Psychoanalytic, humanistic, trait perspective and behaviorist theory are the four main personality theories.
The Six Different Theories About Personality
In describing personality, we'll go through six different personality theories: psychoanalytic theory, humanistic theory, trait theory, social-cognitive theory, biological theory, and behaviorist theory.
While there are many personality theories available to discuss, the following lesson provides information on the three main theories: psychodynamic, humanistic, and behaviorist. Let's take a closer look at each of these and go over an example describing each theory in practice.
The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Trait theories of personality have long attempted to pin down exactly how many personality traits exist.
Robert McCrae and Paul Costa: Introduced the big five theory, which identifies five key dimensions of personality: 1) extraversion, 2) neuroticism, 3) openness to experience, 4) conscientiousness, and 5) agreeableness.
Big Five Theories
Extroversion (sociability, assertiveness, and high amounts of emotional expressiveness) Agreeableness (prosocial behaviors) Conscientiousness (goal directed behaviors and thoughtfulness) Neuroticism (emotional instability)
One of the reasons why the branch of personality theory is interesting to many people is because there are such diverse theories. Some believe that only one theory is purely responsible for molding personality, while others suggest that two or more theories work together.
Some of the best-known trait theories include Eysenck's three-dimension theory and the five-factor theory of personality. Eysenck believed that these dimensions then combine in different ways to form an individual's unique personality.
The Humanistic Theory of Personality states that people are intrinsically good, with an innate drive to make themselves better. The Humanistic theory is built on the premise of a person's self-concept, consisting of their real self and their ideal self.
With the advances of technology, but more importantly research with critical analysis and thinking, psychologists have defined four different types of personality.
The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist, evolutionary, and social learning perspective.
The id, ego and superego work together to create human behavior. The id creates the demands, the ego adds the needs of reality, and the superego adds morality to the action which is taken.
The behavior perspective, or behaviorism, is the belief that personality is the result of an individual's interactions with their environment, including the decisions they make and the actions they take. Psychologists can pinpoint and connect habits and behavior to predict how a person's personality was shaped.
Cognitive theory is focused on the individual's thoughts as the determinate of his or her emotions and behaviors and therefore personality. Many cognitive theorists believe that without these thought processes, we could have no emotions and no behavior and would therefore not function.
According to Sigmund Freud, human personality is complex and has more than a single component. In his famous psychoanalytic theory, Freud states that personality is composed of three elements known as the id, the ego, and the superego. These elements work together to create complex human behaviors.
Psychodynamic theory (sometimes called psychoanalytic theory) explains personality in terms of unconscious psychological processes (for example, wishes and fears of which we're not fully aware), and contends that childhood experiences are crucial in shaping adult personality.
The superego is a part of the unconscious that is the voice of conscience (doing what is right) and the source of self-criticism.
The superego is the ethical component of the personality and provides the moral standards by which the ego operates. The superego's criticisms, prohibitions, and inhibitions form a person's conscience, and its positive aspirations and ideals represent one's idealized self-image, or “ego ideal.”
A person with a weak superego will be a delinquent, criminal, or antisocial personality. In contrast, an overly strict or harsh superego may cause inhibition, rigidity, or unbearable guilt. Conscience, a part of the superego, reflects all actions for which a person has been punished.
The Color Code is based on four types of personality, identified by color: Red, (motivated by power); Blue, (motivated by intimacy); White, (motivated by peace); and Yellow, (motivated by fun).
True Colors is a personality profiling system created by Don Lowry in 1978. It was originally created to categorize at risk youth into four basic learning styles using the colors blue, orange, gold and green to identify the strengths and challenges of these core personality types.
Those with Gold color personality strengths tend to be loyal, dependable, organized, thorough, sensible, punctual and caring. They notice and remember facts, like directions and instructions, set deadlines and want them to be met. They enjoy check lists and checking things off the list.
Those with Orange color personality strengths tend to be witty, spontaneous, generous, optimistic, eager and bold. They need fun, variety, stimulation and excitement. Freedom to act is also important to an Orange. Oranges have energy and like to bounce around to different projects or tasks.
Individuals with low ego strength struggle to cope in the face of problems and may try to avoid reality through wishful thinking, substance use, and fantasies. Low ego strength is often characterized by a lack of psychological resilience.
In Freud's theory of psychosexual development, the superego is the last component of personality to develop. The id is the basic, primal part of personality; it is present from birth. The ego begins to develop during the first three years of a child's life. Finally, the superego starts to emerge around age five.