- Pages: 4
- Word count: 814
- Category: Behavior
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Numerous behavioral and trait personality theories were designed to explain the differences between people. It will be useful to reconsider the theoretical provisions of Freud, Ellis, Bandura, and Rogers to explain apparent personality differences based on culture, age, and gender.
Obviously, personality traits and attributes are inherently different. Yet, while the majority of personality theories were aimed at explaining the inner psychological changes within the personality structure, how would these theories explain the apparent differences in terms of age, culture and gender?
In his theory of personality, Sigmund Freud was emphasizing the importance of sexuality, and thus initially paid special attention to gender. However, it appears that his suggestions are equally applicable to explaining the age and cultural personality differences. Having divided the personality structure into the three integral elements (id, ego, and superego), Freud believed that the resolution of the conflict between these three elements occurred with the help of defense mechanisms and anxiety (Caspi, 2003). This is where his theoretical provisions become useful in studying gender, age and cultural differences. Through the prism of Freudian theory, the strength and integrity of personality defense mechanisms is determined by numerous factors. As a result age, gender and cultural personality differences will be invariably connected to the differences in personality defense mechanisms. It is clear, that personality defense mechanisms depend on external conditions (culture), personality characteristics (gender) and changing experience (age). This is why the defense mechanism in Freudian view is the determining feature when it comes to evaluating other personality differences.
Having mentioned personality experience in the previous discussion, it is difficult to omit this aspect in other personality theories. Experience in Albert Ellis’ studies is the integral element of his personality theory (Wiggins, 2000). Experience is the activating point of the personality neurotic symptoms and negative emotions. Ellis’ theory allows discussing cultural, age and gender personality differences emphasizing the self-defeating and irrational beliefs of the person. These beliefs are the intermediary stages between the activating experience and the negative emotions, and these beliefs differ under the impact of cultural environment, age, and gender. The discussed gender and cultural disparities look differently in Ellis’ theory: he initially avoids assuming that human beliefs and the beliefs of the society are in conflict (Caspi, 2003). Ellis is closer to suggest that these two aspects are mutually supporting. This is why apparent personality differences are viewed through the prism of Ellis’ theoretical provisions. It is easy to explain apparent personality differences through the beliefs and experiences created by external societal conditions. These beliefs will differ across ages, genders, and cultures, and will not contradict to, but will support the personality’s self (Wiggins, 2000).
Albert Bandura’s theory can be used to observe cultural and age (gender) personality differences through the prism of self-regulation mechanism, and the patters of observational learning. “Self-regulation – controlling our own behavior – is the other ‘workhorse’ of human personality” (Wiggins, 2000). The mechanisms of self-regulation also depend on the personality age, gender, and cultural environment. Consequentially, self-regulation in Bandura’s theory is the determining characteristics of personality differences. Judgment, as one of the stages of self-regulation, is connected with comparing ourselves to the external standards. Obviously, these standards are determined by multiple conditions, among which gender, age, and personality culture prevail (Wiggins, 2000). This is why the self-regulation personality attributes are integrally linked to personality differences in age, gender, and cultural frameworks.
In his personality theory, Carl Rogers emphasized the importance of human experience. Experience can be related to age, gender and cultural personality differences (Caspi, 2003). As a result, the congruity between the self and the external experience is also connected with apparent personality differences (age, and gender). The feelings of worth, which are produced as a result of personal congruity with the external experiences, are also promoted by the social surrounding and social standards (Wiggins, 2000). These standards are imposed upon the personality based on his age, gender, and culture. This is why the interrelation between the self and experience are the two determinants of personality differences relating to age, culture, and gender.
Obviously, the four personality theorists emphasized different aspects of personality structure in their works. However, it is even more interesting to link all four theories into one integral study of personality differences. Apparent personality differences (age, gender, and culture) are better explained with the help of several determinants, which can create the systematic study of apparent personality differences as based on the theories of Freud, Ellis, Bandura, and Rogers.
Caspi, A. (2003). Personality differences: measurement, development, and consequences.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(1), pp. 2-32.
Wiggins, N.H. (2000). Implicit theories of personality: An individual differences approach.
Multivariate Behavioral Research 30, pp. 220-244.