Freud's Theory Of Personality Development

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Psychologists have strived to define and explain personality for years and in their endeavors, many of them have arrived at differing, sometimes conflicting conclusions. For example, radical behavioral theorists believe that personality is nothing more than reinforced responses to stimuli while humanistic psychologists theorize that the human personality is exemplified through our enduring need to achieve self-actualization. For some, personality is a dynamic process, unfolding over the course of a lifespan. For others, it is an entity that is unwavering beyond childhood development. These are only a few of the ways personality has been defined over the years. Still, there are further nuances in these already vastly different approaches, creating …show more content…

Feminist psychologists are particularly underwhelmed by his theories due to their complete disregard for non-anatomical personality development. Quite famously, Freud’s lack of consideration for the female experience and development is undeniably his largest transgression as far as ethics and diversity are concerned. Freud’s theory, which states that personality is defined through stages of childhood (oral, anal, phallic, and genital), was groundbreaking and paradigmatic, but it was also sexist. In his work, Freud coined the phrase “Oedipus complex” to explain what he believed was a child’s desire to be with the parent of the opposite sex. The concept is sexist in that he proposed that female children only became attracted to the father because they lacked a penis and therefore could not come to attract their mother. Freud believed that every female experienced what he called “penis envy” and that personality was biologically determined (Hergenhahn & Olson, …show more content…

In future theorizing, it would be helpful to focus on the changes society has made to gender identity and how this will affect the personality development of individuals born during the time of these changes. Consider an individual who is born male but later identifies as a gender-fluid individual. Gender roles as they stood in the 1950s will not apply to this person, therefore, theories built on these concepts will not help us understand the individual’s personality development. Society is an evolving entity, and because we are actors within it, those changes will affect human development. I believe that this dynamism should be remembered in future theoretical developments and

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that theorists should focus on the enlightenment they can offer in aggregate.
  • Opines that the area of psychological theory surrounding personality remains heavily oriented towards masculinity, stating that it would be helpful to focus on the changes society has made to gender identity and how this will affect personality development of individuals born during these changes.
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