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Personality Development. What are the four main factors that affect the development of personality? How does isolation in childhood affect development?. Personality.

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personality development

Personality Development

What are the four main factors that affect the development of personality?

How does isolation in childhood affect development?

  • To social scientists, personality is the sum total of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and values that are characteristic of an individual.
  • Our personality traits determine how we adjust to our environment and how we react in specific situations.
  • No two individuals have the same personalities. Each individual has his or her own way of interacting with other people and with his or her social environment.
personality development1
Personality Development
  • People’s personalities continue to develop throughout their lifetimes. Specific traits change at different rates and to different degrees.
  • Some personality traits seem to remain constant throughout a person’s life, while others undergo dramatic changes.
  • Personality development is more obvious during childhood, when people are experiencing rapid physical, emotional, and intellectual growth.
  • At adulthood, personality traits change at a slower rate. However personality development varies form individual to individual.
nature vs nurture
Nature vs. Nurture
  • Sociologists debate what determines personality and social behavior.
  • Some argue that it is heredity – the transmission of genetic characteristics from parents to children.
  • Others suggest that the social environment – contact with other people – determines personality.
  • This debate is usually referred to in terms of nature versus nurture, or inherited genes versus environment and social learning.
the nature viewpoint
The Nature Viewpoint
  • Since the 1800s this viewpoint states that much of human behavior is instinctual in origin.
  • An instinct is an unchanging behavior pattern. Instinct is most often applied to animal behavior. (Ex. Birds building nests)
  • Supporters of this viewpoint claim biology as the basis for human behavior. They claim that instinctual drives are responsible for practically everything – laughing, motherhood, warfare, religion, even the creation of society.
the nurture viewpoint
The Nurture Viewpoint
  • From this viewpoint a person’s behavior and personality are the result of his or her social environment and learning.
  • The work of Ivan Pavlov helped this viewpoint gain acceptance. He found that supposedly instinctual behaviors could be taught. (Ex. Dog Experiment)
  • Sociologist John B. Watson suggested that what applied to dogs could apply to humans. He claimed that he could take a dozen healthy infants and train them to become anything he wanted – doctors, lawyers, artists, beggars, or thieves.
  • The emergence of sociobiology – the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior – emphasized the nature viewpoint.
  • Sociobiologists argue that such varied cultural characteristics and behavioral traits as religion, cooperation, competition, slavery, envy, etc. are rooted in the genetic make-up of humans.
  • In general sociobioligists argue that most of human social life is determined by biological factors.
blending of factors
Blending of factors…
  • Most social scientists assume that personality and social behavior result from a blending of heredity and social environmental influences.
  • They believe that environmental factors have the greatest influence.
  • Heredity, birth order, parents, and cultural environment are among the principal factors that social scientists see influencing personality and behavior.
  • Everyone has certain characteristics that are present at birth. (body build, hair type, eye color, and skin)
  • Heredity characteristics also include certain aptitudes. An aptitude is a capacity to learn a particular skill or acquire a particular body of knowledge.
  • Example: a natural talent for music and art would be considered an aptitude.
  • However, some aptitudes can be learned and developed because of environmental factors.
  • Example: Parents encouragement
  • Heredity provides you with certain biological needs, but culture determines how you meet those needs.
birth order
Birth Order
  • Our personalities are influenced by whether we have brothers, sisters, both, or neither.
  • Children with siblings have a different view of the world than do children who have siblings.
  • The order in which we are born into our families also influences our personalities.
  • People born first or last in a family have a different perspective than do people in the middle.
  • Example: first born are likely to be achievement oriented and responsible. Later born are more likely to be better in social relationships, affectionate, friendly, or rebels and risk-takers.
parental characteristics
Parental Characteristics
  • Parents influence their childrens’ personalities. The age of the parent can be a bearing on the children’s development. (EX. Younger vs. older)
  • Other parental characteristics like level of education, religious orientation, economic status, occupation, and cultural heritage can and often do influence a child’s personality and their social behavior.
cultural environment
Cultural Environment
  • Culture has a strong influence on personality development. The cultural environment determines the basic types of personalities that will be found in a society.
  • Each culture gives rise to a series of personality traits – model personalities – that are typical of members of that society.
  • EX. U.S. personalities are competitive, assertiveness and individualism.
  • EX. The Ik (eek) of northern Uganda