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Sociology Ch. 5 S. 1: Personality Development

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Presentation on theme: "Sociology Ch. 5 S. 1: Personality Development"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociology Ch. 5 S. 1: Personality Development
Obj: Identify the four main factors that affect the development of personality; explain how isolation in childhood affects development.

2 What comes to mind when you hear the term personality
What comes to mind when you hear the term personality? People most often use the term to describe someone’s specific characteristics or as an explanation for people's achievements or failures. To social scientists, personality is the sum total of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and values that are characteristic of an individual.

3 Our personality traits determine how we adjust to our environment and how we react in specific situations. People’s personalities continue to develop throughout their lifetimes. Specific traits change at different degrees. Some personality traits seem to remain basically constant throughout a person’s life, while other traits undergo dramatic changes.

4 Nature Versus Nurture For many years, social scientists have heatedly debated what determines personality and social behavior. Some argue that it is heredity – the transmission of genetic characteristics from parents to children. Others suggest that the social environment – contact with other people – determines personality.

5 The nature viewpoint that held sway throughout the 1800’s states that much of human behavior is instinctual in origin. An instinct is an unchanging, biologically inherited behavior pattern. Instinct is most often applied to animal behavior. Supporters of the nature argument extended this notion of the biological basis of behavior to humans. They claimed that instinctual drives were responsible for practically everything – laughing, motherhood, warfare, religion, capitalism, and event the creation of society itself.

6 American psychologist John B
American psychologist John B. Watson suggested that what applies to dogs can also be applied to humans. He claimed that he could take a dozen healthy infants and train them to become anything he wanted – doctors, lawyers, artists, beggars, or thieves. The emergence of sociobiology in the 1970s reemphasized the nature viewpoint. Sociobiology is the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior. In general sociobiologists argue that most of human social life is determined by biological factors.

7 However, few social scientists accept the sociobiologists’ argument
However, few social scientists accept the sociobiologists’ argument. Instead, most social scientists assume that personality and social behavior result from a blending of hereditary and social environmental influences. They believe that environmental factors have the greatest influence. Heredity, birth order, parents, and the cultural environment are among the principal factors that social scientists see influencing personality and behavior.

8 Heredity Everyone has certain characteristics that are present at birth. These hereditary characteristics include body build, hair type, eye color, and skin pigmentation. Hereditary characteristics also include certain aptitudes. An aptitude is a capacity to learn a particular skill or acquire a particular body of knowledge.

9 Most social scientists believe that some aptitudes can be learned as well as inherited. Some social scientists also believe that inherited aptitudes often develop because of environmental factors. Heredity also plays an important role in shaping human personalities by setting limits on individuals. Inherited characteristics place limits on what is possible, but they do not determine what a person will do. No one factor alone determines what kind of personality someone will have.

10 Birth Order Our personalities are also influenced by whether we have brothers, sisters, both, or neither. Children with siblings have a different view of the world than do children who have no brothers or sisters. The order in which we are born into our families also influences our personalities. People born first or last in a family have a different perspective than people born in the middle.

11 Parental Characteristics
Personality development in children is also influenced by the characteristics of their parents. For example, the age of parents can have a bearing on their children’s development.

12 The Cultural Environment
Culture has a strong influence on personality development. Generally, the cultural environment determines the basic types of personalities that will be found in a society. Each culture gives rise to a series of personality traits – model personalities – that are typical of members of the society. How we experience our culture also influences our personalities. For example, our experiences may differ depending on whether we are born male or female. Regardless of gender, subcultural differences also affect personality development.

13 Isolation in Childhood
Remarkably, several recorded instances exist in which children have been raised without the influence of a cultural environment. In a few cases, these feral children – wild or untamed children – were found living with animals. In other instances, the children were isolated in their homes by parents or family members so that no one would know of their existence.

14 Regardless of the circumstances, these children had few human characteristics other than appearance. They had acquired no reasoning ability, no manners, and no ability to control their bodily functions or move about like other human beings. Sociological studies of feral children point strongly to the conclusion that our personality comes from our cultural environment.

15 The cases of Anna, Isabelle, Genie, and the institutionalized infants illustrate how important human interaction is for social and psychological development.

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