Theories of Personality

Essay by sfck9High School, 10th grade April 2004

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How can reactions and behaviors from those around us effect our own personalities or future behaviors?

Behaviorists such as B.F.Skinner believe that responses to our behaviors can reinforce and weaken our desire to repeat the behavior. Positive and negative reinforcements are types of responses to our behavior. The responses and/or consequences can be looked at as positive or negative.

Positive reinforcement generally make the behavior increase if the behavior is followed by an addition of something to our environment such as a treat, toy, or attention it is positive reinforcement.

When I was in grade school my parents expressed to me how important grades were. To further reinforce their point they would pay me money for good grades. They would pay me the most money for A and less for a Bs and nothing for a C,D,orF . I was able to learn very quick and got mostly A's until I was in the 8th grade.

In the eight grade I went from straight A's to barely passing. I then made an agreement with my dad to up the anti so to speak, for good grades on my report card. So to get the positive reinforcement for something that I wanted I acted negatively in order to receive the reward causing the reinforcement to backfire.

As a result of the negative behavior I received negative reinforcement for being caught doing something bad. I was then grounded and lost my positive reinforcement. Which caused me not to cheat so I would not receive the negative reinforcement.

One of the most famous behaviorists was B.F. Skinner. When he was a child his grandfather would hold his face over hot coals so he would see "what hell was like." Skinner became withdrawn to society and was an unhappy man. He had a hard...