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Personality Development and Formation in Psychology

Personality development and formation in psychology are processes wherein an individual examines and establishes the qualities and traits that encompass their character. Personality development and formation are important areas of study within psychology because of habits and conduct that define an individual’s personality, such as behavior, thoughts, and emotional expression.

The psychological study of personality requires researchers to analyze the formation of personality through four main determinants of personality. The four main determinants of personality are genetic, environmental, cultural, and situational factors that are unique to each individual’s lived experience. Each of the main determinants of personality serves as the basis of personality development and formation and explains the impact on social skills, personality typology, and developmental stages.

Theories of Personality Development and Character Psychology

The development and formation of different aspects of personality have a direct connection and effect on social skills and interpersonal relationships. Social skills require the aspects of an extroverted desire to socialize and openness toward meeting new people. Strengthening interpersonal relationships requires you to express the aspects of agreeableness with social expectations and conscientiousness with careful concern for others. Conversely, developing a combination of neuroticism and extraversion results in a lack of emotional inhibitions coupled with a desire to socialize. For example, a person who develops an extraverted and neurotic personality gets energy from interacting with others but their interactions are often argumentative or hostile.

Personality development and formation connect to the results of both the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Enneagram of Personality. The MBTI connects to personality development and formation by assessing a person’s perception and judgment of the world. However, the Enneagram of Personality assesses a person’s inner desires, fears, and motivations. The combination of MBTI and Enneagram provides a more detailed view of how a person’s personality develops. For example, an Introvert on the MBTI who tests as an Enneagram Type 7 Enthusiast is more likely to desire socializing despite social situations draining their energy.

Personality development and formation are influenced through each stage of development. There are multiple viewpoints regarding the psychoanalysis of personality stages. Firstly, Sigmund Freud describes personality development through a psychosexual lens. According to Freud, five stages of development begin at birth and end at death, but personality development begins to fix around age five. Secondly, Erik Erikson describes personality through a psychosocial lens. Erikson’s theory on developmental stages argues that 8 stages exist from infancy to old age and that personality continues to develop through adulthood. Thirdly, Daniel Levinson examines the stages of development from a psychosocial viewpoint. Levinson focuses on adult personality development through five stages and argues that personality continues to develop throughout adulthood.

Personality development and formation are crucial components of psychology and ultimately impact the motivations and preferences of an individual. Below, we explore the major theories surrounding personality development and formation, the process of developing personality, and personality’s effect on social relations.

What is the definition of personality development?

The definition of personality development is the process of changing and affirming individual personality traits over a person’s life. The study of personality development is gaining popularity in psychology because of the effect of personality on psychological diagnosis and clinical strategies associated with psychological development. There is a growing personality development industry that consists of psychological coaching and self-growth programs, such as self-improvement guides and books. The history of personality development dates back to Freud’s Psychoanalytic theories on the stages of development and evolved to include other branches of psychology. For example, personality development research now includes Humanistic theories stemming from researchers such as Carl Rogers and his client-centered therapies. Furthermore, Trait Theories from researchers such as Gordon Allport’s three levels of personality traits work to outline the nuances of personality. Carl Rogers and his Humanistic Theories remain relevant to the study of personality development as seen in the research from Brookdale College psychology professor Eugene M. DeRobertis. Professor Eugene M. DeRobertis argues that the Humanistic approach allows for a more sound idea of personality development in his paper, Deriving a Humanistic Theory of Child Development From the Works of Carl R. Rogers and Karen Horney. Additionally, personality development is studied in Whole Trait Theory: An Integrative Approach to Examining Personality Structure and Process by Eranda Jayawickreme, Corinne E. Zachry, and William Fleeson at Wake Forest University. Wake Forest University’s Whole Trait theory argues that personality change depends on which traits are developing and the circumstances under which development occurs.

What is the difference between personality formation and development?

The difference between personality formation and development is that they are two processes within the greater study of personality psychology. Firstly, personality formation is the initial stage of identifying with and structuring personality traits. Formation occurs during childhood and adolescence with the onset of a child observing the behaviors of their family members and peers. Secondly, personality development is the lifelong process of adapting and defining personality traits. Personality development changes over time depending on outside influence and the establishment of personal moral codes.

What are the theories for personality development?

Below are 10 theories for personality development.

  • Freud’s theory: Freud’s theory of personality development indicates that personality forms over five stages that each influence an individual’s personality.
  • Erikson’s personality theory: Erikson’s personality theory suggests that people go through eight stages of lifelong development.
  • Eysenck’s personality theory: Eysenck’s personality theory argues that biological factors form the basis of and influence a person’s personality.
  • Cattell’s 16PF trait theory: Cattell’s 16PF trait theory suggests 16 distinct traits define a person’s development.
  • Psychoanalytic theory: Psychoanalytic theory argues that each person has unconscious opinions, needs, and feelings that influence personality development.
  • Trait theory: Trait theory states that personality development relies on a set number of traits that each person develops to varying degrees throughout life.
  • Social cognitive theory: Social cognitive theory suggests that behavioral, environmental, and cognitive factors influence personality development.
  • Evolutionary theory: Evolutionary theory indicates that personality develops as a result of an ancestral influence, such as a fight or flight response.
  • Lifespan theory: Lifespan theory suggests that personality develops over a person’s entire lifetime and doesn’t fix at an early stage.
  • Humanistic theory: Humanistic theory argues that personality develops because of self-awareness and personal growth.

1. Freud’s Theory

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic theory of psychology which encompasses Freud’s theory of personality development. Freud’s theory on development suggests that people start developing their personalities at birth until development begins to fix in childhood. According to Freud, personality continues to form after puberty as people try to find a balance between the behaviors they develop and the behaviors they refrain from developing through each stage of development. Freud’s theory argues that there are five stages of development—oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. The five stages of development from Freud’s theory are outlined in Personality Development by Valerie Simanowitz and Peter Pearce. The main way Freud’s theory differs from other theories on development is due to his proposition that personality development begins to become stagnant in childhood and shifts only slightly as a person enters the final stage of life. Freud’s stages of development are similar to Erik Erikson’s stages of development. However, Erikson argues that development continues throughout life and his theory includes an additional three stages. Freud’s theory of development is largely disputed in modern psychology circles despite Freud’s popularity and importance as the founder of psychoanalysis. Other theories such as Erikson’s are more relevant today than Freud’s work because Freud focused on subconscious thought, whereas modern psychology argues the influence of both subconscious and conscious thought.

What are the stages of personality development according to Freud?

The following are the five stages of personality development according to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.

  • Oral stage: The oral stage of development occurs from birth and lasts through the 1st year of life. Infant development centers around the mouth during the oral stage of development.
  • Anal stage: Freud’s anal stage of development begins around age 1 and lasts until age 3. The second stage of development shifts to focus on toilet training.
  • Phallic stage: Freud’s phallic stage of development lasts from age 3 until age 6. The third stage’s focus is genitalia and the discovery of one’s body.
  • Latency stage: The latency stage of development lasts from age 6 until puberty. The fourth stage focuses on dormant sexual feelings.
  • Genital stage: The genital stage of development lasts from puberty until death. The final stage involves the maturation of sexual desires and their influence on your personality.

Freud believed that proper personality development requires the full resolution of each stage of development. However, fixating on the oral stage results in long-term personality suppression. Freud’s stages of personality development are different from other theories due to his focus on the subconscious mind’s influence on the development and his belief that personality is mostly developed by the phallic stage. For example, Erik Erikson believed that personality continues to develop consciously over the entirety of a person’s lifetime and isn’t fixed at an early age.

2. Erikson’s Personality Development Theory

Erik Erikson was a German-American psychoanalyst who developed the psychosocial development theory. Erikson’s theory indicates that individuals go through eight stages of development throughout their entire lifespan. Each stage of development is defined by an identity crisis that must be resolved for healthy personality development. Erikson’s theory suggests that internal and external factors influence personality development. These stages are outlined in Erikson’s book Identity: Youth and Crisis. The main factor differentiating Erikson’s theory of development from other theories is his focus on societal and individual thoughts and behaviors. Carl Rogers’ theory on development is an example of a different approach to personality development. For example, Rogers theorized that people possess a natural drive to achieve self-actualization and will work throughout life to develop their personalities. Erikson’s theory continues to remain popular and influence research in developmental psychology. However, Erikson’s theory has received criticism for lacking inclusivity in his study and focusing on American and European male development. Additionally, Erikson’s theory is criticized for the absence of defined steps to direct people in the process of moving from stage to stage. Erikson’s theory remains important despite criticisms because the theory highlights the ongoing process of personality development and emphasizes the role social and individual factors play in shaping personality.

What are the stages of personality development according to Erikson?

The following are eight stages of personality development according to Erikson’s psychosocial theory.

  • Infancy: The infancy stage of development according to Erikson began at conception and continued through the first year of life. Erikson argues that infants at this stage gain hope in the world and have an innate sense of trust that can turn to mistrust if their oral needs are not met. 
  • Toddlerhood: The toddlerhood stage of development begins at the age of 1 and continues until the child is 2. Toddlers experience a crisis of autonomy versus shame where they gain autonomy by acquiring the virtue of will and risk developing a sense of shame if their interests are discouraged by their guardians. 
  • Early childhood: The early childhood stage of development lasts from begins where the toddler stage ends and lasts until the age of 6. Early childhood includes developing the virtue of purpose and experiencing a crisis of initiative versus guilt. Young children start to explore their world and define goals and desirable behavior but risk a sense of guilt if they fail to accomplish their intended task.
  • Late childhood: The late childhood stage lasts from age 7 to age 10. Children struggle with industry versus inferiority and develop a sense of competence.
  • Adolescence: Adolescence begins at the age of 11 and last until the age of 19. Adolescents experience a crisis of identity versus role confusion and develop a sense of fidelity at the end of their internal conflict of self.
  • Early adulthood: Early adulthood begins at the age of 20 and lasts until the age of 45. Erikson argues that early adults experience a crisis of intimacy versus isolation that culminates in the development of love toward other people.
  • Middle adulthood: Middle adulthood begins at the age of 45 and lasts until the age of 64. People experience a crisis of generativity versus stagnation during middle age and desire to care for other people, and their community, or leave a lasting impression on society.
  • Late adulthood: Late adulthood begins at the age of 65 and lasts until death and leads to the virtue of wisdom. People in late adulthood experience a crisis of ego integrity versus despair during which they struggle to accept their life as a complete experience or experience despair for what they could have experienced or done.

Erikson believed that personality development could experience delays if a person doesn’t successfully overcome a previous stage. Thusly, the most important stage in Erikson’s theory is infancy during which people experience a crisis of trust versus mistrust. Erikson’s eight-stage theory differs from other psychosocial thinkers such as his wife, Joan Erikson. Joan Erikson added to Erik Erikson’s and argued a ninth stage exists. According to Joan Erikson’s theory, people experience a reversal of the previous 8 stages during a person’s eighties and nineties.

3. Eysenck’s Personality Theory

Hans Eysenck was a German-born psychologist who worked and lived his life in Great Britain.  The Eysenck personality theory focuses on the development of three dimensions of Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), and Psychoticism (P), which Eysenck discusses in his book, “The Dimensions of Personality.” Eysenck defines Neuroticism as instability, Extraversion, and gaining energy from social settings, and Psychoticism as impulsivity. Eysenck theorized that each person develops a combination of high or low levels of each Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Psychoticism instead of experiencing defined stages of development. The absence of developmental personality stages differentiates Eysnck’s theory from others. For example, Erikson and Freud both argue that there are multiple defined stages of development from birth until death. Additionally, Freud’s and Eysenck’s theories differ from each other because Eysenck incorporated both biological and societal influences. Eysenck’s personality theory remained popular until recent years have seen his research fall out of favor amongst psychologists. For example, Eysenck’s personality theory is criticized for implying that genetics play a larger role in personality development than modern research supports. Additionally, Eysenck’s work has received scrutiny for his political biases that potentially interfered with the results of his research.

4. Cattell’s 16PF Trait Theory

Raymond Cattell was a British-American psychologist and developer of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). Cattell’s 16PF trait theory concludes personality can be divided into 16 factors that are measured through psychometric testing. The 16 factors are outlined in Cattell’s book, The 16PF: Personality in Depth, and include traits such as emotional stability, sensitivity, aggressiveness, and perfectionism. Test subjects are scored on whether or not they display high or low degrees of each of the 16 traits. Cattell’s theory used Gordon Allport’s lexicon of personality traits as a basis to construct his 16 dimensions. However, Cattell’s 16PF trait theory differs from other trait theories because he offers a wide variety of personality traits that overlap in meaning, such as anxiety and tension. For example, the Big Five personality trait model groups similar traits into five distinct categories. Cattell’s 16PF has waned in popularity in recent years because other researchers are unable to replicate his original research which sparks doubts concerning 16PF’s validity.

5. Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalytic Theory is a method of therapy founded by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist. The psychoanalytic theory focuses on the role of the unconscious and early childhood experiences in shaping personality. Freud claimed that personality forms through an interaction between the id, ego, and superego. Additionally, Freud believed development occurs through a series of psychosexual stages. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is outlined in Essential Freud by C.R. Badcock. The Psychoanalytic theory differs from other personality development theories because it focuses on the unconscious influence that shapes behavior and personality. For example, trait theory focuses on defining distinct personality traits, such as Cattell’s 16PF theory which uses 16 different traits. Conversely, the psychoanalytic theory argues that the conscious mind and unconscious mind are the basis of personality development. The psychoanalytic theory remains popular in psychiatry for educational purposes, but the process of psychoanalysis is time-consuming and has largely fallen out of practice.

6. Trait Theory

The trait theory of personality development focuses on identifying and measuring traits that are consistent across individuals. Trait theory was founded by American psychologist and personality psychology pioneer, Gordon Allport. Trait theory suggests that recognizable attributes and qualities form the foundation of personality, according to a study of trait theory in Personality: Theory and Research by Lawrence A. Pervin. Additionally, each person possesses a unique combination of traits. Trait theory differs from other personality theories because it focuses on conscious behavior that’s easily observed by others whereas other theories, such as psychoanalytic theory, focus on the importance of unconscious motivations. Trait theory is popular amongst behavioral psychologists today because it provides a more measurable approach to defining personality. The most popular modern trait theory is the Five Factor Model or Big 5, which identifies the five personality dimensions of extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and conscientiousness.

7. Social Cognitive Theory

The social cognitive theory was developed by Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura. Bandura’s social cognitive theory highlights the role cognitive processes play in personality development. The social cognitive theory states that people learn by observing others’ behavior and by then processing the consequences of their actions. Observing other people’s behavior influences personality by exposing the behaviors that are rewarded and the behaviors that are criticized in social settings. The social cognitive theory differs from other personality development theories because it focuses on the role self-efficacy, or someone’s ability to effectively perform functions for a desired result, plays in shaping personality. For example, other personality development theories, such as Erikson’s personality development theory, focus on personality as it develops through stages of life. Bandura outlines his concept of self-efficacy in his book Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. The social cognitive theory remains popular in educational and business circles to encourage an increase in self-efficacy and facilitate confidence in students and staff.

8. Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary theory is a psychological model which suggests evolutionary changes influence human behavior. Evolutionary theory is based on natural selection and the research of Charles Darwin, and outlined in The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture by Jerome H. Barkow, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby. Natural selection influences personality development because certain qualities, such as friendliness or aggression, are passed down or discouraged through each generation to guarantee survival. Evolutionary theory is different from other personality development theories because it focuses on natural and generational personality influences while other theories focus on conscious efforts to adjust personality. For example, the social cognitive theory emphasizes the influence of conscious thought on personality development. Evolutionary theory has received criticism over the years for disregarding conscious influences on personality development. Additionally, the evolutionary theory focuses on the evolution of behaviors and traits over time and not on a modern individual’s personality development. Furthermore, evolutionary theorists receive criticism for their questionable ethics and political influence.

9. Lifespan Theory

The lifespan theory is a psychological concept developed by German psychologist Paul Baltes. Lifespan theory argues that personality development is a process that begins at conception and continues throughout life until death. According to lifespan theory, genetic, environmental, and social factors influence personality development. Lifespan theory differs from other development theories because it focuses on the importance of individual experiences throughout life and argues that personality is malleable and can change. For example, Freud’s personality development theory describes five distinct stages of development that stretch across a person’s lifespan. However, Freud’s theory argues that personality begins to fix at an early age. Baltes argues that you can make adjustments to your personality on a conscious level throughout life in his book, Life-span Development and Behavior, which has gained popularity among developmental psychologists.

10. Humanistic Theory

The humanistic theory states that people are inherently good and want to improve their personalities throughout life. Abraham Maslow first theorized a humanistic approach in response to the preference for behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Maslow explores how motivations are a driving factor rather than subconscious thought in his book Motivation and Personality. Maslow’s humanistic theory gave rise to other humanistic psychologists such as Carl Rogers who believed people desire to achieve self-fulfillment. For example, Roger’s humanistic theory argues that if a person desires a certain role in society, then they will adapt their personality to fit the mold of that role in society. The humanistic theory differs from others personality development theories because it focuses on individual experiences rather than a generalized perspective on development. Conversely, the evolutionary theory focuses on the traits people inherit as a result of evolution rather than personal experiences throughout their lifetime. The humanistic theory remains popular in modern psychology and influenced the creation of client-centered therapy, holistic health, and family therapy among others.

What are the stages of personality development?

The stages of personality development are distinct psychological phases marked by age progression and emotional maturity. There are two main models of the stages of personality development. Firstly, Sigmund Freud’s stages of development explain that personality development begins at birth. Freud’s theory argues the case for five stages of development consisting of oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. Freud’s stages of development encompass a person’s entire lifespan; however, Freud theorized adults only adjust their personalities to balance the development of behavior in each stage. Secondly, Erik Erikson’s research states that eight stages of personality development begin at birth and continue throughout life. Erikson’s theory proposes that each stage consists of an internal conflict that gives way to the development of eight virtues. Erikson argued that individuals can adjust their personality based on social and cultural influences while the stages act as a foundation for integral trait development. The common sections of the stages of personality development consist of infancy ages 0-2, toddler ages 2-3, early childhood ages 3-5, middle childhood ages 6-13, adolescence ages 13-21, early adulthood ages 21-39, middle adulthood ages 40-65, late adulthood ages 65-death.

What are the types of personality development?

Below are the five main types of personality development.

  • Social: Social personality development involves an individual’s interaction and development with other people. Social development includes forming social skills, attitudes, and behaviors that influence how people socialize.
  • Emotional: Emotional personality development involves individuals learning to identify, understand, and control their emotions. Emotional development includes the development of empathy, coping strategies, and emotional maturity.
  • Cognitive: Cognitive personality development entails individuals developing their thinking skills, such as memory, perception, and logical reasoning skills. Cognitive personality development requires gaining knowledge and skills that help your intellect develop.
  • Moral: Moral personality development is the process of developing a sense of right versus wrong. Moral personality development entails a person’s values, beliefs, and identity impacting their decision-making and personality over their lifetime.
  • Identity: Identity personality involves an individual’s developing a sense of self. Identity development is the exploration and acceptance of identity related to gender, ethnicity, and sexuality among other aspects.

What are the aspects of personality development?

The aspects of personality development are five different facets of personality that can develop throughout life. The aspects of personality were first theorized as part of Paul Costa and Robert McCrae’s Big Five personality traits or Five Factor Model. Aspects of personality are not mutually exclusive and there is the potential for each person to include varying degrees of each aspect. Below are the five aspects of personality and a brief description of each trait.

  • Extraversion aspect of personality development: The extraversion aspect describes people who are energized by social interaction.
  • Agreeableness aspect of personality development: Agreeableness describes people who are considerate of others, empathetic, and friendly.
  • Neuroticism aspect of personality development: Neuroticism describes people who display a lack of control over their self-control and anger.
  • Openness aspect of personality development: Openness describes people who express acceptance and appreciation.
  • Conscientiousness aspect of personality development: Conscientiousness describes people who are responsible, dedicated, and careful.

1. Extraversion aspect of personality development

The extraversion aspect of personality development is a personality trait that describes a person who is energized by socialization, self-assured, and outgoing. Extraverted people are lively people who seek out social situations. For example, a person who has a highly developed extraversion aspect will enjoy attending a party and interacting with lots of people. Extraversion is important because it impacts the number of social experiences and people an individual meets. For example, extraversion will drive a person to network with others while someone with low extraversion is likely to sit back and enjoy social interaction from the sidelines. Extraversion is one of the five dimensions within the Big Five personality theory and works in conjunction with the other four factors. Additionally, extraversion exists as a distinct trait within the psychoanalytic theory of personality development theorized by Sigmund Freud. Freud argued that extraverted personalities are more likely to seek out social interactions.

2. Agreeableness aspect of personality development

The Agreeableness aspect of personality development is a personality trait characterized by a person’s compassion, cooperation, and empathy toward others. Personalities with highly developed agreeableness express warmth and friendliness and those with low agreeableness are prone to arguments and animosity. For example, a highly agreeable person is more likely to say yes to a friend’s idea for a night out or a choice of movie to watch, leading to other people feeling comfortable around those with agreeable personalities. Agreeableness is an important part of the Big Five personality theory which argues each person displays varying degrees of five different traits. Additionally, agreeableness is part of the HEXACO model of personality development which divides personality into six dimensions which include, Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O).

3. Neuroticism aspect of personality development

The neuroticism aspect of personality development is a personality trait that describes people who are emotionally unstable, anxious, and prone to anger. People who have a high degree of neuroticism frequently experience erratic and intense emotions. For example, a highly neurotic person will be unable to handle sudden shifts in their daily life and respond with fear, anger, and paranoia. Neuroticism is an important factor to recognize in personality development because it is directly linked to health risks, such as depression. The aspect of neuroticism is part of the Big Five personality theory where it interconnects with four other traits. Additionally, neuroticism is part of Eysenck’s three dimensions of personality.

4. Openness aspect of personality development

The openness aspect of personality development is a personality trait that describes individuals who are imaginative, creative, and open to new experiences. People with a highly developed openness aspect will seek out new foods, events, and cultural experiences as a means of enjoying life. For example, someone who develops an open personality will often travel or have a wide variety of interests. Openness is an important factor in personality development because it impacts the types of situations a person experiences and the people they meet. Additionally, openness correlates with an overall higher sense of well-being and empathy toward others. Openness exists as part of the Big Five personality theory and connects to Cattell’s 16PF trait of open-mindedness.

5. Conscientiousness aspect of personality development

The conscientiousness aspect of personality development is a trait that describes individuals who display strong organizational skills, responsibility, and dependability. Conscientious people value self-discipline over spontaneity. For example, conscientious people are less likely to cancel plans last minute or show up late for an important event. Instead, people with a highly developed level of conscientiousness will attempt to reschedule the plans or notify people that they will arrive late. Conscientiousness is an important aspect of personality development because it helps people advance in places of work, academia, or within friend groups. Conscientiousness helps people forge strong connections with others because it helps people feel respected. The aspect of conscientiousness exists in the Big Five personality theory as well as in Cattell’s 16PF trait theory.

What are the factors for personality formation?

The following are the three main factors for personality formation.

  • Genetics: Genetics is a factor in personality formation that aid in the development of temperament, sociability, and emotionality. Genetic psychology research argues that traits such as neuroticism and extraversion have a genetic connection.
  • Environment: Environmental factors for personality formation include upbringing, socialization, and cultural influences. A person’s environment can impact their behavior and thoughts depending on the effect their childhood experiences, family dynamics, and peer relationships have on them.
  • Genetic-Environmental Interaction: Genetic-environmental interaction focuses on the combination of genetic and environmental factors in personality formation. The interconnectivity of a person’s genetics and environment includes genetics shaping the way a person responds to their environment.

Genetic and environmental factors of personality formation connect with the Big 5 personality traits by influencing the development of the five dimensions. For example, Jing Luo from the University of Illinois discusses the impact of genetic and environmental factors on the Big 5 in the paper, “Genetic and Environmental Pathways Underlying Personality Traits and Perceived Stress: Concurrent and Longitudinal Twin Studies.” For example, Jing Luo argues that genetics influences perceived stress and impacts traits such as neuroticism.

1. Genetics as Personality Formation Factor

Genetics as a personality formation factor refers to the influence of genes on a person’s personality. The study Genetics of Personality Disorders by Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud states that there is evidence to suggest genetics play a role in the development of personality disorders. Additionally, a longitudinal study by Jing Luo argues that genetics influence a person’s response to stress. Jing Luo’s study is further explained in the following quote, “genetic factors of personality traits partly shape people’s momentary thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.” For example, a person with a genetic disposition toward neuroticism will be likelier to lash out in an unstable manner if they’re hit with a momentary rush of anger. Genetics is a heavier factor in personality because genetic disposition is likely to influence the environment. For example, a higher genetics factor may encourage a person to display extraverted tendencies and as a result, they choose a lively social environment to spend their time. Conversely, a person who is genetically predisposed to be introverted will choose to refrain from extensive social interaction.

2. Environmental Personality Formation Factor

Environmental personality formation factor refers to external influences that shape and help determine a person’s behavior and thoughts. Environmental factors include educational, cultural, social, life experiences, and familial influences. For example, a child who grows up on a farm has different environmental influences than a child who grows up in a city. The child on the farm experiences a slower way of life and education compared to the child who grows up in a city which results in a more relaxed individual. Albert Bandura and Robert Wood argue that “behavior, cognitive, and other personal factors and environmental events operate as interacting determinants that influence each other bidirectionally.” Bandura and Wood believe that the environment has an influence over behavior formation and is subsequently influenced by behavior formation.

3. Genetic-Environmental Personality Formation Factor

Genetic-environmental personality formation factor is the interaction and cooperation between genetic and environmental factors. Genetic and environmental continuity in personality development: A meta-analysis by D. A. Briley, and E. M. Tucker-Drob states, “Both the genetic and environmental influences on personality increase in stability with age.” Briley and Tucker-Drob theorize genetic and environmental factors play a role in phenotype development. For example, environmental influences such as an unhappy upbringing coupled with a genetic predisposition to depression will result in an unstable personality because their mistrust developed at home and their genetics impact their emotions.

What are the most effective and scientific ways to develop personality?

Below are five of the most effective and scientific ways to develop personality.

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is the process of talking with a trained mental health professional about personal thoughts, behaviors, and emotions to develop a strategy to adjust unhealthy personality traits.
  • Meditation: Meditation is the process of slowing down your thoughts to expand your mind. Research from Cristiano Crescentini and Viviana Capurso shows that meditation can impact both implicit and explicit traits.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT involves the identification and exposure of a patient’s negative experiences. CBT makes an effort to alter a person’s behavior by replacing their negative experience with a positive one.
  • Positive psychology interventions: Positive psychology interventions promote positive emotions, plasticity, and gratitude to improve mental function. Examples of positive psychology interventions include gratitude exercises and positive aging philosophies.
  • Social support: Social support relies on a system of family, friends, and peers who offer emotional, physical, and financial assistance in times of need. For example, having a person to call if you’re too unwell to take care of errands is a social support system.

What are the tips for personality development?

Tips for personality development include a series of steps or actions a person can take that aid in the development and formation of their personality. Personality development is a complex process that can be simplified with the following three tips. Firstly, personality development requires persistence. Persistence means a person continues on their developmental path despite the pressure to sway from their intended course of self-actualization. Secondly, personality development requires people to expand their horizons and experience new things. People can develop a better sense of self by searching for new experiences. For example, someone who has never tried to start a conversation with strangers could have a preconceived idea that it will be difficult to talk to a new person. However, a person will never learn they can socialize with ease without first attempting it. Thirdly, personality development improves with the help of positive thinking. Maintaining a positive mindset will encourage healthy personality development and condition people to respond appropriately to negative stimuli. For example, someone who maintains a positive mindset will try to find the bright side of a bad situation instead of dwelling on the disappointment, allowing them to form a more stable idea of self.

Who are the most famous psychologists who focus on personality development?

Below are four of the most famous psychologists who focus on personality development.

  • Sigmund Freud: Sigmund Freud was a famous Austrian psychologist who focused on personality development. Freud is known for his psychoanalytic theory, which focuses on the unconscious mind and its influence on behavior. Freud discusses his theories on the unconscious mind in his book, The Interpretation of Dreams.
  • Carl Jung: Carl Jung was a famous Swiss psychiatrist whose research formed the basis of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Jung is known for his theory of analytical psychology, which involved the empirical study of the human psyche. Jung’s book Psychological Types outlines his theory of personality.
  • B.F. Skinner: B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist known for his work in behaviorism. Behaviorism emphasizes that behavior is either the result of or the cause of environmental factors in shaping personality. Skinner’s book Beyond Freedom and Dignity provides insight into his theories on behavior and personality.
  • Carl Rogers: Carl Rogers was an American psychologist known for theorizing a humanistic approach to psychology. Humanistic psychology focuses on the individuality of people and argues for therapy to acknowledge the unique qualities of each person. Rogers discusses his belief in the power of a client-centered approach to therapy in his book, Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory.

How does psychology define character and personality differences?

Psychology defines character and personality as two separate factors within personality development that join together to influence development. Firstly, character includes the traits and qualities that a person develops and expresses over time and in specific situations. Secondly, personality is the individual thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors each person displays as part of their everyday life. Character traits reveal themselves in situations such as noticing someone drop their wallet and giving it back to them instead of ignoring the problem or taking the wallet. However, personality refers to the perceived traits you display such as extraversion or introversion. Additionally, character traits and personality are influenced by multiple factors. For example, a person’s character is influenced by environment and culture, while their personality is influenced by both environment and genetics.

How does personality development in psychology approach MBTI classification?

Personality development in psychology approaches MBTI classification as a starting point in the process of developing personality. The MBTI is a psychometric assessment that categorizes people into 16 personality types based on their preference for Extraversion versus Introversion, Sensing versus iNtuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving. Each preference can be further divided into subtypes that pinpoint a person’s assertiveness or turbulence. Determining a person’s MBTI personality type can help people understand their natural preferences under certain circumstances. For example, a person might enjoy upbeat lively settings but feel uncomfortable socializing. However, the preference for upbeat settings involving limited interactions with others will fit their personality if they test as a Turbulent ENTJ. The Turbulent ENTJ in this example can use the knowledge of their MBTI test result to help them embrace their personality and make adjustments if they desire.

Does personality development in psychology involve Enneagram Types?

Yes, personality development in psychology does involve Enneagram types but the research is limited. The Enneagram of Personality is a psychometric test that categorizes personality into nine types based on motivations, fears, and desires. The Enneagram is used in psychology, business, and schools to help individuals better understand themselves and their true motivations. For example, in Advancing Ego Development in Adulthood Through Study of the Enneagram System of Personality, researchers argue more data is needed to support their theory that the Enneagram plays an important role in ego development. However, a person can make the conscious effort to intervene in personality development if they desire to, according to Paul Baltes’ lifespan theory. A person’s ability to understand their true self will result in self-fulfillment and lead to a more stable personality. The Enneagram provides insight into a person’s strengths and weaknesses and helps people recognize and differentiate between their false and true motivations. For example, a person who tests as an Enneagram Type 1 is motivated by honor and has the nickname, Idealist or Perfectionist. A person can use the Enneagram as guidance along their personality development journey.

What is the importance of personality development for social relationships?

The importance of personality development for social relationships is that personality development leads to a fulfilling social life. Social relationships are connections and interactions between individuals. Social relationships include love relations, friendships, family relations, work relations, and relationships with casual acquaintances. Personality development is an important factor for social relationships because personalities influence the individual perception of others, communication, and face-to-face interaction. For example, people who develop agreeable and open personalities can easily socialize with many different types of people because of their acceptance and understanding of others. Personality development helps improve social skills, listening skills, and empathy.  Personality development requires self-actualization and confidence which can be challenging to acquire at first. The problem with personality development is that it requires people to adjust their behavior, communication style, sense of humor, and outlook on life in hopes of connecting with others. Self-actualization will ensure that personality development is a healthy process that leads to fulfilling social relationships.

Does personality development help for love relations?

Yes, personality development helps for love relations. Personality development helps love relations through the formation of attachment styles. Attachment styles are the different ways people connect and form relationships with other people. Identifying traits of personality development that shed light on attachment styles helps love relations by taking the guesswork out of personal needs and desires surrounding love. Four distinct attachment styles include secure attachment, fearful attachment, preoccupied or anxious attachment, and dismissive or avoidant attachment. Each of the four attachment styles affects the way people interact with others, ultimately impacting love relations in the process. For example, Professor M. Engin Deniz of Selçuk University examines attachment styles in connection to social relationships in his study, An Investigation of Decision-Making Styles and the Five-Factor Personality Traits With Respect To Attachment Styles. Professor Deniz found that a secure attachment style promotes a healthy self-concept and the belief of being worthy to receive love. People who develop a secure attachment style navigate the sensitivities of love relations with a firm sense of self-confidence and deflect negative emotions, such as jealousy. Alternatively, a preoccupied or anxious attachment style reinforces self-doubt and distrust. People who develop a preoccupied attachment style are prone to dramatic encounters with love interests because of their paranoia, distrust of others, and overwhelming insecurity, which all hinder love relations.

Does personality development help for friendship relations?

Yes, personality development helps for friendship relations. Friendship relations rely upon a combination of defined and perceived personality similarities and dissimilarities. For example, the personality development study of “Personality and Friendships” by Jagiellonian University professors Marta Doroszuk, Marta Kupis, and Anna Z. Czarna explores the interconnectedness of personality and friendships. “Personality and Friendships” argues that people who develop agreeable personalities are likelier to express warmth and friendliness. Additionally, developing conscientiousness leads to personalities that are more social due to a heightened sense of respect for others.

Does personality development help for work relationships?

Yes, personality development does help for work relationships. Personality development helps work relationships by reinforcing positive qualities and emotions. For example, Erasmus University Rotterdam’s study, Adolescent Personality Development as a Longitudinal Marker for Burnout and Happiness in Emerging Adulthood, found that the developmental level of an individual adolescent influences their adult personality. According to Erasmus University’s study, adolescents who experience a decrease in their extraversion are prone to experiencing burnout later in their work life. Conversely, adolescents who experience an increase in imagination are prone to happier work experiences.

Does personality development help for communication with acquaintances?

Yes, personality development does help for communication with acquaintances. The development of personality establishes thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors that influence the way you approach people you’re not entirely familiar with. Developing your thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors strengthens communication with acquaintances by helping you gain self-confidence and openness toward socializing. Avshalom Caspi, Brent W. Robert, and Rebecca L. Shiner discuss personality’s impact on sociability in their psychological research review, Personality Development: Stability and Change. Research from Caspi, Robert, and Shiner states that sociability is higher or lower depending on the development of the five aspects of personality. For example, developing extraverted traits increases an individual’s confidence and desire to socialize. Conversely, developing neurotic personality traits leads to anxiety and avoiding social interaction.