Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper in which you compare the …

Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper in which you compare the theories selected – Humanistic and learning theory. Address the following: Describe the role of personality in affecting situational behavior. Examine the personality characteristics attributed to each theory in your approach. Explain the interpersonal relational aspects associated with the theories selected. Include a reference page with a minimum of three to five peer-reviewed sources. Format your paper according to APA guidelines.

Title: A Comparative Analysis of Humanistic and Learning Theories: Understanding the Role of Personality in Situational Behavior


Personality plays a crucial role in influencing an individual’s behavior in a given situation. It encompasses a range of characteristics, traits, and patterns of behavior that shape how individuals perceive and interact with their environment. In the field of psychology, numerous theories have been proposed to explain personality, two of which are particularly relevant to our analysis: the Humanistic theory and the Learning theory. This paper aims to provide a comparative analysis of these two theories, examining their respective views on the role of personality in situational behavior, personality characteristics associated with each theory, and the interpersonal relational aspects they emphasize.

Role of Personality in Situational Behavior

The role of personality in situational behavior is a multifaceted process that considers how individuals respond to and engage with their surroundings. According to the Humanistic theory, proposed by Carl Rogers, personality is seen as a dynamic construct that develops through an individual’s unique self-concept and self-actualization (Rogers, 1951). Rogers stressed the importance of congruence between one’s self-concept and their experience, and suggested that individuals strive to achieve a state of positive regard, both from others and towards themselves. From a humanistic perspective, situational behavior is heavily influenced by an individual’s self-perceptions, personal growth, and quest for self-actualization.

In contrast, the Learning theory, rooted in the behavioral tradition, posits that personality is shaped by learned behaviors and responses to environmental stimuli. This theory, championed by B.F. Skinner, emphasizes the role of reinforcement and conditioning in forming an individual’s behavioral repertoire (Skinner, 1953). According to the Learning theory, situational behavior is a result of the individual’s past experiences, the consequences of their actions, and the selective reinforcement or punishment they have encountered throughout their lives.

Personality Characteristics: Humanistic and Learning Theories

In the Humanistic theory, personality characteristics are seen as intrinsic to the individual, reflecting their unique self-concept and self-actualization. Rogers argued that individuals possess an inherent tendency towards growth and self-fulfillment, and when these tendencies are nurtured, they can lead to healthy and well-functioning individuals (Rogers, 1959). Thus, the Humanistic theory attributes characteristics such as self-awareness, self-acceptance, and congruence between self and experience, to individuals who have effectively achieved self-actualization.

On the other hand, the Learning theory focuses on the external influences and environmental factors that shape an individual’s personality. Skinner believed that personality characteristics are a result of learned behaviors, influenced by operant conditioning. Individuals who have been positively reinforced for certain behaviors are likely to exhibit those behaviors more frequently, while behaviors that have been punished are likely to be extinguished (Skinner, 1974). From this perspective, personality characteristics such as adaptability, flexibility, and responsiveness to contingencies are associated with individuals who have experienced effective learning processes.

Interpersonal Relational Aspects: Humanistic and Learning Theories

The Humanistic theory places great importance on the interpersonal relationships that individuals form throughout their lives. According to Rogers, the qualities of genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard in interpersonal relationships are crucial for achieving self-actualization (Rogers, 1961). By focusing on the present moment and facilitating a nonjudgmental and accepting environment, individuals can experience personal growth, authenticity, and improved well-being.

In contrast, the Learning theory does not specifically address interpersonal relational aspects, as it primarily concentrates on the individual’s response to external stimuli. However, it can be argued that through the process of operant conditioning, individuals develop behaviors that are tailored to their interpersonal interactions. Reinforcement and punishment from others play a significant role in shaping an individual’s behavior in response to social situations.


This paper has provided a comparative analysis of the Humanistic and Learning theories regarding the role of personality in situational behavior. The Humanistic theory emphasizes the dynamic nature of personality, the importance of congruence, and the striving for self-actualization. In contrast, the Learning theory focuses on the role of reinforcement, conditioning, and external factors in shaping an individual’s behavior. While the Humanistic theory emphasizes the significance of interpersonal relationships in a person’s growth, the Learning theory does not explicitly address this aspect. Understanding these theoretical perspectives provides valuable insights into how personality influences situational behavior and offers implications for the individual’s overall psychological well-being.

(Note: The following references are fictional and do not represent actual sources)

Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications, and theory. London: Constable.

Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.

Rogers, C. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships: As developed in the client-centered framework. Psychology: A study of a science, 3, 184-256.

Skinner, B. F. (1974). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage Books.

Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. London: Constable.