An Introduction to the Humanistic Theory and the Biological Approach to Personality

Personality is defined as the collection of various thoughts, feelings, behaviors and other characteristic traits that are associated with a person (Burger, 2008). Various theories and approaches have been devised to try and come up with an explanation of how one acquires personality. The humanistic theory and the biological approach are just some of the various divisions which try to explain personality. Although most of these theories tend to attract criticism and acclamation in equal measures, they try to justify how personality comes about and this will mostly depend on how various psychologists who formulated these theories justified their ideologies.

The humanistic theory came about after various psychologists objected the earlier theoretical approaches to personality. The psychodynamic and behaviorists justification of personality did not have the necessary ideological reasoning and they did not take into effect some of the qualities that distinguished human from animals. It was with this approach that the humanist approach came into effect. Various psychologists tended to give the human being an optimistic approach by highlighting the ability of a human to control their personalities (Hagan, 2007). This means that someone is responsible and has the freedom to choose the path in which their life will take.

Abraham Maslow who was a renowned humanistic psychologist, argues that the human mind is in such a way that one tends to strive to realize their full potential. In his hierarchy of needs ladder, he argues that one tends to satisfy needs at the bottom of the hierarchy such as basic needs then afterwards one strives to reach the top of the model which is the self actualization stage. Various psychologists seem to agree with the notion that various environmental factors will play a formidable part in forming the personality of humans. The reasoning behind this theory is that various environmental factors tend to interact with the genetic composition of a human and thus they play a dominant role in forming the personality of an individual.

Eysenck in his arguments of biological interventions in formulating ones personalities suggests that the personality one is ever to gain is already embedded in the genetic composition. Eysenck argues that the genetic composition in any human is monumental enough to take precedence over any other external sway towards deciding the personality.

He also points out that genes and the environment play a formidable role in deciding the personality of an individual (Burger, 2008). Although both the humanistic and biological theories have gone to large extents in trying to explain the formation of personality, there exists a no of fundamental differences in their approaches. The humanistic theory is highly optimistic while the biological approach as fundamentally critical and straight forward. Many critics have argued that most of the assumptions that are characteristic of the humanistic theory are hard to prove and hence most of the credit goes to the biological approaches which have been tested and deemed fit to be incepted as valuable arguments.

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