Social Cognitive Theory And Trait Theory

analytical Essay
1279 words
1279 words

Personality can be defined as an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling and acting. Many personality theorists have put forward claims as to where personality is derived from and how it develops throughout an individual’s life. The two main personality theories this essay will be focusing on is the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) (Bandura, 1986) and the Trait Theory – Five Factor Theory (FFT) (McCrae and Costa, 1995). The SCT allocates a central role to cognitive, observational learning and self-regulatory processes (Bandura, 1986). An individual’s personality develops through experiences with their sociocultural environment. Whereas the Trait Theory proposes that all individuals are predisposed with five traits (Extraversion, Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Neuroticism) which determines our personality. This theory also puts forward that personality is stable and cannot change as it’s biologically determined. One way in which the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) of personality differs from the Trait Theory (FFT), is that the SCT represents a bottom-up approach (Cervone, 1997; Shadel, Niaura and Abrams, 2000; Zelli and Dodge, 1999). In other …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that personality can be defined as an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. the social cognitive theory (sct) and the trait theory – five factor (fft) are the two main personality theories.
  • Explains that the social cognitive theory (sct) of personality differs from the trait theory. the complex systems view of psychological development believes that an individual's personality is purely based on three factors.
  • Explains that the trait theory (fft) represents a top-down approach, which conveys the individual's explanation by fitting them into the system of high-level personality variables.
  • Explains that although traits have a biological basis, it is believed that humans are products of evolution and naturally seek answers in evolutionary psychology.
  • Explains that the sct is most influential in explaining how children and adults learn through observing others and so develop their behaviour and personality.
  • Explains that the trait theory (fft) believes behaviour and personality does not derive from observing others, but our personality traits are more expressions of human biology.
  • Explains that self-regulation is seen to be similar to ‘self-concept’ in the trait theory (fft).
  • Argues that using personality traits to predict behaviour is a waste of time. the existence of the five traits has been shown to be universal.
  • Argues that bandura's sct is a dynamic theory that takes into account both nature and nurture, and the changing social and personal interactions in our lives. the trait theory (fft) places the derivation of personality solely on nature.

“Self-concept consists of knowledge, views and evaluation of the self, ranging from miscellaneous facts of personal history to the identity that gives a sense of purpose and coherence to life” (McCrae and Costa, 1996). With self-concept, we learn who we are by observing ourselves and using our cognitive processes to judge and evaluate our behaviour. However, with self-regulation, we are able to use this knowledge and judgment and apply it to future situations and so predicts behaviour and says a lot about our personality. If we are willing to cognitively analyse past situations and apply it effectively to future situations, this means we are changing our behaviour, thus changing our

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