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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Define personality
  • Describe early theories about personality development

Personality refers to the long-standing traits and patterns that propel individuals to consistently think, feel, and behave in specific ways. Our personality is what makes us unique individuals. Each person has an idiosyncratic pattern of enduring, long-term characteristics and a manner in which he or she interacts with other individuals and the world around them. Our personalities are thought to be long term, stable, and not easily changed. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona . In the ancient world, a persona was a mask worn by an actor. While we tend to think of a mask as being worn to conceal one’s identity, the theatrical mask was originally used to either represent or project a specific personality trait of a character ( [link] ).

Three masks are arranged side by side. The masks are almost identical, but with slightly different facial expressions resulting from the masks being at different angles. The first mask is tilted downward and has downcast eyes. The second mask is shown straight on and is directing its gaze slightly higher than the first. The third mask is tilted upwards so its gaze is directed more upward.
Happy, sad, impatient, shy, fearful, curious, helpful. What characteristics describe your personality?

Historical perspectives

The concept of personality has been studied for at least 2,000 years, beginning with Hippocrates in 370 BCE (Fazeli, 2012). Hippocrates theorized that personality traits and human behaviors are based on four separate temperaments associated with four fluids (“humors”) of the body: choleric temperament (yellow bile from the liver), melancholic temperament (black bile from the kidneys), sanguine temperament (red blood from the heart), and phlegmatic temperament (white phlegm from the lungs) (Clark&Watson, 2008; Eysenck&Eysenck, 1985; Lecci&Magnavita, 2013; Noga, 2007). Centuries later, the influential Greek physician and philosopher Galen built on Hippocrates’s theory, suggesting that both diseases and personality differences could be explained by imbalances in the humors and that each person exhibits one of the four temperaments. For example, the choleric person is passionate, ambitious, and bold; the melancholic person is reserved, anxious, and unhappy; the sanguine person is joyful, eager, and optimistic; and the phlegmatic person is calm, reliable, and thoughtful (Clark&Watson, 2008; Stelmack&Stalikas, 1991). Galen’s theory was prevalent for over 1,000 years and continued to be popular through the Middle Ages.

In 1780, Franz Gall, a German physician, proposed that the distances between bumps on the skull reveal a person’s personality traits, character, and mental abilities ( [link] ). According to Gall, measuring these distances revealed the sizes of the brain areas underneath, providing information that could be used to determine whether a person was friendly, prideful, murderous, kind, good with languages, and so on. Initially, phrenology was very popular; however, it was soon discredited for lack of empirical support and has long been relegated to the status of pseudoscience (Fancher, 1979).

Photograph A shows the cover of the American Phrenological Journal circa 1848. Across the top it reads: “American Phrenological Journal.” Below that it says “Know thyself.” Below that is a picture of a human head facing left, with many pictures comprising the area where the brain is. Below the person’s ear it says “Home truths for home consumption.” The lines below that read: “1848,” “Vol. X, March, No. 3,” “O.S. Fowler, Editor,” “Phrenology, Physiology, Physiognomy, Magnetism,” “New York,” “Fowlers and Wells,” “Phrenological cabinet, 131 Nassau-Street,” and “Terms $1 a year, invariably in advance. Ten cts. a Number.” Photograph B shows a printed cartoon of a person in a chair with another person behind. There are three other people in the room, and the wall is decorated with various skulls. Below the picture it reads: “Drawn on Stone by E.H,” and “The Phrenologist.”
The pseudoscience of measuring the areas of a person’s skull is known as phrenology. (a) Gall developed a chart that depicted which areas of the skull corresponded to particular personality traits or characteristics (Hothersall, 1995). (b) An 1825 lithograph depicts Gall examining the skull of a young woman. (credit b: modification of work by Wellcome Library, London)

In the centuries after Galen, other researchers contributed to the development of his four primary temperament types, most prominently Immanuel Kant (in the 18th century) and psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (in the 19th century) (Eysenck, 2009; Stelmack&Stalikas, 1991; Wundt, 1874/1886) ( [link] ). Kant agreed with Galen that everyone could be sorted into one of the four temperaments and that there was no overlap between the four categories (Eysenck, 2009). He developed a list of traits that could be used to describe the personality of a person from each of the four temperaments. However, Wundt suggested that a better description of personality could be achieved using two major axes: emotional/nonemotional and changeable/unchangeable. The first axis separated strong from weak emotions (the melancholic and choleric temperaments from the phlegmatic and sanguine). The second axis divided the changeable temperaments (choleric and sanguine) from the unchangeable ones (melancholic and phlegmatic) (Eysenck, 2009).

A circle is divided vertically and horizontally into four sections by lines with arrows at the ends. Clockwise from the top, the arrows are labeled “Strong Emotions,” “Changeable Temperaments,” “Weak Emotions,” and “Unchangeable Temperaments.” The arcs around the perimeter of the circle, clockwise beginning with the top right segment are labeled “Choleric,” “Sanguine,” “Phlegmatic,” and “Melancholic.” The sections inside each arc contain descriptive words. Inside the Choleric arc are the words “excitable, egocentric, exhibitionist, impulsive, histrionic, and active.” Inside the Sanguine arc are the words “playful, easygoing, sociable, carefree, hopeful, and contented.” Inside the Phlegmatic arc are the words “reasonable, principled, controlled, persistent, steadfast, and calm.” Inside the Melancholic arc are the words “anxious, worried, unhappy, suspicious, serious, and thoughtful.”
Developed from Galen’s theory of the four temperaments, Kant proposed trait words to describe each temperament. Wundt later suggested the arrangement of the traits on two major axes.

Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic perspective of personality was the first comprehensive theory of personality, explaining a wide variety of both normal and abnormal behaviors. According to Freud, unconscious drives influenced by sex and aggression, along with childhood sexuality, are the forces that influence our personality. Freud attracted many followers who modified his ideas to create new theories about personality. These theorists, referred to as neo-Freudians, generally agreed with Freud that childhood experiences matter, but they reduced the emphasis on sex and focused more on the social environment and effects of culture on personality. The perspective of personality proposed by Freud and his followers was the dominant theory of personality for the first half of the 20th century.

Other major theories then emerged, including the learning, humanistic, biological, evolutionary, trait, and cultural perspectives. In this chapter, we will explore these various perspectives on personality in depth.

Summary

Personality has been studied for over 2,000 years, beginning with Hippocrates. More recent theories of personality have been proposed, including Freud’s psychodynamic perspective, which holds that personality is formed through early childhood experiences. Other perspectives then emerged in reaction to the psychodynamic perspective, including the learning, humanistic, biological, trait, and cultural perspectives.

Personal application questions

How would you describe your own personality? Do you think that friends and family would describe you in much the same way? Why or why not?

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How would you describe your personality in an online dating profile?

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What are some of your positive and negative personality qualities? How do you think these qualities will affect your choice of career?

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Questions & Answers

The psychology is study of mind. Mind and thoughts are not visible so scientifically these are not measurable factors. However through experiments, researchers found that some of our psychological features such as emotions and behaviour can be measured and documented or influenced by society.
Mordimer Reply
Scepticism is present everywhere nowdays. In psychology it can be brought in to the fact that this field is not creating new things, although there are many successful trophies in psychology in example criminal profiling, people still have a vision of science being pure physical experience.
Mordimer
don't forget to include neuro-linguistic programming and psycho-cybernetics
juan
but wait is this a conversation or a lecture
juan
Society plays a critical role in the way we live our daily lives Society determines the way we look at life and the way we look at ourselves and other people around us
Doctor
Name all the methods in psychology
hollywood Reply
Psychotherapy
Michelle
observation
Dwaipayan
behavioral therapy
Darbaz
Experimental method, Observation method, clinal methods,Interview method
aijaz
experiment
Dwaipayan
There are many methods depending on the school: cognitive, behaviour, gestalt, existentialist..
Horia
Some times it Needs Biological Corrections of the Brain Change..Then Person can get benefits from the Methods...
Darbaz
psychological throphy
Imran
Dissociative fugue has been linked tosevere stress, which might be the result of traumatic events -- such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence -- that the person hasexperienced or witnessed.. im just googleing it so im not sure i can explain much better... ill do more research....why is it that your asking? May i ask?
Skylar Reply
did some messages disappear?
Eleni
this just pops up in my notifications and i find it very interesting but cant find any way to navigate back to it
Eleni
ya same keeps happening to me a chat messege popped up earlier somebody asking what a fugue state was and i had googled it and wrote back but once i exited the app i can find a way back to the chat...
Skylar
So anyway... Dissociative fugue, formerly fugue state or psychogenic fugue, is a dissociative disorder and a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality.
Skylar
to get back without using the notification you have to remember what section the comments were on. I remembered it was about dissociative fugue so I went into psychological disorders and then into dissociative disorders and scrolled to the bottom. hope that helps
Matt
hoping someone messeges back from the other chat so it will pop up in my notifications again
Skylar
thank you!
Skylar
it came up on a quiz and i hadnt heard it before. thankyou for your response. i appreciate it.
jody
your welcome
Skylar
that happened to me to.. weird
jody
Yeah Skylar.. I never hered of this I am looking into.. as I had and slightly do now.. my bloods have come up so back to the doctors for underactive my t4 are off scale high.. educating your self helps u understand your body and state of mind memorys .thanks
Rachel
True. Good luck! No problem im glad i could help someone.
Skylar
Yeah.. thanks you again.. u singe my thought process for the better
Rachel
If humans have evolved biologically [like their skulls,jaws etc],so how can we apply animal psychology to humans? They must have evolved their minds...even one exception is enough to contradict....
abid Reply
yes
Petros
do you have suggestions for learning Darwin's theory of evolution....beginner+interactive
abid
what's the fugue state
jody Reply
is this a private messege or a chat room? i didnt even know you could messege on this app...
Skylar
I'm confused
Hailey
same
Manav
me too
davie
Same here. Not satisfactory user interface here.
Swati
hi
Melandi
Dissociative fugue, formerly fugue state or psychogenic fugue, is a dissociative disorder and a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. Thestate can last days,
Skylar
months or longer
Skylar
skyler can you please elaborate it ?
ecstasy
i would say careful whats said. not private
jody
skylar i got u.
Eleni
thanks finally figured out how the chat thing works... anyway im really just googling this but i will do more research about i had heard the word before but never looked it up so this is very interesting...
Skylar
well. Dissociation is a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memory and sense of identity. ... A severe and more chronic form of dissociation is seen in the disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder, once called Multiple Personality Disorder, and other Dissociative 
Skylar
disorders
Skylar
Dissociation may affect a person subjectively in the form of “made” thoughts, feelings, and actions. These are thoughts or emotions seemingly coming out of nowhere, or finding oneself carrying out an action as if it were controlled by a force other than oneself
Skylar
what diagnosis or treatment would that need? and can't it be a sideeffect of depression, MDD etc?
Eleni
if anyone needs a first hand account I can provide one. I suffer with severe combat PTSD and struggle intensely with dissociation. Episodes can last a few minutes, days or weeks as recorded by my family ( care givers)
Matt
Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include: Significant memory loss of specific times, people and events Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself
Skylar
Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness A lack of a sense of self-identity
Skylar
Dissociative disorders are managed through various therapies including: Psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Skylar
Medications such as antidepressants can treat symptoms of related conditions
Skylar
The diagnosis of either Dissociative Amnesia. Depersonalization disorder. Dissociative identity disorder. 
Skylar
does the altered state link directly to DID? is it a character or auto-pilot?
Eleni
im not sure how to word that to research it can u explain that question a bit more or differently?
Skylar
what is memory
Khushbu Reply
what is the meaning of memory
Khushbu
what is the meaning of memory?
Khushbu
what is the meaning of memory?
Khushbu
cognitive process whereby we remember past experiences
Annie
to aid in survival
Eleni
Storing information about people, places, and experiences. Both good and bad, in order to recall and make decisions.
andrew
Memory is the process by which we encode ,store, and retrieve information from the environment through different sense organs.
aijaz
the encryption-decryption mechanism of our psychophysical experiences
juan
can anyone suggest me good coaching in Indore MP India for m.a entrance of du psychology
SAMKIT Reply
How can one diagnose a patient with a mental disorder such as schizophrenia?
Kutwal Reply
Making the Diagnosis. To get an official diagnosi of schizophrenia, your loved one has to show at least two of the following symptom most of the time for a month, and some mental disturbance over six months: Delusions (false beliefs that the person won't give up, even when they get proof that they'r
Khajiit
they're not ture)
Khajiit
Can sombody write me here about Pinoccio in psychodynamic perspective?
Amina Reply
what is the nature and nurture perspective of personality?
Khan Reply
are there significant differences between methamphetamine and it's long term effects on male cognitive behavioral and function versus female?
Shiloh Reply
effects will be the same( male & female)
Smith
tell me more
baby
no. it's much worse on females. almost s complete polar switch
cody
show me ans fast plzzz
Khushbu
please is there any difference between abnormal behaviour and normal behaviour?
Ayodele Reply
hm
sheere
yes abnormal behavior is "not normal ", actions in society's eyes. an example of abnormal behavior (I remember from a textbook) ; a man who runs around frantically in a grocery store licking strangers'(women's) shoes because when he was a baby his mom would tickle his feet/give them special attentio
Peter
yes there is a difference between abnormal and normal behaviour... This is simply because abnormal behaviour is deviating from the normal behaviour of the society while normal behaviour is obeying the moral standards in the society.
Emmanuel
how about disorders? like, always having a tantrums and irrational most of the time?
Jheannalyn
a behavior becomes pathological when 1. there is a before and after : you can see a real change of behavior/cognition or 2. behavior is pathological when it makes yourself or others suffer
Perle
what is difference between disease and disorder
Shahab
disease demand medicin but disorder demands care plus medicin
Zeeshan
I think the concept of normal and abnormal behavior in general is not much of psychological concept but more of sociological concept. A behavior or act in itself is not normal or abnormal. How society perceives that specific behavior, that's what decides what's normal.
Juveriya
For instance, gay marriage is considered normal where homosexuality is legalized. Where it isn't legalized, its abnormal.
Juveriya
So there cannot be an absolute answer for your question
Juveriya
well abnormality is pretty much considered in popular society which is something of a correlation of psycholigical perspective reflected through activity... something abstract... or non trending or precedented. or maybe something disturbing or atypical for people in their respective birth cohorts.
Geoffrey
please what are the schools of thought in psychology
Jennifer
if I told a girl that I will marry her how will she takes it when am to rate it in percentages
dauda
structuralism,functionalism,gestaltalism etc
aijaz
what about Diathesis stress model ?
aijaz
What is the difference between motivation and goal?
vishal Reply
goal is what you want to accomplish. motivation is what drives you to achieve it
Tay
motivation is ambitious and a goal is a ambition
Alivia
But Motivation is just stay there for only short time
Manish
goal is our destination and motivation is a vehicle to reach goal
pradeep
motivation is the One person improved in self development another person advices......... goal is achievement at one of the life.....
thangaraj
motivation is for our personality development thing but goal is our whole personality.
Zeeshan
but its should be more remember without motivation no life no goal .
Zeeshan
it's like this
Tay
if my goal is to get my degree. then me wanting a better job is my motivation. ultimately family
Tay
Motivation is the vehicle we use to reach our goal.
Zachary
Please wat r the schools of psychology
Jennifer
i want the outline of it,its methodology
Jennifer
hi guys can someone help me how can I over or stress ?
Folet
Jennifer I need to take my own advice however stress relief is something that is done through catharsis which in my estimation is defined as a physical or mental activity used as therapy... that can include, yoga, meditation, sex, physical activity like a sport or martial art practice or sometimes .
Geoffrey
the schools of psych I have no clue about
Geoffrey
If you want to be something ,that we can say you have goal.But you will never be that without enough effort,if you getting accurate rewards from your surrounding as accepting you than before when you are trying to be something.that we can say motivation.it may be in the form of acceptance and suport
Hot
motiVation is the part of goal . but it has a backbone value for goal .with out motivation wo can not Think about our aim of life, our goals .
Zeeshan
how do you get motivation? I'm such a lax person
Alexsus
can anyone help me we have a school in a third world country the kids are unable to learn, how can we help them motivate?
Cesaire
make it a game , if it's a 3rd world country then personal hygiene supplies would be a good prize to win
Maria
Maria can you explain that a little more
Cesaire
make them a set goal of so many pages to read or assigments to accomplish and go buy soap, toothpaste and toothbrush or even Candy and put it in front of the class so everyone can see the prizes and it will motivate them to finish first to get an award
Maria
ok
Cesaire
ok Maria
Cesaire
Motivation - reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. Goal - The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
andrew
what is mutation?
Amaya Reply
What is mindfulness
rahul
mindfulness means to be aware of the present
Agnieszka
meaning that you are totally focussing on the present...and living in the moment
Agnieszka
also present variables
Carl
hello guys
Folet
can someone help with few answers ?
Folet
hi what is all about ?
Folet Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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