Biological and humanistic approaches to personality Jonathan G. Castro PSY 250 October 17, 2012 Andrew R. Moskowitz Biological and humanistic approaches to personality In our world there are different types of people with different types of personalities. There are many way to describe where they came from through biological or humanistic theories. In my paper I will describe biological factors that are influences to the formation to personality. I will agree to disagree with the theory of biology having an influence on personality. I will break down the basic aspects of humanistic personality theories.

Last but not less I will express my opinion on biological and humanistic approach on personality are compatible. Biology revealed many aspects of how the human body works and what it needs to stay healthy. “In 1953 James D. Watson and Francis Crick discovered that DNA was structured as a double helix (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). This discovery was a huge accomplishment in the study of human biology. Charles Darwin took human biology a step further. Darwin used the fact that not one human being is the same to support his evolutionary personality theory.

Darwin believes that humans are “people evolved directly from more primitive species (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). ” For example, Brian G. Richmond and David S. Strait wrote an article called “Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor (Richmond and Strait, 2000). ” This article explains that evidence has surfaced proving that humans could have once been gorillas. Psychiatrists’ who use the biological approach believe that your personality comes from your parents’ personalities. In other words, they believed your personality is genetic.

When someone is born they have a strong foundation for certain personality. This is the belief we are all born with no personality and we learn what our personality is from our parents. Basically, it is saying that our personality is a learned behavior. It was theorized that “a natural selection has determined our personality” (Richmond and Strait 2000). We are not born with full fledge personalities when we come into the world. Instead, we are born with a temperament. This is susceptibility towards a certain personality. It does not mean that we keep the same personality all our lives. You can understand people’s temperament by watching children playing. They can be either inhibited or uninhibited. An inhibited child will seem withdrawn and a more of loaner and will watch the other children play instead of playing with the other children. An uninhibited child can start a conversation with another child and play along with the other children” (Richmond and Strait, 2000). A Darwinian approach to that idea would be that over time conditions in the environment caused some gorillas to no longer need to walk on their knuckles, no longer needed huge nostrils in their noses, and so on.

Also in that group of gorillas it could have been a need for longer legs and slimmer body sizes for the sole purpose of survival. This, in turn, changed the way those gorillas behaved, furthermore, changing their personality, in which, the human being evolved. “It is important to note that unique results emerge when certain biological aspects of personality are combined with certain environments (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). ” The same would go for two children raised by a quiet and withdrawn mother. The one child who inherits the mother’s introverted genes may grow to be like the mother.

Whereas the outgoing child, may grow to be more family oriented focused on communicating with all family as a means of being more sociable. Raising those two children in a household with a more outgoing mother, could have caused a reverse outcome. Although this idea does seem to make sense Abraham Maslow believes in a humanistic approach to personality. The humanistic approach to personality focuses on the humanistic nature of the human being, in other words, the qualities of mankind that make humans different from animals.

Humanistic people like Maslow believe that every human is born healthy, normal, and good. Maslow believed that all humans need to fulfill needs of human nature such as love, esteem, and self-fulfillment. Maslow believed that humans are like animals to a certain extent. In other words, humans need to feed themselves to survive, drink water to stay hydrated, and sleep to stay energized to survive another day. “Maslow argued that the correct social conditions are needed to encourage the highest level self-actualization…..

We cannot usually fulfill our complete human potential and search for truth and beauty if we lack food, safety, love, and esteem (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). ” The humanistic approach and the biological approach do have similarities, in which they agree that the human being has needs that should be fulfilled but the two theories also have their differences. For instance, according to Friedman and Schustack the drive to grow and self-actualize is unlike the drives to satisfy hunger, thirst, or libido and thus relieve tension, in that it is not strictly necessary for survival.

Maslow divided human needs into categories. These categories are physiological needs (basic biological necessities: food, water, sex, and shelter), safety needs (a sensibly predictable world), belongingness and love needs (psychologically intimate relations with other people), esteem needs (respect for oneself and for others), and self-actualization (peace with oneself) (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). Some psychologists, who believe in the humanistic approach to personality, do not question the realness of free will.

Whereas psychologists who believe in the biological theory of personality, believe free will is not a real entity. Many modern biologists believe that humans are more intelligent than most animals but they do not believe that humans are at the top of the evolutionary tree. “Maslow and other humanistic psychologists were particularly irked by B. F. Skinner’s views of personality… Skinner claimed to be studying human psychology by observing pigeons and laboratory rats (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). People who believe in the humanistic approach believe that no one is born in a way that hinders him or her from being a good person. People who believe in the biological approach to personality, express that a person cannot help what genes he or she are born with, therefore, cannot help being an angry person or mean spirited because he or she is born that way. The biological and humanistic approaches are just two of the six psychology approaches. The other four are psychoanalytic, trait, behavioral, and cognitive. These are the different approaches to the human personality.

Each one describes how can we gain our personalities and what affects them. The approach used depends on the psychiatrists’ and the persons personalities. The effectiveness is determined by our personalities. I believe it is the psychiatrists’ responsibility to get to know the person to determine what approach will work best. In conclusion the humanistic approach to personality is somewhat similar to the biological approach to personality. I believe that personality is a formulation of humanistic and biological aspects that influence a person’s characteristics of his or her personality.

I have gathered my own theory and have come to the conclusion that every person is a product of his or her own environment. References Friedman,H. S. & Schustack, M. W. (2009, July 15). Personality: Classic theories and Modern Research, Fourth Edition: Retrieved from University of Phoenix: https://ecampus. phoenix. edu/content/ebooklibrary2 Richmond, B. G & Strait, D. S. (2000, march). Nature: Evidence that humans evoled from a knuckle-walking ancestor, Nature volume 404:Retrieved from http://www. nature. com/biology/personality