Essay on Biological and Humanistic Approaches to Personality

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Essay type: Personal
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Theories of personalities have been studied for many decades. The biological and humanistic approaches to personality have both become infamous in studying the science behind personality. Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs because he did not believe that the conditioning theories adequately portrayed the complexity of human behavior. In analyzing both the biological and humanistic theories, one can see where Maslow may have been right in that assumption. The basic perceptions of humanistic and biological theories vary significantly.

There are some basic ideas behind humanistic psychology. Humanists focus on the present rather than looking at the past or toward the future. Well individuals should take responsibility for themself; regardless of the actions and every individual possess inherent worth. Even negative actions do not negate the value of the person. The achievement of personal growth and understanding is the goal of life (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). On the other hand biological theorists believe that genetics can determine a person’s personality.

Some concepts state that even if biology plays no direct role in personality, the way a person looks affects how one sees himself/herself and how others interrelate with him/her. This unintended affect controls how a person develops into adulthood. Biological viewpoints teach that intelligence and genes could define a person’s personality. Temperament and mental disorders are thought to be determined by biology. Humanistic theories seem to be generalized, though biological theories are overcomplicated. Although they are wide-ranging opposites in their concepts, together they contain the essence of personality.

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Abraham Maslow, a humanistic psychologist believed that the people are not controlled by the mechanical forces which include the reinforcement and stimuli forces of behaviorism or some unconscious instinctual impulse of the psychoanalysis. He placed his main focus on what people can really do as opposed to their limitations. His hierarchy of needs has established a major precedence on which human interactions can follow so as to make sure that they achieve productive as well as agreeable outcome. The main essence is to actually prepare people for common existence with themselves and those who are around.

The essence of humanistic psychology is usually similar to cognitive psychology as it does acknowledge behavior more than just a stimulus that is determined and hence recognizes perception as the actual essence of actions and behavior (Valiunas, 2012). His hierarchy of needs does represent how exactly growth ought to influence formation of personality. He developed his personality theory in relation to the needs of people. It shows the main influences of human needs to formation of their unique personalities. Maslow contemplates that each trait of human functioning conveys to a complete individual.

Maslow consequently referred to these functions as the hierarchy of needs. In his theory Maslow states that there are five key categories of an individual needs. The initial category is physiological needs such as food, water, air, clothing, shelter, and sleep. Previous to realizing or achieving the needs on this level it becomes unfeasible to even consider the next category (Valiunas, 2012). The following category is related to safety, which basically assimilates the need for feeling safe and secured. The third of category in Maslow hierarchy of needs comprises the sense of belonging, needs, and love.

It is rational because once an individual is secured then he/she can demand for sense of belonging and love. The next category has to do with self-esteem; it encompasses the need for education, respect, self-competence, and achievement. This is a very important level of needs to an individual’s personality; this level is where an individual focuses his/her energy to feeling proficient, they learn to respect him/her, and to respect others. According to Maslow’s theory, needs impact individual personality in a way that before they hit the highest point of need in the hierarchy one feels discouraged consequently affecting his/her personality.

Individuals in the first category do not believe in themselves and be deficient in motivation in life, and tend to implicate different personality compared to those on the highest category of needs. Those on first category of needs will tend to also lack confidence in whatever they do as opposed to those who have achieved self- actualization (Valiunas, 2012). Biological factors are related to some extent with the Maslow’s hierarchy of personality because biological factors for example brains, heredity and physical characteristics are needed during the growth level.

There are two biological factors that influence the formation of personality of an individual, heredity and environment factor. Inheritance of a trait is pertinent to individual's personality (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Basically, individuals inherit a propensity towards a definite structure and propensity to function in definite ways, thus influencing the individual personality development. On the environmental factor, the contact between the mother and a child for biological fulfillment play an important function in personality growth.

Care and love enhance a sense of protection and security. Humanistic theories of personality do represent an affirmative view of human behavior. Personality is usually defined as the organized as well as the dynamic set of various characteristics which are possessed by people and which influences their cognitions, behavior as well as their motivations (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Humanistic psychology does emphasize that people do have a free will and do play active role in the determining of how exactly they tend to behave.

Humanistic psychology usually focuses on the subjective experience of individuals as opposed to definitive and forced factors which determine behavior. Maslow does believe that all people who are interested in growing ought to move towards the self-actualization level of happiness and satisfaction. The psychological perspectives on expansion of personality do remain influential which comprises of humanistic perspective, isodynamic and existential perspectives, and cognitive, sociocultural and behavioral perspective (Valiunas, 2012). There are many factors that determine our personality.

Some of these factors are either humanistic or biological. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and humanistic personality’s theory play a major role in the formation of one’s personality and so are the biological factors. Though humanistic and biological theories are opposites, they do comprise of the main essence of personality and the blend between these two theories creates effective results. While humanistic and biological theories have many differences and fewer similarities, both theories try to address the issues of personality and try to give a better understanding of personality traits.

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Essay on Biological and Humanistic Approaches to Personality. (2017, May 21). Retrieved from

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