Every person is unique not merely, because people are genetically different. On the contrary, identical twins have the same DNA. However, despite the similarity, the twins will still be two different persons. This implies that there are certain qualities that set a person apart from the others. Theoretically, this will involve the manner of nurturance or upbringing. Nonetheless, this does not account on the divergence among different persons' thoughts, aspirations, behaviors, preferences, feelings, and reactions.
Across the centuries, the notion that thinkers came up with to explain and or describe the similarities and differences in the individuality that each person possess is known as personality. In a stricter sense, Susan C. Cloninger defined personality "as the underlying causes within the person of individual behavior and experience" (2008; 2). Personalities differ from one group of traits to another. More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates had already separated four types of temperament to describe people. He made four basic categories namely: choleric, melancholic, sanguine and phlegmatic (Colininger, 2008; 3). Describing personality requires the evaluation of its type, factors and traits.
Colininger explained that personality dynamics are the "mechanisms by which personality is expressed" (2008;5). Motivations influence the personality. Motivations are the underlying reasons or caused that drive the person to act in certain ways. Different psychologists have different speculations about the motivational factors that underlie personality. Freud argued that sexual urges are the source of motivation while Carl Rogers believed that the motivation has developmental roots. Alfred Alder and Rudolf Dreikurs asserts that personality motivations involve being goal-oriented and a process of self-creation (9). In the same context, Henry Murray put forward that there are interrelated motivations that affects the personality.
All of these motivational theories imply that people react to the changes in themselves and their environment. Personality dynamics denote that personality is something that develops in the person's consciousness. The reaction shows growth and progress in the individual. Personal dynamics as a whole require the person to adapt and to adjust in his living environment and situation.
How do cognitive processes and culture relate to personality dynamics?
In the study of personality dynamics and the exploration of motivational factors, it is inevitable to include the process and function of cognition into the equation. For the most part, cognition refers to the manner of perception. Cognitive processes therefore include the thinking and the learning development of an individual. In the Psychoanalytic theory, Freud emphasized that the personality dynamics is "consist of the ways in which psychic energy us distributed to the id, ego and superego" (Corey, 2009; p. 61). Freud's theory revolves around the idea that the cognitive process only happens during the conscious state. Thus, Freud "proposed that conscious thought plays only a limited role in personality dynamics" (Cloninger, 2008; p. 5). The ego represents consciousness while the superego represents the unconsciousness. The emphasis given by Freud on the superego's role in personality dynamics raised several questions among the thinkers specifically because behavior are predictable and coping patterns are recognizable. Moreover, humans are able to distinguish how their experiences or previous knowledge affects their future decisions, actions and reactions.
The previous knowledge that the person holds is largely determined by the culture in which the person belongs. Personality is not something innate to the individual. Despite the fact that genes affect the capacity of the human physiology, it is obvious that the beliefs, traditions and even the language that the person holds greatly shaped his personality. Consider how the Christian culture and conservative ideologies are related to introvert personalities. The multiculturalism that the United States espouses encouraged individualism that "encourages extraverted and assertive behavior" (Cloninger, 2008; p. 6). These observations illuminate the fact that the culture in a society affects the individual personality of a person. Carl Jung developed his analytical psychology, which divided the personality dynamics into introverted and extroverted personality. According to Corey, Jung acknowledged, "we are not merely shaped by past events, but we are influenced by our future as well" (p. 79). Jung also explained that there is a "collective unconsciousâ€¦containing the accumulation of inherited experiences of human and pre-human species" (p. 80). This collective unconscious derived from historical experiences and future insights affects the motivations of a person.
What are some important influences on personality development?
Clearly, personality is not something that encrypted into the person's mind when he was born. Personality is something that develops out of the person's interaction to other people and the environment. Moreover, personality is not something permanent. It could change or develop or progress depending on the individual's reaction towards event and circumstances in life. In relation to the process of development, Cloninger explained that biological influences and social development influences are the two major factors that affects the development of personality.
The biological influences are those behavior that are observable and consistent behavior from birth onwards. This consistency in "behavior and emotional reactions present from early life onward" is called temperament (Cloninger, 2008 p. 6). Modern scientific findings seems to "support the claim that personality is significantly influenced by hereditary" (2008, p. 6). This does not mean that genes alone determine the personality of the person because the biological person needs to adapt into the environment as well.
In this regard, one could observe that as a person grows older, their personality changes. The person does not only develop physical but also psychologically. The changes in the person's cognitive skills could also help establish the fact that personality develops. Furthermore, most of the theorist in personality believes that the experiences in childhood greatly affect the current psychological state of mind of the adult person. The evidence of this claim lies on the possibiliyu of developing skills and acquiring knowledge. Aside from the cognitive development, the person's emotions are also considered to affect their personality when they enter adulthood. For instance, if the parent-child relationship during childhood years is not satisfactory, then the child also might neglect his/her offspring in the future or they might shower the child with excessive love and affection. This implies that childhood experiences affects personality development. From this perspective, it could be surmised that personality is not solely determine by genetics and personality could change over time.