I am a female aged 28 and the oldest of four sisters and a brother. I am a student and work at a hospital as a diet aide. I see myself as social and organized. Lastly I live with my parents. My reaction to several stimulants in the society is varied. I do things based on what I think is important and correct, however the importance and correctness of what I do is not static in all situations. For example, I will obey instructions from my lecturer because they are a requirement for my graduation hence their importance, and its expected of me as a student to follow instructions from my lecturer. My personality is defined by the consistent patterns of emotion, as well as attitudes and behaviours and interpersonal processes that originate from me. These traits vary in me as an individual the same way the importance and correctness of my response varies (Burger, 2011).
My Personality as a Result of Social Learning
In seeking to understand the why my responses to situations vary, I will use several personality theories. Am debating on whether my behaviours are as a result of external factors that define the correctness or importance of a situation or are they internal factors buried deep inside within me. First of all I embrace the theory of Bandura, which states that am an agent of my environment, and that in as much as am influenced by it, I also influence my environment. Bandura suggests that I know of the consequences of reacting in a certain way in this case the reaction of my parents and such important people in my life which shapes the importance of the situation, a fact he refers to as forethought. How I react to the situation would have taken into account what I feel about it and what I intend to get out of it. It is only after I have considered these factors that I will then react in a certain way. If I adopt Bandura’s theory, it implies that I gauge the importance of the situation based on what I want and what I feel is the correct way of achieving that. Going by the lecturer example, Bandura suggests that I will obey the lecturer’s instructions because my environment which is graduation, parents, rules and regulations and peers dictates that I obey those instructions. In extensions to that my choice to obey the instructions depends on my previous experience of obeying or disobeying the instructions a fact that will influence my resolve. Therefore in some cases I will fail to obey the same instructions under the same circumstances because previously I failed and it turned out fine. Am accepting influence by my environment but am also learning the environment based on my previous interactions and that is influencing my subsequent outcomes. My choice to disobey after a series of obedience can be explained by Bandura’s theory when explained further, that after learning my environment am able to alter my behaviour when a new stimulus presents itself. In my case the stimulus to disobey may be that there is no punishment in disobeying.
That is just a single example, what of my whole personality? There are extrinsic reinforcements that affect my reaction to situations; they are social situations like the reward of an A after obeying lectures instructions. In some other situations I react based on what I feel psychologically these have been referred to as intrinsic reinforcements. Lastly my obedience maybe a self-motivation referred to as self-enforcement or I may have learnt of it from someone else who succeeded by reacting in the same way, also called vicarious reinforcement by Bandura. Finally my decision to obey is determined by self-efficacy (Engler, 2009).
I now know of reinforcements, but how much do these influence my traits and behaviours? This question is answerable by Rotter’s theory of locus of control which explains my behaviour is determined by whether I think is responsible for the results I get or whether I think the results are not influenced by me. So if I see myself as a failure, it is because I feel that no matter what I do, I have no power to influence my results of failure, and that makes me have an external locus of control. If I had an internal locus of control, I will consider that my lack of hard work is the cause of my failure, and that it’s my responsibility to work hard or remain a failure. So according to Rotter’s my personality is as a result of how I interpret my reinforcements and someone who knows this can predict my behaviour if they know the chances of me responding certainly to a situation, a variable Rotter calls my behavioural potential. In addition to that my obedience to my lectures instructions can be predicted using the importance or preference I have attached to the matter. So if someone knows I highly regard a subject and prefer written to oral examinations then they can correctly admit that I will choose a written examination and study hard for it, instead of an oral one that might be easier. This variable is called reinforcement value, and other two variables that one can use to predict my behaviour are my expectancy of outcomes and the present psychological situation that am in (Engler, 2009). So if I am a conqueror, that personality is a combination of my locus of control and variables of motivation determine my behaviour and traits.
My Personality as a result of Nature and Biology
So far I have theories that have explained my personality based on how I react to situation. They have shown that to a large extent am my traits and behaviours are as a result of my environment. Contrary to this, Cattell’s theory suggests that my peacefulness and playfulness are not caused by the environment, but are caused by inner variables which he calls source traits. If I follow Cattell’s theory, my personality is as a result of whether I possess any of the big five source traits namely; openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. I see myself as a social person; therefore using Cartell’s theory the cause of my socialness is the source trait of agreeableness. I note also that any of the big five source traits that reside in me might have been inherited or adopted from the environment (Burstein, 2011).
Therefore as I have shown, my behaviour and other personal traits that make up my personality profile are subject to the partial of full influence of the environment on me or they may be as a result of one of the big five fundamental character traits that are in me due to my genetic makeup or my upbringing.