Introduction to Explaining Personality

What you’ll learn to do: describe and differentiate between personality theories

Beyond Freud and the Neo-Freudians, there are many other approaches that work to explain personality. In this section, you’ll learn about the behavioral, humanistic, biological, trait, and cultural perspectives.

Watch It

Watch this video for an overview about the main philosophical approaches to studying personality:

You can view the transcript for “What’s Personality All About” here (opens in new window).

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the learning perspective on personality, including the concepts of reciprocal determinism, self-efficacy, locus of control, and the person-situation debate
  • Explain the contributions of humanists Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers to personality development
  • Explain biological approaches to understanding personality, including the findings of the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, heritability, and temperament
  • Discuss the early trait theories of Cattell and Eysenck
  • Describe the Big Five factors and categorize someone who is high and low on each of the five factors
  • Discuss personality differences of people from collectivist and individualist cultures and the varying approaches to studying personality (the cultural-comparative approach, the indigenous approach, and the combined approach)


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