The Different Theories of Personality

The study of human personality is a complex area of study. Everyone has a unique combination of inherent abilities and learned responses. The results of personality tests are not necessarily scientific. Researchers must “bare their souls” to get a better understanding of the human condition. Various theories exist, from the Trait theory to the Humanist theory. There are even projective tests, which have no scientific basis. However, there are several methods for determining your personality type.

Trait theories

A key part of trait theory is the explanatory part, which addresses how traits are caused by social-cognitive processes. A trait theory can be divided into two parts: an explanatory and a descriptive one. An explanatory theory explains how a trait is formed and causes the behaviors of an individual. In contrast, a descriptive theory explains how a trait is formed and how it is influenced by environment.

Psychodynamic theories

Psychodynamic theories of personality focus on the influence of early life experiences on the development of a person’s personality. For example, an over-harsh superego may lead to a criminal act. In this model, the individual’s behaviour is a result of a complex set of conditioned responses to early life experiences. However, it is important to note that psychodynamic theories are not universally accepted. Psychodynamic psychologists are in general in agreement that thoughts, feelings, and expressed behaviors do not result from random processes.

Humanist theories

Carl Rogers developed a humanist theory about the development of personality. In his theory, the human is the center of a phenomenal field of experiences. Rogers also used terms such as awareness, consciousness, and symbolization to describe these experiences. These theories differ from traditional models in that they focus on the individual’s experiences, rather than their underlying characteristics. For example, Maslow and Rogers both believed that people are born with certain characteristics that will lead to a good life, but that their personality is largely shaped by the environment they are brought up in.

Projective tests

While individual projective measures vary in their construction, they usually involve both objective and subjective elements. According to Weiner (1977), objective elements of projective test data involve the structural features of responses, whereas subjective elements are associated with the thematic features of imagery. The inferences drawn from projective data are not limited to personality theory, but also cross over into other domains. This allows a person to gain insight about their personality based on the type of projective test they are taking.

Influence of culture on personality

Culture plays an important role in the development of our personalities. We learn to recognize certain patterns of behavior in our culture even before we are born. When we are born, we learn about the rules of the society we live in, and this shapes our behavior in later years. In the same way, culture has an important impact on our personal and professional lives. We can learn about the rules of our culture by observing the way we interact with people.