What is Personality?
Personality is the supreme realization of the innate
idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage flung in the
face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the
individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal condition of
existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for
As this course moves from intelligence (1st 5 weeks) into personality (next 10 weeks), it is worth pointing out that the relationship between intelligence and personality may be stronger than many assume.
Intelligence influences different aspects of personality in many different ways. In fact, intelligence is sometimes considered to be part of personality. This issue will probably always be debated. The main point to bear in mind is that both intelligence and personality are prominent individual differences.
Personality is not easily defined. Basically, ‘personality’ refers to our attempts to capture or summarize an individual’s ‘essence’. Personality is person-ality, the science of describing and understanding persons. Clearly, personality is a core area of study for psychology, if not the core. Together with intelligence, the topic of personality constitutes the most significant area of individual difference study.
No two people are exactly the same - not even identical twins. Some people are anxious, some are risk-taking; some are phlegmatic, some highly-strung; some are confident, some shy; and some are quiet and some are loquacious. This issue of differences is fundamental to the study of personality. Note also that in studying these differences we will also examine where the differences come from: as with intelligence we will find that there is a mixture of nature and nurture involved.
Perspectives on personality that we’ll be examining...
We use the term personality frequently but what does it actually mean?
“She has a wonderful personality.”
The word ‘personality’ derives from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means ‘mask’. The study of personality can be understood as the study of ‘masks’ that people wear. These are the personas that people project and display, but also includes the inner parts of psychological experience which we collectively call our ‘self’.
According to Adams (1954, cited in Schultz & Schultz, 1994) personality is “I”.
Adams suggested that we get a good idea of what personality is by listening to what we say when we use "I". When you say I, you are, in effect, summing up everything about yourself - your likes and dislikes, fears and virtues, strengths and weaknesses.
The word I is what defined you as an individual, as a person separate
from all others.” (Schultz & Schultz, 1994, p.8)
Write 10 honest endings to "I am..."
Share them with someone
Does this sum up your personality? Why or why not?
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2000). Perspectives on personality (4th
ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.