise moral rules and principles. Techniques of punishment tend to be associated with low level of moral development. Reasoning and explanations with children appears to be associated with high level of moral development.
Stages of adult development
Between the ages of twenty to thirty poses a challenge to a person’s life. It is during this time persons enters a career of his or her choice. Some women also become mothers. The changes in status bring about a sense of maturity and a whole new perspective of the way they see things. Between the ages 28 – 34 many adults begin to question the commitment they have made over the past decade, the values they have chosen and the goals they have achieved. As this stage of questioning subsides a person enters a new phase of adulthood.
At about the age of 40 mid life transition begins. Women, who may have devoted their life to the role of wife and mother, may begin to see their children leaving home. To adjust to this change family oriented women may begin to look for work outside the home.
Men on the other hand begin to ask themselves, questions like what have i done with my life? What have I accomplished? What do i still wish to do?
Each individual develops in a unique way. The final stage in life should bring a sense of wholeness, recognition of purpose accomplished and a life meaningfully lived.
Self Learning Reflective Analysis
I had a difficulty in choosing a question to cover for the assignment. However having decided to do question number 3, I found that it took some time and effort to research and organise.
Mid way of my assignment I lost my internet which never returned due to a troubled feeder line. This was a great setback for me.
However I learnt that hard work always pays off.
This assignment gave me a better understanding of personality,