Personality theory


Personality theory is a branch of psychology which studies theories of personality and individual difference. There are several personality theories among them is behavioral and social cognitive. Their main aim is to grapple with factors that may impact a personality. In any environment it’s common to run into personality conflicts. It requires a better understanding of personality theories which have been developed by some of the personality theorists (Catania, 1994). The main purpose of personality theories is to organize the many characters you know about yourself and other people (Littman, 2002). The personality of a person consists of consistent, enduring and unique characters of a person. Personality theories can also be used to explain the differences among the individuals. They can also be used to explore how people conduct their lives (Catania, 1994). The personality theories also help us to determine how life can be proved. Therefore personality theories try to make ideas about why people act in some ways. Since psychology is a young discipline, there is still more developments in personality theories. Some are even conflicting while some have negative and positive aspects (B.F.Skinner, 2012). Each of these theories have different image on human nature. What is common with them is their concern in understanding human behavior (Littman, 2002). Behavioral theories mainly focus on the way rewards and punishment shape our actions. The cognitive theories analyses our own perceptions, thoughts and feelings to shape our personalities (Littman, 2002).

Section 1: Character personality-Forrest Gump

  Growth and Development Psychopathology Change
1. Social Cognitive theory


Social modeling is a method of creating or strengthening positive self efficacy (Littman, 2002). His experiences and interaction with various prominent personalities like presidents helped to uplift his standards of efficacy. This also altered his way of thinking.

He has fought many wars therefore he believes that he is a successful man and can execute most of the tasks.

Self efficacy is the individual’s belief that he is able to execute a task.

His good experience leads to positive self efficacy while negative experiences leads to negative self efficacy. Since he cannot win the love of his childhood friend, this negative experience discourages and lowers his motivation.

According to this theory, personal and social experiences an individual develops a method of processing information that is maladaptive, impractical and unclear (Catania, 1994). Jenny’s experience has led her to believe that people may abandon her and hold her in low esteem. Her early life of sexual abuse is making her feel uneasy. This is making her to engage in drugs and alcohol. She has the ability to relate with others intimately well but she is disappointed. She is so upset that she even attempts suicide. She has low self efficacy. This leads to her inability to have intimate relationships.

Since individuals are capable of high and low self efficacy in life, Forrest Gump struggles with his love life, but on the other hand he is a successful career man who is victorious in battles and can interact with important people in the society.







This theory examines self-efficacy an individual about self and the world around her. It’s largely based on individuals experience in various situations in life. In order to create change, mental health professionals work with a client to create a positive and durable self efficacy in various situations (Littman, 2002). Since Forrest Gump is able to interact with powerful individuals in the society, this enables him to change his character to the better in handling his profession. His involvement in political rallies makes him hear inspirational speeches an enables him to change for the best. Jenny holds her life in low self esteem. She is unable to meet with prominent people in the society. She does not meet with the love of her life. This makes her life miserable. This leads her to drug abuse and subsequently she attempts to commit suicide. To helps her change her life, she is to be made to start viewing life positively. This is largely as a result of frustrations in her life.
2. Behavioral


The behavior of a person largely influences his growth and development (B.F.Skinner, 2012). Forrest Gump behavior to like attending political rallies really influenced his personal growth. His social status in the society really changed the moment he could interact with president s and important people in the society. His involvement in the Vietnam war was a plus to his development.




The behavior of a person not only depends on objective, situational factors but also on personal subjective beliefs. Psychologist believes that in the long run, people get what they deserve. Forrest Gump believes that his hard work has enabled him to reach that highest place in the society. He believes that he deserves the best life. This is why he really needs the love of his life. When she fails to get the love of his life, he feels disappointed. This is likely to change his behavior. Jenny’s involvement with drugs is likely to be influenced by his sexual life. His attempt to commit suicide and illness is a result of his bad behaviors in the past. Therapist are able to help those with behavioral problems such as obsessive compulsive behavior (B.F.Skinner, 2012).

The human behaviors can be changed using rewards and punishment. The behavior of jenny can also be changed by taking her to punishment institutions like prison to help heer change her drug addiction. She can also be enticed with beautiful things to help her not to commit suicide.

To change a behavior, you change the reinforcer. Therefore Jenny can be made to change her behavior by changing the people around her.



Personality theories have simplified the understanding of human behavior. Differences among individuals can now be easily understood because more research is being done on the personalities of human behavior (Littman, 2002). The application of personality theories is now important in guidance and counseling. These theories have also enabled better understanding of people and their behavior in the society (Littman, 2002). Many lives have been improved through the application of personality traits. There are many theories on personality traits and more are still being developed to help understand human behavior.



Works Cited

B.F.Skinner. (2012). About bahaviorism. Causes of behavior.

Catania, A. C. (1994). Querry. Did Pavlovs Research Ring a Bell?

Littman, R. (2002). Pavlovs Physiology Factory. Understanding psychology.