Biological and trait approaches are essential in analyzing the formation of personality. This essay discusses the biological factors, which have a great influence on personality formation. Moreover, the relationship of biological approach to trait theory is also revealed. In the end, I will discuss how biological and trait approaches define my own personality.
Firstly, it is needed to consider an issue of individual differences. There two main factors that determine the individual differences of personality. The first one is biological structure. The second one is familial environment. For instance, Hippocrates wrote a lot about biochemical inclination to temperament. He discussed such important issue as the domination of blood or black and yellow bile. Moreover, he gave the description of different types of temperaments (Freedman, 1967).
MacKinnon states that most scholars agree on the point that the personality is based on strong structure. However, there are many different thoughts concerning the nature of this structure. Some of them agree that this nature is psychologically oriented. Some of them think that it is biologically oriented. The scholars agree that there are different traits and characteristics of the personality formation (Freedman, 1967).
There is a great interrelation between human body and temperament. Every human is a unique person and every human has unique genes. It can be stated that some certain body build has its own temperament. However, there are cases when these interrelations may be broken, and a lot of different combinations of body build and temperament are possible. Sheldon conducted the study, which showed that there are no pure types. So, it is obvious that plenty of different variations may occur (Freedman, 1967).
There are two studies, which show the relation human personality and body build by comparing identical and fraternal twins. The first study analyzes the twins during the four months of their life. The second one analyzes twins during their first year. The twin studies are often criticized because the treatment of parents may spoil the results. However, during these two studies, the treatment was watched and assessed. The first study was created in order to analyze the social attachments of the twins, namely at the time during which the eyes of the twins looked at the faces of the adults. The study revealed that the fraternal twins were different concerning these measures, while the identical twins were similar. The second study was focused on filming each pair of twins separately in the same situations. When the study was finished, the films were evaluated by different people. There were two groups of people who evaluated the social behavior of the twins. Again, the fraternal twins showed different results. There were two main items, which were harmonious in the identical twins. The first one was a social orientation, and the second one was a fear of strangers. Each of these items can be referred to any trait of personality (Freedman, 1967).
Summing up these results, it can be stated that the heredity is of great importance in the formation of personality. Moreover, the genes can vary from generation to generation. Obviously, there is a great connection between the personality and genetics (Freedman, 1967).
Celikel suggests that the structure of human brain plays a very important role in the formation of personality. Cloninger created a model of personality, which shows that there is the relation between the traits of personality and neurobiology. This model includes four degrees of temperament and three degrees of character. The first degree of temperament is called novelty seeking. This degree can be received from the behavioral activation system. The second degree is called harm avoidance and it is connected with the behavioral inhibition system. The third degree is called reward dependence. This degree is primarily based on the person’s ability to respond to the signals of reward. The final degree is called persistence. It is a person’s ability to get motivated even when the reward is absent (Celikel, 2011).
A trait can be defined as a characteristic, which encourages people to behave in different ways. Gordon Allport found out that English dictionary includes over 4000 words, which can describe different personality traits. He stated that there are three levels. The first level is cardinal traits. Such traits predominate during a person’s whole life. Very often some specific person becomes well known for these traits of personality. The second level is central traits. These characteristics form the basis of a person’s personality. These characteristics are used for a description of one’s personality. The final level is secondary traits. These are characteristics, which may appear only in certain situations (Cherry, 2015).
Hans Eysenck developed his own model of personality. This model is based on three universal traits. Introversion is a trait, which is based on inner experiences. The extraversion is based on attention to other people and an environment. An introvert is usually a quiet person, while extravert is very sociable and friendly. It is also important to define such traits as neuroticism and emotional stability. Neuroticism is related to a person’s ability to become sad and frustrated. Emotional stability is used to describe a person who remains emotionally constant in different situations. Eysenck describes one more trait, which is related to people suffering from mental illnesses. People who have this trait of personality are antisocial, hostile, and manipulative. However, many scholars agree that Eysenck focused on few traits, and it is not enough. As the result, a new theory was developed. It is called the Big Five theory. This theory includes five main traits, which are essential in the formation of personality (Cherry, 2015).
However, many scholars agree that the trait theory has its weaknesses in the explanation of personality formation. They argue that the traits are too poor predictors of a person’s behavior. A person may have high scores on the evaluation of different traits, but he or she may behave differently in every situation. Moreover, the trait theory does not reveal the issue of how individual differences of personality emerge (Cherry, 2015). That is why a trait approach is not enough for studying the formation of personality. In order to study it properly, it is necessary to use a biological approach, which can answer the issues that trait one cannot.
In order to analyze my own personality, I have completed the test based on Big Five Model of Personality. The results show that I am moderately open to experience. My score for openness is 62 percent. People who have high scores in openness are creative and intellectual. Those who have low score are practical and they focus on something concrete. My score is in the midrange. It means that I am neither particularly nor a conservative person. As for conscientiousness, the results say that my score is also moderate. People who have high score are very organized. Those who have low score are impulsive persons, and it is very easy to cause them to be distracted from the important issue. My score means that I am average in responding to impulses. I may have long-term goals and I reach success in completing them, but sometimes I can be distracted. The results say that I am highly extroverted. Extroverts are very motivated people. They take active part in different activities in order to receive a satisfying reward. Extraverts have a lot of friends, and also more romantic relationships. They are very ambitious and interested in increasing their social standing. The results also show that I am low in agreeableness. People who have low scores in agreeableness tend to put their own business ahead of others. My low score shows that I consider my own needs to be more important than the needs of other people. Moreover, I often see people as the threat. Finally, the results show that I am low in neuroticism. It means that I am optimistic, relaxed, and self-confident person. I also can handle stress well (Truity, 2016).
As we can see, the trait theory explains my personality in five core traits, which are the basis of Big Five. However, the biological approach is also important in evaluating my personality, because some of the traits may have been inherited. It is also must be taken into account, that the structure of my brain has played its role in the formation of my personality.
Celikel, F. (2011). Personality Traits: Reflections in the Brain. In M. Jordan, Personality Traits: Theory, Testing and Influences (1st ed., pp. 161-174). New York, USA: Nova Science Publishers.
Cherry, K. (2015). What Is the Trait Theory of Personality. About.com Health. Retrieved 5 February 2016, from http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/trait-theory.htm
Freedman, D. (1967). Personality Development in Infancy; A Biological Approach. Holt.
Truity,. (2016). The Big Five Personality Test. Retrieved 5 February 2016, from http://www.truity.com/personality-test/test-results/2221435