Psychological Needs and Personality Traits

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Psychological needs do not have any material existence and are mental or psychological in nature. There is reference to a deficit of some psychological entity; a discrepancy between a desired level and a current amount (Deckers, p. 184). In some cases, psychological needs are assumed to emerge into consciousness from physiological needs. Homeostasis describes the maintenance of constant conditions within the body.

Motivation theorists who emphasize internal events, such as Clark Hull (1943, 1951, 1952) and Judson Brown (1961), accepted the idea that a set of ideal internal conditions was necessary for survival (Deckers, p. 185). Deviation from these conditions defines physiological need and is responsible for pushing an organism into action. The need for food can correspond to a low amount of glucose in the blood. Personality traits refer to the consistency in a specific set of behaviors across time and across relevant situations.

A trait is also defined by the relationship among different behavioral habits (Deckers, p. 211). The trait of sociability, for example, consists of such behaviors as going to parties, liking to talk, preferring listening to reading, and being bored when alone. Sociability indicates that a person shows these behavioral characteristics from one time to the next and from one social situation to the other (Deckers, p. 211). Personality traits help answer two important questions.

First, why do people react differently to the same situation? Second, why do people differ in the situations they approach or avoid? Consider the physical trait of being left-handed versus right-handed (Deckers, p. 211). Left-handed individuals find it more awkward to take notes sitting in classroom desk chairs designed for right-handed people, to swing clubs designed for right-handers, and to shift a manual transmission (Deckers, p. 211).

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