Personality Theory Analysis
One of the main researched areas in psychology is personality. Human behavior is complex and sometimes it is hard to trace back motives or impulses upon which a human being acts. No wonder scientists wanted to get some answers. The way people act and behave is based on their personality. There are several theories on how we acquire traits, how we learn to behave, etc.
This paper focuses on the learning and dispositional theories. “In general, personality theories are of two types—those that see personality as a dynamic entity motivated by drives, perceptions, needs, goals, and expectancies and those that view personality as a function of relatively stable traits or personal dispositions” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 529). According to the learning theories (Bandura and Skinner, 1963 and 1948 respectively) individuals base their behavior on observing their role models (parents, peers, celebrities, teachers) and repeating their behavior. Positive or negative reinforcement helps person in understanding what he or she should and should not do.
For instance, a child might repeat an action after it saw a parent acting the same way. A child also observes and if it sees that the reaction to their role model action is positive, they are more likely to repeat it. Bandura suggests that “people regulate their conduct through both external and internal factors” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 479). Skinner's theory has same aspects, however, according to Skinner an individual itself learns what he or she should or shouldn't do with the help of reinforcements and punishments. “As an environmentalist, Skinner held that psychology must not explain behavior on the basis of the physiological or constitutional components of the organism but rather on the basis of environmental stimuli” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 442). He examined rat's behavior when putting them in the Skinner's box.
There was nothing but a lever inside it and when the rat hit it, food would appear. Soon the rat learned that and started hitting the lever over and over again. It is an example of a positive reinforcement. Next time Skinner put a rat in a box with an electric grid, which hit it with a slight electric current. The lever in the box shut down the power in the electric grid, so after the rat hit it a couple of times, it started repeating the action. It is a negative reinforcement. Providing an example in human behavior, positive reinforcement is when a person gets a reward for his or her actions and negative is when you had an unpleasant experience and you perform an action in order to avoid it. According to scientists, learning theory would explain why people tend to acquire a certain behavior through repeating actions of other people. Actions form behavior of an individual and behavior helps to form a personality. Also Skinner's theory stated that an individual's experience has an influence on his or her behavior greater than genetics or surrounding environment. However the theory overlooks the fact that some people …