Horney, Ericson, Sullivan on Human Behavior

Topic: Psychologists
Words: 368 Pages: 1

Psychology has been developing for centuries, with many psychologists analyzing human behavior and the influence of different factors on people. For example, when Karen Horney first arrived in the U.S., she observed significant differences between American and European populations’ behavior patterns that only the variance in cultures could explain (Allen, 2016). Horney created an alternative, socially conscious notions in reaction to Freud’s disregard for cultural background. Human attitudes and behaviors were influenced mainly by social factors such as dependence, collaboration, social anxiety, antagonism, affection, envy, greed, competition, and inferiority (Allen, 2016). She held the view that in order for individuals to discover their true selves, they require warm, encouraging settings as well as solid interpersonal ties.

Another psychologist who researched human nature and analyzed the influence of culture on humans is Erik Ericson. Despite Ericson’s belief that people from all cultures went through the same developmental phases, his research on non-Western civilizations convinced him that the methods in which his phases were expressed varied depending on the culture (Allen, 2016). It serves as a reminder of what Ericson himself recognized, such as that ideas developed by members of one culture may not be applicable to members of another society.

Furthermore, when it comes to theories, according to Harry Stack Sullivan, people receive personifications as a result of social connections and selective or non-selective attention. As a child gains experience, they develop personifications or investments of human characteristics in other individuals that do not yet have any characteristics, at least not to the extent that they are used (Allen, 2016). These personifications, according to Sullivan, are all interactions with individuals who play a role in meeting the infant’s demands.

Lastly, when it comes to the part of the reading that impressed me was the notion of Ericson concerning trust. According to Ericson, children learn to trust and mistrust with the help of their carers (Allen, 2016). However, while some people might consider this lesson to be cruel, the psychoanalyst views it as a crucial step in life. Indeed, I think that children learn the essential lessons via their experiences with the people who surround them. Thus, much of human nature is influenced by the environment, social interaction, and culture.


Allen, B. P. (2016). Personality theories: Development, growth, and diversity (5th ed.). Psychology Press.

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