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Mentality and personality traits were not considered important in the past. The fact that a person’s personality can have an impact on the decisions they make was an alien concept. With time, it has been proved that personality makes an individual unique and plays a significant role in their decision-making.
What Does Personality Mean?
Personality means long-standing patterns and traits that make individuals behave, think, and feel consistent. Every person is unique because of the different idiosyncratic patterns of long-term characteristics, enduring, and manner of interacting with other people.
First comprehensive personality theory
The first person to recognize the impact of psychology and mental health on a person’s life was Sigmund Freud. Freud was a controversial personality and his theories were often frowned upon by other scientists. He gave three components of a personality; ID, ego, and superego.
According to him, it is the ego’s responsibility to maintain a balance between aggressive and sexual drives of using the moral idea of the superego. He was of the point of view that the development of personality develops through a series of psychosexual stages. The pleasure of each stage focuses on a specific erogenous zone. When a person fails to resolve a certain stage it leads to the development of unhealthy personality traits. The successful resolution of all the stages is required to become a healthy adult.
Influences of Sigmund Freud
Charles Darwin had a huge influence on Freud’s work. He incorporated the notion of sex drive and aggression in every aspect of his personality theory. He also believed that childhood experiences are key forces in shaping one’s personality.
Freud worked with a Viennese Physician named Josef Breuer in the early years of his career. At that time he became intrigued and interested in Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of Breuer. A pseudo name, Anna O. was used for the patient.
Anna O. took care of her father and while doing so she started experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision, partial paralysis, amnesia, hallucinations, and headaches. During Freud’s time, these symptoms were considered signs of hysteria. The patient consulted Breuer to get a more satisfactory explanation of the symptoms.
After two years, Breuer concluded that the only way to bring relief to her symptoms was to allow her to talk and share her experiences. The treatment was called talking cure. Her case was the basis of the book he co-authored with Breuer and it was called Studies in Hysteria.
Freud gave the conclusion that hysteria stems from sexual abuse experienced in childhood. Breuer did not agree with the hypothesis and their working relationship ended because of the disagreement.
Freud continued his work and kept working to refine the talk therapy and get better results. He came up with the first comprehensive theory of personality to ensure that the psychology of humans is better understood. His theory paved the way for further research and more theories started to emerge.
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Psychodynamic Perspective of Personality
Sigmund Freud was the first person to give a comprehensive personality theory and he called it Psychodynamic Perspective of Personality. It shed light on an extensive variety of abnormal and normal behaviors. His theory attracted a lot of attention in the first half of the 20th century.
Other theories inspired by Freud’s theory also emerged later on and they included biological, trait, learning, evolutionary, cultural perspectives, and humanistic aspects.
Freud was not a psychologist but a medical doctor. At that time, a degree in psychology did not exist. There was a lot of mystery regarding where he got his education regarding the psychology of people and it may help in getting some insight into his controversial theories.
The first systematic study of personality was developed by Freud and he is credited with creating theory regarding the workings of the unconscious mind in a way that is associated with modern technology.
Where Does Freud’s Theory Stand Today?
Mixed results are shared by the empirical research that assessed the psychodynamic concepts given by Freud. Some concepts get a lot of support but others were highly criticized. There was not much support for the fact that people display strong sexual feelings from a young age.
A lot of the ideas given in the Psychodynamic perspective have been studied empirically. The three hypotheses that have received empirical support are:
- The unconscious processes have an impact on the behavior of a person as predicted by the psychodynamic perspective.
- Ego defenses are used by everyone and they help determine physical health and psychological adjustment.
- The mental representation of others and self are the blueprints of relationships developed later in life.
Personality has been an intriguing subject for over 2,000 years and has been studied since the time of Hippocrates. Freud’s first comprehensive personality theory was a useful addition to the study of personality. It was based on the idea that personality is based on childhood experiences. His theory started a debate, and as a result, other theories were also put forward, and each presented a new and unique perspective. You can take modern and latest personality tests on our website and get accurate results.