Personality Psychology: Major Theories - Deepstash

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What Personality Theories in Psychology May Tell You About Yours

Personality Psychology: Major Theories

  • Biological Theories suggest genetics are responsible for personality traits.
  • Behavioural Theories suggest that personality is the result of interaction between the individual and the environment.
  • Psychodynamic Theories of personality emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind and childhood experiences on personality.
  • Humanist Theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality.
  • Trait Theories think personality is made up of several broad traits.

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When Psychology Became A Separate Scientific Discipline
When Psychology Became A Separate Scientific Discipline

When psychology developed as a science that was separate from biology and philosophy, they did not know how to describe the human mind and behaviour.

Different schools of psychology...

Psychology: Early Schools of Thought
  • Structuralism was the first school of thought and focused on breaking down mental processes into their most basic elements using techniques such as introspection. Major thinkers are Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener.
  • Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of structuralism and focused on the role that the mental processes play instead of the mental processes themselves. Thinkers associated with this outlook include John Dewey, James Rowland Angell, and Harvey Carr.
Gestalt Psychology
  • This school of psychology is based on the idea that we experience things as unified wholes.
  • The approach started in the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism.
  • Instead of breaking down thoughts and behaviour to their smallest parts, the gestalt psychologists believed you should view the whole of experience.
The need to understand psychology

The beginnings of psychology differ significantly from contemporary conceptions of the field. Modern psychology covers a range of topics, looking at human behavior en mental processes from the neur...

The Beginnings of Psychology

Psychology was not separate from philosophy until the late 1800s.

  • During the 17th century, philosopher Rene Descartes introduced the idea of dualism - that the mind and body were two entities that interact to complete the human experience.
  • While early philosophers relied on methods such as observation and logic, today's psychologists use scientific methodologies to draw conclusions about human thought and behavior.
  • Physiological research on the brain and behavior also contributes to psychology.
Psychology as a Separate Discipline
  • During the mid-1800s, a German physiologist Wilhelm Wundt outlined many of the major connections between the science of physiology and the study of human thought and behavior.
  • He viewed psychology as the study of human consciousness and tried to apply experimental methods to study internal mental processes.
  • His processes are known as introspection and seen as unreliable and unscientific today, but it helped to set the stage for future experimental methods.
  • The opening of his psychology lab In 1879 is considered to be the official start of psychology as a separate scientific discipline.
The Ego And The Reality Principle
The Ego And The Reality Principle

According to the original psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, our ego is part of our personality that is between the id (our primal, animalistic instincts), our superego (the mature per...

The Ego Is The Balancer

The ego has its one internal, silent and invisible measures, known as defense mechanisms to curb the ‘id’. These measures are not visible and can only be known retroactively, like repression, for example.

Our basic and primal instincts are regulated by our ego, and our more moral and idealistic standards, set by the superego, are also kept under check. The ego operates in the preconscious, unconscious and conscious states of the mind. Example: The ego is a safety valve that prevents us from getting out of the car and attacking the driver that has offended us for some reason, however satisfying that may seem at the moment.