As you can see, each theory makes certain assumptions about the origins of personality. Depending on the theory, the focus can be on unconscious motivators, unmet needs, social forces, acceptance by your parents, biology, or your predominant tendencies or traits. If you find yourself following only one particular theory or approach, you might develop tunnel vision. You might miss observations, inferences, and conclusions that dont fit the assumptions of your chosen theory. That is why it is important to be aware of more than one theory, while acknowledging how they compare and contrast. Understanding the differences between theories will allow you to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of each theory. It will also allow you to think of the person on different levels.

For this assignment, you will compare and contrast two personality theories or approaches from the personality theory list. For example, humanistic psychology and psychoanalytic theory are almost polar opposites so these are easier to contrast, yet there are some commonalities, too. The choice of which two personalities or approaches to compare is up to you. This milestone prepares you for Project One, due in Module Six.

Personality Theories and Approaches

  • Humanistic psychology
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Neo-Freudian/object relations theory
  • Trait approach
  • Biological perspective
  • Motivation


To begin your milestone, first select two personality theories from the list provided that you think contrast in meaningful ways. Next, use your to address the following rubric criteria:

  1. Identify which two theories or approaches you will compare and contrast and explain why you chose them. Your response should be about 2 to 4 sentences.
  2. Describe how your two chosen theories differ by selecting 3 topics from A through G below. Your response for each topic should be about 3 to 5 sentences.
    1. Scientific nature
      • Do the theories you selected differ on their scientific nature? Is one theory more scientific? Consider the techniques used to collect information and devise theories.
      • Justify your response.
    2. Nature versus nurture
      • Do the theories you selected differ on the roles of nature versus nurture? Does one theory favor one role to a greater degree than the other? Or is one more neutral in regard to the role of nature and nurture?
      • Justify your response.
    3. Origin of problems
      • Do the theories you selected differ in their determination of the origin of mental health or adjustment issues?
      • Justify your response.
    4. Pathology
      • Do the theories you selected differ in the emphasis on the pathology of problems versus focusing on thriving and finding meaning in life? Or is one theory more neutral on the role of pathology versus thriving?
      • Justify your response.
    5. Free will
      • Do the theories you selected differ on the role of free will? Does one theory do a better job of conveying that people have free will to become the person they wish to be?
      • Justify your response.
    6. Environmental influences
      • Do the theories you selected differ on the role of environmental influences? If both theories take environmental factors into consideration, how do they do so differently?
      • Justify your response.
    7. Internal versus external stimuli
      • Do the theories you selected favor the role of internal or external stimuli more? Do they define behavior as more active or reactive?
      • Justify your response.
  3. Describe at least one similarity between your two selected theories. Your response should be about 3 to 5 sentences.

Guidelines for Submission

Submit your completed Project One Milestone Template. If you cite external resources, you must use APA citation style.

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