This essay describes the comparisons and contrasts between the two domains of personality which are dispositional views and social/cultural views, explains in detail what the two domains are, provides three examples of each domain, offers an explanation of how each domain influences and affects human life, and finally, it gives an opinion on which domain has a greater effect on human behavior and personality.
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Personality is defined as “that pattern of characteristics, thoughts, feelings, and behavior that differentiates one from another and that persists over time and situation” (Phares, 1991). It is a characteristic that individual posses over time and applies from one given situation to the next. Personality traits or characteristics and mechanisms have great influences on how individuals behave and act, perceive themselves, think about the world, interact with other people, feel about themselves, react with situations, they choose their environments, goals, and desires they aim in life. There are five major domains that explain personality such as; intrapsychic domain, dispositional domain, cognitive domain, social and cultural domain, and biological domain. These systems give building blocks for behavior, thought, and emotions. This paper concentrates on the dispositional domain and social and cultural domains of personality.
The dispositional domain of personality differs from the social and cultural personality in a fundamental way. The dispositional domain defines personality as “a set of psychological traits and mechanisms within an individual that is organized and long-lasting and that influences his or her interactions with, and adaptation to, the environment. The social and cultural domain, on the other hand, defines personality as “a set of psychological traits and mechanisms in each individual that are organized and long-lasting and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptation to, the social environment. Personality traits in the dispositional domain focus on the internal factors that deal with the manner in which individuals differ from one another. In other words, dispositional views have great influences on what an individual thinks, acts, and feels about. Whereas social and cultural views influence how individuals think, feel, and act. In terms of interactions with situations, the dispositional domain focuses on what to perceive, what to select, what reactions to produce on others, and what ways to influence or manipulate others. Consequently, the social domain will be concerned with how to perceive, how to select, how to react to others, and how to influence or manipulate others in terms of interaction with situations. To summarize this comparison and contrast of dispositional and social/cultural domains, dispositional characteristics views psychological traits as individual characteristics that describe what makes individuals differ from one another, and social and cultural domain on the other views psychological characteristics as those that describe how people are different and the same (Ewen, 1998) Individual traits espoused in this domain are applicable or rather influence the linkages in other domains.
The dispositional domain is concerned with aspects of personality that are more or less and that personality makes an individual’s behavior differ from the behavior of others as manifested incomparable situation (Hampson, 1988).In this domain, trait psychologists focus on the interaction of individuals and situations, trait taxonomy, that is, methods of measuring personality, and the aspects of personality that are stable. Dispositional domain conveniently describes human personality particularly using the five-factor model which has assisted in the general understanding of personality. This dimension consolidates five major factors into a conceptual model that adequately describes personality.
The five big five models of personality which is a typology of dispositional dimension encompasses human personality. These are; extroversion which represents an individual’s inclination to be sociable, dynamic, and assertive to as social adaptability (Hampson, 1988). This factor is characterized by the tendency of individuals to seek out stimulation and interaction with others. The characteristic is determined by pronounced association with the external environment. Individuals with these traits enjoy being with people and are often seen as full of energy. They are usually action-oriented, and enthusiastic individuals who are likely to go for opportunities for excitement (Ewen, 1998). In groups, these individuals are talkative, assertive, and like drawing attention among them. Introverts are the direct opposite as they lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extroverts (Ewen, 1998). Introverts tend to be quiet and deliberate and less involved in the social world. However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that they are shy and depressed due to a lack of social involvement. Second, an individual’s openness to experience refers to an individual’s willingness to make adjustments in notions and activities in accordance with the new ideas or situations (Burisch, M. 1991). This personality trait differentiates imaginative people from conventional people. These individuals tend to b creative, intelligent, nonconforming, and independent. Individuals with this trait tend to be more creative and aware of their feelings (Burisch, M. 1991). Thirdly, Conscientiousness refers to how much an individual puts into account other people’s input when making a decision. Individuals who are rated high in conscientiousness tend to be more responsible, organized, dependable, and persistent (Burisch, M. 1991). For instance, the effects of conscientiousness on job performance may only be realized within certain work contexts, for example, those with opportunities for advancement, jobs that do not require much creativity or innovation, or those involving highly complex tasks. This dimension predicts work performance reasonably well. Fourth, Neuroticism refers to the tendency for individuals to experience negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression (Hampton, 1988). This personality dimension is also known as emotional instability. Individuals who are rated high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress. In most cases, these individuals interpret situations that are ordinary as severe and minor frustrations they experience as hopelessly difficult (Hampton, 1988). The negative emotions in these individuals tend to last for longer periods of time, thus, making these individuals be often in bad mood. Individuals who are rated low in neuroticism are less upset and are less emotionally reactive (Hampton, 1988). They are usually calm, stable emotionally, and free from negative feelings that last long. Finally, Agreeableness tends to measure how compassionate and cooperative individuals have with other people.
Dispositional and social/cultural domains influence and affects human life in many ways. For instance disposition influences and affects human life in terms of job satisfaction and job performance. Dispositional influences focus mainly on the individual traits of negative affectivity and positive affectivity, and the center of control as predictors of job satisfaction (Brown, 2004). Negative affectivity is the tendency to experience negative mood swings by individuals for example when stressed, in distress, experiencing hostility, and depression. Individuals tend to experience positive mood swings in positive negativity such as being confident, active, and cheerful. Accordingly, dispositional influences job satisfaction through individual moods at work and through influencing how individuals interpret objective circumstances of job satisfaction (Brown, 2004). The social/cultural domain influences human life aspects such as job satisfaction. For instance, the domain influences individuals’ environments which directly affect the decision-making process. Every individual receives satisfaction or affordance from the environment for example, social and material hardships that shape his or her career development (Brown, 2004). Dispositional attributes influence the work environment in many ways. For instance, aggressive individuals within the organization attempt to enhance the rational appeal of acting aggressively. These individuals often do so unknowingly by engaging in unconscious reasoning prejudices that give aggression of reasonableness and sensibility (James, 2002). Aggressive individuals within the organization also tend to have an implicit or unconscious propensity to face certain types of assumptions or theories when reasoning, such as; coworkers will undermine each others credibility, people in authority will make subordinates feel inadequate, and lack of aggression indicates weakness, employee compliance with rules and regulation invite oppression by the organization, insubordination toward authority figures is an act of bravery that other employees secretly respect (James, 2002).
The social domain explains individual social relationships which may include race, class, caste, and gender relations. Cultural domain, on the other hand, analyzes the cultural practices which may entail beliefs about nature and meanings individuals attach to life, property, and other cultural beliefs. These cultural elements shape the range of actions individuals make and are critical in understanding how individuals behave and act. Social and cultural domains are two aspects that are inseparable in many ways. They are embedded within each other and therefore it is not easy to draw boundaries between them. A change in either the social or cultural domain cannot be understood in isolation from the relationship with other domains. For instance, it is not easy to put a boundary between social relations and cultural practices. For example, whereas caste can be a social relation, it can also be argued that it is also a cultural practice. Social/cultural domains highlight how complex and unpredictable society and culture can be.
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Cultural values and traditions are usually reinforced by religion which is a major influence in society. Religious tenets cover every aspect of life especially in developing moral guidelines on how society should be governed. All societal norms are influenced by religion. For instance, when individuals are raised they are introduced to family beliefs, and values that they adapt to and are influenced to follow. Social influences play a significant role in decisions individuals make throughout their lives. For instance, communities/society living in suburban areas has a direct influence on how the people live and act in the cities. For instance, if cultural norms of these communities uphold alcoholism, the city will be influenced by this trend. It is significant to note that cultural practices and traditions assist society in setting morals that govern it. Cultural traditions have a role to play in structuring cultural change. Fundamentally important is that culture influences learning. Learning does not involve processes only within learners; rather it sets the agenda for learning. Culture assists society through curriculums to determine what should be learned and how it should be learned. Culture to a large extend influences what and how an individual learns. It is also influenced by the social interaction processes with which the learner associates. The quality of the learning outcome is determined by the substance of the social or cultural interactions rather than the processes within the individuals. When children begin to learn, they gain knowledge that is culturally determined. Looking at formal education, for instance, involves students learning ideas that are valued culturally. These cultural values and ideas can be taught in cultural institutions such as schools, homes, the media, sports, cultural arts, and others. The outcome of this knowledge will portray how individuals or members of society communicate and behave. Culture determines what useful knowledge to be learned is and guides individuals towards outcomes that are socially valued. At the end of the learning process, learners will practice what they have learned. Societies have censorship forums that are intended to protect the moral and attitudinal knowledge of members of the community. Ultimately the organization of cultural practices through formal and informal forums helps in setting moral standards in society.
In conclusion, the dispositional domain is the most appropriate domain with greater influence on human behavior and personality. This domain cuts across not only the social/cultural domain but also other domains.
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