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Compare and Contrast the Personality Theories of Freud and Eysenck

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  • considering the theory which you have stated in 1 part of this work, write why  NOT agree with described below
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  • Be sure to support any claims and/or assumptions you make using the academic literature you researched.

Article T.a

Compare and Contrast the Personality Theories of Freud and Eysenck

There are a number of theories that exist in which an individual’s personality has been seemingly defined. Out of these theories that have been presented over time, four major perspectives namely Psychoanalytic, Humanist or Behavioural, Trait and Social Cognitive have been recognised as the classical approaches.

Where Freud’s approach was more in the domain of Psychoanalytic approach, Eysenck’s theories fell within the Traitapproach. Freud’s theories, like all Psychoanalytical theories deals with the unconscious mind hence relates personality to the unconscious side of an individual as according to him most of the personality development takes place in the early childhood “as he or she progresses through the biologically determined pregenital psychosexual stages that largely determines adult character structure” (Ziegler, 2002, p. 78). He then also proclaimed that “humans are not the rational rulers of their lives and instead are under the influence of the unconscious irrational forces” (Ziegler, 2002, p. 81). He also manifests that the way parents deal with child’s sexual impulses during these initial years have a significant impact on the way the child would fit into the society in the his or her adult life. 

Matthews (2016) establishes that Eysenck on the other hand is the advocate of the trait related personality theory. The key features within his theory are around the conceptual nervous system (CNS). Firstly, he initiates his accounts that the main system within the brain is a “cortico-reticular” circuit that will relate to one’s alertness and extraversion and the “cortico-limbic” circuit is linked to the emotion and neuroticism (Matthews, 2016). From there, he goes on to theorizing that CNS directly controls the individual differences in any personality and subsequently their performance. This is where he lastly accentuated that the interaction of traits with situational modifiers is what makes a person react in a certain way in any given situation. He in his theory explains the influence of any individual traits on the personality by reflecting the mental state, behaviour – both criminal and social and one’s interactions – both socially and in a work environment.

Freud despite his huge contributions to the field is criticised for lack of empirical basis of his concepts and the way his theories have always maintained a fascinating but a very narrow focus. More so recently than before his theories have also been criticised for being more male dominant than to have a balanced gender approach. Eysenck on the other hand has been able to establish in a more scientifically supported manner that the personalities have an impact “as proposed by Eysenck, individual differences in extraversion and neuroticism are related to the functioning and structure if various brains regions” (Mitchell, Kumari, 2016).

The three factors of personality provided by Eysenck namely Extraversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism became the basis of various researches and the “Eysenck Personality Questionnaire” is one of the most widely recognised measure of personality evaluation. The main reasons for this longevity of the research is due to several reasons such as his work can be numerically integrated, it strives to go beyond the labels into meaningful descriptions, it has been empirically tested and have been rectified over time (Boyle et al., 2016).

Requirements for Part 2 – 2 pages

  • considering the theory which you have stated in 1 part of this work, write why you agree with described below
  • Be sure to support any claims and/or assumptions you make using the academic literature you researched.
  • in the end of 2nd part of this Assignment, you have to add minimum 3 question for this article and to give a change a writer of this Article to reply.

Article K

Personality theories concentrate upon core structures which are established upon completion of adolescence, however, it could be argued that life stages and structures theory posited by Levinson influences the personality of individuals (Levinson, 1986). One recounts the subjective viewpoints of many friends who claim not to be the same person they were to that of their younger days. Reaction to the environment is determined by the situational factors that evoke positive, negative or extreme behavioural variances of which depends upon personality types, however, specific pre-existing genetic personality traits would need to be present in the first instance (Cooper, 2010). Evolutionary theory considers the relation between organism-environment as a mutual exchange governed by the central nervous system which is principal to the development of the psyche (Costall, 2001). Fromm’s dual-construct of personality, founded upon Humanistic Ethics and Existentialism, concludes that humans face repeated challenges requiring resolution; the efficacy of the person`s problem-solving skills depended mainly upon self-determination (Kapustin, 2015). A common denominator of Personality theories is self-actualisation, a concept impossible to measure empirically (Cooper, 2010); though one could posit the use of self-report questionnaires based upon the framework of Erikson’s stages of Ego development and Levinson’s Life seasons to provide qualitative data of life satisfaction (Levinson, 1986). One can argue that there exist similarities in Eysenck’s dimensions of introversion and extraversion (Cooper, 2010) with Fromm’s theoretical position, that personality consists of either productive or non-productive personality types; the latter being abnormal and consequently experiencing sufferance in life (Kapustin, 2015).

Critical analysis of Freud`s Psychosexual stages arguably suggests assumption of situational factors and classical conditioning as foundations (Rilling, 2000), that is, to say that each child would have different situations through nurturing and parental response, determining the outcome of each psychosexual stage; either the conflicts are resolved or not and later demonstrated in adulthood (Cooper, 2010). Freud`s theory of affective processes and the transference of emotion from one individual or object to another person was replicated by Watson in his Little Albert experiment; Watson and Raynor preferred to explore the emotion of fear in infancy rather than sexual instinct (Rilling, 2000). Psychotherapists use positive and negative reinforcement of adaptive responses as a method of transference, enabling the client to identify behaviours that require change (Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, Bem, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1996).

Pavlovian excitation/inhibition theory provided the framework for Eysenck’s assumptions of anxiety-hysteria and introversion-extraversion as a continuum, the methodology of which has been extensively critiqued by theorists such as Hamilton; who suggests that there is minimal and poor value empirical evidence to support Eysenck’s conclusion (Hamilton, 1959). Eysenck’s dimensions of personality employed a top-down approach using clinical research, forming a credible, empirical basis for his hypotheses (Cooper, 2010). However, as Hamilton further critiques, the 1952 experiments with brain-damaged patients by Klein & Krech, of which Eysenck relies upon in his assumptions; were not directly physiologically measured (Hamilton, 1959). Further methodological critique by Hammer, is dismissed by McDonald & Yates (1960), who conclude such criticism be instead directed toward the founding empirical research rather than Eysenck`s concluding theories. Critically, Eysenck’s contribution to the Big Five trait theory offers robust generalisability, yielding consistently positive results through replications worldwide; for instance, predicted core personality traits emerged in research investigating B5 measurements in preschool teachers in Croatia (Tatalović Vorkapić, 2012).


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