Personality refers to the long-standing traits and patterns that propel people to repeatedly think, feel, and behave in particular ways. The unique constellation of the ways we technique the world, analyze events, and also act consistently throughout situations is our personality. Every person has an idiosyncratic sample of enduring, long-term characteristics and a way in which he or she interacts with other individuals and also the world approximately them. Our personalities are assumed to be long term, stable, and also not easily changed. Given the breadth of human experience and the diversity of points that do each that us distinctive it is unsurprising that plenty of different perspectives for empirically researching personality have actually been proposed. Every perspective does fine in explaining elements of what provides each of us unique, but also is limited by the presumptions underlying the approach. Just by sampling each perspective have the right to we truly know what personality really means. The word personality comes indigenous the Latin word persona. In the ancient world, a persona to be a mask worn by one actor. When we tend to think the a mask as being worn to conceal one’s identity, the theatrical mask was originally supplied to either represent or project a certain personality characteristics of a character (figure below).

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Happy, sad, impatient, shy, fearful, curious, helpful. What characteristics describe her personality? (credit: Wikimedia Commons)


The principle of personality has actually been studied because that at least 2,000 years, start with Hippocrates in 370 BCE (Fazeli, 2012). Hippocrates theorized the personality traits and human behaviors are based on four different temperaments associated with 4 fluids (“humors”) the the body: choleric temperament (yellow bile native the liver), melancholic temperament (black bile indigenous the kidneys), sanguine temperament (red blood indigenous the heart), and also phlegmatic temperament (white phlegm from the lungs) (Clark & Watson, 2008; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985; Lecci & Magnavita, 2013; Noga, 2007). This perspective suggests that personality comes from within and is based in biological causes. Century later, the prominent Greek physician and philosopher Galen built ~ above Hippocrates’s theory, saying that both diseases and personality differences could be explained by inequalities in the humors and that each person exhibits one of the 4 temperaments. For example, the choleric human being is passionate, ambitious, and also bold; the melancholic person is reserved, anxious, and also unhappy; the sanguine human being is joyful, eager, and also optimistic; and also the phlegmatic person is calm, reliable, and also thoughtful (Clark & Watson, 2008; Stelmack & Stalikas, 1991). Galen’s concept was widespread for over 1,000 years and also continued to be famous through the center Ages.

In 1780, Franz Gall, a German physician, proposed the the distances in between bumps top top the skull expose a who personality traits, character, and also mental abilities (figure below). According to Gall, measure up these ranges revealed the sizes of the mind areas underneath, giving information that can be offered to determine whether a human was friendly, prideful, murderous, kind, great with languages, and so on. Initially, phrenology was really popular; however, the was shortly discredited for lack of empirical support and has lengthy been relegated to the standing of pseudoscience (Fancher, 1979).

The pseudoscience of measuring the areas of a person’s skull is known as phrenology. (a) Gall occurred a graph that shown which areas of the skull synchronized to particular personality characteristics or qualities (Hothersall, 1995). (b) an 1825 lithograph depicts Gall evaluating the skull of a young woman. (credit b: alteration of work by Wellcome Library, London)

In the century after Galen, various other researchers contributed to the advance of his 4 primary temperament types, many prominently Immanuel Kant (in the 18th century) and also psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (in the 19th century) (Eysenck, 2009; Stelmack & Stalikas, 1991; Wundt, 1874/1886) (figure below). Kant agreed v Galen the everyone might be sorted right into one that the 4 temperaments and that there to be no overlap between the four categories (Eysenck, 2009). He emerged a perform of characteristics that could be offered to describe the personality of a human being from each of the 4 temperaments. However, Wundt suggested that a far better description of personality might be completed using two significant axes: emotional/nonemotional and also changeable/unchangeable. The very first axis separated strong from weak emotions (the melancholic and also choleric temperaments from the phlegmatic and also sanguine). The second axis separated the changeable temperaments (choleric and also sanguine) native the unchangeable persons (melancholic and also phlegmatic) (Eysenck, 2009).

Developed indigenous Galen’s theory of the four temperaments, Kant suggest trait words to describe each temperament. Wundt later argued the plan of the properties on two major axes.

Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic view of personality was the very first comprehensive concept of personality, explaining a wide selection of both normal and also abnormal behaviors. Freud was influenced by Charles Darwin’s ideas and incorporated the notion of a sex drive into all elements of his concept of personality. Follow to Freud, unconscious drives affected by sex and aggression, and also our childhood experiences, space the pressures that influence our personality. Freud attracted numerous followers that modified his ideas to create new theories about personality. This theorists, described as neo-Freudians, generally agreed with Freud the childhood experiences matter, yet they lessened the emphasis on sex by adopting the concept of psychic energy and also focused much more on the society environment and effects of society on personality. The perspective of personality suggest by Freud and his followers was the dominant theory that personality for the first half the the 20th century.

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


Personality has actually been studied because that over 2,000 years, beginning with Hippocrates. More recent theories of personality have been proposed, including Freud’s psychodynamic perspective, i beg your pardon holds the personality is formed through at an early stage childhood experiences. Other perspectives then emerged in reaction come the psychodynamic perspective, including the learning, humanistic, biological, trait, and cultural perspectives.


Openstax Psychology text by Kathryn Dumper, william Jenkins, Arlene Lacombe, Marilyn Lovett and Marion Perlmutter licensed under CC by v4.0.


Review Questions:

1. Personality is thought to be ________.

a. Brief term and easily changed

b. A pattern of short-term characteristics

c. Unstable and short term

d. Lengthy term, stable and also not conveniently changed

2. The long-standing traits and patterns the propel people to repetitively think, feel, and behave in details ways are known as ________.

a. Psychodynamic

b. Temperament

c. Humors

d. Personality

3. ________ is attributed with the first comprehensive concept of personality.

a. Hippocrates

b. Gall

c. Wundt

d. Freud

4. An beforehand science the tried to correlate personality with dimensions of parts of a who skull is recognized as ________.

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a. Phrenology

b. Psychology

c. Physiology

d. Personality psychology

Critical thinking Questions:

1. What makes a an individual quality component of someone’s personality?

Personal application Questions:

1. How would you describe your own personality? carry out you think the friends and family would describe you in lot the very same way? Why or why not?

2. How would you describe your personality in an digital dating profile?

3. What are some of your hopeful and negative personality qualities? just how do you think these characteristics will affect your selection of career?



Answers come Exercises

Review Questions:

1. D

2. D

3. D

4. A

Critical thinking Questions:

1. The specific quality or trait should be component of one enduring habits pattern, so the it is a consistent or predictable quality.


personality: long-standing traits and also patterns the propel people to consistently think, feel, and also behave in certain ways