What Can The Personality Definition Tell Us?
Personality tends to be one of the first things we might notice and remember about someone, and it encompasses how they think, feel, and behave in reaction to their environment. Learning more about the various aspects of personality may help you understand other people and yourself on a deeper level.
Below, we’ll explore some common personality traits and temperaments, as measured by inventories developed by psychologists of personality theory.
What is personality?
Personality refers to the behaviors, emotional patterns, ways of thinking, and other aspects that make up a person. Research suggests that personalities are the result of both nature and nurture, meaning they are affected by biological factors and a person’s environment.
Many different personality theories exist. One approach is trait-based personality theory, which posits that a person possesses a group of traits that may indicate what that person is going to do. Some traits are thought to be innate, and others are thought to be learned from your environment.
One of the most influential personality theories is known as The Big Five. These Big Five traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These five traits might be remembered by the acronym OCEAN.
The big five
The Big Five are five personality traits that we are all thought to possess to a certain degree. Despite there only being five traits, they exist on a broad spectrum. Below are the Big Five personality traits.
Openness measures how willing someone is to try new experiences. Some people tend to be excited to go to new places, meet new people, and have other unfamiliar experiences. However, others may prefer that every day tends to be more or less the same. For example, they may be less open to going to new places and might live in the same house for their whole lives. While everyone can be a little worried about the unknown, openness tends to exist on a scale and can range from ease to terror.
Conscientiousness measures how reliable and organized a person is. There are those who plan everything on time. If something throws their schedule off, they may get noticeably upset. Meanwhile, other people are much happier with making things sporadic. They might show up at their friends' houses uninvited, might not care if things don't come out as planned, and might not be as reliable when it comes to planning.
Conscientiousness can run on a spectrum as well. Some people plan a lot but can sometimes have streaks when they like to go with the flow, and vice versa.
This scale measures where people get their energy from and how social they like to be. Someone who is more extroverted may need to be socially active if they want to be stimulated. Meanwhile, an introvert may feel better stimulating their curiosity by themselves. They may want to be social at times, but these tend to be occasions rather than everyday activities.
You can also be somewhere in the middle of extraversion and introversion. Some people may be more extroverted but sometimes want to spend time alone.
Agreeableness doesn't measure how much someone agrees with you, but instead how cooperative and compassionate they tend to be. Someone who is more agreeable is often kinder to people, even if they don't care for them, and they may work well in customer service. Agreeableness can cause someone to be empathetic and put others’ needs before their own, even to a fault.
On the other end of the spectrum, someone who tends to be disagreeable may be more confrontational and upfront about how they feel. People who score low on agreeableness may experience more difficulty getting along with others and may be less sympathetic at times.
Also known as emotional stability, this trait represents how well someone can handle their emotions. A person high in neuroticism may experience emotional difficulty at the first sign of instability. Meanwhile, someone who scores lower on neuroticism may be more likely to keep their cool when faced with a slew of emotions.
Someone who is more neurotic may be seen as unstable, while someone who is too stable may be seen as someone who is cold and shows little emotion.
Temperament and character inventory
The Temperament and Character Inventory posits that four temperaments can reflect your personality:
- Harm Avoidance. Someone with a higher level of harm avoidance may consistently worry about something. They may think about the what-ifs, be doubtful of their abilities, or fear the unknown. Harm avoidance is believed to exist on a spectrum. Some people might experience very little fear, while others may want to avoid any level of perceived harm that comes their way.
- Reward Dependence. This temperament dimension tends to measure how strongly someone will respond to an activity if there is a reward at the end. For example, someone may only want to help another person if they can be rewarded, but someone else with a low level of reward dependence may be a very charitable person, which can be a positive trait until people take advantage of it. Having a balanced level of reward dependence may lead to better outcomes.
- Novelty Seeking. This dimension measures someone's response to certain novel stimulations and how likely they are to seek out new experiences. Someone may be open to new ideas and not care much that there is risk involved. However, others may become frustrated or scared and not seek out new experiences as often.
- Persistence. Persistence measures how much someone wants to pursue an activity despite all the potential hardships associated with it. Someone who is persistent may choose to work at something even harder when there are signs of failure. However, sometimes a person may be too persistent and keep trying even though something is not feasible, which can lead them to lose time or resources. Meanwhile, someone may not be persistent enough and quit on their dream just because there was an obstacle in their path.
There are also three different character types in the Temperament and Character Inventory:
- Self-directedness. This character type represents the ability of someone to adapt to a problem when they are facing it. Someone who is self-directed may have an ability to adjust their behavior to a given situation. Meanwhile, someone who lacks self-directedness may not be able to cope as productively.
- Cooperativeness. This character type refers to someone's ability to work with others, even though they may disagree. Someone with a low level of cooperativeness may not be very willing to work with others. They may prefer to be a loner or may only work with someone if they like them. On the other hand, someone with a high level of cooperativeness tends to work with most people but may be a bit too trusting at times.
- Self-transcendence. This dimension of character represents how spiritual someone is. Spirituality can be a difficult concept to define in psychology. It can be related to a person’s religion, but it can also come from something else, such as a person’s relationship with the universe. Someone with a low level of spirituality may not be open to things non-empirical. Meanwhile, someone who has a high level may be more prone to delusions and hallucinations.
The future of personality
While no personality theory is perfect, the continuing study of personality can give us some insight into human nature. Additionally, it can be an exciting area of study as it may help you learn more about people and why they think and behave the way they do—including yourself.
Talking to a therapist about personality
Understanding your personality may help you become more aware of why you think and feel as you do. To explore your personality more, it may help to speak with a licensed therapist. If you don’t have time for traditional in-office therapy, you might try online therapy, which numerous studies have demonstrated to be effective.
Online counseling through platforms like BetterHelp can help you get mental health support from the comfort of your home. You can connect with a therapist through phone calls, video chat, or live chat online. Everyone has different preferences for therapy, which may be influenced by their unique personality traits. Online therapy may give you more control over your therapeutic experience, allowing you to make adjustments as you see fit.
Online counseling can be utilized to address personality concerns, including personality disorders. In a review of 11 studies, researchers found that online-based interventions showed promise for treating symptoms of personality disorders. They reported that usability and patient satisfaction were moderate to high in all of the studies and that several of them demonstrated significant decreases in symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
What is the best definition of personality?
According to the American Psychological Association, personality is defined as “the enduring characteristics and behavior that comprise a person’s unique adjustment to life, including major traits, interests, drives values, self-concept, abilities, and emotional patterns.” In addition, the APA suggests that the field of personality psychology seeks to research the concepts behind personality characteristics and their related behavior. This may pertain to a number of subjects, including how a specific personality type may develop, how personalities are structured, and what maladaptive traits a personality type may exhibit.
What are the 5 personality traits?
According to the five-factor model of personality, the five big personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
- Extraversion: Extraverted individuals tend to be adept at making social connections and typically gain energy by spending time with others. Those who do not identify as extroverted may feel drained by social gatherings, preferring instead to spend time alone.
- Agreeableness: Individuals who have a high level of agreeableness are often empathetic and willing to help out others. Those who show lower levels of agreeableness may be more self-centered and unlikely to care about issues that don’t pertain directly to them.
- Conscientiousness: Conscientious people tend to focus on the details of a task, keeping their primary objectives in mind as they work. Unconscientious individuals, on the other hand, will have a disdain for rigid schedules and may be more likely to put important tasks off in order to enjoy themselves.
- Neuroticism: When people act in a neurotic manner, they may be more prone to sudden shifts in mood. In addition, these individuals may be likely to experience feelings of nervousness or discomfort, especially in unfamiliar situations. Those with less neurotic traits may be more easy-going and in control of their emotions and may be viewed more positively by peers as a result.
- Openness to Experience: Those who are more open to experiences are likely to have a variety of hobbies and passions. These individuals tend to travel and may choose to learn about various cultures. Individuals who are closed off to experience, on the other hand, may be resistant to change and struggle with a new pattern or concept.
What are the 3 most common personality types?
While personality can be assessed through a variety of tests, one common assessment is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Estimates of the most common MBTI types can vary, with some believing that ISFJ, ESFJ, and ISTJ could be the three most common. However, one study intended to find a more definitive answer to this question. Using ophthalmology residents from Howard University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Kresge Eye Institute, and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston as participants, the study found that the most common personality types were ENTP, ESTJ, or ISTJ (each accounting for 13.6% of the total participants.)
What is an example of the definition of personality?
While examples of personality definitions can vary based on their source, one definition comes from the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Their definition refers to personality as a “characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Personality embraces moods, attitudes, and opinions and is most clearly expressed in interactions with other people. It includes behavioral characteristics, both inherent and acquired, that distinguish one person from another and that can be observed in people’s relations to the environment and to the social group.”
What are the four types of personality traits?
While there are a variety of ways to categorize personality traits, one understanding comes from the concept known as the “four temperaments.” Despite the fact that personality psychology has advanced significantly since its creation, the four temperaments may form the foundation for most theories relating to personality today.
While your own temperament may vary or include elements of more than one of these categories, the original four temperaments included phlegmatic (empathetic and non confrontational), choleric (high-achieving and stubborn), sanguine (extroverted and optimistic), and melancholic (neurotic and analytical). In addition, the original theory may have had a biological basis, with early proponents claiming that each temperament was connected to a bodily fluid (specifically blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm.)
What are the main 16 personalities?
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, the 16 main personalities include the following:
Each of these 16 personalities are defined by the four MBTI categories: Introversion (I) vs Extraversion (E), Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F), Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P), and Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N). The answers to each test question can influence which side of a category one places in, which will result in their final MBTI personality type upon completion.
How to identify peoples personality?
Identifying and understanding someone’s personality can be a complicated process that may take days, weeks, or even years to complete. However, there are a few techniques you can use that may help to begin this undertaking.
- Research Common Personalities: The first step to understanding someone’s personality is often to research the individual differences between traits and what behaviors certain personality types may exhibit. For example, if you want to find out whether someone would be more comfortable hanging out with a big group or one-on-one, it may be helpful to look up information about introversion vs. extroversion.
- Engage Them in Conversation: Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll likely need to start to learn more about this person. This can involve asking them questions about their likes and dislikes, as well as their goals and habits. Over time, you may learn enough to start to piece together their personality type.
- Be Willing to Discuss: Learning someone’s personality is rarely a one-sided exchange, and it may be helpful to talk some details about yourself. In some cases, a person may be more willing to tell nformation with you if they feel you are similar or have common interests or passions.
What is the real personality of a person?
Numerous philosophers and psychologists have sought to find what defines a person’s true personality, and there may not be one single definition of what makes a personality “true” or not. For example, Sigmund Freud believed that human behavior was driven by a hidden true personality consisting of a person's primitive burgers and repressed desires. Carl Jung, on the other hand, believed our true personality was a result of the unconscious traveling through the personal unconsciousness and consciousness.
Overall, it may be difficult to assess what personality differences exist between someone’s public persona and their true personality. Because the field of personality psychology is constantly changing and evolving, it may be helpful to consult literature like The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology, which is published by the Cambridge University Press.
How to improve your personality?
Improving and developing one’s personality can be a difficult (but not necessarily impossible) process. Here are a few techniques you may want to use in order to facilitate healthy personality development.
- Develop Your Passions: Expanding your personal identity and having a variety of interests can help a person become more well-rounded and understand more aspects of their environment. In addition, individuals may find more opportunities for the development of healthy interpersonal relationships through their hobbies or passions.
- Expand Your Empathy: Learning to communicate with others and care for their emotions may be an effective method of improving one's personality. This may start with becoming a better listener, which can involve making eye contact, showing genuine interest in wha someone is saying, and asking questions that show you are actively participating.
- Learn Proper Conflict Resolution: Understanding how to control one’s emotions and approach conflict in a healthy manner may help a person improve their personality. By learning techniques like the use of “I” statements and controlling potentially harmful emotions like anger, individuals may increase the quality of their close relationships and avoid unnecessary negativity.
How many personality types does a person have?
There are a variety of possible personality types depending on what assessment a person takes or how they define “personality.” For example, those who take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test will typically be identified as one of 16 personality types based on their answers to a questionnaire. These types are based on four different scales, which include:
- Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): This category helps to differentiate between extraverted individuals (those who gain energy from socializing and like spending time with others) and introverted individuals (those who prefer to spend time alone and enjoy exploring their own minds)
- Intuition (N) vs. Sensing (S): The N vs. S category can help determine whether a person is more intuitive (focusing on more abstract or imaginative thought) or sensing (more attuned to what they can see and directly interact with in their environment.)
- Feeling (F) vs. Thinking (T): The feeling vs. thinking category can divide individuals into those that like to make decisions based on the information they can gather (thinking) vs those who take emotions into account and their own instincts (feeling).
- Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): This category is used to help individuals determine whether they are more rigid in their decision-making (judging) or more open to different ways of completing a task or interpreting a situation (perceiving).
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