Personality: Development and Assessment

By Charles M. Harsh; H. G. Schrickel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Effects of Socialization

Considering the multitude of physiological factors and specific products of learning which contribute to behavior, one could easily lose hope of finding any meaningful patterning of personality. Temperament is a fairly persistent aspect of individuality, helpful in describing reactivity, but it gives little indication of what situations will elicit responses. Likewise we have noted the limited utility of classifying persons by their biological needs, for this overlooks the important behavior techniques which develop as a byproduct of social learning. Inherent abilities and physical features are certainly useful in describing persons, yet they also gain personal significance mainly in terms of valuation by a particular culture group. The conclusion seems inescapable that patterning of personality must be judged with reference to the society in which a person lives. In many respects, the individual learns to behave like other members of his society. His uniqueness is a deviation from those norms, and it seems plausible that this uniqueness also reflects what he has learned from interpersonal relations. Some of the effects persist as mysterious unconscious impulses and inhibitions. Insofar as his behavior is meaningfully organized, however, it reflects his generalized attitudes as to how he differs from other persons, how he fits in society, and how he can influence his own destiny. Let us take a perspective view of these structuring aspects of socialization.


DIFFERENTIATION OF THE SELF

Awareness of Body

As indicated in Chapter 2, a child is rather slow in distinguishing his body from the environment. During infancy, many parts of the

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