Free Essay on Shaping Personalities: A Comparative Analysis of Skinner and Rogers' Theories

Published: 2024-01-06
Free Essay on Shaping Personalities: A Comparative Analysis of Skinner and Rogers' Theories
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Psychology Personality
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1855 words
16 min read


This is a person's unique set of traits or characteristics that identify him or her. Personality normally originates from within and reveals itself on the outside of a person through behavioral changes and many other aspects. Personality involves the behavioral, mental, and emotional aspects of a human being. This personality can be molded by the environment that one gets exposed to over time. The personality of an individual is easily visible, and thus an individual is judged by these visible attributes.

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In psychology, a person's trait is the basic component of personality. For example, a person with a desire to influence others is said to have a leadership personality. At the same time, an individual with a good voice is said to have a talented personality or musical.

Personal learning experiences

The experiences of a person are always related to the personality one has or will have. The learning experiences can be positive or negative. They are fundamental in shaping a person's personality traits, which eventually will manifest through a person's personality. According to Carl Rogers, an American therapist who was famously known for his theory on personality changes, he stated that a person's character traits are molded through his own congruence, which is self-actualization and awareness.

He argues that the personality of an individual depends on the happenings in his or her internal environment. He believed that when one becomes aware of his or her identity and qualities, he or she will start developing some personal traits that will align his or her personality in a certain manner.

Cognitive sensitivity is the driving factor that drives a person's personality. A smart person is thus said to have a strong performance in the workplace because he has a strong personality because of his cognitive strengths. In this regard, Rodgers concluded that he has learned that people with strong cognitive and mental skills are better in social personality than others. He believes self-awareness will create a person's personality.

Psychiatrist, B.F. Skinner introduced his own theory on personal learning experiences, which states that a person is molded through a series of happenings in the external environment, which may include punishments for bad behavior or appraisal for appropriate behavior. In his own observations, he asserted that a person's personality is purely conditional, depending on what is being done to correct that particular person or reward the person regularly. For instance, a person who is rewarded and celebrated will develop a strong positive, appealing personality. This is because he or she appreciates the nature of the environment he or she is exposed to and adapts to it. He argued that conditions would eventually create one's personal traits and develop them accordingly. It is solely based on physical training or mental conditions that will develop personality traits that define an individual.

Similarities of Skinner's and Rodger's Approach to shaping personality

There are comparisons between these two theories of these famous scholars, which suggests that there is an effect on personality through personal life and learning experiences in a given manner. The two experts agree that a person's personality must be molded by either an external or an internal factor. Skinner reiterates that an external factor is required for the character to be built while Rodgers reiterated that a person's internal awareness is vital for the shaping of the personality.

In this regard, both authors are similarly illustrating the need for a thing to shape a person’s personality.

This leads us to understand that change in behavior is unnatural but momentous. It is dependent on various activities and how they activate a certain mode in the person's system. A natural system is one that is automatic, while an unnatural one is limited to the factors which affect it.

In some situations, learning experiences are not vital, but in a majority of these situations, it is very important in the creation of one’s personality. We can deduce that personality is more man-made than natural.

The contrast of the approaches

In Skinner's perspective, he sees personality as a result of the punishments or rewards begetting a person being responsible for his or her personality identity. He classifies these appraisals as the major factor in determining a personality. On the other hand, Rodgers asserts that self-consciousness and awareness is an important factor that determines personality. That a person is driven by his or her knowledge of oneself. It is this argument that gives a person's cognitive abilities a lot of value in determining his or her character traits.

Rogers, in his theory, believes that the personality of a person changes from within that person once he or she comes to discover himself or herself. On the contrary, Skinner's theory seems to suggest that a person is helpless when it comes to changing his or her personality for the better or worse (there are “careers” like Terrorist groups that would require criminal minds) unless another person or an event in his life does it for him or her.

Rogers, who was a therapist, came to his own conclusion after interacting with his clients, who were actual human beings, seeking counseling services from him while his counterpart Skinner drew the conclusion from a laboratory experience.

Application of these theories

The theories are contrasted in principle, but they are more lively and effective in our daily lives. In Skinner's case, for instance, our correctional facilities are full of people who have been convicted after doing a wrong deed. The main aim is to punish physically or mentally or both to make this person regret his or her wrong deed and cease repeating the same in the future. They believe that a person will develop a solid good personality through punishment.

We see Skinner's theory being used in training animals like a guard or police dogs. These animals are given or denied presents during their training. These presents are meant to motivate the animals to repeat the same "good" deed again and again. It also enforces memorizing of those good deeds or routines on the animal minds.

However, we have seen well-trained animals turning against their master; this very act leans towards Rogers’s conclusion that behavior change is also internal. That is, no matter what the environment gives. These animals may decide to make their own decision on how to behave. Therefore, as a result, in our normal lives, it is not advisable to lock a car while there is an infant and a pet inside because it can turn against the baby.

In another scenario, students are rewarded or punished when they perform exemplary or poorly to encourage them to improve or continue performing better for a good outcome at the end of his or her course. It has also been witnessed that poorly performing students whose teachers have given on him or her, all of a sudden start performing better. This can be assumed that the student came to the self-actualization point and decided to put his or her energy into performing better.

Our society widely believes that a good wife, who has a good personality, is one whose husbands, to some extent, have control over their wives. There is a community in Kenya whose women believe if their husbands do not punish (beat them), then they are not being loved.

This line of thought appears to lean towards Skinner’s theory that a good personality is a result of mere punishment. It is more of a mechanical way of making a person adjust in a forceful way. On the contrary, we have civil groups that actively agitate for women's rights and preach against violence against women, the underlying point being, that a woman as a person has the power to, just like men, decide what is good or bad.

According to Rodgers, they are just supposed to have congruence. Awareness of themselves, hence they don’t need to be told or controlled by any person. Skinner suggests that forceful control is instrumental in shaping the life of an individual by adjusting his character traits, hence his or her personality.

In support of this theory again, we normally see in our education system teachers being or reprimanded for good or bad deeds in their work. Therefore we can conclude that men with certain traits have become like so through the experience they got from their environments, and they could have been changed by self-actualization.

As if to agree with Skinner's theory, the electorates usually fail to reelect politicians who do not perform as expected. This, in turn, condition some politicians to ensure they deliver in order to assure themselves of being reelected. This causes the politicians to change their personalities. However, there are those leaders who take their work as a call. They believe it’s their duty to uplift the living standard of their constituency. This supports Rogers’s theory of personality.

A mother or parents appear to always agree with Skinner whenever they reprimand their son or daughter when they go wrong. Others turn outright as a result of this, while others, especially when they get older, tend to rebel against their parents or any other authority figures. This action suggests that Rogers was right that self-actualization determines one's behavior.


From the observations of the two theorists, we can comfortably say that personality traits are built over time in a person's life through various life learning experiences, which always determine his or her way of thinking. In the general sense, a person will always experience changes in character and mental aspects through the learning curve and experiences.

Further research on this topic about personality has shown that learning experiences have a lot of advantages in developing one's understanding of his or her personality and values. In applied settings like workplaces, places of worship, or learning institutions, we recognize that most personality traits are related to the training one is involved in. For instance, a teacher will be more dedicated and has a heart of tenderness and love due to his involvement with children. While this research is based on an analysis of the two theories by Skinner and Rodger, we also deduce that most proactive learners are more likely to engage in and succeed at learning.

Therefore, it can be observed that personality is directly impacted by the learning experiences that an individual faces in his or her learning curve. Personality is actually a product of many things that contribute towards it, eventually being either cognitive or just physical compliments that are subjected to an individual.


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