February 22, 2015
In order for one to truly understand any personality theories that are presented, they must first understand what a personality theory is. A personality theory is “A system of concepts, assumptions, ideas, and principles used to understand and explain personality” (Coon & Mitterer, 2012, Chapter 12). There are several theorists that made enormous strides in the field of personality theories. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow are a few of the theorist who shares similar theories though they are from a different view.
Sigmund Freud took to his theory of personality from a psychoanalytic perspective. Freud believed the personality was divided into three dynamic mental structures; the id, the ego, and the superego. The id of personality is made up of biological instincts and urges that seek immediate pleasure and gratification. His exploration into the libido explained human efforts of survival. The ego is the “executive” according to Freud; it directs energies supplied by the id. The ego was said to link mental images with desires, thus overpowering the id with relating urges to reality or physical objects. On the opposite end is the superego. Freud explained the superego to be the “conscience” or “filter” for thoughts and actions.
Freud also had an additional view on personality development. He identified four psychosexual stages; the oral, anal, phallic, and genital stages. He believed that the erotic urges from the id had a lasting effect on the development. He offered several explanations for each stage that can be traced to adult personality traits. In the oral phase, Freud believed that because infants are pleasured orally it can cause characteristics to form if they are overfed. So examples of these traits are gum chewing, nail biting, smoking, kissing, overeating, and alcoholism. Within the anal stage, he expressed that between the ages of 1 and three a child will focus on a process of elimination. He further explained that lenient or harsh toilet training can lead to specific adult behaviors such as being stingy, orderly, disorderly, or destructive. In the phallic stage, if a child does not successful identify with the other parent they will become rivals with the parent of the opposite sex. In the genital stage occurs during puberty Freud offered that the overflow of hormones contributed to an excess of emotions and the need for social-sexual relationships. However, this stage is overcome with the understanding of love and adult sexuality.
Carl Jung was a former student of Freud’s but parted ways with the majority of Freud’s thinking as he started to develop his ideas. Jung did believe that part of the personality was the ego. However, he offered a different point of view when thinking about the rest of the personality. Jung acknowledged the persona or the “public self” versus the id and the superego. Jung believed that the public self is how one presents themselves to the world around them. According to Coon and Mitterer (2012), Jung saw the actions of the ego may reflect attitudes of introversion or extroversion (Chapter 12). Jung did identify with Freud’s version of the unconscious but furthered the information by offering up the collective unconscious. “Jung believed that, from the beginning of time, all humans have had experiences with birth, death, power, god figures, mother and father figures, animals, the earth, energy, evil, rebirth, and so on.” (Coon & Mitterer, 2012, Chapter 12).
Jung introduced the idea of archetypes or original ideas, images, or patterns. He found that the collective unconscious are conscious memories triggered by emotional events. Unlike Freud, who would see a dream of one dancing with their sister as sexual. Jung thought this to be an unexpressed or repressed sign of the individual’s personality. Jung also offered the self-archetype, which is the unification of the center of