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Environment Influences on Personality

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 2165 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Literature Review:

       Many studies have been done to understand what influence the development of our personalities.  The expert had always debated whether it is nature or nurture factors that lead to the development of our personality. The articles reviewed explain some of the difference researchers between environmental and genetic factors on personality as one of the articles look at four different studies done on birth order and the effects that have on personality and achievement among siblings.  The purpose of those studies was to found out if the birth order of siblings has an influences personality.  The authors predicted that the first-born would be perceived as more conscientious and achieving, and the later-born would be a more friendly, free spirit, and rebellious. The research proves this to be right for the most part. These studies were done well —one problem it does not explain if one or more of the siblings are adopted and how would it change the outcome.

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    The first article review is Positive and Negative Perfectionism and the Big Five Personality Factors by Egan, Piek & Dyck.  The purpose of the article is to study at the relationship of personality and perfectionism as it relates to neuroticism in a group of participants vs. a group of athletes.  Their hypothesis is as follows: “It would be useful to determine if personality factors of agreeableness and competence could be increased in order to ameliorate the distress associated with negative perfectionism.” (Egan, Piek, & Dyck, 2015) The study is searching for the relationship of personality and perfectionism, and the factors are Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Openness to Experience (O), Agreeableness (A) and Conscientiousness (C) – as part of the Big Five personality model.  They were conducted by semi-interview, verbal answer, and questionnaire. The article stated there had not been any research done on these variable sets before.  The research design was correlation research with questionnaires. The researchers used self-report questionnaires to obtain their data.  This article was done ethically, and it stated, “all participants completed an information and consent form, and the Curtin University Ethics Committee approved the research.” (Egan, Piek, & Dyck, 2015)

          The second article was the Birth Order Effects on Personality and Achievement Within Families

Families, by Paulhus, Trapnell & Chen.  This article looks at four different studies on birth order and the effects on personality and achievement between siblings.  The purpose of the studies is to investigate the birth order of siblings and if it has an influence on personality. The factors investigated is the birth order of siblings and adopted siblings.  The authors predicted that the first-born would be view as more diligent and achiever, and the later-born would be view as more friendly, free spirit, and rebellious. (Paulhus, Trapnell, & Chen, 1999).  Four different studies analyzed the results to evaluate if birth order does have an impact on an individual personality. Two studies were done at universities and supervise by instructors; one self-assessment was given to students, and one self-assessment was given to adults 40 years and older. There are two other studies done, one by Ernst and Angst in 1983 they debated the link between birth order and personality traits.  The second one was done in 1996 by Sulloway; he published a book, Born to Rebel about his finding.  Sulloway believes that adult personality contradicts across birth order and that this difference was the result of competition between siblings.  The studies in this article are similar to Sulloway’s believes. For their research design, they used four different surveys with their variations. The studies were ethically done, all participant was voluntary, and the surveys were standardized.

The third article reviewed was Attachment theory and research: Resurrection of the psychodynamic approach to personality by Shaver & Mikulincer. This article conceptualizes attachment theory as a contemporary psychodynamic approach and shows how this theory has helped bring psychodynamic psychology back to life.  The authors propose to show how attachment theory has “helped to bring psychodynamic psychology back to life and review empirical evidence from our laboratories that support many of the psychodynamic hypotheses advanced by Bowlby.” (Shaver, & Mikulincer, 2005) There are many interesting areas of study on personality looked at in this article, for instance, narcissism, repression, as well as the application of neuroscience show how the brain works with emotions, decision making, and personality — also, the study of attachment theory as psychoanalytic theory.  The ideas in these studies have been done before going back to Freud and the neo-Freudians, except for neuroscience which is a new concept.  The article explains attachment theory and Bowlby’s research on it; according to Bowlby’s research in 1973, if given consistent interactions with attachment figures during childhood and adolescence, these interactions are solidified and become part of a person’s attachment style.  The article suggests that attachment theory would be useful as a tool for bridging the gap between psychodynamic theories and empirical research on personality.  The authors of this article did not perform any of their studies. Instead, they reviewed the work of other researchers and studies that have been done in the past.  A few examples include “the Strange Situation to classify infant’s quality of attachment to mother; the Attachment Q-Sort for assessing young children’s attachment orientations; the Adult Attachment Interview of measuring adult “state of mind concerning attachment”; and several self-report scales to measure adult attachment style in peer relationships.” (Shaver, & Mikulincer, 2005) Since these authors did not research their own there is no need to assess the ethics of their work; however, they did do a great job of reviewing and explaining the studies they reviewed.

 The final article reviewed was by Fransson, Granqvist, Bohlin, & Hagekull, Interlinkages Between Attachment and the Five-Factor Model of Personality in Middle Childhood and Young Adulthood: A Longitudinal Approach. This article investigates several critical factors for personality development; how does a person become who they are, what constitutes individuals personality, how personality change from childhood to adulthood?  How does the Five Factor Model personality play a role? (Fransson, Granqvist, Bohlin, & Hagekull, 2013) The article explains the different idea’s researchers have between environmental and genetic factors on the personality.  Their study intended to show the fundamental questions in developmental and personality psychology: How does a person become who she is? What are the constituents of her personality? (Fransson, Granqvist, Bohlin, & Hagekull, 2013)

The article looks at the Five-Factor model which includes personality trait descriptions of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness about how we develop from childhood into adulthood.  It looks at attachment theory and the FFM. These factors are assessed by reviewing the research of other studies as well as conducting a study of their own.  Both the FFM and the attachment theory have been studied before. The FFM is believes to be the best tools for determining a person personality, while the attachment theory stresses the importance of caregiving in the development of personality.  The purpose of the study by the authors was to examine relationships between attachment and the FFM of personality in middle childhood and young adulthood.  It was mainly a survey study.  It began with children from infants up through age 21. There were several survey methods used.  Self-assessments, surveys parents did on their children, and surveys teachers did on their students.  There were also some lab assessments completed at the age of 21 as well.  The study was done ethically.  It was voluntary; anyone could withdraw from the study at any time.  They used independent coders’ and raters for the assessments.


Research Design:

Research question – a family with three siblings, are adoptive children’s is birth order personalities influenced the same way as biological children?

 Design and Study- Longitudinal Correlation Research with Questions

Using this research will allow studying a large group size with very different variables. We will recruit individuals based on the following groups: adopted with no knowledge, adopted with knowledge, adopted by only one parent, not adapted – control group. All questionnaire will be identical and will be provided to all individuals; an independent third party will compare it for review. All individuals in the groups will also be given the Five-Factor Model personality assessment. The questionnaire and the Five-Factor Model -will be given to all individuals in the groups at least several times. One group will be age 8-10, another during the teen years, and the last one at the end of the study age 24-26.

   I would search for volunteers to participate in the study.  To find the proper

volunteers for the categories needed, I will seek the assistance of recommendations from

Social workers, counselors, hospitals, schools and adoption agencies. Once I have obtained all

the necessary volunteers are found for all the categories.  I will begin implementing the

research consisting of a family questionnaire and the Five-Factor Model personality

assessment test.

 The participation in the research study will be completely voluntary. If a participant decides they do not want to finish the study their information will be removed.  All participants will be kept anonymous, and I will be the only person reviewing the initial surveys. After all the surveys have been completed, an independent third party will review them for the accuracy of my findings. At no time the independent third party will know any personal information about the participants.  Once the study has been review and finding all participants will receive a copy. (APA, 2017)



  • American Psychological Association. (2017, January 1). Retrieved June 24, 2018, from     http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
  • Egan, S. J., Piek, J. P., & Dyck, M. J. (2015). Positive and Negative Perfectionism and the Big Five Personality Factors. Behavior Change,32(02), 104-113. doi:10.1017/bec.2015.3
  • Fransson, M., Granqvist, P., Bohlin, G., & Hagekull, B. (2013). Interlinkages between attachment and the Five-Factor Model of personality in middle childhood and young adulthood:
  • A longitudinal approach. Attachment & Human Development, 15(2), 219-239. doi:10.1080/14616734.2013.754985
  • Paulhus, D. L., Trapnell, P. D., & Chen, D. (1999). Birth Order Effects on Personality and Achievement Within Families. Psychological Science,10(6), 482-488. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00193
  • Cervone, D. & Pervin, L. A. (2016). Personality: Theory and research (13th ed.). American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
  • Shaver, P. R., & Mikulincer, M. (2005). Attachment theory and research: Resurrection of the psychodynamic approach to personality. Journal of Research in Personality,39(1), 22-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2004.09.002


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