What is Personality?

Contents in the Article

Personality- Meaning, Definitions & Characteristics

Meaning of Personality

Personality is a patterned body of habits, traits, attitudes, and ideas of an individual’s, as these are organized externally into roles and statues and as they relate internally to motivation, goals, and various aspects of selfhood.

The term personality is derived from the Latin word “Persona” which means to speak through.

This Latin term was used to denote the mask, the actors used to wear in ancient Rome and Greece, An individual’s personality is the combination of traits and patterns that influence their behavior, thought, motivation, and emotion.

It drives individuals to consistently think, feel, and behave in specific ways; in essence, it is what makes each individual unique.

Over time, these patterns strongly influence personal expectations, perceptions, values, and attitudes. In addition to this, it arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. It is a pattern of stable states and characteristics of a person that influence his or her behavior towards goal achievement. Each person has unique ways of projecting these states.

The study of personality focuses on two broad areas;

  1. One is, understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability.
  2. The other is, understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.

Personality- Definitions

According to Gordon Allport, “Personality is the dynamic organization within the individuals of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environments”.

Feist and Feist said, “personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.”

By personality Ogburn means “the integration of the socio-psychological behavior of the human being, represented by habits of action and feeling, attitudes and opinions.”

According to Lundberg and others, “The term personality refers to the habits, attitudes and other social traits that are characteristic of a given individual’s behavior”.

Lawrence A. Pewin said, “Personality represents those structural and dynamic properties of an individual or individuals as they reflect themselves in characteristic responses to situations”.

Hence It is a sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. It is individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It is the supreme realization of the innate habit of a living being.

It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination..

For example- he has a very pleasant personality or he was an influential personality in genetic engineering.

Characteristics of Personality

The term personality is used in various senses. So features / characteristics of personality are as follows

  1. Generally, it is used to indicate the external outlook of an individual. In philosophy, it means internal quality.
  2. But in social psychology, the term personality indicates-neither the external or outward pattern nor does it indicate the internal quality. It means an integrated whole. In the modern world and psychology, it has come to indicate the sum total of an individual’s characteristics and qualities.
  3. Various thinkers, social psychologists, and others have defined it in various ways. It is a sum of physical, mental and social qualities in an integrated manner.
  4. It is something which is unique in each individual.
  5. It refers particularly to the persistent qualities of an individual.
  6. Personality represents a dynamic orientation of an organism to the environment.
  7. It is greatly influenced by social interactions.
  8. It represents a unique organization of persistent dynamic and social predisposition.
  9. It impacts behaviors and actions.
  10. Multiple expressions. Personality is something which is unique in each individual. Personality refers to internal as well as external qualities, some of which are quite general. But it is unique to each individual. It is not possible for a person to reproduce or imitate the qualities of the personality of another person.
  11. It refers particularly to persistent qualities of an individual .Every individual has a certain feeling as well as other permanent traits and qualities.
  12. It is mainly composed of the persistent or permanent qualities that exhibit themselves in form of social behavior and attempt to make an adjustment with the environment.
  13. It represents a dynamic orientation of an organism to the environment.
  14. It represents the process of learning. It takes place in reference to the environment. We do not acquire all the traits of personality at once.
  15. It is greatly influenced by social interactions Personality is not an individual quality. It is a result of social- interaction. In other words, it means that when we come in contact with other members of society, we acquire certain qualities while we exhibit certain others. All these come to form personality.
  16. It represents a unique organization of persistent dynamic and social predisposition .In personality, various qualities are not put together. They are, in fact, integrated into one. This integration is nothing but a result of organization which may be different from man to man. The behavior of a person directed to one particular individual may differ from the behavior of another person.

Thus, personality is the sum of the ideas, attitudes, and values of a person which determine his role in society and form an integral part of his character. Personality is acquired by the individual as a result of his participation in group life. It refers to something much more essential and enduring about a person.

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