Psychology of Personality essay

Psychologyof Personality

Psychologyof Personality

Psychologyis the study of mind and behaviour of an individual. Personality is abranch of psychology that deals with analysing the way an individualperceive and reacts to different circumstances. It deals withdetermining individual’s mood, attitude and behaviour.Personalities of people vary from one person to another due togenetic and environmental differences. Personality measurement refersto the quantitative description of the characters of a person. Theneed for personality measurement arises under different circumstancessuch as in a research study where there is the need to develop tests,in helping mental psychologies to determine the type of mentalillness a person is suffering from and also in determining if aperson is suitable for a given job in a workplace.

Differenttechniques are used in measuring the levels of personality. Thesetechniques include clinical method, psychometric and experimentalmethod, observation, use of interviews, and projection method.

Psychometricmethod deals with qualitative assessment and only talks aboutparticular traits. It works on the principle of self-recording andanalysing of responses. The main benefit of this method is that itgives more valid judgments. It is also cheap and easy to administerthe program. The technique faces some challenges during testing sinceit requires every individual to be associated with pothers. Theclinical technique of measuring individual’s personality requiresthat the psychologist is the one to conduct the data collection froma person. However, data collected is not reliable. Throughobservations, a person can easily get an impression regarding his/herattitudes, moods and feelings. The observation made is systemized togive a clear picture of how people react and behave under differentcircumstances. This method is cheap and helps in saving time.However, it faces some critics since its results entirely depend onthe quality and judgment of the observer.

Themajor theoretical approaches to personality psychology include thetrait theory, psychodynamic theory, behavioural theory, humanistictheory and social theory.


Abehavioural theory of personality was established by psychologistsB.F Skinner, Edward Thorndike, John Watson and Pavlovian. It statesthat individual’s personality is achieved through learning wherebyreinforcements and punishment are the core contributors to thesuccess. It is divided into two classical and operant conditioningtheories. This theory not only focuses on individuals` behaviours butalso on how they relate to each other in the learning set up. AlbertBandura also contributed to this theory. He emphasized onself-efficacy and quality perceptions among people(Nigg, 2000).Despite having some significant advantages in the society, thistheory has also its own some weaknesses. They include lack ofacknowledgement of active human agency, failure to give procedures tobe followed in rewarding for a particular goal, and finally lack ofthe ability to explain differences that exist in people whenlearning, such as style used and how personality influences theirlearning process.


Thepeople who formulated this theory are Gordon Allport and HansEysenck. Trait theories assumes that people`s behaviours aredetermined by some stable traits. These traits make one to behave andreact in a given manner regardless of the situation or theenvironment. Genetic differences in people are the key cause ofdifferences in their characters. It is called psychometric theorysince it employs psychometric techniques. Allport in his contributionto trait theory, emphasized on three factors that influence aperson’s behaviour which include internal cognitive of theindividual, uniqueness and mutational factors. In 1937, Allportstated that personality in an individual is determined by biologicalfactors during birth and enhanced by environmental conditions inwhich he grows.

Strengthand weaknesses of the theory

Justlike other theories, trait theory has its benefits and challenges.This theory is straightforward and easily understandable. This is thekey strength associated with it. It relies on analysis of difficultpersonality related data which other theories tends to ignore.Different scientists such as Freudian, argue that in this theory ofpersonality, the analysis of data is subjected to influencing thefinal results according to their judgment. However, such cases arenot in found in other theories such as the trait theory(Carducci, 2009).Having such benefits, this theory also has its shortcomings. Thistheory does not explain how, when and why different behaviors developin an individual. It does not explain the source of negative traitsin an individual and the possible measures that can be applied tocontrol them.


Itwas developed by Sigmund Freud. He analysed personality in threedifferent parts basic instincts gratification, the ego which createsa link between the demands, and society constraints. The finalsection is the superego where social and parented related values areinternalized. Freud in his theory analysed a conflict situation andused it to determine the personality of individuals(Carducci, 2009).He contributed greatly to developing a psychoanalytic method whichwas used in hospitals to determine unconsciousness in people’sthoughts using technique such as free association among others. Thistheory is regarded as helpful in the development of childhoodpersonality


Thisis the work of Abraham Maslow, Rogers, and Kelly. Maslow uses hishierarchy of need to explain personality. In this pyramid, there arephysiological needs at the bottom which include food and air, thensafety needs, love and belonging, self-esteem and then lastlyself-actualization which occupies the top position. This theorymotivates human beings to go for higher needs progressively. Maslowstates that people’s ultimate goals are reached when theyself-actualize. A self-actualized person is one who is accepted to bewho he is he is appreciative, independent, believes in accuracyperceptions among others. George Kelly in his theory states thatpeople have different ways of analyzing, predicting and interpretingdifferent happenings. He believes that personality is created throughinteraction among ourselves and the environment in which we exist.The postulate is the key element of this theory. Rodgers in histheory, states that human being have one main goal to achieve intheir life and this is to self-actualize just as Abraham Maslow. Fromhis point of view, it is evident that we live to achieve theself-actualization goal in our daily lives.

Sociallearning theory

Thistheory was developed by Albert Bandura. He states that people learnmainly through making an observation on how others behave and actregarding attitudes. This theory explains that human behaviour isusually a continuous process and is recognized through cognitive andenvironmental factors. Four components that promote the success of anindividual learning according to this theory are attention,retention, reproduction and motivation(Nigg, 2000).Attention entails being keen with factors that can either reduce orincrease attention capability, for example, prevalence anddistinctiveness. In retention, one should be in a position toremember the information he gained when pairing the attention.Rehearsal and formation of mental images are some of the ways toapply to enhance the retention capacity. Reproduction requires one tobe able to reproduce the information in the form of an image.Finally, there is a need to motivate yourself intrinsically bylooking at the past results. The advantages of this theory includeease to understand. This is because it entails observing andrehearsing to allow ones memory to remember when the need arises.This theory also allows integration with some social cognitivetheories that enhances individual’s learning abilities(Larsen, &amp Buss, 2008).Finally, it gives an accurate picture on how behaviors are learned.The disadvantages of this theory include the following: it does notexplain all behaviors, it also does not explain differences inbehaviors from one person to another, it emphasizes more incidencesthat happen rather than focusing on what the observer will do orreact to what he observes, and finally, it assumes changes inenvironment and individual as a whole.

Personalityassessment tools

Wetend to describe our friends differently. Some of them are termed associal and active while others are recognize as being shy. The reasonbehind this is the possession of different personalities, which canbe measure by use of two main tools Myers- Briggs and NEO-PI-Rtechniques. The NEO-PI-R model gives a detailed personality of adultsbasing on the five-factor model: Openness to experience,Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Conscientiousness. TheMyers Brigg model’s development entirely depends on Carl Jung’stheory of personality. Despite its popularity, the technique has beencriticized due to lack of statistical validation and being slowregarding reliability. It measures individuals’ personalitydepending on the perceiving function, judgmental aspect, attitudes,and lifestyle that he prefers. On attitude, it measures extraversionand introversion aspects in him. Introversion indicates that theperson is shy and inward depended while extroversion indicates thathe is sociable and outgoing person. Sensing and intuition lie underperceiving function. Here individual’s capability to use his fivesenses is the key factor to be measured. Thinking and feelingidentifies if a person has emphatically nature in him or not. Lastlyperceiving and judging aspects are primarily evaluated to determineif a person is in a position to relate to the outside world.

Despitethe two main techniques described above, there are other tools usedto evaluate personalities in people which include 16PF, EysenckPersonality Questionnaire Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory,and Rorschach test. Rorschach test works by utilizing ten inkblots.It was developed by Herman Rorschach. Individuals under the test areasked different questions related to the inkblots. The aim ofRorschach test is to test a person’s ability to control hisemotions, attitudes and thoughts. Minnesota Multiphase PersonalityInventory is currently on a wide use, both in clinical andnon-clinical set ups(Pervin, 2015).It was first developed in 1943, and the first update took place in1989. It core aim was to diagnose different personality disorders.However, it has attained more use today, for example in occupationalscreenings for careers. 16PF works by factor theory of personality.It helps in therapy planning and diagnosing of psychiatric disorders.Doctors can measure emotional stability, anxiety and behavioralproblems that exist in a person.

TheoreticalModels of personality development.

Personalitydevelopment refers to the process by which individual’s behavioursand attitudes continue to develop making him to be different fromothers. Theoretical models of development include Piget’s Stage ofCognitive Development in which he states that development of childrenis categorized into four main stages, which progressively changetheir ways of thinking. Freud’s Structural Model of personality inwhich he states that libido is the core driving factor towards changein behaviour and personality in a person. He talks about personalityin three states Id, ego, and super-ego. Freud’s stage ofpsychosexual development is another theoretical model of development.Under this model, Freud suggested that people tend to develop inparticular stages which are of exogenous zones and incompletion ofthis stages leads to problems in a person’s personality when he isan adult. Kohlberg’s stage of moral development is a theoreticalmodel that aims at helping a person to grow regarding moral thinking.The final model is Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial development. Itis developed from psychosexual development stages of Freud. It talksabout how the personality of a person is influenced by socialrelationships in the society.


Thestudy of personalities of different people in the society is a factorthat is of very significant. The reason behind this is that it helpspeople to learn on how to relate with others since they can knowtheir attitudes, moods, and their reaction to differentcircumstances, emotions, and general behaviours. Understanding eachother creates a good environment regarding socializing. Psychologistsshould help to identify evaluate and measure people’s personalityto enhance better relationships in the societies.


Carducci,B. J. (2009).&nbspThepsychology of personality: Viewpoints, research, and applications.John Wiley &amp Sons.

Larsen,R. J., &amp Buss, D. M. (2008). Personalitypsychology.&nbspJastrebarsko:Naklada Slap.

Nigg,J. T. (2000). On inhibition/disinhibition in developmentalpsychopathology: views from cognitive and personality psychology anda working inhibition taxonomy.&nbspPsychologicalbulletin,&nbsp126(2),220.

Pervin,L. A. (Ed.). (2015).&nbspGoalconcepts in personality and social psychology&nbsp(Vol.23). Psychology Press.