PSY 250. The biological and humanistic theories

Week 3 ~ DQ #3
When do you think you can see someone’s biological influences? As an infant? As a toddler? As an adult? Provide a justification for your answer.

Biological influences are hard to measure because as a human you can change depending on your personal surroundings and the influential people in your life. I personally feel that you can be able to see ones biological influences as an infant because children at this age have been said to resemble their parents since they are in a time in need.

Infants are obviously dependant of their providers but if they are influenced in a negative aspect you may be able to override their biological influences as in their early adolescent life they will display those significant influences that trigger them from their instable infant life. Personality development definitely has a biological component, and that shaping begins at birth.

Over the course of this week’s readings, I found that very early our brains begin to take different shapes in growth depending on our environmental experiences, such as being overly stimulated or being sedentary as we develop from childhood.

Week 3 ~ DQ #1
What are the strengths and weaknesses of biological and humanistic theories? With which do you agree more?

The biological and humanistic theories both have strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on nature versus nurture, the biological theory suggests that all behavior stems from genetics and is not a product of our surroundings or environment. Thus, it ignores individual effects and differences people experience such as how our bodies react to different stimuli like stress and anxiety.

The humanistic theory focuses on the individual along with outside influences.

This makes the humanistic theory difficult to measure. The humanistic approach seems to be a more comprehensive theory in that it focuses on the individual instead of measuring a group. While the humanistic approach may be more difficult to evaluate and measure, the result seems to be more individualized and specific, making it more unique and accurate. Specificity

Week 3 ~ DQ #2
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the biological theory?

Some of the strengths of the biological theory are that specific behaviors can be treated and corrected through the use of medication. Using comparisons, different species of animals can be studied helping to understand human behavior. Understanding physiology and how the nervous system and hormones work allows us to understand the effect medication has on behavior.

Understanding what traits we can inherit can also help us understand behavior. Some of the weaknesses are that it doesn’t recognize the cognitive process and are often over-simplify the physical aspects and how they interact with the environment.

Week 2 ~ DQ #1
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of psychoanalytic theory?

The weaknesses of psychoanalytic theory from a scientific perspective are that psychoanalytic theory is unfalsifiable. Any reasonable hypothesis must be both testable and falsifiable. Since psychoanalytic theory cannot be proven or disproved, it is unpopular among psychologists today. Psychoanalytic theory is not so effective for dealing with issues, as it does not really serve to offer solutions. Any type of therapy is subject to how each individual will respond.

What works well for some may not work well for others. The strengths of psychoanalytic theory are that it is based off of the foundation of the individual; what the person has experienced, learned and grown from during childhood. When defining personality, there doesn’t seem to be a better place to start.

Week 2 ~ DQ #2
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of trait theory? Why?
According to this week’s reading, “A trait approach to personality uses a basic, limited set of adjectives or adjective dimensions to describe and scale individuals” (Allport & Odbert, 1936).

Since there are 18,000 adjectives (most of which could be used to discribe trait theory), trait theory should be limited to a small number to account for a person’s consistencies (Allport & Odbert, 1936). I find that one of the strengths of trait theory is that it supports my feeling that many characteristics of people do not change.

Only behaviors change, that is why some psychologists can predict behavior. In its more basic form, we all can predict certain behaviors. For instance, we know that if a behavior is met with reward and no punishment, it is likely to be repeated.

Or, if the reward seems to outweigh the punishment, it is likely to be repeated. Allport believed that every person has a small number of specific traits that predominate in his or her personality. He named them a person’s central traits (Heffner Media Group, Inc., 1999-2003). One weakness of trait theory is that its focus is too narrow in that it does not take into account traits such as humor, wealth, and beauty.

Allport, G. W., & Odbert, H. S. (1936). Trait names: A psycholexical study. Psychological Monographs, 47(211), 171.

Heffner Media Group, Inc.. (1999-2003). AllPsych online. Retrieved from

Week 2 ~ DQ #3
What methods were developed to define personality traits by “trait theorists”? How did these differ from the psychoanalytic approach?

The methods that were used were to categorize these traits into three levels which are cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits. Cardinal traits usually dominate a person’s life, so much that the person becomes known for those specific traits. It has been suggested that cardinal traits are rare and usually develop late in life. Central traits are the general characteristics that are the foundation of personality.

These traits are not as dominating as cardinal traits and are the major characteristics used to describe other people. With central traits terms like intelligent, honest, shy, and anxious are considered. Secondary traits are related to attitudes or preferences that only appear in certain situations or circumstances. Getting anxious while speaking or impatient while waiting are examples of secondary traits