1. Define personality. Discuss the psychological and environmental determinants of personality development.The term ‘personality’ is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means a mask. Some definitions of the term are as follows:
K. Young: “Personality is a …. patterned body of habits, traits, attitudes and ideas of an individual, as these are organised externally into roles and statuses, and as they relate internally to motivation, goals, and various aspects of selfhood.”
G. W. Allport: It is “a person’s pattern of habits, attitudes, and traits which determine his adjustment to his environment.”
Robert E. Park and Earnest W. Burgess: Personality is “the sum and organisation of those traits which determine the role of the individual in the group.”
Herbert A. Bloch: It is “the characteristic organisation of the individual’s habits, attitudes, values, emotional characteristics……. which imparts consistency to the behaviour of the individual.”
Personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior. Traits contribute to individual differences in behavior, consistency of behavior over time, and stability of behavior across situations. Each person, though like others in some ways, has a unique personality. Characteristics are unique qualities of an individual that include such attributes as temperament, physique, and intelligence.
It may be said there are two main approaches to the study of personality:
(1) The psychological approach considers personality as a certain style peculiar to the individual. This style is determined by the characteristic organisation of mental trends, complexes, emotions and sentiments.
(2) The sociological approach considers personality in terms of the status of the individual in the group, in terms of his own conception of his role in the group of which he is a member. What others think of us plays a large part in the formation of our personality.
Psychological and Environmental determinants of personalityElizabeth B. Hurlock, in her book ‘Personality Development’, has listed various determinants of personality. Here we categorise them into Physical, Psychological and Environmental factors, and then discuss Psychological and Environmental determinants in further detail.
Psychological FactorsThese include our motives, acquired interests, our attitudes, our will and character, our intellectual capacities such as intelligence i.e., the abilities to perceive, to observe, to imagine, to think and to reason. These factors determine our reactions in various situations and thus affect our personality, growth and direction. For ex: an individual with a considerable amount of will power will be able to make decisions more quickly than others.
The various psychological factors affecting personality development are as follows:
Intelligence provides a person the capacity to meet and solve the problems that adjustment to life requires. Intellectual capacity influence personality directly through the kind of life adjustments individual makes and indirectly through the judgements others make of him on the basis of his intellectual achievements
Factors that affect personality development include intellectual development, conditions influencing intellectual capacities and deviant intelligence. Intelligence affects adjustment in values, morality and humour.
Emotions are important personality determinants because they affect personal and social adjustments. They do so directly by colouring interests, attitudes, likes and dislikes and by upsetting homeostasis. Indirect effect comes from social judgments based on how the person handles his emotions and from his ability to establish emotional relationship with others.
Factors that affect personality development directly and indirectly include emotional balance, dominant emotions, emotional deprivation, excessive love, emotional expressions, emotional catharsis, emotional stress and self-disclosure.
Aspiration and achievements
Aspirations are ego-involved goals person sets for himself.Aspiration is influenced by intelligence, sex, personal interests and values, family pressures, group expectations, cultural traditions, competition with others, past experience, mass media, personal characteristics.. Level of aspiration affects personality.
Achievement can be judged objectively by comparing a person’s achievement with those of peers and subjectively by comparing his achievement with his level of aspiration. Factors that affect personality development include level of aspiration, level of achievements and age of achievement.
Environmental factorsThe personality of the individual develops within certain environment. It is in the specific environment, that he comes to have moral ideas, social attitudes and interests. This enables him to develop a social self which is another term for personality.
The important aspects of the environment affecting personality are as follows:
A child is born in a society. He learns and lives there. Hence, the social environment has an important say in the personality development of the child. The cultural environment, i.e. certain cultural traditions, ideals, and values etc. accepted in a particular society, also plays a role in personality development.
Factors that affect personality development include early social experiences, social acceptance, social deprivation, prejudice and discrimination, group status and social mobility.
Educational (school) determinants
Schools play an important role in moulding the personality of the children because a significant part of a child's life is spent in school between the ages of 6 and 20 years. In the school, the teacher substitutes the parents.
The school poses new problems to be solved, new taboos to be accepted into the superego and new models for imitation and identification, all of which contribute their share in moulding personality. Factors that affect personality development include readiness for school, early school experiences, emotional climate of school or college, teacher attitudes and behaviour, academic success, extracurricular activities, peer acceptance, school subjects and kind of school.
Family is the cradle of all social virtues. The first environment, the child moves in, is his home. Here the child comes in contact with his parents and other family members. His likes, dislikes, stereotypes about people, expectancies of security and emotional responses all are shaped in early childhood. This plays an important role in the development of personality.
Factors that affect personality development include emotional climate of the home (including relation between parents), ordinal position, size of family, Family composition, family roles, deviant family patterns and economic condition of the family.
Apart from these physical environment also plays a role in personality development.
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Personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior. It is determined by various physical, psychological and environmental factors. The psychological factors include intellectual determinants like intellectual development, emotional determinants like deprivation and excessive love and the level of aspirations and level and age of achievements. The environmental factors include family environment like size and economic conditions of family, physical environment viz. climate, social determinants like social acceptance and deprivation and educational determinants like teacher attitudes and academic success.
Personality Development, Elizabeth B. Hurlock (Click for eBook)
Psychology, Robert Baron (Click for eBook)
Theories of Personality, Jess Feist and Gregory Feist