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7PSY0076-0901-2022 Individual Differences

Task Description:

Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers and Hans Eysenck have all theorised about personality. Critically discuss the extent to which personality is innate, with reference to only TWO of these theorists

Word limit: MAXIMUM of 2,000 words


Critical Analysis- Personality Theories


Personality is referred to as the individual way of feeling, thinking and behaving. However, while having a conversation with other people, moods, opinions and attitudes are embraced and expressed through the personality. According to the psychological concept, personality primarily focuses on categorizing and describing the characteristics of a stable human (Horstmann & Ziegler, 2020). Hence, personality is an enduring aspect of an individual which makes them different and unique from other individuals. Moreover, in psychology, every individual has an innate personality trait which means existing of the qualities, characteristics and capabilities within an organism from the time of birth and remaining permanently throughout their life (Sharp & Wall, 2021). This paper will critically discuss the extent to which personality is innate through the point of view of the well-known psychological theorists named Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers. Both Freud and Rogers are known as the most significant and famous psychotherapists of the twentieth century. Therefore, their theories are mainly based on the various assumptions regarding personality and motivation drives. Hence, this paper will study and critique both theories as well as their contribution to what extent the personality of an individual can be innate.

Figure 1: Personality Source: (Cherry, 2022)

Critical Analysis

Based on the psychological concept, personality is the behaviour and dynamic as well as an organized set of characteristics that are possessed by the person which further uniquely influences their emotions, environment, motivations, and behaviours in several situations (Sun et al., 2022).  Moreover, the patterns of feelings, thoughts, behaviours and social adjustments pertain to the personality that is exhibited over time and influence the values and expectations of an individual. However, each individual possesses an innate quality that is inherent or intrinsic to the human being. Innate quality is significant to an individual and remains stable throughout their whole life (Bleidorn et al., 2019).  An innate personality is said to be different for every individual because some things in life have the possibility of influencing the personality such as values, habits, circumstances and lifestyle. Previously it was believed that people cannot change their personalities which are inherited and stable. However, in the present times, as per the point of view of science, it is believed that the traits of personality within the person that are inherited can be changed through major life events as well as through persistent intervention. To critically evaluate the extent to which an individual’s personality can be innate from the phenomenological as well as psychological approach, theories proposed by two theorists Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers theories will be discussed.

Sigmund Freud Theory

Psychoanalysis is referred to as the well-known influential as well as integrative theory of personality that was in the 20th century during the first four decades and was largely promulgated by Sigmund Freud who is an Australian Neurologist.

Figure 2: Sigmund Freud Source: (Bradford, 2016)

It is explained by Freud that personality or the theory of mind is the method of treatment as well as the method of investigating the unconscious processes (Thahir & Hidayat, 2020).  The central approach of Freud’s “Psychic Determinism” defined that assumptions associated with human behaviour and motivation are never accidental but primarily determined by innate life, biological and death instincts. However, during the period of childhood, these instincts are formed which later influence and determine the personality of an individual. Furthermore, regarding personality, an assumption made by Freud was about the significance of innate and unconscious processes. The behaviour of an individual is mainly ruled by the inner unconscious process which is not in control of an individual and also, they are not aware of that. In the unconscious process, biological and instinctual drives exist. These drives further govern the behaviour of individuals and direct them towards the making of choices that aims at satisfying their basic needs.

According to Freud, personality is categorized into three parts and each part has its purpose and development progress (Zhang, 2020).  These parts of the personality are named Id, ego and superego, which are developed at the different stages of the person’s life. However, these Freudian personality types play a significant role in making the base of human thoughts as well as emotions, emerging through the therapy of psychoanalytic, beginning in the mind and drawing the expressions represented by an individual based on past experiences that have not been repressed. Freud’s process of controlling the mind of his patients involves the techniques such as free association, dream analysis, inkblots and parapraxes which are also referred to as the Freudian Slips.

The “Id” part of the personality operates in the unconscious mind of an individual which they have no control over and is also linked to the biological and instinctual processes (Septiadi et al., 2019).  The Id is inborn and the primitive core from which the superego and ego evolved. Moreover, as the source of impulses and energy, Id is governed by the “Pleasure Principle”. This means the desires and requirements of an individual must be satisfied timely regardless of any consequence or reason. To get away from any kind of tension and stress, the Id helps in forming an internal image of the desired response.

The ego is the second part of the personality which facilitates between the id and the superego to balance the demands of desires, morality as well as reality. The defence mechanism also consists in the ego which acts in ways that will help in safeguarding the mind from any kind of stress and anxiety. For example, a patient makes the decision of going home by believing there is nothing wrong now, but the Ego would help in deciding that patient must stay at the hospital and get well instead of leaving. The “superego” represents the standards of societal and family values, erudite conscience and exemplifying of morals. However, as per Freud parents largely contributes to the development of the superego. Hence, violation of the superego standards can lead towards anxiety of an individual over the loss of the love of parents. For example, if the person is in any kind of emergency and makes an attempt to drive through a red light then the Superego will influence that person not to attempt such a dangerous stunt by reminding them of the result that can cause by disobeying the traffic light command such as an accident.

Hence, it is believed Freud that the personality of an individual was a summation of their innate instincts as well as the influence of the parents. Further, as per his thinking these two nurture, nature and forces works along with each other to form the complete personality.

Carl Rogers Theory Carl Rogers was a famous humanistic psychologist who believes that every individual holds the ability to accomplish their desires, goals and wishes in life. It is also believed by the Roger that behaviour of an individual is a factor that is encouraged by the self-actualisation tendencies to work and accomplish the highest level of their skills and potential (Joseph, 2020). The importance of humans having an innate desire, in being potentially good and in working hard for self-improvement is emphasised by Rogers. Self-concept is the significance of the experience that an individual is going to have in this world. In Carl Rogers’s Phenomenological theory it is stated that every individual is accountable for his own life and has a choice over their personality.

Figure 3: Carls Rogers Source: (Zeeman, 2022)

It is theorised by Rogers that the identity and personality of the person are mainly formed step-by-step or in a sequence of personal experiences. This further reflects how a person is perceived in the outside world and by themselves, the “phenomenological field”. However, the field of phenomenological consists of both unconscious as well as conscious perceptions. It is further believed that external reality and stimulating conditions do not shape the lives of individuals but the perceptions and the subjective reality do help in guiding the behaviour. The hypothesis and constructs of an individual of the world help in controlling and anticipating the events that occur externally.

The major belief of Rogers’ personality theory is the belief in the Self. Self is looking within ourselves, making perceptions such as body language and experience, it is constructed from the interaction with the people and the interpretation of experiences. The self is referred to the inner personality of an individual that is mainly conscious, evolving on a constant basis and dynamic (Rani, 2018).  The major sources that have the ability to influence the self-concept of the person are the experiences from childhood and the feedback received from other people. On the other hand, personality is seen as the product of past childhood experiences and innate factors in the psychoanalytic theory. It is further argued by the Roger that past can be applied or considered to the extent that an individual perceives it to be. There is a high chance of the involvement of new patterns in the life of an individual. However, with the real, self-concept cannot be seen always emerged and fitted thought it is possible that the person perceives themselves differently and not on the views of other people. The ideal self is another aspect of the Phenomenological field other than Self. In the Ideal Self the, desire and aspire of an individual are described which means a person creates the goals and the ideal as per the demands of society.

For the theorists of the Phenomenological Field, there is an innate drive to accomplish self-actualisation, and every individual’s personality has a heart that is positive and linked towards development with the help of social interactions as well as potential self-actualisation (Yazdani & Ross, 2019).  An individual is allowed to examine their personality because they have the free will to do that. Whereas it is believed Freud that individuals are solely driven by past experiences and aggressive instincts. However, thinking of Rogers is that all humans have a strong goal and motive to be accepted. This is because individuals seek warmth, acceptance, respect and love from valuable people.

In both Psychoanalytical and Phenomenological approaches, limitations are applied during the discussion of the extent to which an individual’s personality is innate. This is because the theory of Freud regarding the unconscious mind has never seen verified experimentally and only considers the theoretical concept (Simón, 2020).  The questions such as availability of the immediate observation and the occurrence of the unconscious have never been effectively answered by Freud. The theory of Freud makes it more challenging to evaluate the extent to which a personality of an individual can be innate because it is only seen in predicting the unconscious states that cannot be observed as well as tested scientifically. The work done by Freud is also criticized for its originality.

On the other hand, the concepts of the phenomenological are also challenging to test empirically because it fails to explain the actions that can drive the individual in accomplishing self-actualisation. It is discovered by contemporary cognitive science that most of the thoughts of an individual are unconscious.


This essay discussed the extent to which the personality of the human being is innate from the Phenomenological and Psychoanalytical approaches. Both the theories Sigmund Freud’s Theory and Carl Rogers’s Theory have been studied in depth in the above paper. Hence, it has resulted that both theorists evaluate personality as a basic assumption as well as have different opinions on personality as innate. According to the Psychoanalytic approach of Freud, it has been identified that personality is a “Psychic Determinism”. The focus is majorly put on innate, instincts and unconscious forces. Moreover, the structural model of personality is built up from the three basic structures that are inherited and inborn within every individual. However, it can be concluded that there is an occurrence of conflict in Freud’s concept of personality as innate during the time of acquiring an understanding regarding the uniqueness of an individual. On the other hand, it is stated by Rogers that an innate drive to accomplishment of self-actualisation is significant to the personality. The people are seen as experiencing individuals by Roger instead of the victims of anxiety and unconscious motivations. He also believed that personality can be developed and changed with time.


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