Personality

Personality is defined as the characteristic set of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. 

 While there is no generally agreed upon definition of personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with one's environment. 

Trait-based personality theories, such as those defined by Raymond Cattell define personality as the traits that predict a person's behavior. On the other hand, more behaviorally based approaches define personality through learning and habits. Nevertheless, most theories view personality as relatively stable. 

The five-factor model often used to define personality. image: Anna Tunikova/wikipedia


The study of the psychology of personality, called personality psychology, attempts to explain the tendencies that underlie differences in behavior. Many approaches have been taken on to study personality, including biological, cognitive, learning and trait based theories, as well as psychodynamic, and humanistic approaches. 

Personality psychology is divided among the first theorists, with a few influential theories being posited by Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Gordon Allport, Hans Eysenck, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers.


Five Factor model

Personality is often broken into statistically-identified factors called the Big Five, which are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (or emotional stability). These components are generally stable over time, and about half of the variance appears to be attributable to a person's genetics rather than the effects of one's environment.


Source adapted from: Wikipedia contributors. (2019, January 14). Personality. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:25, January 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Personality&oldid=878402196


The five factors are:

O. C. E. A. N - or  C. A . N. O.E

Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. High openness can be perceived as unpredictability or lack of focus, and more likely to engage in risky behaviour or drug taking. Also, individuals that have high openness tend to lean, in occupation and hobby, towards the arts, being, typically, creative and appreciative of the significance of intellectual and artistic pursuits. Moreover, individuals with high openness are said to pursue self-actualization specifically by seeking out intense, euphoric experiences. Conversely, those with low openness seek to gain fulfillment through perseverance and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven—sometimes even perceived to be dogmatic and closed-minded. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret and contextualize the openness factor. 

Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). Tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. High conscientiousness is often perceived as being stubborn and focused. Low conscientiousness is associated with flexibility and spontaneity, but can also appear as sloppiness and lack of reliability. 

Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energetic, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness. High extraversion is often perceived as attention-seeking and domineering. Low extraversion causes a reserved, reflective personality, which can be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed.[7] Extroverted people may appear more dominant in social settings, as opposed to introverted people in this setting. 

Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached). Tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not. High agreeableness is often seen as naive or submissive. Low agreeableness personalities are often competitive or challenging people, which can be seen as argumentative or untrustworthy. 

Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). Tendency to be prone to psychological stress. The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, "emotional stability". High stability manifests itself as a stable and calm personality, but can be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned. Low stability manifests as the reactive and excitable personality often found in dynamic individuals, but can be perceived as unstable or insecure.

Also, individuals with higher levels of neuroticism tend to have worse psychological well being. 

People who do not exhibit a clear predisposition to a single factor in each dimension above are considered adaptable, moderate and reasonable, yet they can also be perceived as unprincipled, inscrutable and calculating. Depending on how much of each trait a person has, it could make someone more susceptible to participating in certain activities.

Other factors of influence

Family life and the way someone was raised will also affect these traits. Twin studies and other research have shown that about half of the variation between individuals results from their genetics and half from their environments. Researchers have found conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, and neuroticism to be relatively stable from childhood through adulthood.


Source adapted from: Wikipedia contributors. (2019, January 17). Big Five personality traits. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 06:18, January 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Big_Five_personality_traits&oldid=878857329