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2nd semester

Module 1

Definitions of Personality

While there are many theories of personality, the first step is to understand exactly what is meant by
the term personality. The word personality itself stems from the Latin word persona, which referred
to a theatrical mask worn by performers in order to either project different roles or disguise their
identities.

A brief definition is that personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings,
and behaviours that make a person unique. In addition to this, personality arises from within the
individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.

Definitions of Personality given by various psychologists

"That which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation." -Raymond B. Cattell,
1950

"The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his
characteristic behavior and thought." -Gordon W. Allport, 1961

"The distinctive patterns of behavior (including thoughts and well as 'affects,' that is, feelings, and
emotions and actions) that characterize each individual enduringly." -Walter Mischel, 1999

"Personality refers to individuals' characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour,


together with the psychological mechanisms -- hidden or not -- behind those patterns." -Funder,
2001

"Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is
a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and
individuality to a person's behaviour." -Feist and Feist, 2009.

While there are many different definitions of personality, most focus on the pattern of behaviours
and characteristics that can help predict and explain a person's behaviour. Explanations for
personality can focus on a variety of influences, ranging from genetic explanations for personality
traits to the role of the environment and experience in shaping an individual's personality.
Environmental factors that can play a role in the development and expression of personality include
such things as parenting and culture. How children are raised can depend on the individual
personalities and parenting styles of caregivers as well as the norms and expectations of different
cultures.

Components of Personality

Traits and patterns of thought and emotion play important roles. Some of the other fundamental
characteristics of personality include:

Consistency: There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, people
act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.

Psychological and physiological aspects: Personality is a psychological construct, but research


suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.
It impacts behaviours and actions: Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in
our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.

Multiple expressions: Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in our
thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions.

Theories of Personality

There are a number of theories about how personality develops. Different schools of thought in
psychology influence many of these theories. Some of these major perspectives on personality
include:

Type theories are the early perspectives on personality. These theories suggested that there are a
limited number of "personality types" which are related to biological influences.

Trait theories tend to view personality as the result of internal characteristics that are genetically
based.

Psychodynamic theories of personality are heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud and
emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind on personality. Psychodynamic theories include
Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual stage theory and Erik Erikson’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 measurable behaviors, often ignoring the
role of internal thoughts and feelings. Behavioral theorists include B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson.

Humanist theories emphasize the importance of free will and individual experience in developing a
personality. Humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.

Personalities based on Traits

Type A personality traits

Type A personalities are competitive, high achievers and have a high sense of time urgency. As a
result of these combined traits Type A's are always found to be busy working on their own projects.
Type A's felt insecure at one point of their lives and so they decided to fight the insecurity by
changing their lives and making achievements as fast as they can..

Type B personality traits

Type B's are the opposite of type A's. They are relaxed, laid back and not easily stressed. While type
B can be achievers too still they won't be as competitive as Type A's. Tybe b can delay work and do it
in the last moment, some of them can turn into procrastinators which is something that a type A can
never do

Type C personality traits

Type C personalities love details and can spend a lot of time trying to find out how things work and
this makes them very suitable for technical jobs. Type C are not assertive at all and they always
suppress their own desires even if there is something that they dislike. The lack of assertiveness
results in tremendous stress and sometimes in depression. Type Cs are very vulnerable to depression
compared to type A and type B.

Type D personality traits


D stands for distressed, Type D's have a negative outlook towards life and are pessimistic. A small
event that is not even noticed by type B can ruin type D's day.

Type D might become socially withdrawn as a result of fear of rejection even if they like to be around
people.

Type D's are famous for suppressing their emotions and this makes them the most vulnerable type
to depression. In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i said that one of the
famous causes for depression is suppressing your emotions for long periods of time without venting
them someway.

How Do Nature and Nurture Influence Human Development?

Before this issue can be fully explained, it is important to understand what nature and nurture
actually are. Nature can be loosely defined as genetic inheritance or the genetic makeup (the
information encoded in your genes) which a person inherits from both parents at the time of
conception and carries throughout life.

Several things in an individual are genetically inherited, ranging from gender, eye color, risks for
certain diseases and exceptional talents to height. The concept of nature thus refers to biologically
inherited tendencies and abilities that people have and which may get revealed later on as they
grow up.In contrast, nurture can be defined as the different environmental factors to which a person
is subjected from birth to death.

Environmental factors involve many dimensions. They include both physical environments (a good
example is prenatal nutrition) and social environments (such as the neighborhood, media and peer
pressure.) Also, environmental factors have different levels of impact on human development as
they involve multiple layers of action, ranging from most immediate (families, friends, and
neighborhoods) to bigger societal contexts (school systems and local governments) as well as macro
factors such as politics on the international level or say global warming. These layers are also
impacted by other factors outside them. For example, teenagers are exposed to not just peer
pressure from their peers but also to parental ideals, community standards or ethnic views.

The Influences of Nature and Nurture on Human Development

Nature is responsible for the growth of a person from the foetus level until development into a
normal adult. The genetic makeup of a human being is responsible for their sex, skin color, color of
their eyes and hair as well as distinguishing features which are inherited.

Nature can only assist in the growth of a foetus into a normal well-developed adult who may have
inherited some special talents. Thus it can be concluded that nature uses the genetic coding to help
in physical development and does impart some positive or negative traits to an individual. However,
it is nurture which can be utilized to improve positive traits and diminish the effect of negative traits
in a child.

It is indeed important to recognize that nature in the form of inherited traits does exist but a
person’s overall behaviour is influenced a great deal by nurture or upbringing and the environmental
factors involved in this upbringing. Several recent studies carried out on infant and child behavior
have shown that there is significant evidence to support the fact that nurture strongly influences
human development especially in the early years.
In traditional society most parents encourage their kids to take part in extracurricular activities like
learning music, dance or sports in accordance with the child’s talents and interests. The talents have
been given by nature but they can only be developed into skills through the hard work of nurture.

Which Plays the Greater Role?

Undoubtedly, nurture plays a very big role in early human development. Nurture in some way or
another speeds up an individual's capacity to study and learn new things. There is the common
saying that “practice makes perfect." Therefore, an individual can improve knowledge by practicing
to adapt to all creations in these circumstances or environment.

The part which nurture plays in human development has been demonstrated by psychologists in
experiments in which stepping practice was administered to a cohort of inference for just a few
minutes many times in a day. It was later that these children were able to walk several days earlier
than infants who had not been given stepping practice (Zalazo, Zelazo & Kolb, 1972.)

In conclusion, it is evident that nature is responsible for producing healthy, well-developed babies. It
is also nurture that plays an important role in the early stages of human development. Research has
concluded beyond doubt that early human development is quicker and more focused due to nurture
as it builds up on the talents provided by nature.

Nature is responsible for the normal development of the fetus into a normal and healthy infant, but
it cannot entirely develop that fetus into an intelligent, knowledgeable or athletic adult. This is
possible only through the exposure that nurture gives a person. Therefore, it would be correct to say
that although the nature has some degree of influence, nurture strongly influences early human
development.

Meaning of Individual Differences

Dissimilarity is principle of nature. No two persons are alike. All the individuals differ from each
other in many a respects. Children born of the same parents and even the-twins are not alike. This
differential psychology is linked with the study of individual differences. Wundt, Cattel, Kraepelin,
Jastrow and Ebbing Haus are the exponents of differential psychology. This change is seen in physical
forms like in height, weight, and colour, and complexion strength etc., difference in intelligence,
achievement, interest, attitude, aptitude, learning habits, motor abilities, and skill. Each man has an
intellectual capacity through which he gains experience and learning. Every person has the emotions
of love, anger, fear and feelings of pleasure and pain. Every man has the need of independence,
success and need for acceptance. Broadly individual difference may be classified into two categories
such as inherited traits and acquired traits.The Principle of Individual Differences is a principle that
states that, because everyone is unique, each person experiences a different response to an exercise
program. Some of these differences may be related to body size and shape, genetics, past
experience, chronic conditions, injuries and gender.

Causes of Individual Differences:

There are various causes which are responsible in bringing individual differences.

i. Heredity: Some heretical traits bring a change from one individual to other. An individual’s height,
size, shape and color of hair, shape of face, nose, hands and legs so to say the entire structure of the
body is determined by his heretical qualities. Intellectual differences are also to a great extent
influenced by hereditary factor.
ii. Environment: Environment brings individual differences in behaviour, activities, attitude, and style
of life characteristics. Personality etc. Environment does not refer only physical surroundings but
also it refers the different types of people, society, their culture, customs, traditions, social heritage,
ideas and ideals.

iii. Race and Nationality: Race and Nationality is one cause of individual difference. Indians are very
peace loving, Chinese are cruel; Americans are very frank due to race and nationality.

iv. Sex: Due to sex variation one individual differs from other. Men are strong in mental power. On
the other hand women on the average show small superiority over men in memory, language and
aesthetic sense. Women excel the men in shouldering social responsibilities and have a better
control over their emotions.

v. Age: Age is another factor which is responsible in bringing individual differences. Learning ability
and adjustment capacity naturally grow with age. When one grows in age can acquire better control
over our emotions and better social responsibilities. When a child grows then this maturity and
development goes side by side.

vi. Education: Education is one major factor which brings individual differences. There is a wide gap
in the behaviours of educated and uneducated persons. All traits of human beings like social,
emotional and intellectual are controlled and modifies through proper education. This education
brings a change in our attitude, behaviour, appreciations, Personality. It is seen that uneducated
persons are guided by their instinct and emotions whereas the educated persons are guided by their
reasoning power

Managing Individual Differences


Individual differences are the facts that make people different from each and other. We all know
that we are different from each other.. in many ways such as : our physical aspects, our likes,
dislikes, interests, values, psychological makeup (and the list goes on) in other words... the whole
"Personality".
Because, no two people or Animals can be "same" (they can be similar only) so the concept of
individual differences !! If there were to be no individual differences, there would be no quarrels and
moreover.. there would be no Love too !! Psychology has a special stream of study ng individual
differences in people so as to understand them better.I hope I have answered your question to your
satisfaction.You can contact me for more..I would love to asnwer.
Managing Individual differences:
1. Speak a little less, listen a little more
Most people get tremendous pleasure from speaking about themselves. But, here we have to be
careful; if we always speak about our achievements or tribulations, people will get fed up with our
egoism.
If we are willing and able to listen to others, we will find it much appreciated by our friends. Some
people are not aware of how much they dominate the conversation. If you find you are always
talking about yourself, consider the advice of the Greek philosopher, Epictectus:
“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”
2. Which is more important being right or maintaining harmony?
A lot of problems in relationships occur because we want to maintain our personal pride. Don’t insist
on always having the last word. Healthy relationships are not built through winning meaningless
arguments. Be willing to back down; most arguments are not of critical importance anyway.
3. Avoid Gossip
If we value someone’s friendship we will not take pleasure in commenting on their frequent failings.
They will eventually hear about it. But, whether we get found out or not, we weaken our
relationships when we dwell on negative qualities. Avoid gossiping about anybody; subconsciously
we don’t trust people who have a reputation for gossip.
4. Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not just a cliché; it’s a powerful and important factor in maintaining healthy
relationships. However, real forgiveness also means that we are willing to forget the experience. If
we forgive one day, but then a few weeks later bring up the old misdeed, this is not real forgiveness.
When we make mistakes, just consider how much we would appreciate others forgiving and
forgetting.
5. Know When to Keep Silent
If you think a friend has a bad or unworkable idea, don’t always argue against it; just keep silent and
let them work things out for themselves. It’s a mistake to always feel responsible for their actions.
You can offer support to friends, but you can’t live their life for them.
6. Right Motive
If you view friendship from the perspective of “what can I get from this?” you are making a big
mistake. This kind of relationship proves very tentative. If you make friendships with the hope of
some benefit, you will find that people will have a similar attitude to you. This kind of friendship
leads to insecurity and jealousy. Furthermore, these fair weather friends will most likely disappear
just when you need them most. Don’t look upon friends with the perspective “what can I get out of
this?”. True friendship should be based on mutual support and good will, irrespective of any
personal gain.
7. Oneness.
The real secret of healthy relationships is developing a feeling of oneness. This means that you will
consider the impact on others of your words and actions. If you have a true feeling of oneness, you
will find it difficult to do anything that causes suffering to your friends. When there is a feeling of
oneness, your relationships will be free of jealousy and insecurity.
For example, it is a feeling of oneness which enables you to share in the success of your friends. This
is much better than harbouring feelings of jealousy. To develop oneness we have to let go of feelings
of superiority and inferiority; good relationships should not be based on a judgmental approach. In
essence, successful friendship depends on the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have done
to yourself.” This is the basis of healthy relationships.
8. Humour
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be willing to laugh at yourself and be self-deprecating. This does
not mean we have to humiliate ourselves, far from it — it just means we let go of our ego. Humour is
often the best antidote for relieving tense situations.
Bridging Individual Differences:
1. Perceived Interdependence
2. Shared goal
3. Sense of Crisis
4. Respect
5. Trust
6. Forgiveness
7. Keep Expectation Realistic
8. Communicate well

The Big Five Factor


Many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of
personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits. The five broad personality traits
described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness,
conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
Trait theories of personality have long attempted to pin down exactly how many personality traits
exist. Earlier theories have suggested a various number of possible traits, including Gordon Allport's
list of 4,000 personality traits, Raymond Cattell's 16 personality factors, and Hans Eysenck's three-
factor theory. However, many researchers felt that Cattell's theory was too complicated and
Eysenck's was too limited in scope. As a result, the five-factor theory emerged to describe the
essential traits that serve as the building blocks of personality.
What Are the Big Five Dimensions of Personality?
Today, many researchers believe that they are five core personality traits. Evidence of this theory
has been growing for many years, beginning with the research of D. W. Fiske (1949) and later
expanded upon by other researchers including Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and
McCrae & Costa (1987).The "big five" are broad categories of personality traits. While there is a
significant body of literature supporting this five-factor model of personality, researchers don't
always agree on the exact labels for each dimension. You might find it helpful to use the acronym
OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) when trying to
remember the big five traits. CANOE (for conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness,
and extraversion) is another commonly used acronym. It is important to note that each of the five
personality factors represents a range between two extremes. For example, extraversion represents
a continuum between extreme extraversion and extreme introversion. In the real world, most
people lie somewhere in between the two polar ends of each dimension.
These five categories are usually described as follows.
Openness
This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight. People who are high in this trait
also tend to have a broad range of interests. They are curious about the world and other people and
eager to learn new things and enjoy new experiences. People who are high in this trait tend to be
more adventurous and creative. People low in this trait are often much more traditional and may
struggle with abstract thinking.
High
Very creative
Open to trying new things
Focused on tackling new challenges
Happy to think about abstract concepts

Low
Dislikes change
Does not enjoy new things
Resists new ideas
Not very imaginative
Dislikes abstract or theoretical concepts
Conscientiousness
Standard features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, good impulse control, and
goal-directed behaviours. Highly conscientious people tend to be organized and mindful of details.
They plan ahead, think about how their behaviour affects others, and are mindful of deadlines.
High
Spends time preparing
Finishes important tasks right away
Pays attention to detail
Enjoys having a set schedule
Low
Dislikes structure and schedules
Makes messes and doesn't take care of things
Fails to return things or put them back where they belong
Procrastinates important tasks
Fails to complete necessary or assigned tasks
Extraversion
Extraversion (or extroversion) is characterized by excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness,
and high amounts of emotional expressiveness. People who are high in extraversion are outgoing
and tend to gain energy in social situations. Being around other people helps them feel energized
and excited. People who are low in extraversion (or introverted) tend to be more reserved and have
to expend energy in social settings. Social events can feel draining and introverts often require a
period of solitude and quiet in order to "recharge."
High
Enjoys being the centre of attention
Likes to start conversations
Enjoys meeting new people
Has a wide social circle of friends and acquaintances
Finds it easy to make new friends
Feels energized when around other people
Say things before thinking about them
Low
Prefers solitude
Feels exhausted when having to socialize a lot
Finds it difficult to start conversations
Dislikes making small talk
Carefully thinks things through before speaking
Dislikes being the centre of attention
Agreeableness
This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other
prosocial behaviours. People who are high in agreeableness tend to be more cooperative while
those low in this trait tend to be more competitive and sometimes even manipulative.
High
Has a great deal of interest in other people
Cares about others
Feels empathy and concern for other people
Enjoys helping and contributing to the happiness of other people
Assists others who are in need of help
Low
Takes little interest in others
Doesn't care about how other people feel
Has little interest in other people's problems
Insults and belittles others
Manipulates others to get what they want
Neuroticism
Neuroticism is a trait characterized by sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability. Individuals
who are high in this trait tend to experience mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and sadness. Those
low in this trait tend to be more stable and emotionally resilient.
High
Experiences a lot of stress
Worries about many different things
Gets upset easily
Experiences dramatic shifts in mood
Feels anxious
Struggles to bounce back after stressful events
Low
Emotionally stable
Deals well with stress
Rarely feels sad or depressed
Doesn't worry much
Is very relaxed
Are the Big Five Traits Universal?

McCrae and his colleagues have also found that the big five traits are also remarkably universal. One
study that looked at people from more than 50 different cultures found that the five dimensions
could be accurately used to describe personality. Based on this research, many psychologists now
believe that the five personality dimensions are not only universal; they also have biological origins.
Psychologist David Buss has proposed that an evolutionary explanation for these five core
personality traits, suggesting that these personality traits represent the most important qualities
that shape our social landscape.

What Factors Influence the Big Five Traits?

Research suggests that both biological and environmental influences play a role in shaping our
personalities. Twin studies suggest that both nature and nurture play a role in the development of
each of the five personality factors. One study of the genetic and environmental underpinnings of
the five traits looked at 123 pairs of identical twins and 127 pairs of fraternal twins. The findings
suggested that the heritability of each trait was 53 percent for extraversion, 41 percent for
agreeableness, 44 percent for conscientiousness, 41 percent for neuroticism, and 61 for openness.
Longitudinal studies also suggest that these big five personality traits tend to be relatively stable
over the course of adulthood. One study of working-age adults found that personality tended to be
stable over a four-year period and displayed little change as a result of adverse life events. Studies
have shown that maturation may have an impact on the five traits. As people age, they tend to
become less extraverted, less neurotic, and less open to experience. Agreeableness and
conscientiousness, on the other hand, tend to increase as people grow older.