UQx PSYC1030.3x 6-3-3 Humanistic theory of personality


Let me tell you about other perspectives on
personality that are called the humanistic perspectives. They come from an area of psychology called
positive psychology. The idea here is if you think about Freud’s
approaches, it’s all about the nasty things we want to do, and how we try and manage those. That’s actually what leads to conflict in
the expression of personality. The humanistic approach is much more positive. It’s about how positive motivations can be
related to the expression of personality. There are two main proponents of these perspectives,
Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Rogers thought that personality was a function
of the organism, so the person, the self which is the self-concept, and what he called Conditions
of Worth. Conditions of Worth are the expectations or
rules that society puts on our behaviour. According to Rogers, the Conditions of Worth
can lead to an inconsistency between people’s self-concept, so how they see themselves,
and what they are actually like. He thought that personality development will
be fully realised in a world where there were no expectancies about what people are meant
to be like. He idealised a world in which conditions of
worth did not exist. An idealised world where there’s no social
expectancies about what people are supposed to do and be like. I’m not sure how we’re ever going to get
a world where there’s no social expectancies. But, Rogers thought these were the things
that were barriers to positive personality development. Maslow is probably a little bit more well-known. He thought positive motivation was important
for personality as well. He defined personality as the expression of
the tendency to strive for what he calls self-actualisation, which is the idea that people want to fulfill
their potential. Now, to achieve their full potential, people
had to meet a hierarchy of needs. His needs hierarchy looks like this. You still see this reported in popular news
stories about psychology sometimes. The idea is that if our physiological needs
are met, for food, water, oxygen, and rest, and so on, we would be motivated by the next
tier up, which are our safety needs. The idea is we can’t be motivated by self-actualisation
unless all of these lower order needs are satisfied first. Now, a criticism for this approach is that
the concepts are defined subjectively, and so they’re really hard to test. How do you test whether people are motivated
by the need for self-actualisation? It’s descriptive. It doesn’t tell us about the origins or the
process of personality. Also, Maslow developed these needs hierarchies
by hanging out with a bunch of celebrities who clearly have a lot of resources and very
little concern about those lower order needs. So it’s not surprising maybe they’re driven
by some of those higher order things. There’s no evidence that the average person
is driven by those higher order needs and then ultimately have the need for self-actualisation.

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