The three most useful ideas of the assigned course are the following: the motive and press affect behavior; dispositions are genetically influenced, but many aspects of human social behavior are products of evolution; people have an intrinsic tendency toward self-actualization.
The first idea - the motive and press affect behavior (Carver, Scheier, 2012. ch. 5). People always have some needs, and their needs vary in strength from time to time. Every person has chronic need strength, and it makes an individual difference in personality. According to Henry Murray, all people have primary and secondary needs. Primary needs are physical needs (eating, drinking, sleeping et al). The most important secondary needs are the need for achievement, the need for power, the need for affiliation, and the need for intimacy. The motive of the need for achievement is to surmount difficulties and to accomplish goals. People who have higher achievement motive behave in a different way than those who have lower motive. They prefer tasks that are more difficult; their performance and persistence levels are also higher. It is very useful to define high goals from childhood and to stimulate the child's interest of the goal achievement. Subsequently it will help a child to become a strong personality in the future.
The need for power is also very important for the personality comparison. People who have high power motive levels tend to be friends with people that are not popular or authoritative. In such a way, they protect themselves from unwanted competition. It is important for parents to foster in their children a sense of proportion and a sense of responsibility; otherwise, a very high need for power may lead to unpleasant consequences.
The need for affiliation "is the desire to spend time with other people; to develop and maintain relationships" (Carver, Scheier, 2012, ch. 5). People low in this need may become social outcasts, later it may lead to a mental disorder. Therefore, children should spend a lot of time in groups of their peers to develop responsive and sound interpersonal mutual relations.
The need for intimacy stands beside the need for affiliation. Nevertheless, people who have a high level of the intimacy motive want to spend their time in one-to-one interaction, not in the group.
The idea of the motivational approach to the personality is useful in social life. When an employer knows his employees’ needs, he can stimulate them to greater efforts by, for example, an offer to share in the firm's profits, or by their promoting. People who like spending time in the team will make the composite work better, and people who prefer being alone will work more effective in the own room or at home.
The next interesting idea is the idea that dispositions are genetically influenced, but at the same time, many aspects of human social behavior are products of evolution (Carver, Scheier, 2012, ch. 6). It means that a human being inherits some physical traits from his parents, and he may inherit intelligence and temperament. Some scientists suggest that many of the traits are the result of the environment in which a child is raised. According to Moffitt (2003) "children who show antisocial behavior from early childhood are at great risk of showing antisocial and criminal behavior in adulthood…" (Canli, 2006, p.317). If parents are smart and intelligent, but they do not teach their children manners, it is possible that children will not inherit their parents' mental abilities.
There are two different views at the effects of inheritance and environment. It is clear that a child may look like his mother or father, but it is still unclear whether he will inherit his parents' traits.
The idea of genetic inheritance can be useful in medicine. It is important to be aware of the medical history of your family to prevent some problems in your child's health and character. For example, when a person knows, that his grandfather had Alzheimer's disease, he will be conscious of the risk that his children can inherit this disease, and he will be able to consult a doctor and make everything in order to minimize such risk.
One more example of the genetic influence is the idea that people are more "attracted to other people who share their genetic makeup" (Carver, Scheier, 2012, ch. 6). When a woman looks like a man's mother, he is apt to fall in love with her more than when she looks quite differently. However, it takes place when a man was in good relations with his mother. In the other case, he will look for a woman with opposite qualities.
The evolutionary view shows the other idea of mate selection. It affirms, that men are drawn to signs of reproductive capability and women are attracted to the resources signs. According to this idea, males and females behave differently in order to seem better as future mates. This point of view is also very important. When a person wants to create a family, and he has some criteria for his future mate, it will be easier for such a person to find a mate that matches him better.
The following idea is the idea that people own an inherent aspiration for self-actualization. "Self-actualization is the tendency to develop your capabilities in ways that maintain or enhance the self" (Carver, Scheier, 2012, ch. 11). Simply speaking, every person has needs of acceptance, affection and positive relations to others. When a person behaves in a desired manner, people hold this person worthy. Nevertheless, sometimes these worth conditions can cause an individual to act oppositely to the self-actualization. For example, a person is an artist, he is fond of paintings, but his parents do not share his interest. They want him to become a doctor and forbid him painting. To satisfy his parents, that person stops painting and begins studying. Here is the break of the self-actualization. A person becomes his positive regard, but he is not developing his capabilities. The self-determination theory comes thereby. It shows the difference between the self-determined behavior and behavior that is controlled. People whose lives and actions are controlled are less healthy than people who are self-determined. It is evident from the above-example that a person controlled by his parents will be depressed and unsatisfied.
One more side of this theory is free will. Some theorists are inclined to the idea that people have free will, but there are researchers who think that free will is an illusion.
These theories are particularly useful for the psychologists and therapists. When they get a patient who has everything but is not satisfied with his life, they should apply for the theory of self-actualization. It is important to ask about the kinds of activities that make a person happy. If a personality is disorganized, has no positive regards or his actions are always controlled, he will not be happy. When a person is doing his business only for earning money to satisfy his basic needs, but he is not interested in his job, eventually such person will need the client-centered therapy. In such therapy, "people are led to refocus on their feelings about their problems" (Carver, Scheier, 2012, ch. 11). The doctors help their patients to elucidate their feelings. The main goal of such procedures is to develop the personal growth.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that the study of personality is a complex and difficult work, and it is very interesting and useful in both therapy and daily life. It helps to understand human beings better, and to communicate with them successfully.