How Is Personality Developed?


There is not a clear answer as to why people act, behave, or do what they do.  However, there are different views of which factors have the most effect on a human being’s development.  View A is “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values”, view B is “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions”, and view C is “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media”.  View A seems to be the most accurate because most of a child’s brain is formed when he or she is living with their parents.

Child brain edited

View A which is “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values” is the most accurate based on when the child’s brain takes in the most information.  By the time a child reaches five years of age, 90% of their brain growth is already developed.  Children’s brains are adapting to life extremely rapidly when they are living with their parents and siblings.  They do start school towards the end of this rapid brain development phase, but they are towards the end of it.

childs-brain edited

Based on a study by Kwalombota Mahalihali called “Families Influences on the development of a Child’s Behavior”, he states “Families, especially parents, play a fundamental role in forming the values of children. The ability to cope with and adjust to life’s problems and demands is based upon the psychological foundations of early family experiences.”  A person’s family has the tendency to predict who the child will be in the future.  What the family values and how parents teach children to teach others helps predict how the child will act with others when they are older.  Unfortunately, if a family is abusive or unhappy, the child’s emotions can become out of whack.  Thus, he or she will become an abnormal individual.

brain neglect

View B is that “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions.”  Genetics do have a big factor in determining who a person will be.  Like I stated previously, part of the way I am is because my genetics are a mix of my mother’s and father’s.  More than that, though, I believe growing up with them and acquiring their characteristics caused me to be the way I am.  Genetics probably had something to do with it, also though.  The best research to figure out the relationship of genes to personality are twin studies.  In a twin study entitled “Self-Efficacy Is Mainly Genetic, Not Learned: A Multiple-Rater Twin Study on the Causal Structure of General Self-Efficacy in Young People”, the results found “that additive genetic factors explained 75% of the variation in the common psychometric general self-efficacy factor. The remaining 25% of the variation in this factor was explained by unique, non-shared environmental effects. The impact of shared environmental sources on the common factor was non-significant. There were no significant sex differences in the estimates of the model” (Waaktaar & Torgersen 657).  Genetics accounted for 75% of the twins’ personalities while 25% were explained by their individual environments growing up.  This concludes that genetics do have a large influence on people, but not the whole person.

presentation-on-personality-and-soft-skills-development-for-bba-vi-4-638 editde

 

View C is that “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media.”  This holds a big factor on who a human becomes personality-wise because people learn by imitation just like primates.  There was a book written in 1950 by a sociologist named David Riesman.  It was entitled Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character.  It was about different personality types affected by their surroundings and what was going on in the media.

tradition

The three types of personalities that Riesman discussed were tradition-oriented, inner-directed, and other-directed personalities.  People that are very set in their ways and are reluctant to change have tradition-oriented personalities.  They also tend to believe that everything they do is right.  People who feel guilty for everything (even things completely out of their control) have inner-directed personalities.  Their consciences are huge.  They self-depreciate themselves because they always want to help situations that would be impossible for them to help.  The last type of personality discussed by Riesman was the other-directed personality.  They are on the fence about what is right and what is wrong in this world.  They sometimes follow the crowd and they sometimes don’t.  They sometimes feel guilty if they do something wrong.  They sometimes don’t feel guilty.  A good word that I would describe this personality as is “wishy-washy”.  Wishy-washy means that they don’t know what they want, and their responses are always up in the air.

Conscience

In conclusion, View A of “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values” is correct because people learn the most when they are aged zero to six.  This is when they live with their families.  This has been proven throughout the scientific world an abundant amount of times.  View B of “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions” is semi-accurate due to the twin study by  Waaktaar & Torgersen, but only 75% of the personality traits stayed with the twins that were separated.  So, view B is not 100% accurate.  View C is that “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media”.  People do learn by imitation, but at this point, their personalities have already formed.  They may copy off their friends, but they still have the personalities they obtained from when they were infants to age 6.