The psychologists continue to use the term personality to indicate that, the real or inner qualities of a person will be different from, that of the qualities seen apparently. Hence, defining and understanding the personality is not very easy as it appears. It is very difficult to define personality in a precise way. Different psychologists have defined personality in their own ways. These are the following:
• Macionis define as “It is the constant pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.”
• personality is a person’s unique pattern of traits- (Guilford, 1959, p.5)
• Ogburn and Nimkoff define it as the totality of sentiments, attitudes, idea, habits, skills and behaviors of an individual.
• “That which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation.” -Raymond B. Cattell, 1950
• “The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought.” -Gordon W. Allport, 1961
• “The distinctive patterns of behavior (including thoughts and well as ‘affects,’ that is, feelings, and emotions and actions) that characterize each individual enduringly.” -Walter Mischel, 1999
• “Personality is the entire mental organization of a human being at any stage of his development. It embraces phase of human character: Intellect, temperament, skill, morality and evey attitude that has been built up it course of one’s life.” – Warren ; Carnichael, 1930
• “Personality refers to individuals’ characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms — hidden or not — behind those patterns.” -Funder, 2001
• “Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.” -Feist and Feist, 2009
• “Personality is the more or less stable and enduring organisation of a person’s character, temperament, intellect and physique which determines his unique adjustment to the environment.”-H. Eysenck
• “That which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation.”- R. B. Cattell
• “Each individual’s characteristically recurring patterns of behavior.”- L. Kolls
The concept of personality has been studied for at least 2,000 years, beginning with Hippocrates in 370 BCE (Fazeli, 2012). Hippocrates theorized that personality traits and human behaviors are based on four separate temperaments associated with four ¼uids (“humors”) of the body: choleric temperament (yellow bile from the liver), melancholic temperament (black bile from the kidneys), sanguine temperament (red blood from the heart), and phlegmatic temperament (white phlegm from the lungs) (Clark ; Watson, 2008; Eysenck ; Eysenck, 1985; Lecci ; Magnavita, 2013; Noga, 2007).
In 1780, Franz Gall, a German physician, proposed that the distances between bumps on the skull reveal a person’s personality traits, character, and mental abilities. According to Gall, measuring these distances revealed the sizes of the brain areas underneath, providing information that could be used to determine whether a person was friendly, prideful, murderous, kind, good with languages, and so on. Initially, phrenology was very popular; however, it was soon discredited for lack of empirical support and has long been relegated to the status of pseudoscience (Fancher, 1979).
Topography of Personality
• One of the most important characteristics of personality is that it is a product of heredity and environment. A child though not has born with a personality developer the same in course of continuous interaction with his environment.
The social and cultural factors as well as the various experiences influence the development of personality.
• Personality includes the cognitive, affective and psychomotor behaviors and covers all the conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious also.
• It is specific and unique for each and every individual.
• It is not static but dynamic in nature. Personality of an individual keeps adjusting itself to the environment on a continuous basis. A fine balance is maintained between the environmental and the inner forces.
DETERMINANTS OF PERSONALITY
Personality is the outcome of a continuous personal quality development process. The role of personality becomes clear in a particular situation. Personality is recognized in a situation. It is the results of personal quality interaction in a particular condition. The major determinants of personality of an individual are given below:
1. Heredity: Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception. Physic stature, facial attractiveness, sex, temperament, muscle composition and reflexes, energy level, and biological rhythms are characteristics that are generally considered to be either completely or substantially influenced by who your parents were; that is, by their biological, physiological, and inherent psychological makeup. The contribution of heredity to personality development is vividly clear for developing external appearance, behavior, social stimuli, self inner awareness, organizing traits, etc.
2. Physique: An individual’s size, strength and general appearance determines to a large extent the way in which he or she behaves towards others and how others react towards him or her. An individual with an imposing body-build and a healthy appearance definitely influences those around him or her. Even if he or she has not proved themselves, yet they gains recognition and status through his or her physical appearance. Contrary to this it the small lean persons even if he or she has some merits, they are over-looked because of their physique. People are apt to judge them according to their appearance.
3. Nervous System: Entire behavior is effectively managed and controlled by the coordination and functioning of the nervous system. How we will behave in a particular situation depends upon the judgment of our brain. The sense impressions, which are received through sense organs, do not bear any significance unless they are given a meaning by the nervous system.
4. Endocrine Glands:
• The secretions of endocrine glands affect physical growth, emotional growth and mental growth. These will have an impact on the total personality of an individual.
• The thyroid gland secretes a hormone called thyroxin, and the main function of this hormone is regulation of body metabolism. If the thyroid gland is under active, the result is usually mental dullness, inactivity, depression, fatigue and poor appetite. Hyper secretion of these glands leads to extreme over activity.
• The parathyroid gland regulates calcium metabolism excitability of the nervous system is directly dependent on the amount of calcium in the blood. Deficient working of this gland leads to the development of an irritable, quick reactive, distracted, nervous and a tense person.
• Similarly other glands like pituitary, the adrenal and the gonads have their tremendous impact on various personality traits.
Exerts pressure on personality formation. Culture, religious practices, family groups, friends, social groups and experience play a part in shaping personality. Culture establishes norms, attitudes, and values that are passed over generations.
1. Family: Among environmental factors, the most important is the family environment. The reactions of the family environment towards an individual, and the role of parents, are very important in the molding of personality, parents serve as a model whom the child imitates, and their influence is considerable on the child. Parents influence the development of child’s personality in a wide variety of ways. Children learn the moral values, code of conduct, social norms and methods of interacting with others from parents.
2. Birth Order: This is another familial factor that can have an important influence on the personality development. All children has a unique position in the family, such as the eldest, youngest, second or third. This position has a definite influence on personality. The eldest child is very often overburdened with responsibility, hence, he or she grows up to be very independent, while the youngest being the baby of the family is petted and spoilt. The common view of an only child would be that he or she will be pampered and spoilt.
3. School: The children spend much of their time in the schools and hence it can play a very significant part in the formation of the personality of the child.
The following factors at school will have a direct role in shaping the child’s Personality.
– The friendships and acquaintances which are made among the children themselves.
– The type of curriculum in the schools.
– Well – furnished libraries, adequate play ground, etc.
A nurturing school atmosphere provides for all round development of the child. Consistency, structure, warmth and responsiveness can provide a great deal of help to the children for developing a favorable personality and cope with changing life circumstances.
4. Teacher: A teacher is the most important person in the school who can help in modifying the children’s personalities. He or she is the most powerful source of stimulation for the child. If he/she possess desirable personal and social modes or reactions he/she will inculcate them among his/her student or the other hand, effects of prejudicial treatment on the part of teachers can make the child lose self-confidence and develop low self-esteem.
5. Peer Group: Developmental psychologists believe that their interactions with peer are critical to many of the social skills and advances that occur during childhood. Peer group refers to other children of the same age who study with or play with the children. Friends are much more influential than sibling or parents.
Even at preschool age, playmates are highly influential. Children Imitate peers and try to be like them in many respects. The peer group serves as an important reference group in shaping personality traits and characteristics of the growing children. As the children grows up peers become progressively more influential in molding the children’s self-concept, self-esteem. From their peers children learn many forms of behavior, some socially appropriate and others socially undesirable.
6. Sibling Relationships: The number of sibling as well as their sex and age has a considerable influence on the development of both favorable and unfavorable personality traits like cooperativeness, sharing, aggressiveness, jealousy, etc. Although sibling rivalry is common, older sibling invariably teaches the infant a great deal and they can even function as a source of security.
7. Mass Media: Mass media includes films, television, radio, printed literature, etc. Mass media has a considerable impact on attitudes, values, beliefs and behavior patterns. Baron and Bryne (1986) have shown that individuals, especially child, imitate specific aggressive acts of models. They have proposed that human personality formation is a result of modeling and imitating the behavior of significant others. Many abnormal forms of behavior can be learned by imitating models from the mass media.
Culture influences personality because every culture has a set of ethical and moral values, beliefs and norms which considerably shapes behavior. Cross-cultural studies have pointed out the importance of cultural environment in shaping our personality. Individuals of certain cultures are more generous, open-hearted and warm where as individuals of some other cultures are suspicious, introverted and self-centered. It has also been found that certain cultural communities are more prone to develop certain abnormal behaviors as compared to others, probably due to the influence of geographical, dietary, hormonal or genetic influences within the community.
Personality changes in different situations. Different situations demand different types of behavior. Situations restrict or cause us elicit certain types of behaviors. We behave differently when attending funeral. We display different behavior when attending employment interview.