The final step after this one (how self-opinion leads to personalityeffects) is clear and believable, but the process of getting to this step and lookingover the previous problems is difficult. The author's proposed test to directly correlate attractiveness and personality couldnot be plausibly administered.
He is able to prove that that physical attractiveness does indeed play a role in shapinga personality, but his assertion that this is the most influential factor that influencesenvironment is not so easily accepted.
Most people become socialized in their early family and school experiences. They largely accept the values and mores of society with little question and have no internal conflict in abiding by the basic tenents of society. In some cases, a person begins to notice and to imagine 'higher possibilities' in life. These disparities are driven by overexcitability -- an intense reaction to, and experience of the day-to-day stimuli of life. Eventually, one's perception of reality becomes differentiated into a hierarchy and all aspects of both external and internal life come to be evaluated on a vertical continuum of 'lower versus higher.' This experience often creates a series of deep and painful conflicts between lower, 'habitual' perceptions and reactions based on one's heredity and environment (socialization) and higher, volitional 'possibilities.' In the developing individual, these conflicts may lead to disintegrations and psychoneuroses, for Dąbrowski, hallmarks of advanced growth. Eventually, through the processes of advanced development and positive disintegration, one is able to develop control over one's reactions and actions. Eventually, development culminates in the inhibition and extinction of lower levels of reality and behavior and their transcendence via the creation of a higher, autonomous and stable ideal self. The rote acceptance of social values yields to a critically examined and chosen hierarchy of values and aims that becomes a unique expression of the self -- becoming one's personality ideal.
Obviously, there is a strong correlation between self-esteem and personality. To adequately support the proposed relationship, it would be much more convenient todirectly correlate the effects of appearance on environment, and in turn, environment onpersonality.
Lastly, it is necessary to see how self-esteem and perceived viewsof the opinions of others affect personality. How appearance affects others' opinions.
Although there are still problems with confounding variables in this design, it wouldprovide some enlightenment into the role of appearance in personality development.
Initially, people who are acting on low impulses or who are simply robotically emulating society have little self conflict. Most conflicts are external. During development, the clash between one's actual behavior and environment and one's imagined ideals creates a great deal of internal conflict. This conflict literally motivates the individual to resolve the situation, ideally by inhibiting those aspects he or she considers lower and by accentuating those aspects he or she considers higher. At the highest levels, there is a new harmony of thought, emotion and action that eliminates internal conflict. The individual is behaving in accord with their own personality ideal and consciously derived value structure and therefore feels no internal conflict. Often a person's external focus shifts to 'making the world a better place.'
This argument demonstrates that naturalcharacteristics are ultimately the greatest determinant of personality, whether or notinherently linked to personality.
This type of experiment could very easily show that attractiveness does indeed play amajor role in development of personality, and that nature, both mental and physical,plays an extremely important role in the development of personality because, ultimately, "nature" determines "nurture." Certainly, how people are brought up and the environment in which they are constantlyimmersed affects their personality immensely.
In describing development, Dąbrowski elaborated five levels occurring in three basic phases. The first stage, Level I, involves an integrated but lower level expression of hereditary and social forces. Dąbrowski referred to this as a unilevel or primary level. The individual experiences little inner conflict and is initially, largely unaware of the 'higher possibilities of life.' Phase two is characterized by the process of disintegration and psychoneuroses are common features of these levels (Levels II, III and IV). The familiar security of habit is shattered by doubts as the person comes to discover higher levels in life. The lower versus higher continuum signals a shift to the multilevel experience of life (Levels III and IV). The third phase, Level V, is the highest level, second integration, characterized by the expression of one's unique and autonomous personality.
Presumably, the participants' personalities would be altered to fulfill the rolesthey perceive the participants in the social group expect them to fill.
Both hygiene and clothing are based ultimately uponthe personality of someone, and they therefore disrupt the cause and effect relationshipof appearance and personality that the author sets up. It would also make sense that other traits and natural occurrences would throw offPopkins' statement as well.