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The study f personality can be understood as the study of ‘masks’ that people wear. These are the personas that people project and display, but also includes the inner parts of psychological experience which we collectively call our ‘self’. Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living be ing. It is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirm ation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal condition of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for self-determination.” - Carl Gustav Jung, 1934 As this course moves from intelligence (1st 5 weeks) into personality (next 10 w eeks), it is worth pointing out that the relationship between intelligence and p ersonality may be stronger than many assume. Intelligence influences different aspects of personality in many different ways. In fact, intelligence is sometimes considered to be part of personality. This i ssue will probably always be debated. The main point to bear in mind is that bot h intelligence and personality are prominent individual differences. Personality is not easily defined. Basically, ‘personality’ refers to our attempts t o capture or summarize an individual’s ‘essence’. Personality is person-ality, the sci ence of describing and understanding persons. Clearly, personality is a core are a of study for psychology, if not the core. Together with intelligence, the topi c of personality constitutes the most significant area of individual difference study. No two people are exactly the same - not even identical twins. Some people are a nxious, some are risk-taking; some are phlegmatic, some highly-strung; some are confident, some shy; and some are quiet and some are loquacious. This issue of d ifferences is fundamental to the study of personality. Note also that in studyin g these differences we will also examine where the differences come from: as wit h intelligence we will find that there is a mixture of nature and nurture involv ed. Perspectives on personality that we’ll be examining... • Trait Perspective • Biological Perspective • Psychoanalytic Perspective • Learning Perspective • Phenomenological Perspective • Cognitive Perspective Lay usage of the term "personality" We use the term personality frequently but what does it actually mean? “She has a wonderful personality.” “He has no personality.” “He has personality plus.” “We seem to have a personality conflict.” “It’s just her personality.” “She has her mother’s personality.” “He’s a real personality.” Personality comes from the Greek word "persona", meaning "mask" The word ‘personality’ derives from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means ‘mask’. The study f personality can be understood as the study of ‘masks’ that people wear. These are the personas that people project and display, but also includes the inner parts of psychological experience which we collectively call our ‘self’. "I" is for personality According to Adams (1954, cited in Schultz & Schultz, 1994) personality is “I”. Adams suggested that we get a good idea of what personality is by listening to w hat we say when we use "I". When you say I, you are, in effect, summing up ever ything about yourself - your likes and dislikes, fears and virtues, strengths an d weaknesses. The word I is what defined you as an individual, as a person separate from all o
thers.” (Schultz & Schultz, 1994, p.8)
"I am" exercise Write 10 honest endings to "I am..." Share them with someone Does this sum up your personality? Why or why not? Various definitions of personality • "Deceptive masquerade or mimicry." • "The entire organization of a human being at any stage of development." • "Levels or layers of dispositions, usually with a unifying or integrative princi ple at the top." • "The integration of those systems or habits that represent an individual’s charact eristic adjustments to the environment." • "The way in which the person does such things as remembering, thinking or loving ." • "Those characteristics that account for consistent patterns of behaviour" • "Personality is not an existing substantive entity to be searched for but a comp lex construct to be developed and defined by the observer." (Smith & Vetter, 1982, p.5) • A contemporary definition for personality is offered by Carver and Scheier (2000 , p.5): “Personality is a dynamic organisation, inside the person, of psychophysic al systems that create a person’s characteristic patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and feelings.” Carver & Scheier (2000, p.5) • Dynamic Organisation: suggests ongoing readjustments, adaptation to experience, continual upgrading and maintaining Personality doesn’t just lie there. It has pro cess and it’s organised. • Inside the Person: suggests internal storage of patterns, supporting the notion that personality influences behaviours, etc. • Psychophysical systems: suggests that the physical is also involved in ‘who we are’ Characteristic Patterns: implies that consistency/continuity which are uniquely identifying of an individual • Behaviour, Thoughts, and Feelings: indicates that personality includes a wide ra nge of psychological experience/manifestation: that personality is displayed in MANY ways. • Carver & Scheier (2000, p.5) suggest that the word personality “conveys a sense of consistency, internal causality, and personal distinctiveness”. This issue of “per sonal distinctiveness is very important. There are certain universal characteris tics of the human race and particular features of individuals. We all for exampl e experience stress and the elevated cortisol that goes with it, and we all suff er the immune suppressive effects thereof. BUT each of us is unique too. Personality revealed One has to work at finding out about someone s personality. One can ask probing questions about all sorts of issues, and get an indication from the person s res ponses what type of person they are. Politicians have their personality revealed pretty well through how they respond to probing questions. As to weird habits, one should observe their actions over a period of time and see if they do any st range or unusual things. One should see some of how they go about doing the rout ine things we all have to do, and notice if they are odd in any way in their hab its. One can ask them how they do things, or ask someone who is in a position to know about their habits. One needs to be able to relate to someone in a deep an d serious way in order to get them to reveal more of themselves. One can not jus t be caught up on being sweet to each other. Some of the most abusive people ten d to be really sweet. You do need to watch out for signs of a person being contr olling or overly secretive. One should be able to have relaxed conversations whe re the two of you can let one s hair down. One reveals one s personality the mos t when relaxed, and feeling safe. Components of Personality While there are many different theories of personality, the first step is to und
erstand exactly what is meant by the term personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feeli ngs, and behaviors that make a person unique. In addition to this, personality a rises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. Some of the fundamental characteristics of personality include: • Consistency - There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behavior s. Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situ ations. • Psychological and physiological - Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs. • Impact behaviors and actions - Personality does not just influence how we move a nd respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways. • Multiple expressions - Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It c an also be seen in out thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions. Theories of Personality There are a number of different theories about how personality develops. Differe nt schools of thought in psychology influence many of these theories. Some of th ese major perspectives on personality include: • Type theories are the early perspectives on personality. These theories suggeste d that there are a limited number of "personality types" which are related to bi ological influences. • Trait theories viewed personality as the result of internal characteristics that are genetically based. • Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of Sigm und Freud, and emphasize the influence of the unconscious on personality. Psycho dynamic theories include Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikso n’s stages of psychosocial development. • Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and me asurable behaviors, rejecting theories that take internal thoughts and feelings into account. Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and John Watson. • Humanist theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experienc e in the development of personality. Humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. The more you know about personalities, the better you will be able to understand why people do the things they do, and how to communicate with them. People who design advertisements are experts at how people think, and can come up with adve rtisements that help to sell their products. Society s leaders are experts at ma king people want to follow their way of doing things. If you understand other pe ople, you are also more likely to get along with them and not have wars. Studying your own personality is also good. The more you understand about how yo ur mind works and how you think and feel, the better you are able to control you r mind and not just react blindly to what s going on around you.