Biological and Humanistic Approaches to Personality The stages of human development are influenced by biological and humanistic theories. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs stresses the need for and individual to discover their own personality and gain self-control in their personal life. Abraham Maslow had a theory that an individual will desire more in life once they have accomplished the basic needs in life. Humanistic features of personality focus on freedom and self-fulfillment. Unlike Maslow, Hans Eysenck and other theorist proclaimed that personality comes from a biological approach that an individual’s behavior is influenced by genetics.
The following will consist of a description of how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs influence personality formations, biological factors that influence the formation of personality, the examination of the relationship of biological factors by Maslow’s theory of personality, along with basic aspects of humanistic theories incompatible with biological descriptions of personality. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of human motivation based on biological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, and self- actualization.
Personality is influenced by ideas that create a foundation of an individual’s life relations and peak experiences. An individual’s experiences assist an individual to transform and discover the inner self. Peak experiences are familiar to individuals whom have matured and discovered their full potential. Maslow believed that individuals strive for self-actualization once they have satisfied their more basic needs. Maslow also characterized self-actualization as being the most superior out of all hierarchy needs.
Each of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs define the patterns of human motivations for an individual to survive. Each stage also defines the personality growth in humans as well as in animals. The simplest level of needs must mature before the individual will be motivated to achieve higher needs. Biological needs are the simplest and main requirements for human survival such as water, food, air, and shelter. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is categorized in two groups D-motives and B-motives (Friedman & Schustack, 2012, pg304). Biological needs are the needs of the body that uphold homeostasis.
Food, water, and air are requirements for individuals to survive and produce a steady foundation for growth. Safety needs are crucial in protecting self for growth. Individuals who are smart, tough, fast, consistent, and organized have recognized a defense of security for survival. Challenges associated with the external urges influence defense mechanisms such as repression, denial, displacement, reaction formation, regression, sublimation, projection, and rationalization. Each defense mechanism allows people to protect their ego.
Therefore allowing them to avoid posttraumatic stress and continue to strive toward self-actualization. Love and belongingness reflects off safety. Humans need to feel a sense of belongingness and love. If love comes from a social group, religious group, classmates, coworkers, family members, and friends, individuals need to love and be loved by others. Without the features of love an individual may become an object to social anxiety and depression. The need for belonging can overcome the biological and security needs, depending on the power of peer pressure from other individuals.
Humans have a self-esteem influenced by self-respect. Esteem shows importance and appreciation, which influences the accomplishments of receiving a great education, career, friends, and respect. Individuals with low esteem require respect and attention from others but on the other hand high esteem requires self-respect along with self-confidence. The maximum developed need detects to be at peace with oneself. Self-actualized individuals are independent, choose privacy, love, freedom, and avoid social stress (Friedman & Schustack, 2012 pg305).
Biological factors such as chromosomes, hormones, and the brain all have a main influence on human behavior. Biological factors that influence personality can involve genetics, disease, drugs, and medical disorders. Personality can be affected by many factors. Psychologist considers personality traits as sensors inside the brain, controlling a limit of behaviors and attitudes (Nettle, 2008). Sensor settings characterize where an individual stands on a measurement for each personality trait.
The Big Five traits characterize the strength of certain type of psychological reaction, which depends on certain neurobiological mechanism in the brain (Nettle, 2008). Genetics considers being an influence to personality. Genetics are the primary involvement of personality. Genes affect how an individual’s body and brain matures and functions. Individuals who may suffer from loss of genes on a specific chromosome contribute to disorders that genetic factors strongly influence personality (Friedman, Schustack 2012 pg147). Personality can be affected by disease in which traits may onnect with how individuals handle situations and the emotional results that situations at hand create. It is believed that genetics influence the simplest characteristics. Hormones and brain structure influence behavior but neither has an effect on personality traits. Genes do not have control over personality traits but on the other hand genes influences behavior. The nervous system contributes to notification of the surrounding and dangers of the environment but also emphasizes the notion of importance of appropriate behavior.
Biological theories have a stronger impact on personality than humanistic theories may have. Health issues such as mental illness, cancer, high blood pressure, and depression also can have an effect on an individual’s personality. The medications that are prescribed to an individual to treat health issues may also have an impact on the personality. Illegal drugs and the abuse of alcohol can contribute to the changes of personalities that have been established but triggered by chemicals within the drugs and alcohol.
The nervous system and the growth of the brain both contributes to biological factors that are influenced by the environment an individual places themselves in and not only by genes. Humanistic approach attempts to stress an individual’s inner personality and spirit. Humanistic approach also stresses the viewpoint of being human. In addition, the humanistic approach also proclaims that individuals focus on the ability of other human beings having an effect on their personality.
According to (Friedman & Schustack, 2012 pg291) attending small groups such as human potential movements, which started in the over fifty years ago, with other individuals whom have established all their hierarchy needs in life may influence an individual to become more creative and establish a level of self-fulfillment. In the humanistic approach, the theory is an effort that stresses the values and an individual’s self-worth. Life matures while individuals plan their lives and take actions for their responsibility.
Each individual must learn to have self-control and perform discipline to obtain a healthy lifestyle. Obtaining a healthy lifestyle will contribute to an individual discovering their inner potential. Humanistic believes that spiritual growth and awareness grounds personality in the full appreciation of the everyday world (Friedman & Schustack, 2012 pg303). Humanistic theorists focus on each individual’s personality, appreciation of naturalness, and the value of life (Friedman & Schustack, 2012 pg304). Humanistic theories follow the belief that every individual has their life and is in control of their own free will.
Humanistic approach also influences an individual’s feelings rather than thought process. Biological theories follow the belief that genetics influence the control of personality. The basic concepts of humanistic and biological theories are different similarities. Healthy people must take responsibility for themselves, regardless of the actions and therefore, negative actions do not contradict the value of the person. Biological theories focus on thought or reason rather than feelings for self-worth and value. Biological theorists believe that genetics have an influence on an individual’s personality.
This secondary affect controls how a person develops into adulthood. Biological standpoints also teach that intelligence and genes determine a person’s personality. For example, twins who have similar traits or personalities share the same genetic traits. Genetics can also have an effect on how an individual copes with their personality. A child’s childhood environment plays an extremely high influence on the outcome of an individual’s personality as well. Therefore, biologic theorists believe that personality traits are genetic therefore, unavoidable.
Some theorists believe that a combination of psychotherapy and drug therapy could correct poor personality traits, leading to a productive life. Humanistic therapists believe that a productive life is an accomplishment of completing each stage of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs life. Poor personality traits are learned not inherited but can be changed if willing. References Friedman, H. S. & Schustack, M. W. (2012). Personality: Classic theories and modern research (5th ed. ). Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. Nettle, D. (2008). Embrace your personality New Scientist, 197(2642), 36-39.
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