Theories of Personality Development

Personality defines us as an individual. But how do we become what we really are? Sometimes we need to develop ourselves and that is what is called personality development. There are some things in us as an individual that we need to curb down and some to improve. This is possible only through personality development.

There are certain defined theories of personality development which we need to look at. These are various in numbers. Since Personality development has been a major topic of interest for some of the most prominent thinkers in psychology, these have been thoroughly defined and explained.

Theories of Personality Development Many prominent theorists developed stage theories to describe various steps and stages that occur on the path of personality development. Described below are some of the theories that focus on various aspects of personality development, including cognitive, social and moral development.

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development- Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is one of the most frequently cited in psychology, despite being subject to considerable criticism. While many aspects of his theory have not stood the test of time, the central idea remains important today that is, that the children think differently than adults. His theory has made significant contributions in the world of personality development.

Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development- He was one of the best-know thinkers in the area of personality development and remains the most controversial too. In his well-known stage theory of psychosexual development, Freud suggested that personality develops in stages that are related to specific erogenous zones. Failure to successfully complete these stages, according to him would lead to personality problems in adulthood.

Freud’s Structural Model of Personality- Freud’s concept of the ego and superego has gained prominence in popular culture. Despite of lack of support and considerable skepticism from many researchers, he is one of the most researched one.

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development- Erik Erikson’s eight-stage theory of human development is one of the best known theories in psychology. While the theory builds on Freud’s stages of psychosexual development, Erikson chose to focus on the importance of social relationships on personality development. The theory also extends beyond childhood to look at development across the entire lifespan.

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development- Lawrence Kohlberg developed a theory of personality development that focused on the growth of moral thought. Building on a two-stage process proposed by Piaget, Kohlberg expanded the theory to include six different stages. While the theory does not accommodate different genders and cultures equally, his theory remains important in the understanding of personality development.