Theories of personality to current research
Influence of Personality on Behavior
The paper explores a research on self-pity, anger and their behavioral characteristics and how they are related to personality theories. Self-pity is a common response to stress so far, even though, empirical studies has paid little attention to the subject. This paper is aimed at exploring personality features related to individual differences in self-pity. A study among university students was done with a sample size N = 141, with 66 males and 75 females using multidimensional indicators of anger, control beliefs, loneliness, personality, and adult attachment (Stöber, 2003, p. 195). Considering personality, results indicated strong relationships of self-pity with neuroticism, especially with the depression facet. Regarding the control beliefs, individuals high in self-pity showed generalized externality beliefs, seeing themselves as controlled by both chance and other powerful variables. The scores for the items are computed by getting the sum across the items. The big five personality traits were measured on a five-factor model with the NEO-FFI (NEO Five Factor Inventory). NEO-FFI comprise of a five 12-item scale that capture individual differences in neuroticism. With respect to anger expression, self-pity was principally related to anger. Strong relationships with anger rumination were also found. Additionally, persons with high in self-pity reported ambivalent-worrisome attachments and emotional loneliness. In both research studies, a strong correlation with gender was indicated, with men reporting fewer self-pity reactions to stress than women. Self-pity indicated a higher correlation with neuroticism while showing a negative relationship between extraversion (Stöber, 2003, p. 195). Self-pity was found not to be related to the other traits such as consciousness, openness and agreeableness. These results are discussed according to how they support, extend and justify the previous research on self-pity, and directions for future empirical studies are determined (Stöber, 2003, p. 200). There are various theories of personality in psychology that affect the behaviour of human beings. The theories were argued out and recorded by various psychologists who were able to determine the influence of personality on behaviour. Some of the theories discussed in this paper include; Psychodynamic and Neo-Freudian Approaches, personality disorders, trait approach, and cognitive approaches. In trait approach, the theorists are interested in the measurement of traits that determine the gradual development of habits. Trait approach to personality can be scientifically proven through experiments and demonstrations. Psychodynamic and Neo-Freudian Approaches refer to Fred Sigmund’s development stages that were highly criticized and related to sexuality. However, Fred’s stages displayed systematic development stages that were able to determine an individual’s character. Cognitive approaches are the relatively modern approaches to human behaviour that emphasizes the way in which we think. The approaches relate thinking and belief to the determination of behaviour. Finally, recommendations for further studies on the relationships between self-pity and other variables such as extraversion and neuroticism.
H1 – Personality has significant influence on behaviour
H0 – Personality does not have any significant influence on behaviour.
A population sample size of 141 respondents participated in the experiment and among them were 66 males and 75 females. The sample was obtained from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. Their average age was found to be 22.6 years with a standard deviation of 3.1 (Stöber, 2003, p. 192). The criteria for choosing the participants was out of volunteerism. The people who volunteered benefited from an extra hour in their course credit and also they qualified for a lottery ticket that will see a winner pocket about 47 US dollars. Self-pity was measured on a six-item scale on which each item was measured on a five-scale score ranging from zero (not at all) and 4 (strongly agree). The scores for the items are computed by getting the sum across the items. The big five personality characteristics were measured on a five-factor model with the NEO-FFI (NEO Five Factor Inventory). NEO-FFI comprise of a five 12-item scale that capture individual differences in neuroticism (Stöber, 2003, p. 193).
Results and discussion
There was a significant overall effect on gender according to Pillai’s criterion. Analysis of variance was conducted to find out the variables that showed significant gender differences. A higher level of self-pity was seen in female than in the male. Female respondents showed a higher level of agreeableness and extraversion and low levels of loneliness, unlike their male counterparts. Some traits such as anger expression, control beliefs and gender differences were not significant. A correlation of self-pity and other variables under study was carried out. By replicating the previous results, self-pity indicated a higher correlation with neuroticism while showing a negative relationship between extraversion (Stöber, 2003, p. 195). Self-pity was found not to be related to the other traits such as consciousness, openness and agreeableness.
Analysis using Levenson’s tripartite model to inspect relationship, indicate that self-pity is positively correlated to externality beliefs hence agreeing with previous results that it has an external locus of control (Stöber, 2003). On the other hand, there was a lower negative correlation with externality beliefs. With respect to anger expression, the current results indicate that self-pity is related to all Spielberger’s three expression scales inventory. Finally, the results indicated expectations from the collected data concerning a relationship between self-pity and loneliness. However, self-pity was not related to social loneliness but rather emotional loneliness (Stöber, 2003).
According to the five-factor model of personality, this study agrees with the previous findings that self-pity is closely related to neuroticism and not related to extraversion. According to the control beliefs, results indicate a replicated trend as the one that had been recorded earlier in 1985 by Janke and colleagues (Stöber, 2003, p. 199). Some questions remain unanswered for instance the link between neuroticism and self-pity which require further investigation. But on a broader dimension, the results from the five-factor model act as a stepping stone to advanced analysis and experimentation on the subject. The six neuroticism facets remain as anxiety, depression, hostility, angry, self-consciousness, impulsivity, and vulnerability.
According to the various theories describing personality, the variables used in this experiment fall under some of the personality approaches. From the results, it is clear on the effect of these variables on an individual’s character and behaviour. Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. The relationship between self-pity and anger may require further research studies. Further research is necessary because, the inventory by Spielberger refers anger in general terms and, therefore, the information that is collected through this method may lack some facts. According to research on anger, it is demonstrated that anger-provoking experiences are divided into three groups. They include interpersonal exploitation, personal frustrations and interpersonal frustration (Stöber, 2003, p. 200).
Criticism of the study
Stöber T, (2003)’s article on Exploring the links to personality, control beliefs, and anger has gone astride ahead I determining the relationship between various behavioral changes and their effects. The paper presents important information on the methodology and analysis of data by using purely scientific methods. However, the paper only reports on scientific data and ignores other data that may be collected through observations and secondary data that may be helpful. This section highlights a few areas where improvements should be made. As shown in the title of the paper, it covers personality, control beliefs and anger. Two of the three areas have been adequately covered, but one is partially covered. The paper fails to highlight into detail the different personality theories that determine behavioral changes. Some of these theories are discussed later in this paper.
The hypothesis in this research is not clear and distinct, and it requires reading a whole paragraph for one to identify it. Instead, the hypothesis should be stated clearly and separated from other informative text. The problem statement is lacking clarity hence its relationship with the hypothesis is weakened. This research utilizes scientific methods only in analysis and its argument in the discussion is purely based on scientific methods. However, it is important to include some observational conclusions although they are dependent on the observer’s judgement ability. Some variables are not easily measured by numerical figures. For4 example it is not easy to measure anger on a scale. They are a possibility that the expression will be exaggerated or diminished depending on how the interviewer relates to the respondent. In some cases, the respondents may not be free to tell the truth about their inside feelings about their social life. Possibly it’s because some may feel embarrassed about their status and, therefore, decide to keep the truth by themselves.
Adequate knowledge in psychology can help the interviewer determine to use observation on the respondents’ behavior to draw conclusions without necessarily doing a scientific analysis. However, this kind of analysis should not be done independently but rather in conjunction with the scientific methods for the empirical data. Apart from the few problems that have been mentioned, the paper presents a good research with reliable results and discussions based on the problems. However, some improvement on the research is recommended to address the areas with insufficient data.
Relationship of the study to personality theory
Mischel and Walter (1973), examines the conceptions of individual situations and differences in the study of psychology. It undermines central assumptions of the trait personality but examines individual differences in detail. The acquired meaning of stimuli, various uses and misuses of traits and the nature of behavioral specificity are among the issues that are discussed. Mischel and Walter (1973) identify some cognitive, social learning variables as basic units in the study of individuals. They include stimuli to outcome expectancies, behavioral construction and cognitive competencies, encoding strategies and personal constructs. Variables such as stimulus-outcome and behaviour to outcome expectancies are mentioned as key variables. Other variables that are given little focus include self-regulatory systems and plans, and subject stimulus values.
Cognitive approaches have the most precise explanation to the understanding of personalities. The theory’s emphasis on thinking and personal judgement is a daily experience, therefore, could not be ignored. Bandura’s observation experiments are fascinating the Bobo doll experiment especially. In this experiment, he shows to children a videotape of a college student kicking and verbally abusing a doll. After watching, they also acted in a similar manner when they went out to play. From this experiment, Bandura can make a good observation on the forces of emotions and memory.
Mischel and Walter (1973) describe the relationship between the five main branches of psychology and their relationship to the cognitive perspective. Psychologists known for developing the various theories and perspectives are indicated at the end of each description of a theory. The introduction of theories, therefore, important for learners to quickly find their reference points. The author also gives a good brief description of cognitive approach hence easy to understand the thought. It provides a straightforward description of memory and depicts its importance in psychology with a clear description of the cognitive in social learning.
Johansson et al., (2015)’s objective in this article is to find out the reasons why alpine ski injuries’ prevention studies are less considered when it comes to psychological aspects. The aim of these investigations is to study if there are any relationship between some personality traits and alpine ski injuries. Also, find out the significance of gender factor in these relationships. 298 alpine skiers at a Swedish ski high school (139 males and 159 females), were used, and they completed the Swedish universities Scales of Personality (SSP). SSP refers to a self-report personality inventory containing. Ninety-one items were divided into thirteen subscales the divisions were based on the following: sensation seeking behavior, stress susceptibility and impulsivity. The three sets of skiers were analyzed and grouped into those, with one injury, without any injuries and with two or more injuries.
The findings show that there is a significant relationship between injury rate and stress susceptibility (p=0,046) with the lowest values for the set of higher injury rates and higher values for the uninjured skiers. The outcome was for both the males and females skiers. There was no significant relationship between anxiety proneness, impulsivity and adventure skiing, and injury rate. The study concluded that stress susceptibility appears to be a limiting factor in alpine skiing injuries among skiers aged between 16-20 years (Johansson et al., 2015).
Personality is used to show the contribution of personal traits in the determination of employability. It gives the positive and negative aspect of using personality traits in determining the productive index of an employee. The discussion on personality enlightens on overdependence on personal traits information that is observable or given out by the job seekers during interviews. The ideology gives a clear and possibly a true argument that not in all cases that the personal traits determine none’s ability to give best results at the workplace. Johansson et al., (2015) uses a scientific approach to finding out the relationship between gender, physical activity and psychological behavior among individuals. Trait approach to personality can be scientifically proven through experiments and demonstrations. Through this method, the approach, therefore, reveals a more reliable source of scientific facts.
Experimental studies and Relationship of the study to personality development
The authors’ purpose in (Thomas, Stephanie, & Catherine, 1987), is to determine the extent of inconsistency in informants’ reports on emotional and behavioral problems. The problems are associated with the subjects aged between one and a half to nineteen years. Out of 119 studies that were carried out, 219 samples of meta-analyses from various categories of people were collected. The people who were involved include; mental health workers, teachers, parents, peers, observers and subjects themselves. There was a statistical significance between the Pearson means of all types of informants. The mean between similar informants were .60 (example, parent to parent). Mean between different informants was .28 (example, parent to a teacher) and between other informants and the subjects, the means were .22. Significantly higher correlations were recorded between informants aged 6-11 years than for the adolescents and for over controlled versus under controlled problems. The correlations indicate that absent versus present judgement of problems does not effectively capture the child and adolescent problems.
The article provides a scientific approach to finding out the degree of inconsistency in emotional behavior among different individuals. Scientific approaches provide concrete reasons are defending or approval of a certain phenomenon. The author gives a clear evaluation of behavior through analysis and provides a comparison of behavioral differences in different age groups hence the source is significant (Thomas, Stephanie, & Catherine, 1987). Personality disorders approach shows some relationship to the other theories. For instance, this theory uses some patterns of behavior cognitive and inner experience that is also exhibited in most contexts. Some graphics shows interesting knowledge in the way they portray the behavior of affected individuals on paper and can be used for diagnostic assessment. The conversation seems violent, but probably it’s not. It shows that sometimes people behave in a certain way due to a trigger by the inner feeling in a person.
Shavera and Mikulincerb, (2005) elaborates social behavior approach to personality with cognitive concepts. The author describes the changes I psychology research that have changed from the old theorists to adopt the new theories. It is noted that the current generation are forgetting the famous theories by the ancient theorists who died decades ago. The author argues that given the theorists like Freud is not alive; students only hear about them and read their stories. Some think that theorists like Freud were sex-obsessed theoretical web spinners whose intention were to derogate women and later gave a black eye to them.
Shavera and Mikulincerb, (2005) describes various theories that have emerged from the old theories and are now famous. It indicates those theories that are being easily wiped out and forgotten while others are coming up. There are various reasons for these changes that are explained in detail. Some of them include technology, an influence of social media which lead to distortion of information. An irregular flow of information on the internet is also one of the factors that have contributed to the shift. The recent theories such as Westen’s five postulates have spawned enormous amount of research in various psychological subfields giving deferent conclusions and findings. For instance, the overall findings are that the basic psychodynamic assumption that healthy personality development signifies a passage from dependence to autonomy (Shavera and Mikulincerb, 2005).
The authors categorically show how the changes have occurred regarding research in personality psychology. It gives an elaborate explanation of how the current theories are growingly becoming famous that the old theories. Though the new theorists base their research on the old theories, it is evident that after they discover something new, the old write up seems to be forgotten (Shavera and Mikulincerb, 2005). The article is a reminder on basic articles, writings and theories that existed before us but is almost being wiped out for various known reasons. This article proves its significance in explaining the research trend and the change of times so that we can think of the future expectations.
The Neo-Freudian theorists agree on the cultural and social influences of a child that were described before by Sigmund and, therefore, the existence of the psychoanalytic theory. I chose the topic because of its distinctive explanation in the development stages and experiences that determine one’s behavior and character. The topic is easier to understand, and it is rich with facts on a personality that can be easily identified. The picture describes certain things that are learned through striving or determination alters the energetic field for the entire universe in that respect. So that not only offspring of that species but also contemporaries of the same species will be more likely to learn that (Shavera and Mikulincerb, 2005).
Gregory et al., (2001) give a summary of psychology associated issues and assessment. It brings together data from more than 125 meta-analyses on test validity with above 800 multimethod examining samples. It also shows the basic analysis of the personality concept theories but providing enough information on their validity. The article gives four conclusions indicated as follows. The first one is that medical test validity is comparable to psychological test validity and gives more examples of conducted experiments contributing to the conclusion. Secondly, Gregory et al. (2001) finds out that psychological test validity is strong and compelling. Thirdly, unique sources of information are provided by distinct assessment methods. Lastly, the clinicians who rely exclusively on interviews are prone to inadequate understanding of the subject matter depending on what the interviewee was seeking.
In line with the principles for optimal nomothetic research, the authors recommend that a multimethod evaluation battery delivers a structured means for skillful clinicians to maximize the validity of personalized assessments (Gregory et al., 2001). They further recommend that future research should move beyond an investigation of test scales and rather put more focus on the role of psychologists who use tests as helpful tools to furnish patients and referral sources with professional consultation. The article examines different research materials and develops a wide comparison of various studies this fact enrich the article with relevance to the content hence important for learners.
Personality Research and Assessment reviews the different stages of personality theory development and research. Research is an important tool in any study and it equips the learner with adequate knowledge in their field of study. It leads to more discoveries that contribute to psychological development. The various hand drawn images associated with psychology are used for testing of psychological disorders. It Is important to find out that through one’s schematic drawing his/her character can be determined. The graphics have a higher capacity to determine an individual’s mental disorders among other behavior (Gregory et al., 2001). There are various tests such as house-tree-person test that is directed to measure an individual’s perceptions and attitude. The test sometimes can be used partly as a brain assessment tool or in testing the overall neurological functioning. It is also an educational ideology that provides the learner with concepts in psychology and research.
Gregory M., Stephen F., Lorraine D., Gary G., Moreland, Kevin L …, Geoffrey M. (2001). Psychological testing and psychological assessment: A review of evidence and issues. Vol 56(2), 128-165.
Johansson L, Westin M, Levin L, Edman G, Alricsson M, and Werner S. (2015). Personality Traits in Swedish High School Alpine Skiers – A Comparison between Injured and Uninjured Skiers. J psychology & psychotherapy. 5: 192.
Mischel and Walter, (1973). Toward a cognitive, social learning reconceptualization of personality: Psychological Review. PsycARTICLES, Vol 80(4), 252-283.
Shavera R and Mikulincerb M. (2005). Attachment theory and research: Resurrection of thepsychodynamic approach to personality. Journal of Research in Personality. Vol. 39 (1), 22–45.
Stöber, J. (2003). Self-pity: Exploring the links between personality, control beliefs, and anger. Journal of Personality, 71, 183-221.
Thomas M., Stephanie H., & Catherine T. (1987). Child/adolescent behavioral and emotionalproblems: Implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity. Psychological Bulletin. Vol 101(2), 213-232.