Personality represents a whole person. Individuals differ from each other on the basis of personality. Personality refers to the set of traits and behaviors that characterized an individual.
According to Fred Luthans, “Personality will mean how people affect others and how they understand and view themselves, as well as their pattern of inner and outer measurable traits and the person-situation interaction.”
Thus, personality refers to the sum total of internal and external traits of an individual, which are relatively stable and which make the individual different from others.
The theories of Personality are many and most important of them are the following:
- Type Theory
- Trait Factor Theory
- Psychoanalytic Theory
- Social Learning Theory- Humanistic Approach
- Rogers Self Theory and
- Maslow‟s Self Actualization Theory
Type Theory – According to type theories, people are grouped into identifiable. One basis for classifying personalities is the structure of the body. Krestchmer and Sheldon are credited with this classification. In type theories, a relationship was sought to be established between features of face or body and personality. Thus, a short, plump person was said to be sociable, relaxed and even- tempered; a tall, thin person was characterized as restrained, self-conscious, and ford of solitude; a heavy-set muscular individual was described as noisy, callous and fond of physical activity.
Although a person‟s physique may have some influence on personality, the relationship is more subtle than this sort of classification implied. Thus, classification of personalities on a physical basis is subjective. Type theories are simple and popular but carry no substance.
Another basis for classifying personalities is psychological factors. The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung credited for it. He basically divided personalities into introverts and extroverts. These terms are normally associated with an individual‟s sociability and interpersonal orientation. Extroverts are gregarious, sociable individuals, while introverts are shy, quiet, and retiring. Typing personalities on psychological factors into introverts and extroverts, though looks simple, serves not much of a purpose as many people fall between the two extremes.
Type theories are simple as they are based on physical attributes psychological factors for categorization of personalities. But the theories fail to reveal all complexities of a personality.
Trait Factor/Trait Theory– The theory classifies individuals on the basis of their traits. A trait is known as unique set of variables which differentiates one from another in a relatively permanent or consistent way. In our routine we use such terms like; friendly, helpful, shy, loud, smart, hard-hearted etc to define people. Therefore, a trait of an individual is abstracted from his behavior, and serves an useful ,unit of analysis‟ to understand personality. In many ways, the trait theory is a multiple model of the type theory. Rather than classifying person by just one feature, the trait theory classifies people‟s personality by a set of features. Trait theorists assume that a personality can be described by its position on a number of continuous dimensions or scales, each of which represents a trait. Two major Theorists named Cat tell and All port contributed in a trait theory. Cat tell selected 171 words that can be used to describe personality. Using factor analytic approach he has classified two categories of trait (a) Surface Trait (b) Source Trait.
Surface Trait include wise-foolish, affectionate-cold, sociable-exclusive, honest- dishonest etc. Source Trait includes maturity of mind, judgmental analyzing and understanding people and situation.
All port identified six categories of values – social, religious, political, economic, theoretical and aesthetic. Apart from these All port also made use of some unique traits viz cordial, central or secondary. In this way, theorist recognizes the complexity of human personality.
Trait theory is an improvement over the type theories. The type theories unrealistically attempt to place personality into discrete, discontinuous categories. The trait theory also has contributed to personality ratings and factor analysis techniques in behavioral science.
However, there are several problems with trait approach also. A major objection to trait theories is that they are very descriptive rather than analytical.
Psychoanalytic Theory– This theory owes its origins to Sigmund Freud. Added to him various other psychologists contributed to the development of the theory. These psychologists include Carl jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney and Ehic Fromni.
Freud Saw personality as being composed of three elements- Id, Ego and Super Ego.
I. The Id– The word Id is Latin word and stands for it. It is basically innate component of personality. The id is the mental agency containing everything inherited, present at birth, and fixed in the individual‟s constitution. It is raw, animalistic, unorganized, knows no laws, obeys no rules, and remains basic to the individual throughout life.
II. The Ego– Mental images do not satisfy needs. The hungry man cannot satisfy his hunger by eating image. Reality must be considered. This is the role of the ego. The ego develops out of the id because of the necessity for dealing with the real world. The hungry man must have food if the tension of hunger is to be reduced.
III. The Superego – The Superego, the third part of the personality, represents the internalize representation of the values and morals of society as taught to the child by parents and others. The super ego judge whether an action is right or wrong according to the standards of society.
Evaluation of Theory: The psychoanalytic theory is an improvement over the trait theories. Trait theories try to find the stable dimensions of personality by studying groups of people and much of their data is obtained from self reports –what the individual says about himself or herself. In contrast, psychoanalytic theory is based on the in-depth study of individual personalities.
Social Learning Theory – It focuses on the change of behavior through learning from several sources. In this theory a situation is regarded as an important determinant or behavior. A Person‟s action in a given situation depends upon the followings. The specific characteristics of a situation, The individual understandings of the situation, and The past behavior in similar situations or observations of others in similar situations.
Evaluation of Theory: Unlike the trait and psychoanalytic theories on personality, the social learning theory regards situation as an important variable in determining human behavior. Trait theories assume that personality is consistent so that a person cab ne characterized according to enduring traits. In other words, behavior of an individual will be the same irrespective of environmental conditions. However, this assumption may not be correct. After all, actions of the individuals should be in accordance with the demands of the situation.Social Learning theorists have been criticized for over-emphasizing the importance of situational factors in behavior to the neglect of individual differences.
The Humanistic Approach The humanistic approach to the study of personality includes a number of theories which, although different in some respects, share a common emphasis on man‟s potential for self-direction and freedom of choice. They are concerned with the „self‟ and the individual‟s subjective experiences. The theories stress a man‟s positive nature-his push towards growth and self-actualization. Their emphasis is also on the „here and now‟ rather than on events in early childhood that may have shaped the individual‟s personality. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow are credited with the humanistic theory of personality.
Rogers self Theory– According to Rogers, behavior depends on how an individual perceives the world, that is, behavior is the result of immediate events as they are actually perceived and interpreted by the individual. Roger‟s ideas of human nature, like Freud‟s, grew of his experiences in working with emotionally disturbed people. On the basis of his clinical experience, Rogers has concluded that the core of the human nature is essentially purposive, forward-moving, constructive, realistic, and quite trustworthy. He regards the person as an active force of energy, oriented towards future goals and self-directed purpose rather than a creature pushed and pulled by forces beyond his control. Therefore, basic to Roger‟s personality theory are two concepts; self and self- actualization. The self consist of all the ideas, perceptions, and values that characterize „one‟ or „me‟; it includes the awareness „what I am‟ and „what I can do‟. Self-concept denotes the individual‟s conception of the person he is. The self- concept is one‟s image of oneself. The perceived self( self-concept) influences both the person‟s perception of the world and his own behavior.
Maslow’s Self-Actualization Theory
Abraham Maslow is regarded as the spiritual father of humanism is American
psychology. The humanistic psychology of Maslow is also contributed by other
thinkers. The humanist psychology of Maslow, on the other hand, presents man
as self-actualizers. By self-actualization, Maslow meant the development of full
individuality in harmony with all parts of the personality. Maslow‟s humanistic
psychology is steeped in European Existential philosophy. Existential philosophy
is concerned with the man as an individual and each person alone is responsible
for his own existence. Contrary to popular belief, he is never static. He is always
in the process of becoming something different. He tries to use his potential to
become a useful member of society, and to lead a truly authentic and fruitful life.
This drive of man which is inherent in him is called self-actualization.
Thus, central to the humanistic approach are the following concepts:
(i) An individual is an integrated whole,
(ii) Animal research is irrelevant to human behavior
(iii) Human nature is essentially good,
(iv) Man has creative potential, and
(v) Psychological health of man is most important.