Personality Reaction Paper Essay

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I enjoyed studying about the social cognitive approach to personality. I agree that people not only learn from their personal experience or reinforcement and punishment, but also in interacting with others and in watching the consequences of others’ behavior. To me, the social cognitve approach to personality seems like common sense in that if I observe the consequences of others’ interactions, I will mentally take that in, and recall that when I may be in a similar situation.

I feel that learning about the “why” I behave the way I do can help in that I can have more control over my behavior and in getting me where I want to be in life. It also helps me to have more understanding for others in that I know there’s a reason for their behavior and there are conscious actions one can take in making better choices and in developing a healthier personality that will serve them well. I also found the Big Five personality traits very interesting.

Especially learning about the more specific traits attributed to each of these five broader factors, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and open to experience. It was interesting to see which of these traits I have and which traits I do not have. This again, helps me to be more understanding of myself and in turn, more understanding of others. For example, as I read through the traits included under “openess to experience,” I found that I could relate to each one of them.

I knew I had those traits but the knowledge gained in our classes and our reading helps me with the understanding part of that knowledge. The Operant Conditioning theory of B. F. Skinner was another theory that is of interest to me. I do believe that changes in behavior are often a result of reinforcement. When I knew my elementary teacher would adhere a gold star to my paper if I did all of the work correctly, I tried harder to get that gold star. If a behavior would get praise from my mother or father, I would more likely repeat that particular behavior.

The gold stars and praise strengthened the likelihood of me repeating similar behaviors. I think understanding “Operant Conditioning” can benefit teachers, parents or anyone including myself who may try to get more positive results from ourselves and other individuals. There may be millions of other children who would aim for that gold star or attempt to earn praise from their parents if there was that reinforcement used. I enjoyed and feel that I have learned from Freud’s defense mechanisms. Some of these behaviors I have seen but didn’t necessarily have a name or term to attach to them.

For example, I know an individual who has gone through some very traumatic life experiences that they aren’t able to recall, and I now know it can be due to repression or motivated forgetting. Knowing these things helps me and those I come in contact with. I find that we each enhance our lives and the lives of those around us in becoming aware of all of the personality theories. Similar to exploring religions, there are advantages to learning what all is out there and selecting that which one finds most compatible to one’s internal beliefs.

If we only study one religion or in this case, one approach to personality, we can be missing out on a world of information that we are not allowing ourselves to be exposed to. I feel it is advantageous to expose oneself to the various thoughts and then if so desired, pick and choose the thoughts or ideas we are comfortable with. This could of course change throughout our lives because as we have learned in this class, humans are not static in our behavior or in our thoughts or ideas.

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