Personality (part-2)

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2 years ago

A child who suffers from feelings of in adequacy may learn that inadequacy is not highly valued, while self-confidence is. He therefore becomes self-confident, often to the point of being bombastic. Likewise, showing off by clowning is more often a cloak for feelings of inadequacy than an ex expression of feelings of inadequacy or superior ority.

Thus it is apparent that judgments based on what is manifest or observable may not be a true indication of the child's real per sonality. The "quality of his total behavior" may not tell the true story of what the child's concept of himself is and what his real motives areā€”motives that have been cloaked in socially acceptable speech and actions.

Emphasis on the objective aspect of per sonality is a serious defect in defining per sonality because it fails to explain why the person speaks and acts as he does. It implies that there is a cause-and-effect relationship, but the cause must be found through impli cationā€”an implication that can readily be faulty if the individual has cloaked his ac tions to conform to social expectations. In ferring that a child is not afraid of a large dog may be correct, or it may not. Just be cause the child does not cry, run away and hide, or show any of the characteristic actions associated with fear is not positive proof that he is not afraid. He may have learned that it is regarded as babyish to show fear of dogs and that if he does so, he will be labeled a "fraidycat" by members of the peer group. Therefore, he stands his ground and tries to hide his fear in the hope that he will be judged as fearlessā€”a quality highly valued by his peer group. Only when attempts are made to discover the subjective or interior organization of his acts can one get a true picture of the child's real personality.

ā˜…Allport's Definition.

Of the many proposed definitions of "personality," as it is viewed scientifically today, perhaps the most inclu sive is that of Allport, who has defined per sonality as the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical sys tems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment. The term "dy namic" points up the changing nature of personality; it emphasizes that changes can and do occur in the quality of a person's be havior. "Organization" implies that person ality is not made up of a number of different traits, one added to the other, but that they are interrelated. This interrelationship changes, with some traits becoming more dominant and others less so with changes in the child and in his environment.

The "psychophysical systems" are the habits, attitudes, values, beliefs, emotional states, sentiments, and motives which are psychological in nature but which have a physical basis in the child's neural, gland dular, and general bodily states. These sys tems are not the product of heredity, though they are based on hereditary foundations; they have been developed through learning as a result of the child's experiences.

The psychophysical systems are the moti vating forces which determine what type of adjustment the child will make. Because each child has different learning experiences, the type of adjustment he will make is "unique" in the sense that no other child, even an identical twin, will react in exactly the same manner. Furthermore, because the psychophysical systems are the product of learning, the traditional belief that person ality traits are inherited is refuted.

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