Theories of personality

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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:51 pm

Theories of personality

Post by sen117 » Thu May 28, 2020 11:01 am


I wanted to confirm my understanding of the theories of personality:

1. It seems that Eysenck is involved in both biological theory and the trait theory. What is the difference between biological theory and the trait theory? Arent they both founded upon the idea that our genes lead to a trait, which then leads to behavior(bhv)/personality?

2. The NS lecture talked about the conditioning of behaviorist theory can be either direct (reward/punishment) or indirect (observational learning). Is social cognitive theory a part of the behaviorist theory? I read that the social cognitive theory stands in between behaviorist theory (observable bhv) and psychoanalytic theory (mental bhv). Could you please help me better understand how this works?

Thank you so much for your help in advance.
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 11:43 pm

Re: Theories of personality

Post by NS_Tutor_Yuqi » Sun May 31, 2020 12:02 am

Hey! You're right that Eysenck falls under both Biological and Trait theory. On one hand, his theory states that people's personalities are made up of three major dimensions: extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. On the other hand, he says that the differences in people's expression of these three areas is due to variations in the reticular formation. However, these are not mutually exclusive. One way that I've heard it described is that trait theory describes personality, while other theories, such as the biological theory, explains them. So trait theory might describe aspects of people's patterns of behavior, but those behaviors very well could be the result of a person's genetics. I think the key difference between them is which part you decide to emphasize.

For your second question, social cognitive theory and behaviorist theory are separate. The key distinction is that cognition is important for social cognitive theory (as indicated by the name), but isn't for behaviorist theory. Behaviorist theory says that you are basically a product of your environment, without taking into account your individual motivation for acting a certain way. Think classical or operant conditioning. SCT also isn't quite psychoanalytic theory, since that emphasizes someone's unconscious thoughts and memories, but doesn't take into account active cognition.

I hope that clears it up a bit. Please let me know if I can elaborate more on any of the topics!
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