Discussion post 4


The assignment is to choose only two of my classmate's post and reply to their post. One paragraph is enough for each of my classmates. Because it is like a discussion post try to be informal and use words like ( I agree/disagree, I like your points on..., I found your post really interesting, you have a good point..., when I read your post I..., I believe that ....) something like that (using the "I" word)

The question was:

Attachment, temperament, Erikson's stages, trait theory, the Big Five - the chapter covered a lot of theories about how personality develops throughout the lifespan. These include developmental stages as well as factors, both inherited and environmental, that contribute to how we interact with the world. Considering the information in the chapter, which ideas support the notion of a stable personality? Which give more emphasis to environmental factors (e.g., caregiving) and life events? How do you use this information to make sense of the nature of personality development?

Your answer was: (or mine)

Several arguments have been made trying to discuss the stability of an individual’s personal traits throughout his/her lifetime. Although the notion of stability lies on the definition of individual personality which focuses on the day to day habitual pattern of behaviors, way of thinking and the reactions of certain occurrences, stability does not concentrate on the unchanging instances. The behaviors of the adults tend to be more stable as compared to that of kids since the young generation are encountering several issues in the environ that in one way or the other changes their personality. Time interval, sex, ethnicity, education, and secular trends are some of the ideas that work in support of the notion of a stable personality.  Most personality attributes change in predictable ways through the lifespan. The big five personality traits are directly associated with individuals’ environmental values. Traits that are correlated with a positive outcome such as conscientiousness increases with age. Personality traits are attributes that are becoming more stable with age. This stability is well affected by the surrounding environment. Active person-environment transactions occur where individuals interact with different environments and experiences that are consistent with the characteristics of their personality. Individuals gain more autonomy to select their own environment as the transition from their childhood to adulthood.  The nature of personality development is continuously changing throughout the individual lifetime. For instance, considering the sex difference of people, boys are mostly tough-minded individuals and always work towards winning, whereas girls are quite and major their focus on the personal appearance that is why girls have a sense of art in their lifetime. therefore, implies that the differences among individuals play an important role in the development of personality. As one grows, they get used to these activities and develop a stable personality in later days of their life..

The classmate's answers:

Oussama’s answer:

The ideas that support the notion of a stable personality, to me, would be Erickson's 8 stages and the Big Five, since both of them factor in both the inherited and environmental aspects that may affect us throughout our life spans. Between the two, researchers have deemed the Big Five as being more stable throughout adulthood, and Erickson's 8 stages give more of an emphasis to life event and environmental factors, since what a child needs in order to move to the next stage in a healthy manner relies heavily on their surroundings and the way they grow up.

These two theories make the most sense to me due to the fact that the Big Five is focused more on traits (curious vs. cautious) and Erikson's stages discuss the two basic emotions that a child may develop due to the environment they are in (supportive parents breed initiative kids while controlling parents breed guilty kids). These two complete one another and due to that, the nature of personality development makes sense because it's clear that the environment has a strong effect on how a child grows, but there are also certain innate traits.

When it comes down to it, the environment can affect your growth (having or being in an abusive relationship, romantic or otherwise), but your innate trait can also either accept or reject the effects of the environment (a person who is highly open and accepting of people find it more difficult to get out of abusive relationships whereas a person who is disagreeable would put their self interest above others and may find it easier to get out of an abusive relationship). These two theories help in understanding the nature of how we grow since they create a basic understanding of the way we work, since our personalities are never stagnant and whatever was messed up in one of Erickson's stages can get fixed in one of the other stages, similarly as to how, as we grow older, our innate traits can grow, too, and manifest into other traits.

Gaby’s answer:

The idea of different styles of attachment (ex: avoidant attachment pattern) gives more emphasis on environmental factors, particularly the relationship between mothers and their infants. Patterns of attachment are heavily influenced by parental roles, especially in soothing distraught infants. Temperament is strongly led by genetic influences, as it is displayed from the time of birth, however, it can be influenced by the environment. Temperament tends to be stable throughout development. Erikson’s stages of development suggest that development relies heavily on environmental factors. For example, whether a child becomes trustful or mistrustful largely depends on whether or not their needs are met by their caretakers, according to Erikson. Trait theory (The Big Five) suggests that all people have certain traits and they differ in intensity among a population. These traits are stable and enduring. The concept of there being certain traits across all people suggests that traits are genetic, to begin with; they are in all of us. The intensity of these traits is what varies and those differences can be environmental or genetically based.  

Jessica’s answer:

Not only does inherited traits help create ones personality but the environment and what one person is surrounded by plays a huge role in development of personality. For starters, attachment during infancy may influence relationships later on in life. There are 4 major attachment patterns.  First the secure attachment pattern is a style of attachment in which children use the mother as a kind of home base and are at ease when she is present; when she leaves, they become upset.  This is a very common pattern. In contrast, the avoidant attachment pattern is a style of attachment in which children do not seek proximity to the mother; after the mother has left, they seem to avoid her when she returns. Next the ambivalent attachment pattern is a style of attachment in which children display a combination of positive and negative reactions to their mother. Lastly, the disorganized-disoriented attachment pattern is a style of attachment in which children show inconsistent, often contradictory behavior. After research, its believed that a secure attachment at the age of one show fewer psychological difficulties at older ages, also more socially and emotionally competent later on. But, that doesn’t mean infants without a secure attachment will have difficulties later on. Temperament is affected by ones environment, referring to how well children behave. Temperament is reflected on activity level and irritability. Children with low activity level and low irritability do particularly well in an environment because their able to explore which leads to them directing their own behavior (less temperamental). On the other hand, say you have a child with high activity level and high irritability, that child may be more temperamental due to channeling their energy in particular directions. Erikson theory of psychosocial development has eight different stages. The first stage is trust vs. mistrust. This takes place the first 18 months of life where the child develops a form of trust or mistrust depending on the caretaker meeting the child’s needs. The nest is the autonomy vs. shame and doubt stage. Here the child develops a form of independence but might be restricted based on parenting techniques (strict or not). The third stage is initiative vs. guilt stage. This is the preschool period where the child faces conflict between the desire to act independently of their parents and the guilt that comes from the unintended consequences of their actions. Moving into childhood and adolescence, we start with industry vs. inferiority stage. The period from age 6 to 12 characterized by a focus on efforts to attain competence in meeting the challenges presented by parents, peers, school, and other complexities of the modern world. Next is Identity vs. identity confusion stage. This is the period during which teenagers seek to determine what is unique and distinctive about themselves. Here the teen may explore different roles in order to find out who they are but they may also adopt socially inappropriate roles and fail to forge an acceptable identity. At you adulthood, you move onto the next stage, which is intimacy vs. isolation stage. The focus here is to form and develop close relationships with others. In contrast, difficulty during this stage may lead to someone being isolated and fearful of relationships. Next is the generatively vs. stagnation stage. This stage is during middle adulthood in which people consider their contributions to family and society. The final stage is ego-integrity vs. despair stage. This is characterized by the process of looking back over one’s life, evaluating it, and coming to terms with it. I believe each and every one of these stages are stable keys to development but they do share weakness. Some people who contribute to the more negative side may not ever come out of that stage. This is more common than people think. Earlier mentioned, genetics and the environment shape someone’s personality. Research specialists developed the Big Five personality traits called OCEAN. These traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.


The stability of personality traits over a life span is based on consistency. The personality traits that children hold may manifest themselves in different ways over the life span but the particular constellation of traits that describes an individual is fairly consistent. Even though genetics play an important role I determining personality, the environment tends to reinforce those traits. Each of these theories describes many good points based on personality development. This just shows how every situation in life, from newborn to death, plays a key role on creating who a person is. I believe that when it comes to the mind, there is always room for growth.

Fiona’s answer:

I have done a lot of research on the Big Five theory because this theory is what the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator test is based on. Overall, you should never really change personality types. The Myers Briggs test, for example, will give you the percentages you are of each trait. So, you may vary over the years in the percentages of the trait, but you should never really change traits; all that should change is the way you demonstrate your personality traits or the degree to which you act upon your traits. The Big Five theory supports this idea - that a stable personality is one that does not fluctuate largely from childhood to adulthood, only the degree to which your traits show fluctuate.

Your environmental factors can influence your personality and its consistency, but again, should not change it altogether; meaning that environmental influences can reinforce inherited traits. Inherited traits can also evoke certain environmental influences. Through the combination of influences and factors, someone should have a balanced and consistent enough personality to be considered having a stable personality.

Dana’s answer:

It seems every theory of personality accounts for nature AND nurture. The nature component makes sense, because when we look at identical twins who were raised apart (in different environments), we see they often have similar personalities in terms of social potency and traditionalism. Other characteristics have less strong genetic influence: achievement and social closeness. Attachment theory gives emphasis to developing a secure relationship very early in the lifespan. If the environment/attachment needs are met, babies will carry this with them throughout their lives (stable).  Erikson's theory shows that people go through stages ("nature") but that in each stage, environmental influences can impact behavior and mental states. These issues can continue if not resolved. If the environment provides what the child needs, the positive effects on personality will persist (stable).  Trait theories say that in childhood personalities are more flexible (perhaps more susceptible to environmental factors) and more stable in later stages.