To begin with, there are many ways in which personality can be defined. In particular, ones personality entails several characteristics that define his or her behavior. In connection to personality, psychodynamic approach has been used to define ones personality. So to speak, psychodynamic when used in any context brings about the meaning of a systematic study and theories that define psychological forces that define human behavior (Wepman& Heine 2008, p.130). It involves the interplay between the unconscious and the conscious motivation that makes up the behavior.
Many theories have been brought into view owing to the fact that what shapes one behavior is a product of the psychological influence. In this sense, the dispositional approach and learning theory that defines human behavior constituting the personality have been identified. In addition, the psychodynamic theory or rather approach has also been utilized in defining human personality (Wepman& Heine 2008, p.361). First, dispositional theory or approach in definition of personality when used in any context brings the meaning of the kind of human behavior that is learnt from the forces that emanate from within. It has been pointed out that there are several unique traits to each person or an individual has.
Secondly, the learning theory or approach is utilized to bring the meaning that human behavior can be learnt as well as shaped by the forces that exist from the outside world environment. This is to suggest that learning approach to personality puts it that external factors have the capability to shape ones behavior. Accordingly, the psychodynamic approach to personality means that the human behavior or personality is defined by the internal processes such as motivation along with the past experience that shapes human behavior.
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In order to be in a position to adequately analyze behavior, it is important to bring into the context the three approaches to personality. The three approaches involve the psychodynamic, dispositional and social learning theories that define human behavior. In this connection, the psychodynamic behavior in contrast to dispositional theories will be brought into view. At the same time, the psychodynamic theory will be contrasted with the social learning theory. Additionally, the dispositional theory in contrast to learning theory will be explored. From a broad point of view, the examination of the theories in relation to personality will major on the differences.
Research findings and Discussion
Psychodynamic versus learning theory to personality analysis
According to research, psychodynamic theory was established by Freud who defined it in three different levels. He believes that personality is defined at early and childhood years. This is for the reason that during growth and development, there is a level at which basic instincts present at birth are realized. Accordingly, the level whereby the realistic acts within the mind of a person and reality meets thus influencing behavior is explored. Thirdly, the level at which a person is able to have a sense of conscience, duty and a responsibility altogether defines the behavior also (Magnavita 2002). He states that personality comes into being owing to the fact that there are internal processes that take place as one grows up. They may be motivational in nature or they may take the form of ones past experiences.
On the other hand, the social learning theory puts it that personality is brought about by external processes or factors that are necessitated by the interactions with the environment (Wepman& Heine 2008). These factors include the social surrounding of a child, the parents, friends and the society in the broader point of view. Unlike psychodynamic theory, learning theory attributes personality to be as a result of the environmental forces that shape it. When a child is growing, may tend to behave just as the way she sees her parents behave.
Eventually, a child develops a personality that is just the same as that of the parents. This is because; he or she has learnt certain behaviors that influence they way he or she behaves. On the contrary, psychodynamic theory associates behavior to the inner processes that take place as one grows up. Psychodynamic theory is basically influenced by childhood experiences in the larger scale while learning theory is influenced by the environment entirely (Wepman& Heine 2008). Taking an example of a child who goes to school and interacts with the other children, he or she will have the personality shaped by school environment.
On the other hand, Psychodynamic theorist will attribute the behavior to what the child experienced as a child. In essence, he puts it that childhood experiences greatly influence the adult behavior (Magnavita 2002, p.234). He provides an example of a child who has been brought up in isolation. When such a child grows up to adulthood, he or she will have characteristics of isolation owing to the childhood experience. The social learning theorist will not take such like approach as he points out that human personality is influenced by external forces that are present in the environment one is exposed to (Wepman& Heine 2008). Reinforcement and observation are the driving forces of learning theory that defines personality while the psychodynamic theory is defined by motivation and past experiences especially during childhood.
Psychodynamic vs. Dispositional Theory
It was found out that psychodynamic theory varied greatly from the dispositional approach in personality analysis. In line with this, the dispositional approach to personality analysis is inclined toward the conscious and the unconscious part of a person. The psychodynamic theory value the childhood of a person and it is perceived under this theory that a person’s childhood plays a critical role in laying a foundation for the development of personality in a given individual. In this regard, the past of a person is an important recipe in determining the development process of this person’s personality. As a result of this, the focus of this theory or rather approach is on the conscious and the unconscious part of a human being. It is argued that there are various forces that have been found to influence the life of a person and specifically his or her personality in a conscious or unconscious way (Singer, 1995).
In reference to Fillingim (2005), there are different forces within the minds of human beings that control the development of the personality of these people (p.90). This energy or forces are either known to the person i.e. the conscious or they are completely unknown to the person in question, i.e. the unconscious. The striking of a balance in these forces within the mind of a person therefore creates the personality of this person. All this happens to reduce the conflict of character that can be depicted in a person if these forces or rather energies are not brought under control.
On the contrary, the dispositional approach to defining or rather analyzing the personality of a person relies on the fact that a person has inborn abilities that one is born with. These characteristics are attributed to a person’s ability to portray a particular type of character that is not learnt but rather that is natural in a person. Such a character can be inherited from parents. In this regard, the childhood of a person plays minimal or no role at all in developing this personality in a human being. For example, one can say that Jane is a kind hearted woman. The ‘kindness’ in this woman is not attributed to her childhood status but rather on the inborn ability to be kind. In line with this, it is possible for such a character to have been inherited from one or both of Jane’s parents (Nicholas, 2009, p.216).
Alternatively, dispositional theory as used in defining the personality of a person focuses on the specific personality traits that are associated with that person. For example, one cannot say every person fears a spider. Instead, if Jane fears the spider, it does not necessarily mean that John also fears the spider. In other words, Jane may be defined as a good woman. John too may be a good man. However, the personality traits that make both John and Jane to be good people may vary from one another. For instance, Jane may be kind-hearted whereas John may be a generous person. Therefore, the focus of dispositional approach to defining the personality of human beings relies of identifying the specific character traits that are associated with these people (Nicholas, 2009, p.217).
The dispositional approach or rather theory also depends on two important things; the stability of personality and the differences between people. The unique characteristics that form personality of people vary from one person to another. In reference to this argument, dispositions differed from one person to another and that explains the difference in character or to be specific personality. It is important to note that these dispositions are a combination of characteristics that are uniquely associated with a particular person. In addition, there is need for these characteristics to be balanced in a person. This balance has been found to create an element of stability to the point that instability in the personality of a particular individual cannot be used as definition of the fundamental nature of personality (Singer, 1995, p.114).
The dispositional and the psychodynamic approach to analyzing personality therefore contrast from each other in the sense that their methods of approach to personality analysis are different. The conscious and the unconscious parts are the backbone in psychodynamic approach to personality definition. As a result, the id, the ego and the super-ego must strike a balance. Whereas the id may act on a pleasure principle, the ego must surface to satisfy the demands or the desires of the id, and the super-ego must induce morality in the actions of the ego. In this regard, the ego will only act to satisfy the id based on the defined moral standards (Singer, 1995, p.115). On the contrary, the dispositional approach focuses on the uniqueness of character or rather personality among people. This uniqueness is attained or rather recognized due to the fact that traits or in other words character or personality traits are diverse in different people. These traits have been found to influence or persuade the conduct of a person along a particular line of behavior.
Dispositional theory versus learning theory
In reference to dispositional theory and learning theory in relation to personality analysis, several differences come into view. For one, a dispositional theorist define personality to be a resultant factor of ones inborn ability. Neither childhood experiences, the environment or motivation that defines the behavior. Nonetheless, the behavior in this context is defined by the inborn ability. If a person is generally good hearted, this attribute is unique to him or her. One cannot attribute it to the environmental influence but rather it is naturally acquired. Unlike dispositional theory, the learning theory is associated with the external factors that control human behavior (Wepman& Heine 2008).
Depending on the environment that one is brought up in, personality develops in regard to this theory. On the other hand, dispositional theorists states that a characteristic can only be acquired by means of inborn ability unique to that person or it can only be inherited. Social learning theory puts it that, one can grow a personality due to what he or she observes (Magnavita 2002, p.231). On the other hand, dispositional theory of personality analysis puts it that personality is a unique attribute or rather ability that cannot be learned but rather if need be can only be inherited. For instance, a person can be good hearted after what his or her mother is like.
Personality is unique to an individual according to dispositional theory and cannot be altered by an external force as it is the case with the learning theory (Magnavita 2002). Learning theory entirely relies on what happens in the surrounding as well as what a person is exposed to while dispositional is pendent on individual’s unique traits that are only found in him or her. A person’s tendency to be cheerful and energetic can be attributed to him being exposed to situation that prompts such attributes according to learning theory.
Conversely, dispositional theorist takes this kind of personality as to stem from ones own unique behavior. Having stated the dispositional theory along with the learning theory, it is clear that several differences exist. In this connection, the two theories seemingly take very different ways of defining personality. Whereas the former depend on inborn ability unique to the individual, the latter depend on the external factors emanating from the environment.
From the three given perspectives in regard to personality analysis, it is evident that there are various forces that shape the personality of a human being. In this sense, it emerges that personality is an attribute that cannot be defined in one dimension. This is given to the reason that, the three perspectives present great differences. At this point, it is important to bring out the fact that personality analysis is a complex issue whose scope is greater that anticipated. The differing points of view each with some level of sense prove this point. On the basis of this therefore, personality analysis remains to be a complex issue that calls for more research in order to come to a consensus.
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