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What are the different theories of personality?

Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of


Sigmund Freud and emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind and childhood
experiences on personality. Psychodynamic theories include Sigmund Freud's
psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development.

Theories of Personality Development

Personality defines us as an individual. But how do we become what we really are?


Sometimes we need to develop ourselves and that is what is called personality
development. There are some things in us as an individual that we need to curb down
and some to improve. This is possible only through personality development.

There are certain defined theories of personality development which we need to look at.
These are various in numbers. Since Personality development has been a major topic of
interest for some of the most prominent thinkers in psychology, these have been
thoroughly defined and explained.

Many prominent theorists developed stage theories to describe various steps and stages
that occur on the path of personality development. Described below are some of the
theories that focus on various aspects of personality development, including cognitive,
social and moral development.

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development- Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive


development is one of the most frequently cited in psychology, despite being subject to
considerable criticism. While many aspects of his theory have not stood the test of time,
the central idea remains important today that is, that the children think differently than
adults. His theory has made significant contributions in the world of personality
development.
Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development- He was one of the best-know thinkers in
the area of personality development and remains the most controversial too. In his
well-known stage theory of psychosexual development, Freud suggested that
personality develops in stages that are related to specific erogenous zones. Failure to
successfully complete these stages, according to him would lead to personality
problems in adulthood.

Freud’s Structural Model of Personality- Freud’s concept of the ego and superego has
gained prominence in popular culture. Despite of lack of support and considerable
skepticism from many researchers, he is one of the most researched one.

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development- Erik Erikson’s eight-stage theory of


human development is one of the best known theories in psychology. While the theory
builds on Freud’s stages of psychosexual development, Erikson chose to focus on the
importance of social relationships on personality development. The theory also extends
beyond childhood to look at development across the entire lifespan.

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development- Lawrence Kohlberg developed a theory of


personality development that focused on the growth of moral thought. Building on a
two-stage process proposed by Piaget, Kohlberg expanded the theory to include six
different stages. While the theory does not accommodate different genders and cultures
equally, his theory remains important in the understanding of personality development.

Sigmund Freud was a great man, his greatness is till date, cited in his brilliant work and
theories. Freud came up with the three categorically different structures to a person’s
personality. Freud believed that personality has three structures: the id, the ego, and
the superego.

The id is a tier or part of the personality set up; it is a structure that has no contact to
reality- a structure that is unconscious totally. The ego is a grown state or a state that
is furthered from an id state to form the structure of ego, which is in contact with
reality and which uses reasoning to make decisions. Now, having stated both the states
of id and ego, there emerges a state or structure called the superego, which is the
moral attribute to a person’s personality, the ability to feel or analyze whether
something is right or wrong. This is called the state of superego wherein lies the
conscientious personality, gauging right from wrong. These above said analyzing
statements were those of the Great Sigmund Freud who stated in correctness the
different layers, tiers or substances that form the whole (in this case, the whole being a
personality, which has structures to it).

Whilst Freudian principles are based on the theory or rather, a belief by Freud that
personalities were like icebergs; there are many definitive views on personality and
personality development. While Freud may have personality ideas that were listed as
above, and thereby personality development would be done to and on every structural
tiers of personality (the three tiers of personality), personality development can be
encompassing and can be specifically enhancing as well.

Personality development can be compared to a lock-system of the house, without it, the
structure is incomplete. It can also be compared with analogies like an envelope sealed
or in other words, like sealing an envelope too. The refinement and the training that
personality development brings with it, gives a light, subtle feeling of completion. One
may not give it too much thought at times, but think about it, an un-sealed envelope
that is posted, can very well, get misplaced or read or lost. Similarly, without
personality development in today’s’ world, one may feel less competent than his
contemporaries who may have had sessions in personality development, one is able to
feel more confident and more aware with the surging attributes of personality
development.