Introduction to Personality

Introduction to Personality Paper Katie McMichael Axia College of University of Phoenix November 26, 2012 Introduction Who am I? What are my good qualities? What are my bad qualities? Why do I behave like that sometimes? Why can’t I stop doing this? How do I see myself? How do others see me? How did my personality come to be what it is today? How has it changed? When thinking about our personality, these are questions that we ask ourselves. The only way to answer these questions is to observe ourselves and analyze what we found as a result of this research.
There are several theories of personality that were introduced in order to do just that. The purpose of this paper is to further understand personality and it’s concepts by defining personality, Examining theoretical approaches in studying personality, and Analyzing factors that may influence an individual’s personality development. Defining Personality Since so many theories of personality exist, there is no single definition. The most widely accepted of personality is “a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior. (Feist & Feist, 2009) as you can see from the definition, each personality is different from each other. Also, from the definition you can see that personality is made up from the combination of characteristics and traits and serves as its base structure. Characteristics and traits are adjectives such as pretty, overweight, athletic, anxious, smart, etc. These adjectives help to give you a sense of self as well as influence your behavior. The reason that these traits and characteristics are the base structure of your personality is because they have consistency and stability in your behaviors over time. Feist & Feist, 2009) Traits have more to do with actions or physical appearance. For example, blue eyes would be considered a trait. A characteristic is merely anything that stands out or is noticeable that can be used to describe them. For example a pitched laugh can be a characteristic. Although similar, these two parts are different, what is similar is that they work together in developing patterns what is known as your personality. People will have similar characteristics or traits that will produce similar personalities but no two personalities will ever be the same. Theoretical Approaches
As stated earlier there are many different theories of personality. Each theorist has different methods, research and obviously conclusions as to why personalities are what they are and why they are so different from one another. One thing is certain with each theory is that a specific order of approach is important to substantiate a theory. Most theories of personalities grow from the personality of the theorist (Feist & Feist, 2009). As stated earlier, in order to get a better understanding of personalities, including your own, you must start with observations and experimental research.

Psychologists use systematic approaches such as assessment techniques to support their hypotheses. Tests such as the Big Five Personality Test are the most valid and accurate personality assessment to date. The Big Five Personality test breaks down five areas of personalities which include dimensions such as: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. When it comes to other tests, the two types of validity focused upon by psychologists are construct and predictive.
In construct validity “A test has construct validity if it demonstrates an association between the test scores and the prediction of a theoretical trait. ”(Cherry, 2012) An example of construct validity would be an IQ test. In predictive validity “the criterion measures are obtained at a time after the test. ”(Cherry, 2012) An example of this would be a career aptitude test. Both are hypothetical tests based on traits and preferences and neither would be extremely accurate. These tests would be a way to get an idea of where you are and where you might end up based on your personality.
Factors that Influence Personality There are two generally accepted factors that contribute to personality development which are heredity and environment. Obviously, if your traits are heretic, they were past to you through your genes from your parents and other ancestors. These traits are commonly skin color, eye color, hair color, face shape, height, and body shape. “Research by psychologists over the last several decades has increasingly pointed to hereditary factors being more important, especially for basic personality traits such as emotional tone. (Neill, 2006) This is different than what most people think. Most people seem to believe that environmental factors are substantially more influential because they have root in our morals, beliefs, and behaviors. Environmental facts that would influence personalities would be that of childhood upbringing, learning atmospheres, social interactions, occupational interactions, and child rearing. All of these unique influences contribute to personality and even if two people have the same experiences they will respond to them different.
For example men and women are different and interact and respond different usually because their upbringing is different. “Boys and girls are socialized differently to some extent in all societies. They receive different messages from their parents and other adults as to what is appropriate for them to do in life. ”(Neill, 2006) It is hard to tell which factor is more influential but as you can see each one plays an important part. It doesn’t really matter what has the most influence, just important to remember that they both have influence. Conclusion
Whether you take a test or just observe yourself for a while you might find out more about yourself than you knew. Observation and research are what really keeps us finding new things, why not ourselves? With a little time and effort, a person can accomplish anything. With each unique person and each personality we are doing more and learning more every day. The world never stops changing and neither do we. Our personality above all changes its face day to day from birth to death. That is what makes us unique, that is what makes us different from the animals.
We have the ability to change and are smart enough to recognize it. We can define it, analyze it, study it, observe it, but our personality is always going to change as we do. In essence, our personality makes us the people that we are. References Cherry, K. (2012). What is validity? Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://psychology. about. com/od/researchmethods/f/validity. htm Feist, J. , Feist, G. (2009). Theories of Personalities. (7th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill O’Neill, D. (2006). Personality Development. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from https://anthro. palomar. edu

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