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Personality Theory in Behaviorism

Personality theories have been used for a long time to address the issue of what makes up an individual’s personality. Personality refers to how an individual thinks, behaves, and feels. Personality will determine how an individual interacts with the environment. Most personality theories try to discourse whether the character is nurtured or occurs by nature. The essence of someone can therefore be affected by the environment an individual is exposed to. The behaviorism theory addresses the idea that behavior is nurtured or learned through an individual’s interactions with the environment. The paper will address the origin of personality in individuals and how nature affects their behavior.

The nature vs. nurture debate has taken center stage in discussing the issue of personality. The nature vs. nurture debate addresses whether the character is learned or whether it is genetic. Nature refers to our genetics and appearance, while nurture is how our environment affects our behavior (Sabatello et al., 2020). The nature vs. nurture debate theories address that inherited factors have a ripple effect on behavior, but this is different from the behaviorism theory. Unlike other theories, the behaviorism theory argues that behavior is highly affected by the environment and not inherited factors.

The nature vs. nurture debate addresses that genetics and environment affect human development. The main focus is on how inheritable and environmental factors affect an individual’s behavior. According to Krueger & Johnson (2020), nature and nurture are two integrated words since they affect each other differently. They claim that some factors, such as intelligence, being a musician, and leadership, can be heritable and thus affect an individual’s behavior. The behaviorism theory differs from this idea since it addresses that such factors as intelligence and leadership are highly effective if nurtured. For example, teaching someone how to sing might make them a better musician than someone who is perceived to have inherited the talent.

According to Olivia (2022), early childhood experiences affect children throughout their life to adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences tend to affect children in their adulthood negatively. For example, a child who grew up seeing his parents abuse drugs and alcohol are likely to be involved in the same practices when they grow up. These adverse childhood experiences will also affect an individual’s physical and mental health in adulthood. For example, when a child grows up in a family where he does not receive love and affection, he grows up lacking a sense of self-esteem. Such people in adulthood tend to seek societal validation in everything they do.

Positive childhood experiences, on the other hand, tend to positively affect individuals in their adulthood compared to adverse childhood experiences. When a child is brought up in a disciplined environment, he tends to maintain discipline even in adulthood. The such individual tends to express openness. These positive childhood experiences will also affect the child’s physical and mental health in adulthood. For example, if a child is raised in an environment where everyone cheers and encourages him, he tends to be more confident in his adulthood than a child that was never cheered up.

However, there are exceptions to how these childhood experiences might affect children in adulthood because individuals might tend to act differently from what they were exposed to. A good example is that some individuals in their adulthood tend not to go to church despite growing up in a strongly religious home. Individuals may also opt never to abuse drugs even after growing up in an environment full of drug addicts. This behavior happens because the individual grew up seeing what drugs did to addicts and is trying to avoid these adverse effects of substance abuse.

Introversion and extroversion can affect an individual in childhood and adulthood. Introversion is a scenario where an individual gets gratification from internal stimuli (Tang et al.,2022). Introverted children tend to be shy in person and anxious simultaneously. The courses of shyness in children include harsh critics, learned behavior, personality, fear of failure, family interactions, and lack of social interactions. Introversion negatively affects adulthood since such individuals tend to miss opportunities due to their shy nature and struggle to expand their network.

Conscientiousness is a trait in introverts since they are thoughtful, goal-oriented, and have reasonable impulse control. Introversion has positive effects on some individuals who are perceived to be introverts. Introverted people tend to perform well in school since they listen attentively to the teacher and fear failure. Such individuals also behave so that they do not get into trouble. They are also easy to work with or look after.

Extroversion, on the other hand, is the act of receiving gratification from an outside source. An extroverted individual is characterized by talkativeness, sociability, excitability, and assertiveness. According to Vargas & Orduno (2022), extroversion occurs from a vital genetic factor. Twin studies addressed that genetics contribute to about 50%-60% variance between introversion and extroversion. Researchers argue that leadership behavior is associated with extroversion. On the other hand, the behaviorism theory suggests that individual experiences highly contribute to extroversion. The behaviorism theory addresses that most extroverts are considered to be energetic, highly adaptable, and friendly.

Culture in psychology has been seen to have an influence on the behavior of humans for eternity. However, in some places, people respect their culture, while in other places, people do not respect their culture. Researchers address that culture sometimes shapes behavior, and other times it does not. Culture controls people’s behavior by introducing shared expectations that determine their behavior in a given situation. Ethical and practical consequences offer an improved understanding of the effect of culture on behavior. People who often violate cultural rules have the personality trait of openness since they are more creative and adventurous beyond culture.

Agreeableness is a personality trait expressed by a person who is always ready to please others. Such people can put other people’s needs before their own without hesitating. Individuals high on agreeableness tend to portray affection, kindness, trust, and other prosocial behaviors. This behavior can sometimes lead to self-destruction if an individual does not think critically about how his decisions directly affect him. People with this characteristic tend to be more comparative, while those who lack it are more competitive and sometimes manipulative.

Sexual orientation refers to whom a person is attracted to and who wants to pursue a relationship. The sexual orientation of an individual can change during their lifetime. It is unclear what causes a person to be gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual. However, studies show that biological factors that start before birth likely cause sexual orientation in individuals.

Taking someone to therapy will not change his/her sexual orientation since people often do not choose to whom they want to be attracted. You cannot turn an individual into a lesbian or gay since people discover their sexual orientation early. For example, exposing a boy child to feminine toys will not make him gay. Most people claim that they realized they were gay or lesbian before puberty. Sexual orientation is, therefore, usually determined at a young age.

Sexual identity is how people label themselves, for example, gay, straight, or lesbian. A person may have sexual attraction towards the same sex but will not label himself or herself as gay or lesbian. Some people might have sexual attractions toward the same gender but will not act on them. Some people may not be comfortable labeling themselves as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) because this label may provoke discrimination.

However, the sexual orientation of some people may change at some point, and the labels they use might shift too. Sexual offenses or gender-based violence towards someone might contribute to a shift in their sexual orientation. For example, recent studies show that most lesbians result from rape cases. Most lesbians claim that they underwent rape at some point in their life, which made them hate men and find an attraction to their fellow women.

Some other studies show that women become lesbians after undergoing gender-based violence, such as being in an abusive or toxic relationship. The stigma of these traumatizing events made these women develop hatred toward men and lose interest in men. Such women tend to be happy and confident in themselves around fellow women. The behaviorism theory proves this. On the other hand, socialization theory addresses that parental reinforcement also plays a role in the sexual orientation of children.

Behaviorism is critical in the learning process in schools and any learning institutions. Information is transferred from teachers to learners from a reply to the correct stimulus. Students learn through repetitive behaviors. Teachers utilize behaviorism to show students how to respond to certain stimuli. Behavioral learning utilizes positive reinforcement and repetition. Teachers use the right balance of positive reinforcement to show students how they should behave.

Unlike other theories, such as the nature vs. Nurture debate that addresses the link between genes and behavior, the behaviorism theory only focuses on how the environment affects behavior. The behaviorism theory emphasizes that genetics do not play a significant role in determining an individual’s behavior. This theory address that individuals are nurtured to act in a given way. Personality in behaviorism is viewed as a result of consequences outside of an organism. In this theory, behavior is highly triggered by cognitive and situational factors.


Krueger, R. F., & Johnson, W. (2021). Behavioral genetics and personality: Ongoing efforts to integrate nature and nurture

Olivia, N. Saracho (2022) Developmental Theories in Early Childhood Education. Curr Res Psychol Behav Sci3, 1053.

Sabatello, M., Martin, B., Corbeil, T., Lee, S., Link, B. G., & Appelbaum, P. S. (2022). Nature vs. Nurture in Precision Education: Insights of Parents and the Public. AJOB Empirical Bioethics13(2), 79-88.

Tang, A., Fox, N. A., & Slopen, N. (2022). Examination of Early Childhood Temperament of Shyness and Social Avoidance and Associations With Cardiometabolic Health in Young Adulthood. JAMA network open5(1), e2144727-e2144727.

Vargas, M., & Orduno, V. (2022). Personality Traits: Introvert and Extrovert in Different Social Environments.


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