Personality Analysis Shannon C. Chavez PSY/405 March 5, 2013 Dr. Barry Brooks Personality Analysis This paper will include personality analysis between the learning theory and the humanistic and existential theories. The learning theory is referred to as the process by which all individuals learn and how they acquire a change or potential change in behavior (Feist & Feist, 2000). The learning theories involved are Skinner’s behavioral analysis, Bandura’s social cognitive theory, and Rotter and Mischel’s cognitive social learning theory.
The humanistic approach is focused on the individuals potential and stresses the importance of self-actualization and the belief that people are innately good. Humanistic psychology assumes that mental and social problems are a direct result of one’s natural tendencies (Cherry, 2013). Existentialism stresses the importance of free will, freedom of choice by each individual, and the responsibility one takes on his or her own life. This theory emphasizes the responsibility each person takes on the choices they make and what they make of themselves (Cherry, 2013).
Combining these theories with the knowledge they possess outlines the basics of human nature and personality as it develops by the environment, particularly within the social aspect while accommodating the powerful affects of one’s own internal ideas. Affects on Situational Behavior According to learning theory, individuals behave according to their environmental, cognitive, and behavioral conditions. In Bandura’s social cognitive theory, he argues that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching what others do.
This type of learning known as observational learning is explained in most behaviors (Cherry, 2013). In the behaviorist learning theory, learning takes place by trial and error, with individuals trying different types of behaviors until they engage in one that is reinforcing. Learning theory states individuals apply previously learned material as a means to find familiar reward values in similar situations (Feist & Feist, 2009). Behaviors produced within new situations allow the individual to review similar experiences to determine the best course of action and will then choose the one with a similar outcome.
In some learning theories, the learner may become passive, thus responding to environmental stimulus. Cognitive learning theory assumes all people are logical beings whose behavior is determined by choices that make the most sense to them (Fritscher, 2011). Rotter believed humans interact with their environments through reinforcement. He assumed people’s situational behavior is a combination of their expectations of reinforcement and the amount of influence their needs demand in any given situation.
His predictions of human behavior stem from one’s expectancy, reinforcement value, behavior potential and psychological situation (Feist and Feist, 2009). Mischel’s personality theory suggests that an individual’s cognitive activities and situations play a vital role in behavior determination. Although he acknowledged this stability, he explained the environment has a powerful influence on behavior. Other’s theories suggest people are motivated by particular drives and traits that would make a person’s behavior consistent (Feist and Feist, 2009).
Humanistic approach from Roger’s person-centered theory believes learning is implemented as an act to fulfill one’s fullest potential. The actions of individuals in situational behavior are derived from their potential from which an individual is capable. In humanistic theory, people have cognitive needs by which they respond to certain situations. Within a supportive environment, individuals learn and react appropriately in any situation based on what they have learned previously (Feist and Feist, 2009).
According to a humanist approach, responses to a specific situation are directly regarded towards personal growth fulfillment of current needs and satisfaction (McLeod, 2007). The individual will always respond in a way that will ultimately fulfill current needs. Personality Characteristic of Theories The learning theories suggest that personality is a combination of learned inclinations that continue throughout one’s life. Learning theories are believed to have present awareness, which guides the development of personality according to how individuals anticipate specific events, thus ll human behavior is influenced by anticipation (Feist & Feist, 2009). Skinner believed that human behavior was shaped by three forces: natural selection, cultural practices, and an individual’s history of reinforcements. Ultimately, Skinner believed that one’s geographical environment and personal physical strength helped shape humans personality in general, however, the environment would be vital in the uniqueness of each individual’s personality (Feist and Feist, 2009). Skinner defined personality as “at best a repertoire of behavior imparted by an organized set of contingencies” (2009, p. 72). Bandura described the act of human nature as “self-regulating, proactive, self-reflective, and self-organizing” (2009, p. 486). He recognized that observational learning allows individuals to learn without performing the behavior. Rotter believed an individual’s personal history and experiences was more powerful in shaping their personalities and goals, but emphasized the similarities in everyone, whereas Mischel considered an individual’s differences and variations in behavior as more significant.
He believed human behavior, through the cognitive-active personality system, adapts to the interaction of “stable personality traits and the situation, which includes a number of personal variables” (2009, p. 546). Kelly’s theory explains the idea that all people anticipate events by the meanings placed on those events and believes these constructs of the world are how an individual’s behavior is shaped. People see the world in their own way and believe that every construction is open to revision (Feist and Feist, 2009).
Skinner’s learning theories have been criticized for neither accommodating “individual differences, intelligence, genetic factors, nor the whole realm of personality” (2009, p. 472). Humanistic psychology believes in the natural drive toward personal development, and the idea that people make decisions regardless of environmental factors. Free will is one of the most important factors in the development of one’s personality, and the drive toward self-actualization is a powerful motivation for the creation of one’s personality (Feist and Feist, 2009).
According to the idea behind humanism, people make their own choices and are actively involved in the creation of their personalities. Rollo May theory includes three relationships that form the basis for personality: one’s relationship with the environment, with others, and with oneself. The influence of all three relationships helps create and contributes to the personality’s ongoing reconstruction (Feist ; Feist, 2009). Maslow believed that biological components provided the basic parameter for the individual; however, environmental and cultural affects shaped the ego identity or personality (Feist ; Feist, 2009).
Explanation of Interpersonal Relations The humanist/existential perspective assumed people associated with others to engage in productive and healthy relationships, although ultimately, they may be alone. Maslow believed in fulfilling love and belongingness first and fulfilling this was a primal need filled by friendship, family, having a mate, and ultimately maintaining associations with others. He proposed fulfillment at this level was essential for other levels of human success, through his hierarchy of needs (Feist ; Feist, 2009).
Rogers believed growing up in a loving environment, having a caregiver who had positive regards, fostered positive self-regard, which in turn promotes psychological growth. Positive experiences from others are also essential for an individual’s development in mental health, thus success towards self-actualization (Cherry, 2013). May’s existentialism proposed that even though people associate with others, forming healthy relationships, they would ultimately choose who and what they will become.
The basic idea of humanism and existentialism views interpersonal relationships as an integral part of human life. Humanism views interpersonal relationships as an important factor in the development of personality. Maslow believed once an individual’s fulfillment of interpersonal relationships was completed, they will have more confidence and esteem in social situations and will experience the reciprocity of love from those of importance to them (Feist and Feist, 2009).
From a learning perspective, people tend to associate with others because they receive some type of reward for doing so. Humans originally formed groups within their families to use as protection from enemy tribes and animals. This happens today when people form associations with those of the same interest group and are reinforced for the particular behaviors of that group. Even when not reinforced, people will continue to maintain close associations because of personal connections within the group from which they receive reinforcement (Feist & Feist, 2009).
Social constructivism is defined as the knowledge, behavior, and personality constructed from social interactions and people build new ideas and concepts that are based on current and past knowledge or experience (Feist & Feist, 2009). Bandura believed people learn from their experiences, although much of human learning is taken from the observation of others. Rotter believed human behavior is “best predicted from an understanding of the interaction of people with their meaningful environments” (2009, p. 510).
Mischel also believed that an essential component of one’s personality development was dependent on observations of others within the environment. Mischel and Rotter stressed the importance of learning within a social context, but Mischel continued to maintain his belief in the importance of genetic factors in the development of personality. Kelly believed social influences were much more significant in determining one’s personality than biological ones. He believed humans are influenced by each other and in constructing their own personality, involving other influences from the environment (Feist and Feist, 2009).
Kelly stated “the actions of others do not mold their behavior; rather, it is their interpretation of events that changes their behavior” (2009, p. 572). Conclusion Learning theories define learning and its resulting behavior and personality as a response to the environment in which its consumed including biological considerations, whereas humanistic theory believes in a greater tendency for internal human drive toward a goal and ultimately self-actualization.
The different perspectives regarding the effectiveness of personalities on situational behavior, the distinct characteristics of personality and human nature, and the understanding of interpersonal relations all provide an abundance of thought and a more dimensional understanding of humanity within psychological thought process and its applications toward humankind. References Cherry, K. (2013). What is Existentialism? Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/eindex/g/def_existential. htm Cherry, K. (2013).
Humanistic Psychology: the “Third Force” in Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/historyofpsychology/a/hist_humanistic. htm Feist, J. and Feist, G. (2009) Theories of Personality (7th ed. ). Retrieved from the University of Phoenix eBook Collection online. New York: McGraw Hill Fritscher, L. (2011). Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from http://phobias. about. com/od/glossary/g/cognitivethedef. htm McLeod, S. (2007). Humanism. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from http://www. simplypsychology. org/humanistic. html