The Formation Of Personality Through Socialization

1171 words - 5 pages

The Formation of Personality through Socialization

The process by which personality is formed as the result of social
influences is called socialization. Early research methods employed
case studies of individuals and of individual societies (e.g.,
primitive tribes). Later research has made statistical comparisons
of numbers of persons or of different societies; differences in
child-rearing methods from one society to another, for example, have
been shown to be related to the subsequent behaviour of the infants
when they become adults. Such statistical approaches are limited,
since they fail to discern whether both the personality of the child
and the child-rearing methods used by the parents are the result of
inherited factors or whether the parents are affected by the
behaviour of their children.
Problems in the process of socialization that have been studied by
experimental methods include the analysis of mother-child
interaction in infancy; the effects of parental patterns of
behaviour on the development of intelligence, moral behaviour,
mental health, delinquency, self-image, and other aspects of the
personality of the child; the effects of birth order (e.g., being
the first-born or second-born child) on the individual; and changes
of personality during adolescence. Investigators have also studied
the origins and functioning of achievement motivation and other
social drives (e.g., as measured with personality tests).
Several theories have stimulated research into socialization;
Freudian theory led to some of the earliest studies on such
activities as oral and anal behaviour (e.g., the effect of the
toilet training of children on obsessional and other "anal"
behaviour). Learning theory led to the study of the effects of
rewards and punishments on simple social behaviour and was extended
to more complex processes such as imitation and morality (e.g., the
analysis of conscience).
The self
Such concepts as self-esteem, self-image, and ego-involvement have
been regarded by some social psychologists as useful, while others
have regarded them as superfluous. There is a considerable amount of
research on such topics as embarrassment and behaviour in front of
audiences, in which self-image and self-esteem have been assessed by
various self-rating methods. The origin of awareness of self has
been studied in relation to the reactions of others and to the
child's comparisons of himself with other children. Particular
attention has been paid to the so-called identity crisis that is
observed at various stages of life (e.g., in adolescence) as the
person struggles to discern the social role that best fits his
self-concept.
Attitudes and beliefs
Research into the origins, dynamics, and changes of attitudes and
beliefs has been carried out by laboratory experiments (studying
relatively minor effects), by social surveys and other statistical
field studies, by...

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