ap psych study guides

🤔  Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

👶  Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

🤪  Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, & Personality

🛋  Unit 8: Clinical Psychology

7.8 Humanistic Theories of Personality

#humanistictheories

#personality

#maslow’shierarchyofneeds

#abrahammaslow

#carlrogers

⏱️  3 min read

written by

Mary Valdez

mary valdez

John Mohl

john mohl

Dalia Savy

dalia savy

November 11, 2020


Humanistic Theories of Personality

Humanistic theories of personality view people as innately good 👍 and able to determine their own destinies through the exercise of free will. They focus on the importance of:

  • Self-esteem: a person’s feeling about oneself. Do they like what they see in the mirror? 🤳

    • Self-esteem is explored more in the last key topic.

  • Self-concept: a person's global feeling about themself. "Who am I?" 👤

    • If someone has a positive self-concept, they perceive the world through an optimistic (positive) lens.

    • If someone has a negative self-concept, they feel unsatisfied.

    • ⭐⭐Whether or not your self-concept is positive depends on how closely you match yourself with your ideal self, or the person you want to be.

    • Self-concept is a central component of humanistic theories of personality.

Abraham Maslow

Maslow created the Hierarchy of Needs that describes motivation and the way to reach self-actualization. One must fulfill their physiological needs first 🥐, then safety needs 🏠, then the need of feeling loved 💖, then feeling accomplished 🏆, and finally, self-actualization.

You need to go past all these stages in order to be self-actualized, since you must feel accomplished and have the ability to do anything first. Self-actualization is when you fill your potential. When you find a purpose beyond yourself and are able to help others around you, you also reach self-transcendence.

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Image Courtesy of Simply Psychology.

Both Maslow and Rogers believe that people are motivated to reach their full potential.

Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers agreed that people are innately good, but he thought they require certain things from their interactions with others. He believed in a growth-promoting environments 🌍 that include:

  1. Genuineness—When people are genuine, they are transparent with their feelings.

  2. Acceptance—Unconditional Positive Regard

  3. Empathy—When people are empathic and show they share the same feelings, others feel comfortable and continue explaining how they feel.

All three of these make for an unconditional positive regard, which is when people are treated with complete acceptance regardless of their flaws.

Humanistic psychologists believe that in order to reach self-actualization 🌱, they must be given this atmosphere of acceptance and kindness.

Criticisms of These Theories

Many believe that these theories are overly optimistic, only looking at the good in people and ignoring the bad. They are also too self-centered, vague, and subjective.

Self-Concept and Culture

As we went over briefly before, culture has a huge impact on who we are and how we fit into society. There are two different types of cultures:

  1. 🙋Individualistic cultures focus more on the individual, privacy, and personal achievements.

  2. 👪Collectivist cultures focus on community and priority to the group.

If you were born in an individualistic society, self-esteem and self-concept are tied to your individual achievements and what you accomplish. If you didn't reach a certain goal, you'd have a low self-esteem and self-efficacy, thinking you don't have the ability to do it. Because of this, individualistic cultures have a higher rate of stress-related disease; we are constantly stressed, trying to make it in this world.

If you were born in a collectivist society, self-esteem and self-concept are tied to your family and your position in a group. Rather than individual goals, how much you contribute to the group affects your self-esteem and self-efficacy. If you didn't do much to help your group, you may feel stressed. Collectivist societies are generally less stressed because they have their group to fall back on.

ConceptIndividualismCollectivism
SelfIndependent (identity from individual traits)Interdependent (identity from belonging)
Life taskDiscover and express one's uniquenessMaintain connections, fit in, perform role in the group
What mattersMe—personal achievement and fulfillment; rights and liberties; self-esteemUs—group goals and solidarity; social responsibilities and relationships; family duty
Coping methodChange realityAccommodate to reality
MoralityDefined by individuals (self-based)Defined by social networks (duty-based)
RelationshipsMany—often temporary or casual; confrontation is acceptableFew—close and enduring; harmony is valued
Attributing behaviorsBehavior reflects one's personality and attitudesBehavior reflects social norms and roles

Table Courtesy of Evelyn Welch. All credit to Myers' AP Psychology Textbook.

🎥 Watch: AP PsychologyPersonality Theories

🏆 TriviaPersonality, Motivation, and Emotion

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