Factors determining personality
Our personality is shaped biological as well as social factors. All these factors determining personality are broadly divided into two categories namely Bio-chemical and Socio-cultural.
Bio- chemical factors determining personality
1. Heredity : There is some evidence that certain children are more vulnerable than others to the discomfort to the environment and that this predisposes them to anxiety under stress. Comparisons of quiet children with moderately active infants suggest innate characteristics which influence later personality development for example a high level of the digestive substance pepsinogen in infants is related to hyper activity, restlessness and tension.
2. Blood sugar : The sugar control of the blood must be within certain limits for the normal functioning of the brain and other organs. If the sugar level falls below a certain limit, psychological functions are affected and alterations in personality can be found. Most outstanding changes resulting from lack of sugar in blood are changes in mood and irritability.
3. Diet : Diet brings marked changes in personality. Lack of diet brings about serious psychological changes in people. During the second world war the American psychologists conducted a very important experiment on 32 young soldiers, who agreed to semi- starvation for a period of 6 months because of this starvation they lost weight to the tune of 25%. Starvation affected the personality adversely. They were pre occupied with ideas of food and also got dreams pretaining to food. They were irritable, unsocial, and depressed. These changes disappeared when they were given food.
4. Disease : Acute physical disorders bring serious changes in personality. These disorders the impair the normal physical growth in children. During the time of severe illness an individual becomes dependent on others. If children are frequently affected by severe illness the growth of psychological abilities is stunted. One of the diseases called encephalites produces marked effects on the personality as a result of damage to the brain the symptons are exaggerated emotionality, irritability etc.
5. Endocrine glands :Primarily there are four glands which affect personality to a great deal they are thyroid, adrenal, pituatory and sex glands. The most important harmone from the thyroid called thyroxin is known to influence our emotional behaviour. An over secretion of thyroxin leads to nervous tension, irratability, restlessness and emotional instability. Under secretion, contributes to chronic fatigue, laziness. If the thyroid is severely underactive during childhood leads to a condition called cretinism.. A cretin is not only a dwarf but also has low intelligence.
Harmones secreted by the pituatory gland are known to affect physical growth. Over activity of pituatory in childhood may lead to gigantism and often to aggressive and dominative behaviour. Under activity may cause defficiencies in muscular structure resulting in a lack of stamina and a tendency to fatigue easily.
The adrenal medulla secrets a powerful harmone known as adrenaline, when it is released into the blood stream, there is a speed up of the heart rate, pulse rate and breathing rate. It delays the onset of fatigue and often enables us to perform feats of strength unusual.
Secretion from the gonads regulate normal development of the sex organs. Men who lack a normal amount of the male sex harmone often present a neutral or even feminine appearance where as an over abundance of the male sex harmones in women may lead to the development of masculine characteristics.
6. Drugs and alcohol : Many drugs are tested on human bodies to know the effect of the drugs on behaviour when sedatives (sleep pills) are given to people, they bring about certain changes like reduction in general activity, lack of concentration, drowsiness.
Norcotics cause changes like general feeling of in adequiancy, insecurity and so on. They also induce a pleasurable and dreamy relation.
Alcohol seems to have stimulating effect on the individual. The talkativeness, abnormal social behaviour and aggressiveness of the person result from the depression of the brain process. It also leads to disturbances in concentration memory and judgement.
Socio culture factors determining personality
1. Influence of home : The first contact of the child is its parents, they provide a focal point for the culture. According to many studies the personalities of the parents contribute more to the development of the personalities of their children for example a sympathalic father or an understanding mother may unculcate socially acceptable and personally rewarding traits. On the other hand a dominating father or nagging mother may lead permanent scars on the childs personality in the form of emotional instability, shyness and hostility. The over protected childrens develop habits of dependency, they become selfish and have little consideration for others. The rejected children often show social timidity and fear.
2. Order of birth : According to Alfred Adler is a psychologist a personality of the individual is determined by the order of his birth in the family. The first born child is said to be more dominating and authority. The last born child is usually pampered by the parents, as a result he is careless and irresponsible. However the middle born children are depicted as striving to the support the older and younger children.
3. Peer group relation and school : As adults we tend to associate with people of our own age and of a similar social status. Peer group selection takes much the same line in children. Each of these friends has the influence on the child within this group the child has more than equal chance of communication. In terms of influence it is from this peer group that the child often finds persons he can imitate and identify with.
Success or failure in the school setting have an impact on the personality because a great amount of time is spent in school. When the values of the school conflict with those found in home, frustration are experienced. Confidence can be built or destroyed here for one reason or another. The school may mean terrifying chaos for one child and haven of calm for another.
4. Culture and society : The society and culture into which the individual is been play significant role in the development of personality. The culture influences thoughts, speech and ideas of individuals. An American has a different personality from an Indian because he is brought up in a different culture.
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