My Thoughts on the Development of Personality Essay

Submitted By mpradella
Words: 1258
Pages: 6

My Thoughts on the Development of Personality
February 25, 2012

The study of personality is of great importance. However, not all personality psychologists see eye-to-eye when it comes to the structural make-up of an individual's personality. Personality is a core component and very dynamic part of people; therefore, I believe that the development of personality is a combination of the many theories offered. I believe that the early stages of life are the most critical. After reviewing the many theories thus far, I have concluded that no one theorist is one hundred percent accurate. Freud's personality theory makes some great points (Cloninger, 2008). His psychosexual stages are a great example, but I believe that for some, these stages carry on into adulthood. For example, I have a friend that still exhibits oral fixation. She is now in her twenties and still sucks her thumb when she experiences stress. As for Freud's theory of the unconscious, solely based on my own life experience, I do not fully agree with the idea of the repression mechanism. My belief is that repression does not occur for everyone. As a victim of sexual abuse, I do not have any repressed memories of the events that took place. These memories, albeit hurtful, are as clear in my mind as the day it happened. I believe that this is so because of the differences in 'moral restrictions' accompanied by how I was raised. My brother and I were raised in a Roman Catholic family; however, my parents did not force us to grow up following the church's strict 'moral restrictions'. Certainly, we were raised to respect our elders and follow the rules, but we were allowed to form our own opinions from a very early age. This leads me to believe not only that our experiences at an early age play a big part in developing our personality, but also the influences of our environments. Even so, I also believe that personality is not truly fixed, but is like clay and can be sculpted to fit the current environment. The bulk of our personalities are developed early with the influence of parents and siblings, and even though they can be changed, it is much harder to do so the older you get. According to Adler "because style of life is developed early, the family is a particularly important influence." (Cloninger, 2008) Another fascinating part of personality theory is Allport's concept of personality traits. Although an important contribution, his idea that there are 18,000 traits is rather excessive. A more fitting approach is through Cattell's factor analysis theory (Cloninger, 2008). With the introduction of such a specific method of measurement, we can better categorize the various 'types' of personality. Cattell stresses that using only a handful of variables at one time to interpret personality is limiting. Individuals are affected by a multitude of variables all at once. Furthermore, Cattell's concept of the three personality traits is well developed. In terms of ability traits, there is a clear connection between crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence allows me to retain what I have learned, while fluid intelligence allows me to use what I have learned (Cloninger, 2008). For instance, I decide to go for a drive and find path blocked by construction. Crystallized intelligence allowed me to learn that route, and fluid intelligence will allow me to use what I have learned to find another route. Intelligence is a dynamic process. If it were static, we would not be able to apply what we learn. I do agree that temperament traits are inherited. Almost every day I notice qualities in myself that are similar or equal to that of my parents. Lack of patience is something very common in my family, as well as aggressive outbursts. This is something that I feel that can be changed over time, but it takes a great level of consciousness to recognize your immediate reactions and control them. In regards to dynamic traits, I agree