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Humanistic Theory and Trait Theory Comparison

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In comparing the Humanistic and Trait Theories, a researcher will find that there are a plethora of differences between the two theories and quite a few similarities. However, the theories equally concur that a person’s personality is somewhat invented by the choices the person make. These two theories hardly come close to each other’s depiction of a person’s personality and have just about nothing in common. The Humanistic Theory is the least methodical of the other theories analyzing individuals as distinctive with each seeing the world from different point of views. Examining how external stimulation affects an individual’s behavior with a modest amount or no interest on an individual’s behavior is also a part of the Humanistic Theory. The Existentialist philosophy, in a nutshell, is explained as one’s life determined by the choices they make and not by fate is where the Humanistic Theory derives.

“Humanistic theory allows that one’s personality can be manipulated by others who place conditions on one’s worth, negatively altering one’s self esteem” (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). An example of this theory would be someone believing that are a generous person but often leaves a small tip in a restaurant by justifying how bad the service was that they received. A trait is a permanent characteristic of a person’s constant interactions; or basically “what makes us who we are” (allpsych.com, 2004). The Trait Theory includes five factors that are used to examine a person’s personality in terms of Agreeableness, Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion/introversion, and Neuroticism. The theory also examines how a person’s personality affects their choices, experiences, and the development of their skills. A person’s culture and genetics generally impacts the traits of the person oppose to their environment.

Throughout a person’s life, it is their traits that are deem to remain consistent. Trait theory may be more useful in determining what career may fit an individual’s primary personality traits or attempt to predict and prevent mind disorders such as schizophrenia than modifying undesirable behavior through behavior modification therapy. (Nevid & Rathus, 2005) An example in the workplace would be a salesperson excelling in his or her career if the person is more of an extrovert. Each of these theories has their own values and abilities in examining an individual’s personality, even though both are consistently indifferent of each other. As one, the Humanistic Theory and Trait Theory do contain differences when compared to each other but they also are used to successfully view an individual’s personality.

Heffner, C. L. (2002). Personality Synopsis. Introduction to Trait Theory. (Ch. 7). Retrieved
November 11, 2011 from, http://allpsych.com/personalitysynopsis/trait.html Nevid, J. S., & Rathus, S. A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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