Personality Theories Overview Essay

999 words - 4 pages

Many psychologists throughout many years present theoretical approaches in an attempt to understand personality. Hans Eysenck’s approach of personality differed from that of Sigmund Freud and his psychoanalytical theory of personality. Eysenck’s theory of personality relies on the scientific basis of biology in explaining human personality. Although Freud’s theories are intriguing to an open mind, Eysenck’s approach made measurable scientific sense. He relied on the use of trait and factor analysis, which is a statistical method. Freud relied on faith and his personal opinions based on observational research to reach the assumptions that set forth his theories (Feist & Feist, 2009). Eysenck and Freud did not agree on anything about understanding how and why the mind operates the way, it does.
Eysenck used mathematical steps in his research. In factor analysis, the experimenter begins making specific observations of a large number of people. The information is then quantified by calculating the correlation coefficient between the variables of the experiment. The number will depend on the amount of people who participate in the study. The mathematical deductive process continues until the figures are broken down into smaller, more basic dimensions called traits existing within the factors that represent a large group of closely related variables (Feist & Feist, 2009).
The purpose of factor analysis is to find simple relationship patterns among mathematically examined variables (Buchanan, 2011). However, Freud approached understanding personality with an ever so fascinating perspective. A perspective that remains controversial even after his death. Freud did not use measurable scientific approaches to reach his conclusions; he used observation and psychic inferences. He focused on the importance of childhood experiences on shaping an individual’s personality and behavior. Freud examined many patients who suffered from illnesses such as depression, anxiety and hysteria. After many sessions of conversations with his patients, he understood how childhood experiences always played a major role in the person’s psychological state. Unlike Eysenck who relied on mathematics to explain his theories of the biological responsibility of personality, Freud explains levels of mental life. According to Freud, these levels and provinces consist of the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious mind. In addition to the levels of mental life exist provinces that consist of the id, go, and superego (Feist & Feist, 2009).
Eysenck and Freud’s theories both possess strengths that sway individuals of different backgrounds to agree or believe in the validity of either theory. In attempting to compare or contrast the two theories, it is important to examine who they were and how they were raised. It is also important to take notice of the suggestion to examine these facets. In contrast to Eysenck, Freud was the eldest child of eight and notes to have had a rewarding...

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