Personality is the patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors consistently exhibited by an individual over time that strongly influence our expectations, self-perceptions, values and attitudes, and predicts our reactions to people, problems and stress. It is one of the most important focusing points of social psychology. Psychologists have developed theories on personality based on the cultural, psychological and behavioral influence on personality formation.
The word “Personality” originates from the Latin persona which means mask. Significantly, in the theater of the ancient Latin-speaking world, the mask was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, but rather was a convention employed to represent or typify that character. Based on its derivation, we can say that personality refers to our external and visible characteristics, those aspects of us that other people can see. Our likes and dislikes, fears and virtues, strengths and weakness determine our personality.
Gordon Allport described two major ways to study personality:
Nomothetic psychology seeks general laws that can be applied to many different people, such as the principle of self-actualization, or the trait of extraversion.
Idiographic psychology is an attempt to understand the unique aspects of a particular individual.
Bradshaw states that,
“An individual’s personality is an aggregate conglomeration of decisions we’ve made throughout our lives,”
According to Douglas A. Berstein, Edward J Roy, Christopher D. Wickens and Thomas K. Srull, “The unique patterns of psychological and behavioral characteristics that emerges from the blending of inherited and acquired tendencies to make each person and identifiable individual is known as personality.”
According to a standard college dictionary, “Personality is the visible aspect of one’s character as it impresses others.”
So personality can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, emotions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations. It differs from person to person.
The list of personality characteristics, which is given below, is repeated on the order form for the personal decorating Analysis, along with simple instructions for selecting our personal traits.
Doing one’s best in objective or difficult tasks and achieving recognition.
Being agreeable to accepting the leadership of others and avoiding unconventionality.
Organizing one’s work and habits and planning ahead systematically.
Behaving so as to attract attention to one’s self by appearance, speech, and manner.
Doing as one chooses independently of others’ opinions and avoiding conformity.
Participating in friendships, sharing things with friends, and forming attachments to them.
Analyzing motives and putting oneself in other people’s shoes in order to understand their behavior.
Seeking encouragement and support from others and appreciating being aided when in need.
Being a leader who supervises or wields influence over others.
Feeling onset blameworthy and inferior to others and experiencing timidity
Assisting those Less fortunate and giving moral support to others.
Participating in new activities and fashions and liking novelty in one’s life.
Remaining with a task until it is completed and being able to work without being distracted.
Engaging in social activities with the opposite gender and being interested in related mothers.
Attacking contrary points of view and expressing disagreement or criticism of others openly.
Elements of personality
Napoleon Hill created a list of 20 elements that are most important to achieve for a magnetic personality. The elements are:-
Good show man ship: Use your imagination to keep people interested in you through curiosity.
Be in harmony within yourself: Control your own mind.
Definiteness of purpose: Procrastinating doesn’t get you anywhere.
Appropriateness of style and clothing: First impressions are powerful and lasting.
Posture: Alertness in physical attitude indicates a sharp mind.
Voice: The tone, volume and pitch are important factors of a pleasing personality.
Choice of Language: Be assertive.
Poise: Poise comes naturally to a person with self- esteem.
A good sense of humor: One of the most important qualities.
Unselfishness: Always consider the other person’s position and situation.
Facial Expression: People can always tell when you are being sincere.
Positive thoughts: We can pick up the vibration of the thoughts of the person we are talking to.
Enthusiasm: We need to be able to inspire others.
A sound body: You cannot be enthusiastic if you don’t have a healthy body.
Imagination: Every great achievement started with a simple thought.
Tact: Lack of tact is usually expressed through insensitivity to others.
Versatility: General knowledge of the important subjects will help you keep an interesting conversation.
Being a good listener: We have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly.
Charisma: Is the hardest to teach, you must discover your own charismatic quality, then make the most of what you have.
Sincerity of purpose: It will make a difference when earning the confidence of others.
Many of the ideas developed by historical and modern personality theorists stem from the basic philosophical assumptions they hold. The following six categories are some of the most fundamental philosophical assumptions on which theorists disagree:
1. Freedom versus Determinism
This is the debate over whether we have control over our own behavior and understand the motives behind if, or if our behavior is casually determined by forces beyond our control; it being considered unconscious, environmental, or biological by various theories.
2. Heredity versus Environment
Personality is thought to be determined largely by genetics and biology, by environment and experiences, or by some combination resulting there of. There is evidence for all possibilities. Contemporary research suggests that most personality traits are based on the joint influence of genetics and environment. One of the forerunners in this arena is C. Robert Cloninger with the Temperament and Character model.
3. Uniqueness versus Universality:
The argument over whether we are all unique individuals (Uniqueness) or if humans are basically similar in their nature (Universality). Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers were all advocates of the Uniqueness of individual. Be haviorists and cognitive theorists, in contrast, emphasized the importance of universal principles such as reinforcement and self-efficacy.
Active versus Reactive
Do we primarily act through our own initiative (Active), or react to outside stimuli. Behavioral theorists typically believe that human are passively shaped by their environments, whereas humanistic and cognitive theorists believe that human are more active.
5. Optimistic versus Pessimistic
Personality theories differ on whether people can change their personalities (Optimism), or if they are doomed to remain the same throughout their lives (Pessimism) Theories that place a great deal of emphasis on learning age often, but not always, more optimistic than theories that do not emphasize learning.
6. Person versus Situation
There has been a long debate in the psychological field on what the primary determinant of behavior is. Social psychologists argued that situations were the primary factor. Personality researchers argued that internal dispositions or personality traits were the primary factor. Most modern theorists agree that both are important with aggregate behavior being primarily determined by traits and situational factors being the primary predictor of behavior in the short term.
7. Development of personality
An individual’s personality is the complex of mental characteristics that makes them unique from other people. There are inherent, natural, genetic, ad environmental factors that contribute to the development of our personality
According to process of socialization, “Personality also colors our values, beliefs, and expectations ……….. Hereditary factors that contribute to personality development do so as a result of interactions with the particular social environment in which people live.”
The factors of personality development are given below:
Some hereditary factors that contribute to personality development do so as a result of interactions with the particular social environment in which people live. For instance, our genetically inherited physical and mental capabilities have an impact on how others see us and, subsequently, how we see our- self. If we regularly get bad grades in school, we will very likely be labeled by our teachers, friends, and relatives as someone who is inadequate or a failure to some degree. This can become a self fulfilling prophesy as we increasingly perceive ourself in this way and become more pessimistic about our capabilities and our future.
Health and Physical appearance
Health and Physical appearance likely to be very important in personality development. An individual may be ferial or robust. He may have a learning disability. He may be slender in a culture that considers obesity attractive or vice versa. These factors are likely to cause him to feel that he is nice looking, ugly or just adequate. likewise skin color, gender, and sexual orientation are likely to have a major impact on how he perceive himself. Whether he is accepted by others as being normal or abnormal can lead him to think and act in a socially acceptable or marginal and even deviant way.
There are many potential environment influences that help to shape personality. As for example, we can talk about child rearing practices. In the dominant culture of North America, children are usually raised in ways that encourage them to become: self reliant and independent. Children are often allowed to act somewhat like equals to their parents. For instance, children are given allowances and small jobs around the house to teach them how to be responsible for themselves. In contrast, children in china are usually encouraged to think and act as a member of their family and to suppress their own wishes when they are in conflict with the needs of the family. It is not surprising that Chinese children traditionally have not been allowed to act as equals to their parents. Despite significant differences in child rearing practices around the world, there are some similarities. Boys and girls are socialized differently to some extent in all societies. They receive different messages from their parents other adults as to what is appropriate for them to do in life.
Unique situations and interpersonal events
There are always unique situations and interpersonal events that help to shape our personalities. Such things as having alcoholic parents, being seriously injured in a car accident or being raped can leave mental scares that make us fearful and less trusting.
Chance meetings and actions
Chance meetings and actions may have a major impact on the rest of our lives and affect our personalities. For instance, being accepted for admission to a prestigious university or being in the right place at the right time to meet the person will become our spouse or life partner can significantly alter the course of the rest of our life.
Theories of personality
Personality developed with many theories from the first world way by some psychologists. These theories focus on how the personality coalescence takes place, on the resulting range of personalities, on the course of personality development over the lifespan and how personality influences the environment.
The major theories of personality are:
Culture and personality formation theory (Mead and Benedict)
Basic personality theory (Kardiner and Linton)
Psyche analytic theory (Freud)
The description of this theory is given below:
Culture and personality formation theory
Anthropologists, particularly ethnologists, have always been interested in the customs, institutions and behavior of primitive or preliterate peoples. Only since the first world war, however, have they concerned themselves particularly with personality. Following ideas given by Boas, Malinouski, Radcliff-Brown, Sapir, and other pioneers, several investigators set out in the late 1920’s to study and compare the personalities of members of different cultures. Perhaps the best known are Margaret mead and Ruth Benedict.
Mead studied on Samoa and New Guinea culture. From the study, she found that adolescence in Samoa was not a period of stress, and that Samoans were well adjusted individual, due chiefly to the large family groups, the liberal attitude toward sex, and freedom from pressure upon youth. Among the Manus of New Guinea, by contrast, personality was marked by strong ego drive and self-assertiveness; industry, physical power prowess, and respect for authority were primary goals. Sex was repressed and adolescence involved more strain than in Samoa.
Important to the study of personality and culture is Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of culture. Like mead, she stressed the power of culture in shaping human behavior. She analyzed in detail three cultures: the Zuni of New Mexico, the Dobuans of New Guinea, and the Kwakiutl of vancouver Island on the pacific coast. The Zuni, a pueblo Indian group stressing ritualistic ceremony, were conventional to the point of suppressing individual initiative. Benedict characterized the zuni as an “Apollonian” Culture in contrast to the neighboring “Dionysian” Indian cultures with their violence and sanctioned sensual excesses. Formality, sobriety, and “nothing to excess” were Zuni watch words and the outstanding characteristics of the Zuni group. The Dobu of New Guinea, on the other hand, were violent, competitive, suspicious, and treacherous. They cheated and they believed in magic. Each person and each village seemed to be hostile to the others. Economic activities were highly competitive. Suspicion attached to practically all social relations, including those between husband and wife. Puritanical ideas and promiscuity went together in this society. The kwakiutl. Indians of the Pacific Northwest were termed by Benedict a Dionysian culture because of such features as their former cannibalism and their frenzied dances. Highly individualistic and competitive, they carried private ownership to the extreme of dividing up not only the hand but also the shore, deep sea areas, and even song and myths. Acquiring status and shaming rivals were primary aims of this society.
Benedict emphasized that cultures are not heterogeneous. Assortments of acts and beliefs they are organized and patterned around goals that their institutions are designed to further.
Neither Mead nor Benedict Maintained that personality is fashioned completely by culture. Each recognized hereditarily and physiologically grounded individual differences in temperament; no culture eradicates these differences. According to mead and benedict, customs and culture patterns cannot be understood solely through psychology; they must be interpreted his topically as well. Abundant evidence indicates that situations shape people in ways that represent only a small part of the great are of potential human purpose and motivations.
The studies by Mead and Benedict have been criticized on several counts. For example, it is said that Mead oversimplified her contrasts between the Arapesh, Mundugumor, and Tehambuli, and Dionysian Indian cultures. Psychologists. have suggested that better sampling methods could reveal interesting and significant variations in attitudes and behavior within a given culture pattern. Anthropologists usually have replied that they are interested primarily in obtaining a composite picture of personality in each culture so that eross-cultural comparisons can be made.
Basic personality theory
Before world war 11 a psychoanalyst, Abram Kardiner
An anthropologist, Ralph Linton, collaborated in a different approach to culture and personality. They proposed a central concept “basic personality structure” This means the “Constellation of personality characteristics which would appear to be congenial with the total range of institutions comprised within a given culture.
Study of several cultures convinced hardener that basic personality structure groups out of the child care disciplines found in a society, the kind of maternal care, affectional relations with parents. kind of disciplines or lack of it, and relationship with siblings.These influences determine the child’s basic attitudes, which through the process of projection account for secondary institutions like religion, folklore art etc.
Interpreting the Tanala and Marquesan cultures (Studied by Linton), Kardiner found the religious systems to be replicas of the child’s experiences with parental discipline. In the Tanala culture the child was forced to be obedient, and the religion stressed obedience to ancestral gods. n the Marquises, obedience played no special role either in the family or in religion.
Kardiner and Linton regarded their concept of basic personality structure as an unproved hypothesis until they obtained thorough personality studies of many individuals from a given culture. They came upon the desired material when Cora Du Bois brought back from Mor both field data and eight rather detailed biographies a number of porteus intelligence test results, children’s drawing, and thirty seven Rorschach test records. Kardiner found that his interpretation of the field report agreed well with the analysis of the biographers. He was even more impressed with the agreement between all these data and the Rorschach interpretations, which were made independently by an expert.
From these materials the basic personality structure in along was found to be insecure, anxious, suspicious, lacking in confidence, with no interest in the outer world. Tensions had no adequate means of discharge; no action systems existed for manifesting mastery and constructiveness. The basic come for this king of personality structure, according to hardener, lay in the maternal neglect fostered by a system in which the mother worked in the fields all day and the child was left in the hands of older siblings, relatives, or friends. Gardiner’s emphasis on the dynamics of personality, notably on “integrative systems” and “projective systems” is very important, as is his attention to child rearing techniques. His main sequence, child discipline basic personality structure projective systems reality systems, is a productive idea that should stimulate further research and encourage deep rather than surface interpretation Also his ambitious comparative study of a dozen or more whole culture patterns is noteworthy.
Crities of kardiner’s work object to his emphasis on child rearing practices as the main determinate of personality structure, since family behavior patterns themselves result from complex cultural influences. Many studies indicate that other social factors besides the family influence personality formation; for example, roles assigned according to age, sex and status.
Psyche analytic theory
Freud was born on may 6, 1856, in Feinberg, Moravia (now Prior, Czech Republic). His father was a relatively unsuccessful wool merchant. Freud conducted Psychological research on the spinal cord of fish and the tests of the eel, making respectable contributions to the field. He also began to experiment with cocaine. Later on, Freud established practice and clinical neurologist in 1881 and began to explore the personalities of those suffering from emotional disturbances. By 1896 he was convinced that sexual conflicts were the primary cause of a neurosis. About a year after he published a theory named “Psyche analytic theory”
“Turn your yes inward, look into your own depths, learn to first know yourself.”
Contemporary personality theory has been influence more by Sigmund Freud than by any others individual. His system of psychoanalysis was the first formal theory of personality and to this day remains the best known. Not only did Freud’s work affect thinking about personality in psychology and psychiatry, but it also made a tremendous impact on our view of ourselves and our world.
Freud’s psychodynamic theory of personality began with the assumption that people are born with basic intents or needs not only for food, water, and air but also for sex and aggression. He defined and instinct as the mental representation of a stimulus that originates within the body. Intents are the basic elements of the personality, the motivating forces that drive behavior and determine its direction. Freud grouped the instincts into two categories: Life instincts and death indicts. The life instincts serve the purpose of survival of the individual and the species y seeking to satisfy the needs for food, water air and sex. The psychic energy manifested by the life instincts is the libido. The libido can be attached to or invested in objects, a concept Freud called cantharis. In opposite to the life instincts Freud postulated the destructive death instincts. Drawing from biology, he stated the obvious fact that living things decay and die, returning to their original inanimate state, and he proposed that people have and unconscious wish to die. One component of the death instincts is The aggressive drive, the wish to die turned against objects other than the self. The aggression as compelling a part of human nature as sex.
Freud’s original conception divided personality into three levels: the conscious as Freud destined the term, corresponds to its urinary everything meaning. It includes all the sensations and experience of which we are aware at any given moment. More important, according to Freud, is the unconscious. This is the focus of psychoanalytic theory. Its vast, dank depts. are the home of the instincts, wishes, and desires that direct our behavior. The unconscious contains the major driving power blind all behavior and is the repository of faces we cannot see or control. Between these two levels is the preconscious. This is storehouse of memories, perceptions and thoughts of which. we are not consciously aware at the moment but that we can easily human into conscious new.
In later work Freud revised this notion and introduced three basic structures in the anatomy of the personality: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is our primitive or animal nature, embodying our unconscious urges and desires that operate entirely according to the “pleasure principle” The ego is the rational self, which functions according to the “really principle” a kind of rule of expediency, which permits some expression of id impulses if they are not morally or socially dangerous. The superego is a tyrannical agent, equivalent to conscience, which consists of moral ideas and prohibitions. It constantly acts to force the ego to repress all expression of id impulses under penalty of strong feelings of guilt. When the ego cracks under the strain, it must be built up and strengthened, which is precisely the goal of psychoanalytic therapy.
Figure: The structure of personality.
Frauds writings have been extraordinarily influential, but critics of the psychodynamic approach point out that Freud based his theory on observations of a very unrepresentative sample of humankind: a relative small number of upper-class Viennese patients, who not only had mental problems but were raised in a society that considered discussion of sex to be uncivilized. Moreover, frauds focus on male psychosexual development and his apparent bias toward male anatomy as something to be envied by women has earned him a sexist label and has caused male as well as female feminists to reject his ideas. Questions have also been raised about the existence and operation of such basic psychodynamic concepts as id, ego, unconscious conflicts, defense mechanisms and archetypes. These constructs are generally considered too vague to measure scientifically Finally, Frauds view of human beings as creatures driven mainly by instinct and the unconscious has been erotic sized. Much human behavior goes beyond intact gratification. The conscious drive to attain lofty personal, social and spiritual goals is also an important determinant of behavior, as is learning from others.
In short, it is clear that, personality is the unique characteristics of individual that makes him different from other people. It develops through many stages, Though the theories on personality given by Mead and Benedict, kardiner and Linton, and Freud were criticized in many ways they are not at all values. Among them frauds theory is considered comparatively the best one to understand individual personality.
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