December 1, 2014
Biological and Humanistic Approaches to Personality
In a person’s family relatives may say a person has his or her mother’s eye’s and has their father’s nose, or say that a person acts like his or her mother or father. Some say these factors can pass through a person’s genes and others say that some actions are human nature. In this paper, Nicole will discuss the biological and humanistic approaches to personality. Also, Nicole will discuss how growth needs influence personality formation, describe biological factors that influence the formation of personality, examine the relationship of biological factors to Maslow’s theory of personality, and explain the basic aspects of the humanistic theory, which are incompatible with biological explanations of personality.
Biology revealed many aspects of how the human body works and what it needs to stay healthy. “In 1953 James D. Watson and Francis Crick discovered that DNA was structured as a double helix (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). This discovery was a huge accomplishment in the study of human biology. Charles Darwin took human biology a step further. Darwin used the fact that not one human being is the same to support his evolutionary personality theory. Darwin believes that humans are “people evolved directly from more primitive species (Friedman & Schustack, 2012).” For example, Brian G. Richmond and David S. Strait wrote an article called “Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor (Brian G Richmond and David S Strait 2000).” This article explains that evidence has surfaced proving that humans could have once been gorillas.
A Darwinian approach to that idea would be that over time conditions in the environment caused some gorillas to no longer need to walk on their knuckles, no longer needed huge nostrils in their noses, and so on. Also in that group of gorillas it could have been a need for longer legs and slimmer body sizes for the sole purpose of survival. This, in turn, changed the way those gorillas behaved, furthermore, changing their personality, in which, the human being evolved. “It is important to note that unique results emerge when certain biological aspects of personality are combined with certain environments (Friedman & Schustack, 2012).” The same would go for two children raised by a quiet and withdrawn mother. The one child who inherits the mother’s introverted genes may grow to be like a mother. Whereas the outgoing child, may grow to be more family oriented focus on communicating with all family as a means of being more sociable. Raising those two children in a household with a more outgoing mother, could have caused a reverse outcome.
Although this idea does seem to make sense Abraham Maslow believes in a humanistic approach to personality. The humanistic approach to personality focuses on the humanistic nature of the human being, in other words, the qualities of mankind that make humans different from animals. Humanistic people like Maslow believe that every human is born healthy, normal, and good. Maslow believed that all humans need to fulfill needs of human nature such as love, esteem, and self-fulfillment. Maslow believed that humans are like animals to a certain extent. In other words, humans need to feed themselves to survive, drink water to stay hydrated, and sleep to stay energized to survive another day. “Maslow argued that the correct social conditions are needed to encourage the highest level self-actualization…..We cannot usually fulfill our complete human potential and search for truth and beauty if we lack food, safety, love, and esteem (Friedman & Schustack, 2012).”
The humanistic approach and the biological approach do have similarities, in which they agree that the human being has needs that should be fulfilled, but the two theories also have their differences. For instance, according to Friedman and