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how do different theorists explain the same behavior differently

In developing personality theories, psychologists seek to organize their understanding of a person.  When we can understand a person, we can then help them with their personality issues. Different theorists have different ideas in regards to understanding people; in this week’s prompt, I am asking you to show me that you can see how the theorists differ in their understanding of the same person.

Compare two of the personality theories discussed in Modules 38 & 39, and show how the theory would explain the personality described in the case study of 7-year old Johnny (below).

  • Choose one behavior in Johnny to explain.
  • Choose two theories from the following orientations: psychoanalytic (Freud), humanistic (Rogers), trait (Big 5), or social-cognitive (Bandura).
  • Using your two theorists, explain they would explain Johnny’s behavior.
    • You are using the same behavior in Johnny; your job is to show how different theorists would explain the same behavior differently.
      • be sure to describe the concepts correctly
      • be sure to describe the behavior (Johnny’s behavior) you are applying the theory to

Remember that I am not asking you for your personal opinion about the case, nor am I asking you to “help” Johnny; do not discuss any techniques that might describe how to “treat” Johnny.

Case Study

Johnny is a 7 year old second grader who has two siblings: a younger brother in first grade and a newborn sister. He lives with his mother and father. His father is employed in a low skilled job and his mother stays at home to care for the newborn. Johnny can be extremely argumentative and short tempered with the other students. He doesn’t complete class work or homework. The few instances he did complete some work, it was very sloppy. His 2nd grade teacher, Miss Jones, reports that Johnny has the potential to do much better in class; she is impressed by his oral responses, which shows her that Johnny understands the daily lesson; however, he fails the written work. He has difficulty remaining in his seat, doing independent work, and he lacks organizational skills. Even after conferencing with Johnny’s parents, Johnny’s academic performance did not improve. Miss Jones is also concerned about his temper and his interactions with other children. He has problems on the playground. Other students are complaining he is calling them names; these names usually involve curse words. Johnny is in a constant bad mood. Johnny’s mother said she is concerned with his behavior and recognizes that he is struggling in school. In addition, she says she rarely sees his homework and he doesn’t seem to be bringing any home. He is receiving below average grades in reading and language. His grades in math are worse.


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