Biological and Humanistic Approaches: in Personality Development


Biological and humanistic styles are among the approaches that are frequently used in the description of the approaches towards the development of personality. According to the theories in the process of biological development, various processes have been used in an attempt to fill the gap that is between the genes of a person and the personality they will end up developing. Under this there is the anatomical approach that explains the functions and structures of the brain and biochemical that attributes all this to the neurotransmitters and hormones. Besides that, there is Abraham Maslow who has a different theory when it pertains to personality. According to this theory personality of a person will be developed due to the various experiences and realities that they encounter in life (Vigil, 2002).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

Maslow had a belief in the hierarchy of human needs. In order to the proper definition of the human needs  an individual has to start in defining the needs by completing one group of needs before proceeding to the next group. Hence Maslow came up with a pyramid in which the needs were classified. At the lowest point of the scale were those needs that are basic and as they progress it gets more complicated to the most complex of needs at the top of the pyramid. At the bottom are the basic needs that include food, water, sleep and warmth. The next level is that where a person has to be given the provision of being safe and secure in the pyramid. The nest level of needs in the pyramid involves those dealing with issues that relate to the psychological and social aspect of it.  This is followed by a level in the pyramid when one needs to satisfy the need for intimacy, love and friendship; this is especially very important as all people do require feeling of love. The top most part of the pyramid contains a level that does involve the need to accomplish certain goals and dreams in order to have a self-esteem (Burger, 2007).

Biological Factors

In the biological theory, all persons are created in manner that they have unique genetics that are passed from an individual to its offspring. These genes are essential for the proper development of a person just like in the situation of food or rest. Besides the genes do assist in firing up our neurones that form a complex network that connects to our brains.  According to this theory, some biological components like genes, hormones and neurotransmitters play apart in the development of a personality an individual will have. So experts who use biological theory believes that when one is born they are without any personality and all that they will develop shall arise form their parents. Hence according to this one is born without character. However this theory does consider the fact those there other factors that come into play in the development of a person besides the biological aspect. One of the things considered is that the personality that individuals will develop will have a basis of natural selection (Feldman, 2006).

According to Burger (2007), in this quest when we are born we do not have fully fledged personalities but we are more of with a temperament. Hence this creates a disposition towards the personality that we shall develop. Due to this the personality that we shall keep is not the same all of our lives. People will tend to be either inhibited or unhibited.  Hence a child who is unhibited will have a withdrawn personality unlike the case of the rest of the children that will have participation in various aspects of life.

Humanistic Approach

The humanistic approach is used in the explanation of the character in person that most of the people will tend to have. This means that every person shall be responsible for their own actions. In other words each person has the ability to know themselves better than any other person can be able to.   Hence people in this approach will believe in the current situation implying that it has nothing to do with the genetic make-up of the individual or any other issue. This was theory that came about due to the need for one to describe the normal healthy people who make the right decisions and go about their activities. Despite this all these have issues that need to be addressed as they struggle towards achieving the comfort in terms of needs as stated in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of human needs (Vigil, 2002).


According to these theories they all address the control of the personality and how it came about. The biological approach states that a person will have a personality that will directly relate to the genetics and hormones that they possess implying that they may have been inherited. This is the same case with the humanistic approach that states a person’s personality is pure related to the individual and has no influence from any external factors. All these theories are related to the Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs where the quest to fulfil the various needs shall determine the type of personality will end having.  Hence in trying to determine the appropriate action to be taken a balance of the various theories would best fit the situation.