My College Class Notes

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What is Personality?

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Chapter 9: p333

Focus Questions

How do psychologist and personality Theorist define personality?

Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his or her characteristics behavior and thought.

What elements do personality theories have in common?

Personality theories are concerned with four aspects of human behavior. They make the following assumptions:

  • There is some core of personality common to all human beings.
  • These common tendencies and characteristics of human beings are channeled in various directions by the process of development.
  • The core of personality, as modified by development, makes each person a unique individual, displaying a unique pattern of the peripheral traits that are generally known as personality.
  • Identifying and defining inner human qualities can help to explain the peripheral traits.

FOUR COMPONENTS OF PERSONALITY THEORY 

1. Almost every theory is based on some fundamental view of the basic quality of human nature. It assumes that there is a core of personality
composed of tendencies and traits that are common to all human beings.

Different theories take different views of this common core, but almost all acknowledge that it exists and is a force in shaping personality.

2. Each theory that acknowledges a common core of personality maintains that the tendencies and traits are channeled in various directions for different individuals by the process of development—all the experiences that we encounter throughout our lives.

Thus, various theories agree that personality is the product of both nature(genetic) and nurture(experiences)

3. Every theory that that acknowledges a common core of personality is concerned with what are called peripheral traits—that is, all the distinctive ways in which people relate to the environment. The peripheral traits are viewed as the inevitable result of the way individual development has acted on the common core of personality.

4. Finally, almost every theory is concerned with the task of identifying and defining the inner processes by which the peripheral traits are laid down and maintained.

Definitions 

Core of personality 

The tendencies and traits common to all human beings. 

Peripheral traits 

The distinctive ways in which people relate to their social environment.

Personality 

is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his or her characteristics behavior and thought.

Here dynamic refers to the idea that personality is ongoing and always changing, although some changes may be gradual and slow. Personality is about individuals each whom are unique.

Psychophysical systems refers to the interaction between mind and body, and “character
behavior and thought
” states more specifically what constitutes the individuality that each of us displays.

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Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 6:25 am

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