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Forty Studies That Changed Psychology – Recent Applications and Future Directions

Roger Hock’s Forty Studies that Changed Psychology has several readings describing psychology and its significance in understanding human behavior. The selected reading three is titled “Are you a Natural?” The research undertaken in reading 3 explores how personality manifests. The research takes the direction that personality traits are influenced by genetic and biological factors. However, the reading has incepted conflicting findings that psychological elements like intelligence are influenced by environmental factors. This opens an avenue to investigate research articles demonstrating whether personality traits are natural or influenced by environmental factors.

Christopher Hopwood and his colleagues analyzed how personality traits develop from childhood to adulthood. In their article titled Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood, the researchers investigate personality trends using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire data (Hopwood et al., 545). The research found that the personality traits stability is observed during adulthood compared to childhood. The researches which were retested registered a correlation between 74% and 78% (Hopwood et al., 545). The Questionnaire data reported that both biological factors and environmental factors impact personality traits. It is critical to assess the critical life events and associations in defining who a person is. The behavior and personality development, for instance, is shaped by factors like sickness and association with brothers (Hock 19). From the research and evidence provided in Hopwood’s research, the answer to the question, are you a natural is YES and No. This is because there exists empirical evidence illustrating how biological, genetic and environmental factors impact behavior, an indicator of personality trait. Also, genes have been found out to interpret psychological wellbeing. An example of twins will be sufficient. For twins they will likely share similar IQs.

The findings also project controversy in understanding how maturation comes about during the young adulthood stage. The researchers incorporate the two types of personality stability to make their point. The two types of stability are absolute and differential stability (Hopwood et al., 547). One argument reveals that social roles influence personality maturation in the young adulthood stage. This is where the young adult will learn about features like accountability; a person has to engage in productive work for self-sustainability or sustain the family. This personality trend, from this perspective, will prompt maturation. On the other hand, maturity is tied to biological control. The argument is posited on the ability to control impulses. When faced with a demotivating event, the biological intrinsic will reduce vulnerability to emotional negativity. It means that there is a controversy on how environmental and biological factors influence personality. However, the commonality is that both environmental and biological factors influence personality traits.

An analysis of environmental factors integrates concepts like cognition. This concept defines the mind’s procession from critical events occurring within the environment. Researches have reported concerns over persons who are unable to control negative emotions. The outcomes may disrupt healthy personality growth. It means that the mind will be processing negative stimuli that will negatively affect coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms are analyzed using differential stability (Hopwood et al., 549). The key focus will derive elements borrowed from cognition; conscientiousness, openness, and agreeability (Bieldon 2). Notably, conditions like borderline personality disorder prevent one from effectively managing negative emotion, meaning that they will show less differential stability (Hopwood et al., 549). To better how emotional patterns are impacted, it will be essential to review Bieldon’s Theory of Big Five Personality Traits, also known as the Five-Factor Model (FFM). This model is present in Bieldon peer reviewed article titled Personality trait stability and change. One of the features used in Bieldon’s research is the use of the theoretical framework. The research has also incorporated past and previous studies to demonstrate activities from childhood to adulthood. Beldon found that people experience different situations creating different responses. Recent research has indicated a U-shaped pattern for individuals’ differences levels (Bieldon 4). A rank-order continuity covers environmental factors from childhood to adulthood. So, assessing the mind’s ability to process events from childhood to adulthood will be necessary. This prescribes the concept of cognition.

Beldon (2) reported that openness is one of the big five personality traits. Openness to feelings or ideas will be difficult when one has mental health issues. A borderline personality disorder affects relationships as it generates self-image image issues. The person with such disorder thinks negatively about self, creating expression issues. For fear of being judged by others, isolation will be the preferred choice. It means that Beldon agrees with Hopwood’s finding that individuals with borderline personality disorder have less differential stability. One of the FFM models, openness, is absent. In acknowledgment, some people develop mental conditions from unpleasant events. The classic genetic set-point theory does not cover such people, which states that endurance set points for regression (Bieldon 6). Despite the circumstance, the mindsets are positive conditions for healthy personality growth. Endurance will be impossible to establish for one who has less differential stability. This is because the mind has become overwhelmed by unpleasant environmental factors. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a negative outcome of unfavorable environmental conditions. For instance, a racially discriminated individual may find it challenging to cope with racial discriminators. The confidence level will decline, making it difficult to have a coping mechanism that would have been obtained by openness. The fear of opening up about the problem will sustain the mental health condition. This way, it will be impossible to exploit agreeableness, a concept that fosters a solution to the problem. Those in conflict needs to have an open communication for a consensus and permanent solution to a problem to be obtained.

Sandra Sanchez-Roige’s research topic The genetics of human personality emphasizes hereditary personality traits. Developing personality traits is characterized by feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. As an endurance process, developing personality traits impacts psychopathology. This means that Sanchez-Roige’s research has incorporated concepts like psychology to show emotional and behavioral trends. Additionally, healthy human subjects were included in the questionnaires distributed to the participants of this study. The incorporated study designs were polygenic analyses, candidate gene association studies, and twin and genome-wide association studies. Notably, self-report questionnaires were used to measure personality traits. Besides, the questionnaires were used to capture the multi-faceted characteristics of personality. The Five Factor Model (FFM) was also used to measure emotional stability. Openness, for instance, was projected to promote motivation. Neuroticism, another factor, describes exposure to adverse outcomes. This study also agrees with other research that both environmental and biological factors influence personality traits.

The three researchers agree that both environmental and hereditary factors influence personality growth. However, there is insufficient evidence of how biological factors impact personality growth. The preexisting researches rely on presumption. For instance, twins will likely have the same intellectual capacity. I will like to see how the twins, placed in different environments with different conditions, will perform in school. One twin who grows up in a hostile environment with no love from guardians and a lack of income to sustain quality education is likely to perform poorly in school because of disruption from the environment compared to the other who receive emotional and financial support. So, when justifying the impact of biological factors on personality traits using theories like classic genetic set-point, I would like to see how one twin exposed to harsh situations will regress. In the future, researchers should provide arguments from logical reasoning. The examples provided need to be practical and establish a basis for meaningful comparison. Concepts in psychology, philosophy, and sociology need to be drawn.

Works Cited

Bleidorn, Wiebke, et al. “Personality trait stability and change.” Personality Science 2 (2021): 1-20.

Hock, Roger R. Forty studies that changed psychology: Explorations into the history of psychological research. Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1995.

Hopwood, Christopher J., et al. “Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: a three-wave longitudinal study.” Journal of personality and social psychology 100.3 (2011): 545.

Sanchez‐Roige, Sandra, et al. “The genetics of human personality.” Genes, Brain and Behavior 17.3 (2018): e12439.


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