Psychology Chapter 13 - CHAPTER 13 PERSONALITY I....

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1CHAPTER 13 PERSONALITY I. DEFINITION Personality can be defined as the distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought, emotions and behavior that make up a person’s personal style of interacting with the physical and social environment. Most psychologists, in talking about personality are mainly concerned about a person’s likes, moods and traits. A trait, as we shall discuss later, is a unit of personality such as friendliness or kindness or aggressiveness. II. SHAPING OF PERSONALITY 1. Biological Influences Personality is shaped by biological factors as well as social-environmental and learning factors. The role of hormones, neurotransmitters, genetics and other biological functions are now demonstrated in shaping of personality. Heredity also plays an important factor. a- The Relation Between Body Build and Personality In 19th century, the Swiss psychologist Kretchmer related body build and physical stature to personality types. His three classes include: asthenic - Persons who are usually tall, thin and slender fall in this group who demonstrate nervousness. pyknic- Persons who are usually fat and short fall in this group who demonstrate happy and jolly moods. athletic- Persons with muscular and athletic physiques fall in this group who show energy and optimistic moods. Later, the American psychologist, Sheldon made a similar classification relating body types to personality types. His work includes three physical types: ectomorph (similar to asthenic), endomorph (similar to pyknic) and mesomorph (similar to athletic). Although today not much emphasis is placed on the relationship between body type and personality, the work of Kretchmer and Sheldon are still valid to some extent. 2. Psychological Influences Personality is shaped by social and environmental factors. The two broad classes of experiences that shape personality are:
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(a) Common experiences which refer to cultural influences and serve to distinguish persons of different cultures. (b) Unique experiences which refer to personal and individual experiences in shaping his/her personality. III. APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF PERSONALITY Although there are many approaches to the study of personality, the following are chosen for discussion. 1. The Trait or Type Approach According to the Trait Approach, personality is composed of many traits, in fact as many traits as there are adjectives in a dictionary (about 18,000)1 However, knowing a number of traits, we can usually guess a person’s personality factors accurately. According to Cattell, a trait is a unit of personality. Examples of traits have already been stated. Other examples include shyness, kindness, unselfishness, moodiness, cautious, etc. Traits have been clustered into dimensions. The most import one is extroversion-introversion dimension, the degree to which a person’s
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course PSY 2012 taught by Professor Negy during the Spring '07 term at University of Central Florida.

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Psychology Chapter 13 - CHAPTER 13 PERSONALITY I....

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