Personality development theory can be grouped under the five heads and Researchers have developed a number of personality theories but no theory, at the outset it must be pointed out, is complete in itself.
1. Intrapsychic theory
2. Type theories
3. Trait theories
4. Social learning theory
5. Self theory
Personality development theories differ markedly in the constructs they propose as forming the structure of the personality, and also the way they relate these construct to behavior. They also differ in the methods they use to assess or measure a individual’s personality. Let us examine these theories.
Freud remains the most influential theorist in the area of Personality development According to Freud, the human mind is composed of three elements: i) the precociousness, ii) the conscious, and iii) the unconscious.
The items in the mind that can be recognized only through Freud’ association method are “precociousness”. The “conscious” element is concern with thoughts, feelings, beliefs and desires that we probe during introspection.
The final component “unconscious” is basically concerned with ideas an wishes that cannot be learned through introspection but can be determined b hypnotism, analysis of dreams and Freudian therapeutic techniques.
According to Freud, the “conscious” is guided by a “reasoned reality principle and the “unconscious” is guided by the famous “hedonistic principle of pleasure. Freud developed an organisation of personality consisting of three structure within the human mind ID, EGO and Super Ego
Personality type theory aims to classify people into distinct categories. Personality types are synonymous with “personality styles”.
Types refer to categories that are distinct and discontinuous. For example, you are one or the other. This is important to understand, because it helps to distinguish a personality type approach from a personality trait approach, which takes a continuous approach.
To clearly understand the difference between types and traits, consider the example of the personality dimension of “introversion
Trait theorists view Personality development theory from the standpoint of understanding traits. Among trait theorists are included Gordon Allport, Raymond Barnard Cattell and William Sheldon.
Allport is of the opinion that each individual possesses a set of traits that are not shared by any other individuals. He emphasis’s the uniqueness of personality.
Cattell has extensively worked on traits in various work settings employing a number of psychological measures. Based on factor analysis, he developed factor concepts, such as tender-mindedness, somatic anxiety, dominance, etc.
Sheldon extended physical structuring by asserting that physique consists of three components: endomorphs (soft and spherical structure), mesomorphs (tough and muscular body), and ectomorphs (linear and fragile). The relative existence of these three physical elements indicates specific personality patterns: Corresponding to these physical aspects, he assumed three aspects of temperament: viscerotonia (love of comfort and affection), somatotonia (love of physical adventure and risk taking) and cerebrotonia (restraint and inhibition). Although he assumed a close relationship between respective aspects of structure and personality, there is no evidence to support this view.
Social Learning Theory
Learning can be defined as the process leading to relatively permanent behavioral change or potential behavioral change. In other words, as we learn, we alter the way we perceive our environment, the way we interpret the incoming stimuli, and therefore the way we interact or behave. This new way of approaching a very successful theory marked a transition away from strict behaviorism and toward a concept known as social learning theory. As this occurred, researchers began to recognize the fact that people sometimes exhibit a behavior without any external reward or reinforcement. The idea then, was that, perhaps internal thoughts could be rewarded just as external behaviors.
Self Theory of Personality development theory
The intrapsychic, type and trait theories represent the traditional approaches to understanding the complex human personality. Self theory rejects both psychoanalytic and behaviouristic conception of human nature as too mechanistic, portraying people as creatures helplessly tossed about by internal instincts or external stimuli. Carl Rogers and his associates have developed the self theory that places emphasis on the individual as an initiating, creating, influential determinant of behaviour within the environmental framework. To understand Rogers’ theory, we have to understand:
a) the self-concept
b) the organism
c) the development of self