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In What Ways Can the Environment Affect Personality Traits




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The environment refers to all factors that are available in an individual’s surrounding. It includes all factors that an individual interacts with every day; thus, shaping his personality. Personality traits refer to characteristics and qualities that are uniquely possessed by an individual. The environment can affect personality traits. The environment affects personality traits from various dimensions that include cultural, social, and situational factors. Psychologists emphasize that personality traits are not only inherited, but could be shaped by environmental factors. The examples of these traits include honesty, shyness, and temperament.

This essay explicates how the environmental factors could affect personality traits.

Cultural factors refer to the practices and norms learned by individuals in the course of their interaction with the environment. These factors have a considerable impact on the personal traits possessed by an individual. Cultural factors impart a bigger portion of behavioral characteristics to an individual. In the course of interacting with their cultural values and norms, individuals get adopting to new characteristics that shape their personality. The practices in the culture whether dishonorable or excellent shape the manner, in which an individual would approach other factors and react towards other people in the society. Funder (2010) intimates that the significant cultural factors are observed in traditions that are being common in one’s background. This impacts greatly on the personality depicted by an individual. For instance, a person that is socialized in the culture encouraging violence as a sign of power is likely to be temperamental. Those growing up in the culture, where raids are the attacks against others being the only way to prosperity, end up being so temperamental in the course of their interaction with others. On the other hand, those brought up there, where the cultural values such as respect are emphasized, are likely to be humble and submissive as they interact with other individuals. The culture shapes the way one behaves, thus, significantly impacting on some personality traits. Thus, an individual’s distinctive characteristics are highly influenced by cultural values, in which one is socialized.

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Environmental social factors refer to the interaction of an individual with other parties such as family and friends. This environmental factor plays a vital part in the determination of personality traits. Individuals have the contact with others as they go about their daily activities. These parties, such as friends and family members, could gradually shape one’s personality and the mode of conduct in general society. According to Funder (2010), friends and other social groups determine the manner, in which an individual behaves because of their peer influence. They could make an individual developing an acceptable behavior or otherwise behavior not supported by general society. The manner, in which an individual is brought up in the family, also influences on his personality traits. For instance, friends encouraging an individual to steal would make the individual dishonest in most actions. The individual would tend to follow what his friends take part in to fit into the group appropriately. In addition, he could be dishonest to impress his friends. The manner, in which family members behave, also has a significant impact shaping one’s personality traits. For example, a person brought up in a family open and frequently welcoming for everyone is likely to be outgoing. The outgoing behavior is learnt from the family, thus, making him highly receptive and interactive with others. Social factors shape the individual’s personality, hence, personality traits.

The situations that people encounter in their environment also affect their personality traits. Individuals are exposed to various environmental situations as they go about their daily affairs. These factors have been cited by psychologists as being one of the substantial effects on one’s personal traits. Funder (2010) asserts that individuals are exposed to the situations, where they encounter the failure or success. In addition, they are exposed to some environmental situations where they are put under considerable tests. Personality traits are likely to be shaped depending on the weight and kind of situation. For instance, an individual constantly exposed to such situations where he experiences failure is likely to develop a losing attitude. This means the individual would wish to try out the same task again. He develops into the individual who easily gives up. In addition to this, an individual exposed to some positive situations in the environment, where the victories frequently emerge is likely to be always motivated. Thus, he would develop the traits related to motivation and willingness to achieve. Situations would make an individual developing characters relating to resilience or fear of the unknown. An individual who encounters a failure throughout would go ahead and impart negativity on other individuals in the matters relating to the achievement. This would influence on their personality traits as they pick up the same attitude.

In conclusion, the environments that individuals interact from the time of birth, and their daily lives significantly affect their personality traits. The environment is instrumental in shaping one’s behavior, hence, personality traits. The environmental factors such as culture, social interactions, and situational factors have been majorly linked with personality traits. The cultural values such as honesty and integrity would shape one into an honest individual. Family and friends are the social factors that shape one’s personality traits. Behaviors such as stealing observed from friends are likely to convert one into such negative acts. Welcoming families would transform one into an outgoing individual. Situational factors that involve the failure or success could make one a pessimist or an optimist. Environmental factors have a substantial effect on one’s personality traits.


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