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  • Writer's pictureJanika Byington

Nature or Nurture?

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Four Needs is not about dichotomies and either/or statements. We find real answers that synthesize what people have long seen as irreconcilable arguments.

Reciprocal Determinism Albert Bandura is the most underrated psychologist of the Twentieth Century. He resolved the endless nature versus nurture debate but people still argue about it and don't talk about his theory of reciprocal determinism. Rather than trying to pick a side, he created a model to explain multiple factors of personality. The three factors are: Person, Environment, and behavior.

Who you are is a feedback loop of how you perceive the world around you (person), the circumstances and people you are exposed to (environment), and how you react or the actions you take in that world (Behavior).

Each factor influences the others with mutual reciprocation or feedback. A person's environment is full of endless factors of experience and influence. I label this as input. Individuals are born with certain tendencies. I describe this as the way individuals process their internal and external sensory experiences. How a person processes that input creates the output of behavior. Input -> processing -> output. But once a person acts, they become an influential actor in their own environment. So behavior becomes another input to process, creating a feedback loop.

Birthing the Four Needs Theory Behavior. Person. Environment. I studied each of those labels and found better ways to label them and break them down. Bandura labled cognitive (or intellectual), emotional, and physical ability as part of the Person factor. These elements are labeled as competencies, rather than neurologically based fundamental human needs. But the concept of competency is actually important. Because although we all have all of those needs, each person even from birth, has a needs focus. That is, they will tend to weight one need type more heavily and feel more or less competent in meeting those needs.

Therefore, personality is a tendency toward imbalanced need satisfaction. Here is the groundbreaking deal. If you have a singular, easy to identify personality type, you may be lacking in meeting three other types of need. Are you a "doer?" You may over-emphasize physical needs at the expense of social, spiritual, and intelecctual needs. Or are you hyper-analytical? You may miss also be missing out on opportunities to satisfy other needs.

Don't Panic None of this is a reason to feel bad about yourself. This is not "something wrong with you." The imbalance is apparently comfortable for you. You should feel no need to change how you identify yourself. But when you find yourself in episodes where you are struggling, it is probably because you have some other needs that are requesting you attention. However, this concept implies that "personality" can change according to needs, circumstances, and age. Of course this just scratches the surface of what personality is and does not explain how the Four Needs manifest personality traits. I will go into more detail about that in a future post.

Use It You cannot blame your parents for all your problems. Nor can you blame yourself for all your children's problems. Instead we have to take everything into account with the intention of creating a better feedback loop of behaviors, environments, and processing modes. That will become easier, the better you understand the Four Needs.

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