Biological Humanistic Approaches Personality. The Paper Cover Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

biological humanistic approaches personality. The paper cover areas. *Use Maslow's hierarchy discuss extent growth influence personality formation. *Describe biological factors influence formation personality.

Biological and humanistic approaches to personality:

An overview of the debate

Biological theories have become increasingly popular in the field of psychology, as scientists seek to understand the roots of human behavior. Several reasons are at the heart of this shift in emphasis from 'nurture' to 'nature': the first is our expanding knowledge of neuropsychology and how different components of the brain affect behavior. A change in the physical matter or the environment of the brain can result in a change in personality. The second is the expansion of psychopharmacology, whereby aspects of the human character once thought beyond conscious control, such as hyperactivity or a tendency towards melancholy, can be shifted when medications change the individual's brain chemistry. Finally, changes in behavior are evident at different developmental stages in everyone, such as the hormonal changes of adolescence. However, humanistic, non-biological theories of psychology such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs are still used in clinical practice and other arenas to help people lead a more fulfilling life as well as in research study paradigms.

"Before the advent of neuroimaging to study human brain function," most theories about which aspects of the human brain produced different behaviors were left to either speculation or were derived from experiments on animals (Davidson, n.d., 192). For example, amygdala region damage caused animals to exhibit "approach, hyper-orality and sexuality, and little fear," in contrast to their previous personality (Davidson, n.d., 195). Now experiments upon patients with brain damage have yielded not only the finding that certain areas of the brain seem responsible for specific behaviors, but can affect traits once thought to be primarily part of one's 'moral' personality, like the ability to self-regulate or one's general mood. "The case for the differential importance of left and right PFC sectors for emotional processing was first made systematically in a series of studies on patients with unilateral cortical damage. Each of these studies compared the mood of patients with unilateral left- or right-sided brain damage and found a greater incidence of depressive symptoms following left-sided damage" (Davidson, n.d., 193). In 10-month-old infants, "those with greater relative right-sided prefrontal activation in prefrontal scalp regions were more likely to cry in response to a brief period of maternal separation compared with their left-activated counterparts" (Davidson, n.d., 198). There may be, in short, a reason that some infants just 'naturally' seem to be more sensitive, needy, and change-resistant than other infants. Even relatively minor biological quirks may be heritable: "Studies of twins reared apart suggest that impulsivity in healthy, nonpsychiatric populations may be heritable" (Coccaro & Silver 2008). Impulsivity can manifest itself as BPD (borderline personality disorder), thus indicating once again…

Sources Used in Document:


Cherry, Kendra. (2012). Hierarchy of needs.

Coccaro, Emil F. & Larry J. Siever. (2008). The neuropsychopharmacology of personality disorders. Psychopharmacology: The Fourth Generation of Progress,

Davidson, Richard. (n.d). Towards a biology of personality and emotion. Annals New York

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