Describe the way in which personality and identity develop and explain the role of Nature and nurture in the process.

Essay by emmalou February 2004

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There are some traits that we all possess to some extent, such as caring, kindness, helpfulness or leadership.

However different they may be in other respects, most personality theories share the basic assumption that personality is something that 'belongs' to the individual:' the appropriate unit of analysis for personality is the person' (Hampson, 1995) (1) To the extent that each of us 'has' a personality that's stable and relatively permanent, our behaviour will be consistent from one situation to another.

The self is an organised, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself. It includes a persons awareness of 'what they are and what they can do' and influences both their perception of the world and their behaviour. We evaluate every experience in terms of self, and most human behaviour can be understood as an attempt to maintain consistency between our self-image and our actions, however this consistency isn't always achieved and our self-image (and related self-esteem) may differ quite radically from our actual behaviour and from how others see us.

For example, a person may be highly successful and respected by others and yet regard him or herself as a failure! This illustrates what rogers calls incongruence. Because incongruent experiences, feelings, actions and so on conflict with our (conscious) self-image.

Carl Rogers believed that our personality and identity develops according to how other people treat and regard us. Our identity is an ongoing process and we are moving towards being a fully functioning person or our true organismic self . (2) A newborn baby has no sense of identity but relies on instincts to get what he needs from others for his development, as the childs develops he becomes aware more quickly of the importance of love and approval from others. This will affect his identity development as if...