Introduction to Theories of Human Behavior

by Jason Shaw


  3. Freud’s Personality Development Theory;
  4. Behaviorists’ Approaches to Human Nature
  5. Trait-oriented Theorist Eysenck and Cattell.
  6. Motivation theory of Maslow, Clayton Alderfer’s ERG Theory and Murray
  7. Cognitive Theory of Piaget and Others
  8. Modern Theories: Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence
  9. Emotional Intelligence theories

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The underlying basis of human behavior has been a topic of intense discussions, and still, it is not void of its topicality. The views diverge and are so versatile that it is almost impossible to conclude. However, most researchers agree that human behavior is shaped in childhood, and that a person goes through several stages of development during childhood, marked by physical , cognitive , social, cultural, and emotional changes.

Different theories of human behavior focus on various aspects of personality development and, thus, different motivators for action. Human behavior has been investigated by John B’s advocated conduct psychology. Watson and B.F. Skinner. Cognitive theories focused on motivation and decision-making as an essential aspect of human behavior.  Jean Piaget worked in the cognitive domain, introducing the Theory of Cognitive Development. Developmental Theory was initially introduced by Sigmund Freud and further developed by Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development. In 1950s humanist theorists with the most renown, Abraham Maslow introduced humanist theories emphasizing positive features of human nature.

This paper covers theories about personality development and explaining the roots of human behavior. Starting from the earliest methods of human behavior, development, and personality, it involves the recent theories focused on the human intellect.


Theories of Human Behavior

Freud’s personality development theory involves two variables, the interaction of which makes up a personality. These are biological determinants and environments, in which parental behavior plays an important role, particularly during infancy.

According to Freud, personality is composed of the id, ego, and super-ego. Freud has managed to incorporate biological and environmental factors in this philosophy- the id integrates instinctual drives. At the same time, the ego helps to keep a balance between urges of the id and rules of society, represented by the super-ego. Freud also introduced stages of personality development depending on the instinctual needs of one’s focus.

In “Three Essays on Sexuality” (1915), Freud outlined child development in five stages – oral, anal, phallic, latency period, and genital. The Theory resulted from Freud’s observations during his therapy sessions with clients.

The first oral stage comprises children from birth to 18 months. The scene is marked by a focus on oral pleasures. The desires are oriented on the lips and mouth, which is connected with breast sucking. In pursuit of oral gratification, Freud termed oral-incorporative activity and explained it with an effort to attain equal satisfaction to that of sucking the breast.

Fixing on this stage means excessive oral stimulation like smoking, excessive drinking, or eating. So, the oral character develops verbal traits to attain pleasure and oral satisfaction. The frustration experienced during the oral stage later results in oral-aggressive characteristics, which maybe be expressed in hysterical screaming, biting or sarcasm, and aggressive gossiping. (Wehr)

The influence of the experience acquired on the oral stage accompanies an individual throughout his life. This stage impacts a person’s perception of the world as a secure place, and it’s when the feeling of trust towards others is formed.  Deprivation in infancy causes underground complexes, which hamper a person to build adequate relationships with other people.

During the anal stage, which a child goes from 18 months to three years, an individual’s libido is concentrated on anal. This stage is about rules and regulations in the life of an individual. Experiences acquired during this stage may influence retention and expulsion responses. Correspondingly there are two types of personalities – the anal-retentive and anal repulsive.

The anal-retentive personality is likely to restraint feelings or to overcontrol behavior and avoid conflict and errors. This type of character is cautious with rules and regulations; that’s why they are responsible and meticulous, owning a strong sense of duty. On the other hand, they are constraint and dependent on other’s opinions. The anal-expulsive is a contrasting personality to the anal-retentive character type. It is a self-confident and independent personality who expresses feelings easily. Explosives are creative and spontaneous in action but messy and disorganized. (Wehr)

During the phallic stage ( 3 to 6 years), the pleasure is connected with genitals. It’s the time when children identify their sex-role and accept their sexuality. They find their sexual organs as a source of sexual pleasure and direct their sexual drives towards external objects. That’s why it’s a stage of unconscious sexual desires of a child towards the opposite-sex parent. It’s when the Oedipus complex or Electra complex emerges. Both compounds are characterized by rivalry with same-sex parent and attachment to the opposite-sex parent.

The fear of punishment for these feelings is later oppressed and results in the identification of a boy with his father as his ego-ideal. This way, the sense of aggression towards the father is suppressed, a boy develops an identification-model and conflict resolves.

The girls resolve the Electra complex, which is expressed in sexual attraction to the father. The complex originates from the girl’s discovery that she, as well as other females, lack the penis while father and other males, possess it. Father becomes the love-object while the mother bears the blame for perceived castration. The penis envy is at the root of the Electra complex.

The resolution of the Electra complex is not as evident as the resolution of the Oedipus complex, meaning that girls can remain fixated at the phallic stage. The decision of the complex takes girls’ new developmental stage when penis envy is transformed into feminine identification.   If at the phallic stage, parental models are absent, this leads to problems with one’s sexual identity and issues with the opposite sex. Parental affection helps to develop healthy sex role models.

 During Latency Stage (from six to puberty), sexual desires are repressed, and the Oedipus\ Electra conflict is resolved. The genital stage (adolescence on) is awaking of sexual urges when they are directed onto opposite-sex peers. The genitals are developed, and libido is employed sexually.

Freud approaches developmental Theory as the process of escape from a parent’s power and love.  This liberation happens through daydreaming, play, and fantasies.

Imaging parents as people with exceptional qualities and then seeing ordinary people with their disadvantages make children assume that they are adopted. Freud called this experience “family romance” (Freud, 1959).

The freeing from the authority of parents is one of the most painful experiences on the way of child development. The fantasies about ‘real parents’ comfort a child and allow them to “safely express ambivalence and anger toward their parents, all the while encouraging them to develop independent identities necessary to becoming healthy adults.” (Strachey, 1959, p.75)

This scenario, which, according to Freud, happens in the life of every individual, helps to repress anger and develop an independent identity for healthy adulthood. This doesn’t suggest of child’s hostility and bad intentions but is the way children disguise their affection towards parents and their regret of the days when parents were seen perfect.

Freud sees personality as composed of three components –the id, the ego, and the super-ego – which interplay to create human behaviors. The first element, the id, a term initially used by Nietzsche, is inherited from birth. It’s an unconscious layer, which introduces instincts and is the source of psychic energy. The id responds to basic needs like hunger and physical comfort. The Id does not care for the reality and needs of other people.

Freud (1959, p.42) supposes that the id is connected with physical processes. It helps instinctual needs to find rational expression. The identifier is not organized by ‘unified will.’ It’s “only an impulsion to obtain satisfaction for the instinctual needs, following the pleasure-principle.”

The id is alien to negation and to the idea of time and space. Repressed impressions are immortal and are preserved for years. They just belong to the past, and their significance is very low. The id is alien to the ideas of good and evil or moral values and contains instinctual cathexes, which seek to discharge. The pleasure principle dominates the id processes. So, it is an unconscious part of the mind which possesses primitive and irrational quality. (Freud,1959 p.42)

As a child develops with time, one acquires the second component of the personality- the ego.  The ego is connected with reality and the current situation. It takes into account the needs of other people and their desires. ‘The ego is especially affected by perception,’ which has ‘the same signi­ficance for the ego as instincts have for the id.’ At the same time, ego as a modified part of the Id is also subject to the influence of the instincts. (Freud, 1962, p.15)

Freud (1959) believes that the ego is a part of the id, “which has been modified by its proximity to the external world.” So, the ego represents the external world for the identifier to satisfy its instincts. For fulfillment of this task, the ego should “observe the external world and preserve a true picture of it in the memory traces left by its perceptions.” (p.42)

The ego is a representative of the id in the external world. Unlike the id, the ego tends to ‘synthesize its contents, to bring together and unify its mental processes.’ Freud refers to the ego to ‘reason and circumspection,’ while the id to ‘the untamed passions.’ The reality principle substitutes the pleasure principle. (Freud, 1959 p.42)

So, the ego is a part of the id, which had been modified by its proximity to reality and taking energy from the identifier. It is a weak and dependent part as it is subject to the intentions of the id. Its task is to create conditions so that the id intentions are fulfilled.

The ego reconciles the claims of three masters – the external world, the super-ego, and the id. The demands from three parts make the ego experience anxiety when these demands are incompatible. On one side, the ego being a part of the perceptual system has to fulfill the needs of the external world, on the other hand, the ego tries to be in good terms with the id. So, it has to balance between the id and reality resolving their conflict, if any. Still, there’s super-ego, which watches the ego in its endeavors and does not care for the demands of the id and reality.

If the ego does not act up to the norms of the super-ego, it punishes it with a sense of inferiority and guilt. Acknowledgment of the ego weakness breaks out into anxiety – reality anxiety, moral anxiety, and neurotic anxiety. (Freud, 1959 p.42)

By five, a child develops the super-ego. The super-ego is a result of moral principles and ethical restraints, which social milieu and parents impose on children. Due to the development of the super-ego, people learn to understand what is right and what is wrong.

Freud believed that a healthy person has the ego, which keeps the balance between the id and the super-ego. The ego is a visible part of the personality. The latter two remain hidden somewhere deep, but still, they may strongly affect the character.

“We call the conflict between the strong super-ego and the ego subjected to it the sense of guilt; it expresses itself as a desire for retribution …”. The sense of guilt may arise from ‘fear of authority and ‘from fear of the super-ego.’  “The first insists upon a renunciation of instinctual satisfaction; the second, as well as doing this, press for punishment.” (Freud, 1962, p.70)

Division of the personality into ego, super-ego, and id has no sharp dividing lines. Freud (1959, p.45) supposes that the interaction of three components and their comparative dimensions varies from person to person. Functions may also vary as well as undergo a process of involution.

So, the formation of personality is a rather complicated process, which, according to S. Freud, is influenced by biological determinants and environment. A child develops through stages, which reflect one’s concentration on pleasure areas. On the other hand, the relationship of children with parents influences one’s a further development. ‘Family romance’ when a child tries to free oneself from the parent’s authority characterizes the behavior of all children.  According to Freud, personality development is determined by three components which are the id, the ego, and the super-ego. Their interplay makes up certain traits of the personality like a strong sense of guilt, which arises from the authority of the super-ego.

Sigmund Freud was also the first to introduce psychological theories of motivation, which were further explored by German psychologist Kurt Lewin and the American behaviorists. All of them offered their explanation of motivation, but all agreed on the decisive role of personality in the motivation mechanism.

The structure of personality incorporates several levels of motivation, which are connected with both the emotional experiences of an individual and its social, cultural, and historical background. Motivation comes from within a person and from the external environment.

According to these theories, motivation intervenes in the system of tensions between the individual and his environment as the means of tension release. Freud suggests that tension as a result of unconscious psychic impulses attempts to break through the censorship of the consciousness and is released in both intellectual and behavioral symbolic forms. Western psychiatry supported this idea. (Spirkin, 1983)

Lewin’s dynamic Theory of personality stated that the objects of the environment where the individual interacts become motives of behavior. If the action was not completed, the purpose retained its urgency. Lewin believed the origin of motivation lay “in the contact between the immediate concrete environment and the individual at a given micro-interval of time.” (Spirkin, 1983)

His study also touched the problem of the motivation dynamics viewing this process as the one depending on success or failure in solving various kinds of issues. He showed that motivation depends on the level of expectation. If a person expects high results, one is motivated to act to achieve these results. One has an impetus to work because of the expectations one has. This Theory concentrated only on the inner expectations of a person, not indicating what drives these expectations.

Behaviorists also placed much importance on the problem of motivation. They regarded a motive as an external or internal stimulus influencing behavior. They stressed the biological motivation in contrast to views, which give priority to high intellectual values, aims, and ideals. Motivation in the contrasting views is regarded as the individual’s desire to strengthen his ego, a willingness to self-realization, or self actualize.

The structure of the personality incorporates various levels of motivation. The lower levels are connected with homeostatic needs, such as the desire to relieve tension. The higher is associated with the development of human qualities of responsibility, initiative, or wish to accomplish difficult tasks. Among humans, higher motivations dominate over primary biological motivation.

These theories, however, ignore the socio-historical nature of human motivation. Motives are shaped, transformed, and realized according to the social existence of a person. Reasons are expressed in different forms, such as the concept, the idea, the dream, and the ideal. The individual’s life experience and individual qualities and peculiarities determine a person’s motives.

Motivation is connected with the emotional experiences of an individual, which are enriched through the development of motives. Individuals feel the need to assert themselves in the process of real activity through creative and significant achievements. This need plays a unique role in motivation.

The need to assert is connected with the positive assessment of one’s achievements by people, the opinion of which is essential to the individual. Receiving a negative evaluation, he/she experiences the emotional burden of discomfort, which further reflects on mental health. This leads to stress and conflicts with people. That’s why it’s essential to build a sound self-appraisal in an individual to strengthen motivation.

Psychoanalytical theories of human personalities, such as Freud’s, have been criticized for the lack of reliable scientific basis, the unsatisfactory definition of concepts, hardly testable predictions of human behavior. The strongest of critics was Eysenck, whose approach was based on scientific methods and statistical analysis.

Eysenck and psychologist Cattell tried to uncover personality traits, which can explain human behavior in different situations.  Trait theory outlines essential elements (attributes), which predispose a person for specific actions in different circumstances.  Eysenck and Cattell used factor analysis to uncover the structure of personality.

They offered a hierarchical organization of personality where several basics dimensions can represent building blocks. The primary two sizes introduced by Eysenck are extraversion and neuroticism, which are continuous and independent.  Eysenck also proposed a theory of personality origins and development, which accounted for inherited differences and the impact of the environment in the process of socialization. (Arnold et al. 2005 p. 112)

Trait-oriented theorists introduced the structure consisting of five personality factors, supported by consistent evidence. This structure includes the following elements: extraversion (assertiveness and positive emotions), neuroticism (anxiety, vulnerability, depression), conscientiousness (self-discipline and competence), agreeableness (trust, altruism), openness to experience (ideas, values, fantasy). These are minimum factors, which are included in any personality. ‘Big Five’ structure turned out to be a helpful general framework consistent across the cultures. (Arnold et al. 2005 p. 120)

The Hierarchy of Needs theory was introduced by Abraham Maslow during the 1940s and 1950s and stated that motivation depends on the circumstances where the person is found. Maslow classified needs into five categories: psychological needs (at the bottom), security needs, social needs esteem or status needs, and self-actualization needs at the top. People are motivated towards the higher needs only after “lower” requirements are satisfied. (Maslow, 1954)

Physiological needs are essential and the strongest of all needs. Lacking food and safety, a person is unlikely to think over self-development or education. If physiological needs are not satisfied, all other requirements are suppressed or become non-existent. If a person is concentrated on satisfying hungry, all capacities are organized with one purpose of hunger satisfaction. (Maslow 1943)

On the other hand, Maslow identified “higher needs,” among which there’re desires to know, understand, and self-actualize. Also, freedom of inquiry and expression has been regarded as preconditions to the satisfaction of the basic needs. However, these formulations do not give definitive answers to the concerns of the motivational role of curiosity, learning, philosophizing, experimenting. Also, there is no data available for unintelligent people and their motivations. (Maslow 1943)

The weakness of Maslow’s hierarchy is that there’s little evidence to support its strict and permanent character. In some cases, social needs are placed before any others. For example, a person can put spiritual needs before physical needs. Besides, people can be motivated to satisfy several needs at a time if they are not in conflict.

There may be reversals in the hierarchy, for example, when people place more importance on self-esteem than love. Another cause of reversal of the authority is that when a need has been satisfied for a long time, this need may be undervalued. People whose experience excludes chronic hunger cannot understand the value of food looking at it as something not important, referring to lower-level needs. These refer to creative people who are driven by creativeness, which is conferred the highest value.  Certain people have the level of aspiration, which is permanently deadened or lowered. (Maslow 1943)

Maslow’s motivation theory was further developed in Clayton Alderfer’s ERG Theory. Like Maslow, he differentiated between lower-order needs and higher-order needs with the core needs identified in three categories: Existence, Relatedness, and Growth.

Existence needs to represent the lowest level and focus on survival. It means that any person primarily wants to remain alive and safe, at present, as well as in the foreseeable future. When a person satisfies existence needs, he/she feels physically comfortable. This level of Alderfer’s Theory includes Maslow’s Physiological and Safety requirements. (Ratzburg, 2006)

When a person satisfies his/her immediate existence needs, he/she becomes interested in relations with other people to feel a sense of identity and interact in an immediate societal environment. This level is called Relatedness and corresponds to Maslow’s Love/belonging and Esteem needs.

Growth needs are oriented to satisfy the person’s intrinsic desire to develop individually, be creative for the personal self and environment. If a person grows successfully, it constitutes his/her sense of unity, achievement, and fulfillment. These needs represent the highest level and overlap with Maslow’s Self-actualization and Transcendence.

Unlike Maslow and Herzberg, Alderfer claims that fulfillment of a lower level needs is not essential for higher-level needs. Alderfer’s ERG theory shows that more than one demand may motivate at the same time. The ERG theory presents differences in need preferences within different cultures better than Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy; the order of needs is not the same for all people. Alderfer also introduced frustration-regression, according to which in case of the frustration of a higher-order need, a person may go back to a lower-order need in order to increase its satisfaction. (Ratzburg, 2006)

One more Theory, which reflects upon personality being driven by demands of the different levels is one introduced by American psychologist Henry Murray describing nature in terms of motives, presses, and psychogenic needs functioning on the unconscious level. He distinguished between primary needs (based on physiological demands) and secondary needs (of psychological nature). Murray outlined such psychogenic needs as Ambition Needs (achievement and recognition), Materialistic Needs (Acquisition and Retention), Power Needs (aggression and dominance), Affection Needs (affiliation and nurturance), Information Needs (cognizance and exposition). (Wagner)

Murray considered a personality as a dynamic system interacting in a social environment. Functional processes are interdependent and hierarchically integrated.  Murray believed that needs are interrelated and interplaying with each other – being in supporting or conflicting relationships. He stressed the influence of environmental factors, which affect their display in behavior. (Murray and White, 2006)

Murray was one of those who brought to psychology humanistic interest, which impacted the choice of scientific models.

Murray and his colleague Christina Morgan are well-known among clinical psychologists for creating Thematic Apperception Test, which helped to understand psychological dynamics and had value for educational and diagnostic purposes. (Murray and White, 2006)

The most exciting aspect of child development is cognitive development, which is viewed by developmental and learning theories, attempting to explain the process of learning. The main focus of these theories is the acquisition of knowledge by children (primary mental states) and the active organization of the studying process.

In the 21st century, the problem was addressed by developmental theorist Jean Piaget, who researched human behavior and brought a change to the existing views. Piaget’s cognitive theory, explaining how social behavior changes in different periods of a person’s life, is a landmark of human behavior studies of time.

Piaget is a chief theorist for the modern cognitive constructivism. Constructionists believe that a child develops the adaptive behavior, processing stimuli from the environment and the resulting in cognitive structures. As it turned out, the relationship between external factors and behavior is relative. Behavior is shaped not only under the impact of social and economic conditions, but it is influenced by situational variables, emotions, and consequences. Action is also related to attitudes, mental models, scripts, etc., but it can vary depending on a particular situation or context.

Along with the impact of external factors that shape the person’s behavior at different stages of his or her development, and external authority that imposes views on the developing personality, having a consequent impact on his or her behaviour, the builders extend the understanding of behavior far beyond external factors. They view ethics as the outcome of both external factors (socioeconomic, cultural, behavior shaped by some authority) and internal factors, which govern the person at the definite moment of its life.

So, according to constructionists, human behavior is influenced by a variety of factors. Piaget devoted to researching the cognitive development of a child subdivided the process of behavior development into four stages.

  • During the first stage child’s cognitive system is limited to motor reflexes; children are completely amoral at this period. The need for food, comfort, and security as basic survival needs are dominated in the developing value system. Any outside factors as such culture and family are not of any interest to a child at this age. But still, during this stage, the basis for future roles are scripted by the parents. This is evident in different treatment of boys and girls from very early childhood.
  • During the next stage (the age of 2-7 years), children view the world from their perspective. This is the egocentric stage when children are self-oriented and have an egocentric view. They have a vague idea of what rules are. Getting to know regulations, a child attempts to match the standards to personal needs and desires. Manipulating the world a child matches parents’ demands and expectations.
  • The next is the heterogamous stage when children can view things from different perspectives. They can change their views and consider various aspects simultaneously. Yet at this stage, children cannot perform on abstract problems, being able to understand particular issues, though.

The characteristics of cognitive development are active gathering of information, learning skills and mastering abstract thinking. At this period of life, children master verbal skills being eager to become competent; that’s why they are prone to ask many questions, which are mostly fact-oriented. Communication needs are usually satisfied with social groups or interest clubs.

External authorities can shape the morality of a child. Rules and laws serve them as a basis. At this stage, children can control their behavior morally and logically to some extend. Authority is the main focus of this period of a child. The child is prone to accept ideas, values, and attitudes without any objections. Parents, friends, or teachers can impose a concept of morality, which is still a vague notion to a child. At this stage, a child is vulnerable to negative influences. That’s where the socioeconomic, historical, and cultural factors influence the behavior of the child mostly. The early teen years are a turning point before taking full moral responsibility for life.

  • After 12 years, a child enters an autonomous stage. Young people can take personal responsibility, developing a sense of morality and values under the impact of interactions and discussions. People make the rules into their lives if they are morally acceptable. The children at this stage have a strong sense of justice. They understand the importance of rules and fairness of punishment in the case of a breach.

The aspects of developmental stage theory, which are determined by cultural factors, are two last stages of child development. A child comes to perceive the external world as it is. That’s where culture can shape the views and behavior of a child.

The moral basis of a person is constant both within and across cultures.  All cultures have a frequent basis for the coexistence of humans in one environment.  People bring up their siblings, so they perceive these grounds to live with other humans and survive. These moral grounds shape human behavior within and across cultures.

Piaget created the most influential cognitive development theory. He was the first to develop a highly sophisticated stage theory, which dominated during the late 20th and beginning of the 21st century.

The most recent of the models, which include some other concepts apart from cognitive abilities, is Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which supposes more than one single factor of intelligence and challenges Piaget’s cognitive development concept. Howard Gardner assumed that a person has more than one intellectual capacity blending in a unique mix of intelligence. He differentiated between the following intelligence:

  • Linguistic intelligence refers to the linguistic ability or mastery of language, ability to express oneself through language means;
  • Spatial intelligence involves the ability to create mental images and manipulate them;
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence refers to mathematical capacity, ability to reason deductively, and think logically, including the talent to scientific investigation.
  • Musical intelligence is about skill in manipulating musical patterns, musical pitches, tones, and rhythms.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is about the ability to control one’s body.
  • Interpersonal intelligence is about understanding the intentions and motivations of others, allowing smooth cooperation with other people.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence is about understanding one’s feelings and motivations.

This classification of human abilities is based on neuropsychological evidence, experimental psychology, and psychometric findings. According to Gardner, this intelligence is interdependent and complement one another as skills are developed. These different bits of intelligence enable a person to find one’s solutions either numerically, spatially, kinesthetically, musically, etc. (Arnold et al. 2005 p. 112)

Despite the popularity of the Theory, it received many critical responses, as it was claimed to be subjective and not accounting for environmental influences. Being unaccepted by academic psychology, Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences has enjoyed popularity among educators. Seven intelligence modes allow teachers to approach students in many different ways. It empowered educators with tools for curriculum assessment and classroom practices as well as developing new approaches to diverse learners. Many schools are North America structured their curricula according to the bits of intelligence.

One more modern scholar studying human intelligence is Robert Sternberg with his Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. In his Beyond IQ: a Triarchic Theory of Human Intelligence, he introduces three facets for describing intelligence: analytical, creative, and practical.

  • Analytical sub theory describes analytical intelligence, which is related to academic problem solving based on the cooperation of three components – ‘meta components’ (related to cognitive processing), ‘performance’ (executing of strategies governed by meta components) and ‘knowledge acquisition’ (capacity for learning). (Arnold et al. 2005 p. 112)
  • Creative sub theory refers to the ability of original adaptation to new situations and creative thinking as well as insights.
  • Practical sub theory refers to the ability to deal with everyday tasks like motivating people and includes not only mental skills but an assessment of attitudes and emotional factors. This way, Sternberg incorporated practical knowledge into the definition of intelligence bringing changes into conventional methods of its evaluation. (Arnold et. al. 2005 p. 112)

Three components of intelligence have been described by D. Perkins in his work on ‘learnability of intelligence’: the fixed neurological intelligence related to IQ tests, the specialized knowledge/experience acquired during a lifetime, and reflective intelligence. The latter one can be taught and is a way to boost human intellect, enable one to make wise decisions, work out creative ideas, and solve technical problems. (Abbott and Ryan, 2000 p.127)

In the early 1990s, such researchers as J. LeDoux, A.Damasio, and D.Goleman highlighted a new view on intelligence components. The critical point of their work was that emotions drove learning in the same way by the intellect.

Goleman (1995) defined emotional intelligence as ‘abilities such as being capable of motivating oneself and persisting in the face of frustrations; controlling impulses and delaying gratification; regulating one’s mood and keeping distressed by swamping the ability to think; emphasizing and hope. (p.35 in Arnold et. al. 2005 p. 114)

The theorist claims that his Theory offers a framework for developing skills in four domains – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Reuven Bar-On defines emotional intelligence as the ability to cope with environmental pressures.  His model includes several traits and skills referring to psychological and social knowledge helping to withstand environmental demands. (Arnold et. al. 2005 p. 115)

The most influential works in this area are those of Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey (1997), who describe emotional intelligence based on traditional models of intelligence and define it as “a concept of intelligence that processes and benefits from emotions.” Their conception of emotional intelligence is ineffective manipulation (perceiving, generating, managing) of emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Unlike other models, this one measures emotional intelligence as ‘a distinct concept beyond personality.’ (Arnold et. al. 2005 p. 115)


All the theories attempting to explain the reasons and drives behind human behavior deserve respect and study. They view personality, and its motivation from different vantage points may of each are overlapping across the theories. Almost all methods indicate the hierarchical nature of human needs and motives. All admit that personality is a result of inborn or inherited characteristics as well as socio-cultural influences. Despite critical responses of opponents, majority of theories explaining human behavior have their practical application and are used either in clinical, professional, and educational spheres.


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