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Describe the influence of biological studies on our understanding of personality - Essay Example

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Biological Basis of Personality In considering the biological basis of personality there exist an ever expanding array scientific literature that considers the subject. While the 20th century witnessed the advent of a broad range of personality theories the vast majority of approaches were predicated on the foundational methodology of the psychodynamic and behavioral models…
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Describe the influence of biological studies on our understanding of personality
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Download file to see previous pages This essay considers the biological basis of personality through an examination of the major structural frameworks, as well as genetic factors. Behaviorism contends that all personality is a biologically rooted in experience. Behavioral therapy contends that since behavior is learned through such experience, it can similarly be unlearned. The behaviorist therapeutic approach then functions by examining specifically the individual behaviors of the patient, identifying instances that might be problematic, and then developing means of correcting these behaviors through objective goal setting. It is predominantly rooted in the theories of B.F. Skinner who identified this process of learned behavior as classical conditioning, and outlined a number of means that such behavior can be reinforced and altered through stimulus and reward. (George & Cristiani 1995) The behavioral approach identifies psychic problems as rooted in experience and action. The behavioral model understands human actions as in part an element out of conscious control. While the behaviorists aren’t reliant on unconscious impulses that motivate human action, they acknowledge that merely consciously acknowledging that one has a problem is not enough to fix it. Instead, the behavioral model encourages reinforcement techniques designed to condition the mind and impulses to adopt more rational and functional behavior. As the behavioral model is rooted in the highly testable scientific foundations that B.F. Skinner outlines, it has the benefit of objectivity where other therapeutic processes, namely psychodynamic, have been deemed pseudo-science. For example, when attempting to treat insomnia the psychodynamic would focus on the unconscious problems underlining the occurrences, whereas the behavioral therapeutic model would attempt to modify the behavior of sleeplessness. Specific behavior approaches to insomnia has incorporated implementing conscious relaxation (Jacobson in Cormier & Hackney 1993), as well as positive visualization, where the client envisions instances that put them in past sleep inducing states. Such techniques have documented effectiveness and have been determined to lower oxygen use, and decrease heart rate and blood pressure (American Medical Association 1996). One can also consider the positive outcome the behavioral model could have when implemented to counter-attack addictive behavior, such as drug abuse or alcoholism, and realize that merely cognitively acknowledging that one has a drug abuse problem is not enough to prevent one from using drugs. In these instances, the direct connection between behavior and the individual’s problems is clearly distinguishable. Another example would consider the individual’s aggressive behavior patterns. While in some instances these patterns may be deemed socially beneficial, oftentimes such behavior patters are not conducive to adequate social functioning. In these instances, the individual’s biological rooted nature can function to behaviorally alter these behavior patterns. In these respects, through behavioral condition the individual’s neurological programming is altered so that the aggressive behavior is curbed to more functional states of existence. It’s this malleability of the human brain that is essential to understanding the biological basis of behavioral thought, and attests to this crucial element of human personality ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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