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Psychology : Opinion on Personality Development

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Friedman and Schustack (2012) discussed someone I consider to be a contemporary theorist when it comes to our personality development, introduced as Harry Sullivan. Sullivan believed in the Interactionist Approach. His belief was labeled as chumship; the importance behind being social creatures, intentionally or not, this is part of life for many humans. For example, from birth most infants are immediately touched by someone, which initiates the start of what Harry Sullivan considers as the beginning of our personalities being shaped (p.321). Basically, the direct or indirect situations and interactions we find ourselves in during development, from birth and beyond, have a strong influence on the way we react. The repetition of influence, whether equal or not, start to define our behaviors and overall our personalities (p.322). In today's society we can see this play a role in personality development because we rely on others to teach us the appropriate way to behave in certain situations. Sullivan defines this as a "social mirror" (p.321) and I believe we can relate his theory to what we consider today as conformity. Our personality may adapt depending on the environmental and social influences (p.323). Sullivan believed that we are identity was most likely to be influenced by others before we reached adulthood. This could mean that our family, school, recreational activities, etc., would ultimately impact the development of our personalities. Sullivan's insight into how society is impacted by other is accurate as far as we are concerned today. For example, I may have the type of personality that cannot keep my mouth shut if it means doing the right thing, however, according to Sullivan I would most likely reflect the behavior of those around me, big mouth or not, depending on the type of situation. I would stand by this as a part of personality development because this is a learned behavior which becomes a consistent part of who we are, at least from what I can relate to.


Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012). Personality: Classic theories and modern research, 5th. Ed. Allyn & Bacon: Heights, MA.

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I think that Sullivan's interactionist approach has some merit, largely due to the fact that it is highly probable that individuals develop a portion of their personality traits from their interactions with others, beginning with how they were treated at birth. This is due to the fact that I believe in the notion that an individual is partially a product of their environment, which means that the way that individual is treated within their environment, their observations within this environment, as well as the adaptation is that they must ...

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Psychology: Opinion on Alfred Adler's Approach

This week's reading has encouraged me to think about the beginnings of Personality theory as presented by Freud. I question what evolution occurred to produce more contemporary views. Our reading tells us that Freud's ideas are alive and highly functional even today. Freud's approach did have limits and failures. I propose that contemporary theorist expounded upon and improved Freud's model.

Alfred Adler's approach appeared to be more developed and did address occupational task and Social task as essential factors in personality and identity. I believe that societal evolution has brought the general populace from the farm and close-knit family networks and social groups in which an individual's "Society" may be made up of folks within a fifty mile radius, a society in which you know you will take over your father's trade or take care of the children. Today our "Society" is a global one in which at the stroke of a keyboard you can talk to someone across the globe and is far different than the Social circles of Freud's time and most likely contribute to the lack of focus in Freud's theories on Social impact.

I believe Adler's theories capture this evolution and the theory transcends over time. Social issues of occupational task and societal task, in my opinion, are great contributors to our personalities and our identities. Adler's theory of individual psychology focuses on the belief the unique motivations of individuals and the importance of each person's perceived niche in Society resonated with me. I have watched my children integrate into multiple schools systems all over the country. I know individually they are motivated by different things; however I also see changes in what is important to them with every move as they try to integrate into their new societal niche. When they talk to a friend from where they previously lived they may find interest in an old thing that motivated them before, but it quickly is forgotten when they are back with their local friends.

Friedman, H. S. & Schustack, M. W. (2012). Personality: Classic theories and modern research, 5th Ed. Allyn & Bacon: Heights, MA

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