Different scientists in different fields in psychology came up with various theories to understand the human personality. Sigmund Freud and Gordon Allport were examples of those who came with such theories, namely, the psychoanalytic and trait theories (Thompson, 2018). While these theories explain different thoughts on the human personality, the two share a similarity as much as they differ from each other, which leads me to lean towards the trait theory as opposed to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.
The most significant difference between Freud’s and Allport’s theories is their mode of study. Freud focused the psychoanalytic theory on how one’s early childhood experiences influence one’s adult mental health and developed personality; Freud focused his study on the unconscious mind by explaining how conflict led to adult personality (Cervone & Pervin, 2019a). On the other hand, Allport focused the trait theory on how a conscious person interacted with others and developed traits through life that led to his personality developing fully at adulthood (Cervone & Pervin, 2019b). Allport’s approach led to the continuity of how people develop their personalities through their lives.
A similarity between the two theories is that the two theories focus on how behavior influences personality development in agreement with the existence of the unconscious mind. Both theorists agree that there is the existence of the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. Sigmund and Allport both explain that actions from the unconscious mind influence how one’s personality.
While the two differ in the mode of study, I believe that the trait theory argues towards personality over the psychoanalytic theory. The trait theory is more practical and measurable in seeing how one develops a personality. As a person picks up each trait through life, one observes how each trait adds to one’s personality over the psychoanalytic theory that banks on early childhood experiences. A person will not understand another’s personality through this theory if they have not spent their childhoods together to see these experiences develop and form their personality.
Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2019). • Chapter 3, “A Psychodynamic Theory: Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality.” In Personality: Theory and Research (pp. 53–84). (14th ed) Wiley.
Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2019). • Chapter 7, “Trait Theories of Personality: In Personality: Theory and Research (pp. 180 – 204). (14th ed) Wiley.
Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2019). • Chapter 8, “Trait Theory: The Five-Factor Model and Contemporary Developments” (pp. 205–240). (14th ed) Wiley.
Gabbard, G. O. (2001). Psychoanalytically informed approaches to the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychoanalytic Inquiry: A Topical Journal for Mental Health Professionals, 21(2), 208–221. https://doi.org/10.1080/07351692109348932
Thompson, S. (2018). Personality Theories. Personality Theories — Research Starters Education, 1–5. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.3331/ors_edu_549
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