Individual Differences Essay

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Do psychologists agree on what is meant by ‘personality’? Illustrate your answer with reference to theories of personality. The term personality comes from the Latin word ‘persona’. There are over 50 definitions of personality one example is "Personality is not an existing substantive entity to be searched for but a complex construct to be developed and defined by the observer." (Smith & Vetter, 1982). There are many different theories of personality that help to create the field of personality psychology. To answer the above question research into some of the different theories of personality will be needed. Personality is a very complex subject, different approaches focus on different aspects of personality some of these theories on personality are mainly descriptive, imply intricate dynamic processes, call attention to early developmental stages, underline lifelong development, and suppose little or no change in adult life. One of the several theories surrounding personality is the psychoanalytic theories, the psychoanalytic theories focus on how the unconscious directs everyday behaviour. There are three aspects of this perspective; Carl Jung’s transpersonal perspective which has a spiritual element, the social psychological view of Alfred Adler and Erich Fromm. The most famous of this approach is the psychoanalytic perspective of Sigmund Freud. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory rests on several assumptions which are that personality is shaped by early childhood experiences, human functioning is based on three basic structures of the mind and that human experience takes place on three levels of consciousness. Freud believed that personality arises from a conflict between impulses and self-control between our aggressive, pleasure seeking genetic urges and our internalised social controls over these urges, Freud supposed that personality was a result of this

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