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Judy Bailey
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What are the theoretical approaches in studying personalit

Resolved Question:

What are the theoretical approaches in studying personality.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Judy Bailey replied 6 years ago.
Do you just need a list of the most common ones, or are you looking for an explanation of how each one is used in the study of personalities? Do you have a due date? Is there any other information on this assignment?
Expert:  Judy Bailey replied 6 years ago.
OK, I'll send the list as well as a small explanation of each one. There are more (mostly subsets of these), but these are most of the biggies.

Psychoanalytic (aka psychodynamic)


Social cognitive

Observational Learning
Humanistic theories

Biopsychological theories
"Trait" theory
"Type" theory

Psychoanalytic (aka psychodynamic) – looks at the deep and mysterious basics of the human psyche. Developed by Sigmund Freud (1900’s) and was the beginning of modern psychology. The true explanation of personality lies buried in the psyche. Beginning basics were the id, the ego and the superego. More recent colleagues were Carl Jung, Erich Fromm and Erik Erikson.

Phenomenological – emphasizes self actualization and has its basis in the belief that people are basically inclined toward goodness and fulfilling ones potential. Proponents are Abraham Maslow and XXXXX XXXXX.

Behaviorist - Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and measurable behaviors, and reject theories that take internal thoughts and feelings into account. Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and Albert Bandura.

Social cognitive – There are two inseparable determinants of human behavior – internal and external.

Observational Learning – In opposition to behaviorists, it is argued that learning can take place with actual outward changes in behavior. Learning can take place by observation, from books, listening to stories and thus obtaining information that can be used in the future. Even if the subject doesn’t use this knowledge, it is internalized. Bandura’s famous experiments on TV based aggression in children is proof of this theory.

Humanistic theories - The “People are Basically Good” theory. Individuals can understand and accept responsibility and one’s own existence. Humanistic theory was helpful in understanding man’s need for war in order to obtain peace. It is based in the here and now rather than the past or in trying to predict the future. The individual possesses an inherent worth simply be being human. The goal of life should always be to achieve personal growth and understanding. Only through self-improvement and self-knowledge can one truly be happy.

Biopsychological theories Traits, temperament or other personality features could be inherited or could occur from the outside environment. Genetic research has been involved in the biophychological theory of personality. Twins raised apart are of great interest to this theory.

"Trait" theory - Practically all personality theorists are concerned with traits. After all, traits are what make us who we are; they are the relatively permanent aspects of each of us evidenced by the consistency in our interactions. The trait approach is different from the others in that there is very little discussion about development of the personality. Predicting behavior is not of concern. Traits can be classified in degrees. There is no medium for personality change.

"Type" theory – As Hippocrates said around 400 B.C., there are four temperaments each associated with different bodily fluids. The theory of temperaments is among a variety of systems that deal with human personality by dividing it into types. An outcropping of this was done by William Sheldon who classified personalities based on body types – endomorph, mesomorph and ecotomorph.


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