PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT 7
Introductionand Brief Summary
Inpersonality development, one examines issues such as feelings,attributes, and behavior that differentiate one individual fromanother. Psychologists argue that personality develops and changes asa person grows. There exist natural, environmental, and socialfactors that influence the personality development. On most cases,the personality of an individual at early stages is different fromthe one at his or her adult age. To help us examine the concept ofpersonality development, we will assess the life experiences of ElvisTamara. He is renowned songwriter who hails from a middle-classbackground.
Tamara,popularly known as Denka, was an average performer in school but wasvery active in music and outdoor activities. His parents, bothlecturers at a local university, were worried about their son’sperformance hence changed school on three occasions at the lowergrade level. Upon joining high school, Elvis’ performance was worsealthough he was recognized every year for winning music trophies forhis school. It was during this time that he met other students whohad passion for music. His friends influenced his decision to getserious about music. The school was also supportive of the talentedstudents. The administrators would allow the students to exploittheir talents. After high school, Elvis and the group decided not tojoin college but to pursue music as a career. His parents almostflushed him out of their home for refusing to attend college. Infact, they never offered any monetary support but would give himeverything else he needed to survive.
Beingthe firstborn, the parents argued that Elvis would set a bad examplefor his younger siblings. The parents were also not happy sinceElvis’ uncle was a musician, but he was leading a miserable life.Known to him that he was a poor academic performer, Elvis saved moneyduring his high school days to support the growth of his musiccareer. In the course sharpening his music skills, Elvis got anopportunity to meet one his high school principal who introduced himto a mentor. The mentor was supportive hence giving Elvis a launchpad for his music career. He recorded the first music during thefirst year after completing high school. The song became an instanthit in the neighborhood hence earning him income. Within six months,Elvis moved out of his parents’ house and rented a house. By theend of the second year in music, his parents were mesmerized by thepopularity and status of their son. Elvis worked as a musician forfive years before becoming a songwriter. Currently, he is mentoringyoung people in his neighborhood in music and art. Looking at theabove case study, it is emergent that various factors such as naturalabilities, environmental, cognitive, and social facets influenced thepersonality development of Elvis. In discussing his personalitydevelopment, we shall examine various theories and perspectives thatexplain personality development.
Thepsychoanalysis perspective observes that traits emanate because ofthe efforts to diagnose conflicts between desires and socialexpectations (Ryckman, 2013). Both psychoanalyticand neoanalytic theories presume that human behavior is hidden in theunconscious mind. Theunconscious level has feelings, desires, and memories thatindividuals have no control over but they manipulate all aspects oftheir lives. The collective unconscious mostly involves the knowledgethat every person possess. It is sometimes referred to as psychicinheritance. The emotional behaviors, for instance, form part of thecollective unconscious. The development of critical realization thathas been associated with transformation has been credited withredeeming personal and social function. Human mind operates like anopen system that picks influences from the surrounding. Theperspective sees the early stages of development as important in thepersonality development. The parents had their desires andexpectations for Elvis although he could not make it due to pooracademic performance. His desire was in music as he all he could toenhance success. It isnotable that Elvis was conflicting his parents’ desires as theyexpected him excel in academics. His moving out of the parents’house, for instance, is seen as a move by Elvis to control hisdesires.
Inexplaining the psychosocial theories, Erikson presents eight stagesin human development that influence personality development. Thetheories argue that all conditions are present at birth but discloseas one develops. The disclosure is contributed by ecological,natural, and cultural factors. At each stage, an individual learnsnew challenges and approaches to handlethem. Challenges that were not successfully handled are likely torecur in future while success builds an individual towards morechallenges. The effects at any stage are not permanent hence, can bechanged in the next stages. In personal growth, every stage hasincidences of psychosocialcrisis between conflicting interests. In trying to reconcile theforces, a virtue or attribute may arise (Engler,2014).
Trait,evolutionary, and biological approaches examine the natural factorsthat contribute to the adoption of certain beliefs and behaviors. Thebiological factors are the inherent attributes that an individualacquires genetically from his/her family lineage. Personalitydevelopment is influenced by the practices and decisions taken up byan individual in the course of his or her life development. It startsearly right from birth where an individual picks the characters andsocial influences from the surrounding environment(Wrzus, Hänel, Wagner, & Neyer, 2013).Elvis could have inherited the desire for music from his unclebiologically. It also appears as part of evolution that, despite theacademic prowess of his parents, Elvis did not perform well. Theevolutionary perspective shows that human beings have personality andindividuality. Not all people within the same social group acquiresimilar traits (Ryckman, 2013). Psychologists argue that suchdifferentiation is appropriate to enhance proper functioning anddiversity in social groupings. Elvis had natural ability for musicthat contributed to his triumph in the career.
Sociallearning theory considers the relation and effects of behavioral,social, and emotional issues. The perspective shows that the adoptionof certain characters and traits is experienced through continuouslearning. Learning may take place through observing and experiencingthe social environment. The cognitive theory examines an individual’sthoughts and beliefs that shape his or her behavior (Millon &Lerner, 2003). Cognitive behaviorism suggests that in order tounderstand why people behave as they do in a specific situation, oneneed to understand the constructed meaning of a situation. Elvisadapted the life in high school after getting support from colleaguesand teachers. It is this support that shaped his behavior andpersonality towards music. Through the cultural influences, anindividual acquires distinct attitudes, ethical values, and goals.The social and environmental factors influence the external choicesof a person.
Humanistictheories, as developed by Maslow, examine personality development bylooking at issues such as desire, satisfaction, and subjectiveexperiences. The perspective argues that human needs change with timeand time. Human needs have considerable influence on the personalitydevelopment. Before moving to another stage, an individual acquiresthe level of need with the aim attaining self-actualization. Lookingat the life of Elvis, it is clear that he wanted his desires ofbecoming a musician. To achieve such a level of need, he would evensave part of his money and at one moved out his parents’ house. Thedevelopment of personality traits is a lifelong process whereindividuals are continuously acquiring new knowledge that improvestheir competencies (Engler, 2014).
Behavioralobservation is the most ideal criteria to assess an individual’spersonality. Behaviors play out as actions in the open and mainly theinner feelings and thoughts of a person. Through observation, one cantell the personality of an individual. Theconcept also gives a detailed assessment of the psychologicalelements that inspire human behavior, emotions, and desires. Theexamination includes their relation to the human experiences. Thisperspective is mostly interested in the dynamic relationships betweenconscious and unconscious impetus. Certain beliefs and traits aregiven back unconsciously through actions. It is easy to test theconsistency of such assessments because the information is morecomprehensible and concise. An individual can psychologically adaptto the new environment and attain her social behavior. It is observedthat priorities, beliefs, roles, and family issues play a centralpart in the adoption of new behaviors.
Theconcept provides justifications for the ways in which the patterns ofdaily events shape the direction, adaptation, and growth of the humanbehavior. It identifies accounts where the personal concerns areinternalized into habits, preferences, and expectations that aregeneralized across typical situations. Personality development can beeasily assessed without examining the behavior adopted by anindividual throughout his or her lifespan.
Engler,B. A. R. B. A. R. A. (2014). Personalitytheories.Belmont: Wadsworth.
Millon,T., & Lerner, M. J. (2003). Handbookof psychology: 5.New York: Wiley.
Ryckman,R. M. (2013). Theoriesof personality.Australia: Wadworth Cengage Learning