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Psychology Theories of Personality Focus on Inner Essay

Pages:3 (884 words)


Subject:Social Science


Document Type:Essay



Theories of personality focus on inner traits of individuals, which may or may not be viewed as static. The most important schools of personality psychology include Psychodynamic Theory, Freud's Theory of Personality, Humanistic Theory, B.F. Skinner's Theory of Personality, Social Learning Theory, and Evolutionary Personality Theory. While all these theories share in common their goal to explain, analyze, and understand human behavior in terms of personality explanations, there are important differences in these main approaches. The differences will affect theory but also practice of psychology.

Behaviorism was one of the earliest expressions of psychological inquiry. Therefore, it makes sense to begin with an understanding of behavioral theories of personality. Behaviorism suggests that individual behavior is the key to understanding personality. Because of its emphasis on behavior rather than emotion or cognition, behavioral theories of personality are relatively weak and limited in scope. However, it is still worth understanding the contributions of B.F. Skinner and John B. Watson to the study of personality.

Psychodynamic theories of personality are highly relevant to the study of psychology because they have become pervasive in the understanding of human nature. Sigmund Freud's theory of personality falls under the rubric of Psychodynamic theories of personality. However, other famous psychologists such as Erik Erikson and Alfred Adler also have developed personality theories that remain extant in the study of personality psychology ("Psychodynamic Theories of Personality," n.d.). According to Sigmund Freud, the person is a structure that comprises of three different dimensions or levels. Those dimensions include the id, or the childhood impulses that people need to keep under control; the ego, or the core identity of the individual and face a person shows the world; and the superego, or the conscience that tells a person right from wrong or good from bad. The way these three personality structures interact determines the gamut of the personality. There are dysfunctional and healthy dynamics between these functions.

Alfred Adler developed a different psychodynamic theory from Freud. Adler's theory suggests that individuals are born with the sense of being inferior, and that they will struggle to maintain identity in opposition to this sense of inferiority. Moreover Adler emphasized the importance of birth order in determining personality, ignoring or downplaying the experience of only children. Whereas Freud focused a lot on repressed sexual urges, and the death wish, in personality functioning, Adler mainly focused on the issues surrounding birth order and inferiority ("Psychodynamic Theories of Personality," n.d.).

Erik Erikson postulated the psychosocial development theory of personality. According to this theory, an individual passes through different stages of social development. These stages are influenced by the environment. Therefore, Erikson shares in common with the…

Sample Source(s) Used


Cherry, K. (n.d.). Theories of Personality. Retrieved online:

McLeod, S. (2007). Psychodynamic approach. Simply Psychology. Retrieved online:

"Psychodynamic Theories of Personality," (n.d.). Retrieved online:

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