This assignment focuses on the development of a personal integrative theory of personality. The paper covers major concepts and theorists from the seven models that explain personality. A single concept will be chosen from the seven models to develop the narrative, while other concepts excluded will also be highlighted with the rationale for their exclusion.
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Further, the assignment will also cover the roles of heredity, the environment, and epigenetics while highlighting personality disorders. Finally, the last section is a self-reflection, which depicts changes in my views and describes how theories explain my personality.
Human personality, which defined as vital relatively stable aspects of behavior, is fascinating, as these concepts show because there is yet no single finest theory of personality to explore the personality, while many theorists who have studied the issue have often disagreed on personality development (Ewen, 2003).
Hence, there is no clear-cut response to issues related to the narratives surrounding personality. Only objective evaluation of human personality based on comparison of various theories can make the subject interesting and thought-provoking.
Various theorists have proposed seven major models on personality.
Psychodynamic Model Concept
The major personality concept in this model is that the unconscious proposed by Sigmund Freud. That is, several aspects of personality can only be realized when they come to consciousness. Individuals tend to conceal unpleasant truths through defense strategies while wishes, desires, fears, and conflicts, most of which remain unknown. Aggressive sexual instincts control human nature (Ewen, 2003).
Neurobiological Model Concept
The gene-environment interaction depicts a complex process to determine individuals’ personality types (Oldham, 2004). The proponent of this concept is Larry J. Siever.
Behavioral Model Concept
The behavioral model emphasizes that behaviors are acquired by learning to result from conditioning and interaction with environments. Consequently, people would respond to environmental stimuli, which in turn shape their behaviors. B. F. Skinner shaped this behavioral concept.
Cognitive Model Concept
Albert Bandura showed that a particular situation, which is a perceived self-efficacy, had a critical influence on individual behaviors with regard to what people believe they can perform.
Interpersonal/Relational Model Concept
Alan Page Fiske developed a framework for social behavior based on four essential models, which are depicted as universal cognitive structures. They included “communal sharing, authority ranking, equality matching, and market pricing” variations responsible for thought and behavior in every aspect of social life in all cultures (Caralis & Haslam, 2004).
Trait Model Concept
The trait model concept of personality shows that personality is made up of many other broad traits or characters. Specifically, the notable elements are observed in individual differences. One renowned theorist of the trait model of personality is Gordon Allport (Lecci, 2015).
Self-Psychology Model Concept
The concept of the self is the core of personality. Heinz Kohut believed that the whole person was responsible for the meaning and significance of the parts and, therefore, the whole person was important rather than isolated parts.
Learned helplessness from cognitive psychology shows that behaviors may not yield a certain effect on the environment. That is, individuals develop a perceived lack of control that never reflects reality. It is learned from repeated unavoidable punishments. For instance, parents may pamper their children and make them believe that they cannot solve their own issues independently. Hence, it learned helplessness leads to negative impacts on behaviors.
The Person–Situation Controversy from the trait theory depicts the extent to which individual behaviors are influenced by situations. It poses significant challenges for the theory. Critics have argued that behaviors are dynamic and not consistent enough to be restricted to trait explanations only. For instance, one may be shy at another party but extremely cheerful at her own party.
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Behavior Control concept found in behaviorism shows that a greater extent of the abuse may take place when external forces control behavior. Thus, potential behavior change can be observed. However, such changes could be destructive or constructive based on the reinforcement used. Behavior control may, therefore, influence personality traits.
The Roles of Heredity, the Environment, and Epigenetics
It is generally known that heredity and environmental factors play critical roles in personality development in individuals. The complex interaction between genes and environmental elements has shaped personality traits, but some traits are significantly influenced by one factor more than the other is.
It is observed that this interaction starts from the earliest periods of life and, therefore, shapes who children become. While genetic factors inherited from parents may define personality development, environmental elements could significantly influence how these developments are shaped, expressed, or even suppressed. Researchers have noted that this interaction is lifelong (Bollati & Baccarelli, 2010).
Epigenetics reflects heritable changes in gene compositions without changes in DNA sequence (Bollati & Baccarelli, 2010). Exogenous factors can affect epigenetic activities and lead to constant propagation of gene activities across generations. Therefore, molecular biology and epigenetics studies have identified personality disorders, which are mainly maladaptive characteristics developed through interaction with environments.
These changes affect individual personality. Thus, maladaptive traits in individuals reflect failures of the integrative mechanism of personality that result from the dominant biogenetic disposition or pathological environmental factors or a combination of both factors (Bollati & Baccarelli, 2010).
After reviewing seven models and their concepts about personality, this narrative for integrative personality theory shows that personality is dynamic, and not even proponents of various models seem to agree on some issues. For instance, some proponents contend that personality traits are acquired or learned from the environment while other theorists argue that it originates within the individual, and it may have invisible aspects.
Generally, personality accounts for diverse components of human behaviors. The narrative depicts that personality reflects virtually all elements related to mental, social, physical, and emotional factors. These aspects of personality may be observable or remain unobservable, but they are all reflected in individual behaviors.
Fundamentally, various constructs have been applied to account for diverse structures of personality and to facilitate comparison among the seven models covered so far. While notable differences are present in these constructs, these theorists have also provided vital means through which one can explain individual personality traits. In addition, they have offered relevance of these theories in various fields, including education, religion, psychotherapy, and psychopathology, among others.
The narrative of integrative personality theory has covered seven major models used to explain personality. Specifically, it has covered important concepts from these theoretical models to show how personality concepts lead to the development of personality while the excluded concepts account for personality traits that could lead to an unhealthy personality. It shows the role of heredity, the environment, and epigenetics in shaping personality, as well as how these factors could interact to cause personality disorders.
Bollati, V., & Baccarelli, A. (2010). Environmental epigenetics. Heredity, 105, 105–112; doi:10.1038/hdy.2010.2.
Caralis, D., & Haslam, N. (2004). Relational tendencies associated with broad personality dimensions. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 77(Pt 3), 397- 402. doi: 10.1348/1476083041839303.
Ewen, R. B. (2003). An introduction to theories of personality (6th ed.). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.
Lecci, L. (2015). Personality. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Oldham, J. M. (2004). Borderline Personality Disorder: An Overview. Psychiatric Times, 21(8), 1.