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Preferences and our Personality

Updated on November 26, 2013

Personalities Make Us Unique

It is our personality that makes us unique. It is our personality that defines us, It is our personality that people notice. It is our personality that makes us special. We humans,have a lot in common. Physically, we share many of the same DNA. Personality wise, we share many of the same characteristics. Just as our physical make up is made up a combination of many genes, our personality is made up of a variety of traits. There are so many different personality traits, that the combination is what makes us each unique.

It is only recent that psychologists have studied personality in any depth, because of the complexity that makes up our thoughts, behavior, and self expression.

The things we see in other people are often the same things we recognize in ourselves. Often, we categorize people by their personality from the things we identify about them. "He is high strung." "She is funny." He is brilliant" "She is talkative". Our impression of people is formed by the way we see people behave. We tend to put people into categories because we are trying to figure them out, and anticipate what they will do. This tends to be a form of self protection.

The problem with trying to figure people out, is that we are often wrong. Our perception may not be accurate, we may glaze over subtle clues, and our predictions may be flawed.

Personalities, People, and Preferences

Different preferences reflect different personalities.
Different preferences reflect different personalities. | Source

How Do We Develop Personality Categories?

Personality psychology is one of the most recent studies in the discipline of psychology. Personality psychology was a latecomer among the various disciplines within psychology. We invariably make judgments about people from choosing a mate, to a job interview, evaluating a doctor or anyone we observe. We make observations, evaluations, and appraisals of people's personality in all aspects of our environment. We listen to the speeches of politicians and categorize their personality. The study of personality is a diverse, detailed, and interesting topic. Assessing people is a universal and relevant subject that has so many variables, which make it hard to define. We like to believe we understand more about people than we really know. We think we understand people's personality, by predicting their behavior, interpreting their statements, and making inferences about their actions. We believe our conclusions are accurate and we tend to thing we are experts in judging people. We try to understand people's motives and classify them by the personality traits we see them as possessing. We like to believe we are a good judge of character, and tend to be overconfident in our abilities. But if the view we have of someone is distorted, it takes a lot for us to see them as different than we believe. The labels we give people tend to stick. Our words describe people. These words are then used to put them into categories. By doing this, it helps us makes sense of our world, and impose a kind of order to situations that are more than complex.

Defining personality has a lot of ambiguity to it. It is a very imprecise science. There are many theories, going back to ancient times, that have described the differences between people. Many have tried to explain human behavior, and the reasons we are differ too. There are personality tests that help assess personality. These tests have become essential in some job placements.

Personality traits are the distinguishing characteristics of a person by looking at person's general way of interacting, their behavior, and thought patterns.

Personality Tests

There are many different personality tests available.
There are many different personality tests available. | Source

What Do Personality Tests Tell Us?

We categorize people by these aspects and the way they react to situations. Some of our grouping is done on a conscious level, and some is done on an unconscious level. The connections we make are linked the beliefs we associate with this person. If we believe a person is introverted, we will stereotype all introverted people the same way. This can lead to errors in judgment.

The idea that personality traits could be grouped by word descriptions was first brought to the forefront by Sir Francis Galton in 1884. Since then, many psychologists have contributed to the way we categorize and describe personality traits. This has led to personality tests that analyze the different components of personality theory and help understand the many facets of a personalities. There are advantages and disadvantages to every personality type in every situation. The more we understand ourselves, the more we can improve ourselves and add to our personal development. Personality tests can highlight the passive, assertive, aggressive, and dynamic characteristics a person possesses. Some personality tests ask people about their beliefs, value system, and how they would handle themselves in certain situations. The way we think, behave,react, and learn are a reflection of our personality.

Personality is generally described as the individual characteristics that individuals display regarding the specific way they think, feel, and behave. Personalities make us unique because of the varied traits that when put together, make a whole person.

Does Our Personality Change Through The Years?

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Personality and People

Our personality makes us unique.
Our personality makes us unique. | Source

The Importance of Personality

Our personality influences everything we do, every way we think, and every aspect of who we are and the way we react. We are who we are, because of our personality. The impact of our personality influences our career choices, how we interact with our family, friends, mates, how we dress, our housekeeping habits, the car we drive, and even our hairstyles.

Personality is influenced by many factors, including birth order, family size, our gender, childhood upbringing, physical characteristics, genetics, and other factors that impact who we are. It is generally believed that our basic personality remains stable throughout our lifetime. Aspects such as anxiety, assertiveness, and openness to new experiences may change with age. It is believed that our personality changes little as we age, and it is our habits that change, usually as a result of circumstances, experiences, the roles we take on, and our physical and mental health that affect some of our behavioral patterns.

Our personality may impact our health too. For example, hostile and aggressive people have been associated with having more cardiovascular problems than other types of personalities. Neurotic personalities may be linked to headaches, heart problems, asthma, arthritis, and ulcers. Many of these studies have been debated because some show associations, and others have not. There is yet to be a definitive determination about this theory one way or the other.

Our Personality and Our Preferences

Every choice we make is both a reflection and reason of our personality.

Our personality affects the music we like to listen to, the friends we make, the hobbies we have, the books we like to read, our political views, the way we decorate our home, the pets we love.

There have been many studies about personalities and preferences.

One such study done in 2003 at The University of Texas at Austin, researchers found that musical choices were reflective of a person's intelligence, values, and personality and can be divided into four general categories:

  • Reflective and Complex
  • Intense and Rebellious
  • Upbeat and Conventional
  • Energetic and Rhythmic

These categories were correlated to the Big Five personality traits. Using data from the university undergraduate students along with 500 listeners across the country, the researchers concluded that our personality plays a major role in the music choices we make. Music is a significant part of people's everyday doings. People often listen to music while driving in the car, relaxing at home, and in social situations. Musical preferences tend to reveal significant information about each of us.

The study found that people who enjoyed classical, jazz, folk music and the blues fell into the reflective and complex category.These people tended to be imaginative, inventive, tolerant, and had liberal political views.

The intense and rebellious listeners showed characteristics of being curious, active physically, a risk takers, and intelligent. The upbeat and conventional listeners preferred country music, religious, and pop. The personality of these people tended to be outgoing, helpful to others, cheerful, had positive feelings about themselves, and were more conservative in their views.

The energetic and rhythmic listeners liked funk, soul, hip hop, and electronica. These people tended to be energetic, forgiving, talkative, saw themselves as physically attractive, and rebuffed conservative ideals.

Energetic and Rhythmic music consists of funk, hip-hop, soul and electronica. Those preferring this type of music in general see themselves as physically attractive, are talkative and energetic, are forgiving and rejected conservative thinking.

The researchers, Samuel Gosling, PhD, and Jason Rentfrow a graduate student, both of The University of Texas, Austin, stated that there were two factors that connect our personality to musical preferences. Music is reflective of our moods and our activities. Music is also a social activity that we enjoy with others. Adolescents us music as a way to express themselves, as part of their identity, as a way to fit in with their peers.

Music for all ages, is a way to project a person's self image to the world.

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Everyone's Personality is Unique

The topic of personality is quite an in depth subject. The uniqueness of each of our personalities, which stem from the patterns we display regarding our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and reactions come from many factors. The traits that are inherent in us, the characteristics we express may change slightly, but our basic personality tends to remain steady and fairly reliable through time. Personalities are considered by psychologists to be organized and consistent. These attributes may be expressed differently in different situations. One of the things that makes personality such an interesting topic is the the influence biology, genetics, and the environment play in contributing to these traits. An outgoing person may appear shy in some situations. A person who keeps to themselves often, may be the first person to jump into an emergency situation.

We react to our environment, to the people, the things, the situations, and our surroundings based on our environment. Our personality and our behavior are connected to the external things affecting us.


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