Theory of Personality
Jaccra Jones was born in Whiteville Tennessee. Jones was the youngest child in her family and had three sibling brothers who were all older than her. During her childhood, she spent most of the time with one of her brothers, Freddie who was 2 years ahead of her. The other two were much older as by the time Jones was born, they were almost completing high school. Freddie was a mischievous boy during his childhood and loved to play a lot with car toys. During her childhood, Jones had adopted many of the behaviors that Freddie had. She also realized that her personality was more similar to that of Freddie compared to her other two brothers and this observation led her into coming up with the learning-oriented personality theory.
Learning-oriented Personality theory
This theory mainly assumes that an individual’s personality is largely determined through learning. It implies that people acquire behaviors by observing others as well as through punishment and reinforcement. This model is influenced by Bandura’s theory of personality. Bandura asserted that human beings learn by watching models, a process he referred to as observational learning (Ford, D. H. (2019). This paper will answer various questions about my theory, learning-oriented personality theory.
- How the theorist (you) views human nature.
According to Jones human beings are of the most unique species that ever existed on earth. Their thinking capacities, the way they express their feelings, and above all, their diverse personalities. Additionally, she believes that the majority of the characteristics that human beings exhibit are largely shaped by learning from others who are around them. In other words, the way human beings are is largely determined by the people they live or interact with. Jones made this conclusion based on her life experiences throughout the years. More so, she strongly believes that human nature, in terms of the way they behave, thinks, and feel can be altered. For instance, if an individual is punished, others may refrain from copying the behavior which has been discouraged.
- How the theorist approaches nature/nurture.
As a theorist, Jones believes that nurture plays a significant role in producing individuals’ personalities compared to nature. Nurture means instilling values into someone while nature means being born with certain traits normally by inheriting them from one’s parents. Looking back into her life, Jones largely refutes that nature determines someone’s personality. The reason behind this conviction is that her personality was totally different from that of either of her parents. For instance, Jones said that her mother was a reserved and calm woman. On the other hand, Jones considered herself outgoing and comfortable in very active environments just like his brother Freddie. As such, Jones argues that if nature determined someone’s personality, she would have inherited her mother’s character of being reserved. Instead, she learned to be outgoing from Freddie.
- Role of past/present/future in the theory.
In learning-oriented personality theory, the past, present, and future events can contribute to personality development since learning occurs throughout human life. However, past interactions are the main determinants of behaviors compared to the present or the future. Jones said that how she behaves now is mainly based on her past than on her present.
- What is their theory based on (how did they come up with it-case study, anthropological study, the population they treated/researched and so forth)?
Jones developed the learning-based theory of personality by carrying out experiments on a group of children both girls and boys. The children were exposed to aggressive and non-aggressive adult models. The aim of the study was to determine whether aggression and violence are learned and from that, she would be able to conclude that personalities can be learned. Jones assumed that children who were exposed to the aggressive model would imitate the behavior and those exposed to a non-violent model would also behave likewise. Children were experimented for up to twenty minutes.
- Who (or what) has been the major influences on the development of the theory?
Many psychologists have played a significant role in the development of the learning-based theory. They have confirmed that human beings are social beings and their surroundings play a critical role in molding one’s personality. Psychologists are highly skilled in studying the various causes behind human behaviors. Given that people form the society where people interact, psychologists highly approve that behaviors are normally copies among individuals and especially from adults to children and teenagers.
- How did the theorist assess personality in his or her clients (techniques and assessments)?
Jones assessed personality by taking each child in an experimental room containing different types of toys. The child would be told to play with the toys for a minimum of twenty minimum while Jones and her assistants made observations. If the child seemed to fight the toys, it was assumed that they had copied what their adult model was doing. On the other hand, children who were friendly to be friendly with the toys were said to have copied their respective adult models. It turned out that almost all the children who were placed in the room with the violent adult model were aggressive, justifying Jones hypothesis that personality is learned through observational learning.
- Is it a stage theory or not? If so, are the stages successive, cumulative?
Jones’ learning-based theory of personality model is not a stage theory. Rather, personality development occurs throughout human life, both during childhood and in adulthood. If personality learning of behavior happened in a particular stage only, Jones asserts that individuals would still be having the same traits they had when they were children. However, what one learns as a child largely determines their personality. Children are born not knowing anything but through observing, they imitate their models. Nevertheless, if those behaviors are punished, they are are more likely to stop but if they are reinforced, they continue.
- What are the major criticisms of the theory?
One of the main criticisms on learning-oriented personality model is that people who grow up together with the same model tend to have differing personality. For instance, children who grow up together in the same environment and brought up by the same parent can have exhibit different behaviors. Well, based on Jones’ model such individuals should have similar traits in one way or another since their behaviors were influenced by the same model. However, learning-oriented personality theory does not address such cases. Another disapproval on this model is that one behavior cannot be used to conclude about an individual’s personality since personalities consist of different traits. It is also questionable as to why this theory only used children to make conclusions since adults also make observations. Additionally, the theory is criticized as it does not consider that some personality features can be inborn.
- How the theorist’s personal life influenced the formulation of his/her theory (give a brief biography).
Jones’ personal life was also critical in the development of this theory. Having been brought up together with Freddie, her elder brother, she always copied what he was doing mostly but not what her mother was doing. She later developed an interest in understanding human personalities to determine what she borrowed her brother’s behaviors instead of her mothers’. Eventually, decided to carry out a study where she concluded that people acquire behaviors through observational learning.
Ford, D. H. (2019). Humans as self-constructing living systems: A developmental perspective on behavior and personality. Routledge.