Biological and Humanistic Approach
Biological and Humanistic Approach
Psychology consists of six approaches to personality that include psychoanalytic, biological, humanistic, behavioral, trait, and cognitive. The biological and humanistic approaches to personality are two different methods to describe the stages of human development. Humanists emphasizes the need for self actualization that individuals have control of his or her own personality as opposed to biological theorists in the biological perspective asserts that genetics are accountable for human behavior and personality. Psychology, based on various theories acquired from observations and personal experiences must compare research to attain an absolute analysis between the biological and humanistic perspectives of personality.
The basic concept of the biological theory is the psychological processes that focus on the functions of the brain and nervous system, which determines the characteristics of humans. Research studies have shown that other aspects of human development have strong biological links to genetic makeup, such as temperament, extroversion, and introversion. Hans Eysenck, one of the most controversial biological theorists measured an individual??™s personality by using statistics known as factor analysis and determined that human traits can be broken down into two dimensions such as extroversion-introversion, and neuroticism. According to Eysenck, intelligence is inherited and proposed that personality traits are evaluated in these two categories, which he called super traits. Biology may not play a direct role in personality, but research has proven fact that biological components determine an individual??™s physical characteristics.
Humanist, Abraham Maslow took his ideas in a different approach to personality and created the hierarchy of needs mainly depicted as a pyramid. Maslow??™s hierarchy of needs has five levels known as physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization located at the very top of the pyramid. Physiological needs are at the bottom because these are essential needs, which are obvious for survival such as oxygen, food, water, and shelter. Maslow believed that physiological needs are imperative for a person??™s mind and body to function in life. The safety and security needs come into play when the physiological needs are mainly fulfilled. An individual will find interest to develop structure in maintaining stability and protection. Some examples of security are to have a home in a secure area, employment, health insurance, and a decent retirement plan (Boeree, 1998, 2006).
The third level is social needs, which a person desires for love, belonging, and affection. According to Maslow, these needs are not as important, unlike physiological, and safety needs. During this stage, a person will want to interact with friends, family, and a significant other, affectionate relationships in general to give him or her a sense of community and acceptance. Maslow specified that there are two types of esteem needs, a lower, and a higher one. The lower one is the needs for the respect of others, reputation, recognition, dignity, attention, and appreciation as opposed to the higher form includes the need for self respect, such as feelings of confidence, independence, accomplishment, competence, and freedom. Maslow called the preceding four levels deficit needs, which simply means that if a person does not have enough of something, he or she have a deficit and will feel the need (Boeree, 1998, 2006).
Self-actualization, which Maslow also refers to as growth motivation is the last level and at the highest peak of the pyramid. Self-actualization involves the constant desire to accomplish potentials and to ???be all that you can be.??? Maslow established his theory of motivation to explain human behavior in terms of basic necessities for survival and growth. Initially, Maslow took his first interest in psychology from the time when he was working with monkeys and the writings of John B. Watson. Psychology dominated by two views of human behavior such as the psychoanalytic and the behaviorist, during Maslow??™s motivation theory development. Therefore, he focused his effort on understanding human development in a positive aspect. The Psychoanalytic view highlighted its basic concepts on the unconscious, and the humanistic view is primarily on free will.
Although the biological and humanistic approaches to personality differ greatly, both have had a significant impact on psychology and in other fields of practice. Examining the aspects of humanistic theory with the justifications of involvement in the biological process to personality will expand our thinking in a different level of understanding the human characteristics. Theories in different categories are essential simply because they benefit each psychologist in obtaining a greater explanation in the formation of personality. Abraham Maslow and Hans Eysenck??™s theories remain useful and influential in our contemporary world. Whether it is biology or the need for self-actualization, there will always be a different perspective to compare one with the other to achieve a complete examination on human behavior and personality.
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C. George Boeree (1998, 2006) Personality Theories: Abraham Maslow, Retrieved from
University of Phoenix (2009) Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research,
Retrieved from University of Phoenix website.
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