Personality Analysis Paper

Personality Analysis Paper University of Phoenix Psy 405 August 22, 2011 Personality Analysis Is a person’s behavior analyzed by the situation they are in or is their behavior guided by their personality? For instance, if an individual who is usually calm and mellow turns aggressive during a sports game, is it safe to say that the aggressive behavior is a result of the sport or is that part of his personality? This can be either or.

Behavior can be understood by the person’s personality as well as the environments that they are put in, when the situation they are in changes their personality changes to accommodate the situation, this can be classified as situational behavior. The dispositional theory tries to identify psychological characteristics that keep stability to an individual as different situations occur. Dispositions can affect the unconscious behaviors of an individual.

Yet learnt behavior can also be developed unconsciously and become a part of an individual’s personality. This paper will analyze dispositional and learning theory as well as describe and examine the effects it has on personality. Disposition Theories According to Oxford Dictionary. com the definition of Disposition is “ a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character. ” We are all born with predisposed personalities that we inherit from our father and mother and according to Gordon Allport every individual is unique.

Allport believed that it was important to differentiate people from the general traits they posses and look at their individuality, it is that reason why Allport disagrees with trait and factor theories, because those theories do not focus on the individual instead they focus on the group. Allport concentrated his studies solely to individuals that he named the study of the individual morphogenic science and compared that to the study of groups, which is called nomothetic (Feist & Feist, 2009). Although Allport took suggestions from other theorist he believed that no one was able to adequately explain the uniqueness of an individual.

Allport’s definition of personality was “ the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought” (Feist & Feist, 2009). In other words according to Allport personality is both physical and psychological. He made it clear to distinguish between common and personal traits. Common traits are general characteristics held in common by many people, while personal traits or personal dispositions are traits held by only one person (Feist & Feist, 2009). Allport, like Freud and many other theorist developed levels for his dispositions.

He developed 3 levels for dispositions: cardinal, central, and secondary. Cardinal dispositions are dispositions that only a few people have, they are obvious characteristics, and these characteristics are usually run their lives. Everyone has many central dispositions. Central dispositions are the five to ten most obvious characteristics in which a person’s most closest friends and family describe that person by. Secondary dispositions are not as obvious but everyone possesses more of them. These dispositions occur on a regular basis and are responsible for the way a person behaves.

Hans Eysenck developed a personality-based model based on three universal traits: introversion/extraversion, neuroticism/ emotional stability, psychoticism. Introversion directs the attention on inner experiences, while extraversion focuses the attention toward other people and the environment. Therefore a person who is quiet and reserved might be high in introversion, while a person who is sociable and outgoing is high in extraversion. Neuroticism is the tendency an individual has to get upset or emotional, while emotional stability means that an individual’s emotions stay constant.

Eysenck added Psychoticism after studying people who suffered from mental illness. People who are high in this trait have trouble dealing with reality and are antisocial, aggressive, manipulative and unable to empathize with others. Personality plays an important role in how we react to when we are placed in a situation, which calls for an individual to prevail. For instance, a person who is friendly and easy to approach usually has many friends and has an easy time making friends than someone who lacks the friendship trait.

The person who lacks the friendship trait must modify his or her personality by the current situation that he or she is in, while the person who has the trait does not need to modify his personally at all. Characteristics of personality, which are featured by the dispositional theory, are constant that changes in the environment and things that happen unexpected do not call for any modification. Such traits have been visible in the person for such a long time that in any situation the person will react in the same manner.

For example, high IQ is a dispositional trait, so if a parent has a high IQ it most likely that a child will acquire the same trait from childhood. Children who acquire that trait from their parents are disposed to a better beginning compared to the children who develop the personality trait based on their exposure due to their environment. Learning Theories Learning is usually defined as a process that combines cognitive, emotional and environmental experiences and influences, which enhance or produce changes in a person’s knowledge, values and skills.

The process of learning focuses on what occurs when learning takes place some explanations of what occurs are considered to be learning theories, these try to describe how people and animals learn, which in return allow us to understand the process of learning. There are three categories in which learning theories fall under: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorism concentrates on the observable conditions of learning. Cognitivism looks past behavior and concentrates more on brain-based learning.

Lastly constructivism focuses its views on learning as a process where the learner is active and builds new concepts. As we learn we change the way we see our environment, the way we understand the incoming information, which leads to the way in which we behave. Classical and Operant conditioning are two major types of learning. Ivan Pavlov accidently discovered classical conditioning while researching digestive patterns with dogs. He used to put meat powder in the mouths of dogs that had experimental tubes in them which measured bodily response.

He discovered that the dogs would start to salivate before as soon as the person feeding them walked into the room. His discovery states that we develop responses to stimuli that do not occur naturally. For example, when we touch something that is hot our instinct is to pull our hand away; this is not a reaction that needs to be learnt. Another type of learning, which is closely related to classical conditioning, is operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is the process of learning through natural consequences of actions. It derives from how we respond to what we are presented with in our environment.

Everyday in our lives this is how we learn. For example, when we make a mistake, we usually remember that mistake and do things different when the situation arises again. We have learnt that we must act in a different way based on the consequences of past actions. We use the same type of learning for positive actions. For example if we do something and it has a positive outcome we are most likely to do things that same way, we try to mimic our actions to result in a positive action the second time around. Conclusion Dispositional and learnt theories affect our personality traits in different ways.

At some point in our life they interact and begin to develop new behavioral traits. We have learned that we are all unique individuals with distinct dispositions. Some of us have higher dispositions than others. Although we all learn using the same type of operant and conditioning system, we all have our own levels of knowledge. Some of us learn at a much quicker rate than others. We learn through experience and cognitive process. Our dispositions might make it easier for some of us to learn as well as gives us the advantage. That is what makes us an individual.

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