What is Personality?
when we use the word personality – we imply some consistency or continuity about the individual –
across time & situation.
it also implies that this is something that originates from within the individual – but this is debatable.
that there is something distinctive in a characteristic of the person that summarizes what they are like -
e.g., warm vs. cold
A. Conceptions of Personality
: is typically defined as the organized combination of traits, values, characteristics, & behaviors
that are unique to each individual.
that is stable dispositions such as sociability, shyness, hostility, extroversion, independence,
Allport (1961) argues that personality “is a dynamic organization, inside the person, of psychological systems
that create the person’s characteristic patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings"
1. it is organized – a whole – not separate parts
3. it’s tied to the physical self
4. it’s causal – affecting how people perceive things & acts as a motivational force
B. 2 major issues in personality:
1. individual differences – differences in each person that make them unlike anyone else on the planet. – e.g.,
shy, sociable, hostile, extroverted, neurotic, open, etc.
2. intrapersonal function – “psychological processes that take place w/ in the person”.
Or the organization of
all the different processes w/in an individual that leads them to think & feel & behave in certain ways
II. Major perspectives in personality
Biological – this approach (with some overlap to the trait / dispositional approach, argues for a bio bases
Here personality is inherited.
This includes the evolutionary approach that argues personality
evolved over time w/ successful traits being selected.
This perspective also includes the effects of hormones
The dispositional or Trait approach: the main idea here is that there are stable characteristics inherent to
people that can be studied & measured.
It is assumed these traits are stable over time & situation. This also
leads psychologists to attempt to determine if polar characteristics (e.g., introversion / extroversion,