Socializing the individual

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SOCIALIZING THE
INDIVIDUAL
Chapter 5
What is personality?
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What comes to mind when you hear
this term?
Most people probably think of
someone’s social skills, or social
appeal.
The term is often used to describe
someone’s specific characteristics or
as an explanation for achievements
or failures.
What is personality?
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When sociologists use the term, they are
referring to more than an individual’s most
striking characteristics.
To social scientists, personality is the sum
total of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and
values that are characteristic of an
individual.
Our personality traits determine how we
adjust to our environment and how we
react in specific situations.
No two individuals have exactly the same
personality. Each individual has his or her
own way of interacting with other people
and with his or her social environment.
What is personality?
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People’s personalities continue to develop
throughout their lifetimes.
Traits change at different rates and to different
degrees.
Some traits seem to remain basically constant
throughout a person’s life, while other traits
undergo dramatic changes.
Personality development is more obvious during
childhood, when people are experiencing rapid
physical, emotional, and intellectual growth.
Once people reach adulthood, personality traits
change at a slower rate. Most adults appear to
maintain stable personalities over time.
Nature Versus Nurture
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Social scientists have heatedly debated
what determines personality and social
behavior.
Some argue that it is heredity – the
transmission of genetic characteristics
from parents to children.
Others suggest that the social
environment – contact with other people
– determines personality.
This debate is usually referred to in
terms of nature versus nurture, or
inherited genetic characteristics versus
environment and social learning.
Nature Versus Nurture
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Most social scientists assume that
personality and social behavior result
from a blending of hereditary and
social environmental influences.
They believe that environmental
factors have the greatest influence.
Factors that affect the
development of personality
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Most social scientists believe that four
factors have the greatest influence.
These factors include: heredity, birth
order, parents, and the cultural
environment.
These factors are among the principal
factors that social scientists see
influencing personality and behavior.
Heredity
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Physical traits
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Aptitudes
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Inherited characteristics
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Biological drives
Birth Order
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Personalities are also influenced by
whether we have brothers, sisters, both,
or neither.
Children with siblings have a different
view of the world than children who
have no brothers or sisters.
The order in which we born into our
families also influences our personalities.
People born first or last in a family have
a different perspective than people born
in the middle.
Parental Characteristics
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Personality development in children is
also influenced by the characteristics
of their parents.
Some parental characteristics that can
influence a child’s personality are
level of education, religious
orientation, economic status, cultural
heritage, and occupational
background.
Cultural Environment
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Culture has a strong influence on personality
development.
The cultural environment determines the basic types of
personalities that will be found in a society.
Each culture gives rise to a series of personality traits
that are typical of members of that society.
How we experience our culture also influences our
personalities.
Subcultural differences also affect personality
development.
The region of the country or the type of neighborhood
in which an individual is raised also affects personality.

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