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What Is Personality And How Can It Be Understood?

Updated on February 18, 2013

What is Personality? Can it be defined?

Personality is something that could be considered hard to define. One of the best ways to define it is to think of personality defined as a pyramid in three pieces. When someone asks themselves "What is pesonality?" It's often best to break the study down into the below 3 factors which form the personality pyramid.

1. Psychological Core.

2. Typical Responses.

3. Role Related Behaviour.

The Personality Pyramid

Personality Pyramid.
Personality Pyramid.

1. Psychological Core

The base of your personality is your psychological core. It is the deepest component of your personality and includes attitudes, beliefs and values. Therefore it could be considered as The Real You as it represents the building blocks of your personality.

As an Example your values will shape the importance of your friends and family within your life.

2. Typical Responses to our environment

These are the ways we learn to adjust to our environment and the world we inhabit. Typical responses are often indicators of your psychological core. Therefore if you constantly respond to social situations as a shy and quiet individual you are likely to be an introverted person.

Typical responses can be assumed by others. Just because someone seems shy and quiet in one situation, say in a bar environment. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a typical response.

3. Role Related Behaviour

Role related behaviour is how you react based on how you perceive your social situation. This aspect is the most changeable aspect of your personality. Behaviour can change based on your perceptions of a situation and different situations call for a person to adapt to play different roles. In a soccer team a Goalkeeper has a different role to a striker and is an example of role related behaviour.

Personality Approaches

The Psychodynamic Approach

The psychodynamic approach to personality is characterized by two themes; (i) Unconscious behaviour determinants and (ii) identifying isolated traits.

The Trait Approach

The trait approach to personality makes the assumption that our traits (fundamental personality units) are enduring and consistent across a variety of situations. This approach summarizes that the causes of behaviour reside within the person.

While dominating early studies on personality the trait approach does not take into account situations that may influence an individuals behaviour.

The Situational Approach to Personality

The situational approach to personality explains behaviour in terms of learned behaviours and social feedback as reinforcement and infers that your behaviour is influenced by environmental factors regardless of personality traits.

The Interactional Approach

The interactional approach to personality considers both the environment and person as determinants of behaviour when interacting together.

Behaviour cannot accurately be predicted by situations alone. Individuals personality traits must also be considered.

Personality and Sport Psychology- Further reading

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      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Temirah, I have a few more hubs in development to further this theme and move into motivational factors too so watch this space.

    • Temirah profile image

      Temirah 6 years ago

      This is a fascinating overview of the personality subject. The pyramid is a really useful tool too.

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