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:
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.
Image Courtesy of Simply Psychology.
Both Maslow and Rogers believe that people are motivated to reach their full potential.
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:
Genuineness—When people are genuine, they are transparent with their feelings.
Acceptance—Unconditional Positive Regard
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:
🙋Individualistic cultures focus more on the individual, privacy, and personal achievements.
👪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.
|Self||Independent (identity from individual traits)||Interdependent (identity from belonging)|
|Life task||Discover and express one's uniqueness||Maintain connections, fit in, perform role in the group|
|What matters||Me—personal achievement and fulfillment; rights and liberties; self-esteem||Us—group goals and solidarity; social responsibilities and relationships; family duty|
|Coping method||Change reality||Accommodate to reality|
|Morality||Defined by individuals (self-based)||Defined by social networks (duty-based)|
|Relationships||Many—often temporary or casual; confrontation is acceptable||Few—close and enduring; harmony is valued|
|Attributing behaviors||Behavior reflects one's personality and attitudes||Behavior reflects social norms and roles|
Table Courtesy of Evelyn Welch. All credit to Myers' AP Psychology Textbook.
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