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About Personalities

Updated on January 11, 2015

Knowing People and Their Personality

We all have different personalities
We all have different personalities | Source

The Science of Personalities

We all have unique personalities. We judge people by the way they look, they way they dress, their careers, and their personalities. We observe personality traits and characteristics and try to predict how they will act. At times we make associations with the way people look, what their job is, the way they dress, and their personalities. Personalities show intelligence, humor, attitude, self esteem, introversion and extroversion, and so much more.

In 1884, Sir Francis Galtonclassified people's personalities into descriptions known as the Lexical Hypothesis. His theory became even more well known in 1933, when the president of the American Psychological Association sited the Lexical Hypothesis in his speech about personality. In the years and decades since many psychologists have continued to study people and their personalities.

Definition of Personality

Personality is the individual characteristic patterns people exhibit from their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Personality is expressed in a person's actions which come from our emotions, motives, way of thinking, our core beliefs, and our thinking of self thoughts. Personality traits are generally thought to be enduring, yet personalities are flexible and can change over time.These traits influence our interactions with others, with the way we adapt, and react to our environment.

Personality psychology looks at the entire person including their perception, cognition, attention, memory, and the physiology of the human mind. The study of personality attempts to understand the individual person. Personality traits within a person can't be looked at as separate, but as a complex whole. With so many different variables, it is easy to see why personalities are unique. We try to predict the way a person will react because personality characteristics account for a consistent pattern of the way a person feels, thinks, reacts, and behaves.

Personality Poll

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 Everyone's personality is different and unique
Everyone's personality is different and unique | Source

Different Personalities

There is no one single definition of personality within the field of psychology. What is generally agreed is that personality depicts a pattern of enduring and permanent traits that are come out as unique characteristics in an individual's consistent behavior.

We try to understand people's personalities because we want to understand why, how, and what people will do. When we understand the people around us, we can make an assessment of that person. Personality is more than the characteristics and actions and emotions we observe in others and ourselves. There are also many other traits that make up a person's personality:

  • Regular behaviors - when people act relatively the same way in various situations.
  • Psychology of a person - the mental and emotional factors that influence their personality
  • Biology - the physical and physiological factors that influence our needs, wants, and desires
  • Causes and Effects - how our personality causes us to act in certain conditions, and how we respond to our surroundings
  • Personality is integrally connected to our thoughts, feelings, our interactions, our relationships, and our behavior

Are personality traits inborn, or do personality traits develop?

Different Personality Theories

There are many different theories of personalities. and how personalities develop.

  • Psychodynamic Theories - based largely on Freud, Erik Erikson, and early psychologists who were influenced by the unconscious and stage theories of development. Its basis is in the interaction of the id, ego, and supergo.
  • Biological Theories - personality characteristics based on genetics, the brain, and inherited factors. This theory comes from the personality study about Phineas Gage who after a railroad spike accidentally went through his head and removed parts of his brain, his personality changed.
  • Behavioral Theories - deal with the interactions between people and their environment. This category of theories reject thinking and feeling, it all has to do with conditioning and learned factors such as the experiments done by B.F. Skinner and other behaviorists. This theory states that external stimuli has the biggest effect on a person's actions.
  • Humanist Theories - experiences, and free will play a large part of personality development and behavior from Abraham Maslow's theories and Carl Rogers
  • Trait theory - traits are the influence on behavior and define personality. This theory believes personality remains the same over time and differs among people. The trait theory
  • Evolutionary Theory - how the factors of natural selection play a part in our personality
  • Social Learning Theory - our personality is shaped by what we learn and think about the world and the people around us


Do you think people are born with their personality, or do personality traits develop?

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Temperament Character and Personality

Many people interchange the terms temperament, personality, and character. Among psychologists, these words have distinct meaning.

  • Temperament - emotional expressions and traits that are inherited or present themselves very early in childhood, and may have their basis in biology.
  • Character - the way a person conducts themselves morally, skillfully, self control, and self regulation, and their integrity.
  • Personality - influences thoughts, motivations, and behaviors in different situations

The word personality has its origins from the Latin word persona, which means mask. Psychologists attempt to study people's personalities in a general way and within the unique aspects each individual possesses.

What Makes Personalities Unique

Everyone's personality is unique because there are so many combinations and influences that affect the way a person will behave, think, react. Different things motivate people, and we all come with different triggers that affect our emotions. The patterns of our behavior emerge from biology, physiology, psychological, and environmental. Over time these patterns begin to affect our expectations, our self perceptions, our values, our perspective, and our attitudes.

Psychologists and personality experts look at individual differences, and the major psychological processes that make up an individual, and also look at the similarities in human nature among populations of people.

Originally personality was studied philosophically by Hippocrates. Hippocrates theory discussed four humors, which related to four different temperaments. Hippocrates believed that personality came from bodily fluids or humors - yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood. He attributed these fluid to types of people - grumpy, melancholy, calm, and cheery. Over time Hippocrates theory was proven incorrect, but it opened up future scientists to the idea of human personality.

To this day, no one can truly answer what causes personality. Scientists do not know how much of an individual's personality is under their conscious control. Personality experts can't fully answer how much of heredity and how much of environmental factors influence personality. There also is the question about influences from internal and external factors that determine personality. Psychologist continue to study how much people are alike or different. Scientists wonder if our behaviors are determined by individual internal desires, or does it come from external stimuli. Do we react to things within ourselves or are we reacting to things outside ourselves? Personality theorists continue to research whether our personalities change from human interaction or is our personality influenced from intervention. What makes people optimistic or pessimistic?

Why is it Important to Understand Personality

People's personality is a reflection of their personal needs. When we understand more about someone's personality, we gain an insight into who they are. This allows us to trust or be wary of another person. It is through an individual's personality that we build long lasting relationships, bond, build respect and trust, gain friends, lovers, and business relationships.

Different People Different Personalities

The are many personality theories
The are many personality theories | Source


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