How Personality is Defined

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The history of the word personality comes from the Latin word persona that means to mask, the same, as an actor would wear during a performance in the era of a Roman and Greek drama (Feist & Feist, 2006). Actors wear their persona to cover a false appearance so they can to make-believe they are a particular character. However, today’s definition of personality has less to do with an artificial appearance and more with everything to do with apparent and clear behavior, as a person’s expresses his or her individuality, characteristics and traits . A person is responsible for his or her own behaviors. Therefore, over time a person’s characteristic make clear the distinctive cause, physique, temperament, and intelligence. The definition of personality jointly involves “…a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior” (Feist & Feist, 2006, p. 4). The full extent of the psychological perceptive of the personality is impending in the course of appraisals, theoretical movements toward the study of personality and the evaluation of factors, which sway the progress of a person’s characteristics, and traits that make up a person’s personality.

Research of Human Nature

Studying the personality field psychology is the assumption that human nature finds communication through evaluations and belief. In addition, most of the major researchers in the world agree with this mode or thinking. The entire subject matter on human nature in the personality of psychology falls within six dualistic dimensions. First, determinism, everything is caused by something, versus free choice; pessimism or doubt, versus optimism; causality, the principle of cause and effect, versus teleology; conscious, or alert, versus unconscious determinants of behavior; biological, or organic, versus social influences; uniqueness, or individuality versus similarities. Free choice involves that the behavior and belief is a controlling force that in the end everything a person’s makes of it. Whereas, determinisms postulates assumes a person completes the actions or behavior and completely influences through outside manipulation. Optimism is a positive stance of human affairs, which include being healthy, happy, conviction in which functioning human existence. Along with the good comes the bad, hard times, conflict, unhappiness, trouble, are the worldly issues all humans must endure. Envisions of past behavior is a function of a person’s experiences. Equally, teleology puts forward the stance that current behavior is an achievement by the hope of future events. The fourth dimension concerns an alternative causes and conflicts of behavior are on a conscious or unconscious level. The fifth dimension is the ratio, where the personality is shaped. Either by social influences, or biological forces. Finally, the personality is a study of individual differences or collective ideas of similarities. They are the broad stroke that from the study of the personality. However, each of the dimensions rest upon one proposition. Specifically, human nature can generalize and quantify into a set of sub-categories dualistic.

 Human Nature

Mills (2009) states, “…no ‘elemental’ psychologies, no theory of ‘instincts’, no principles of ‘basic human nature’ of which we know, enables us to account for the enormous human variety of types and individuals” (p. 52). His position is gray in his approach his claim is if people cannot know everything about a basic human nature than humans know nothing about human nature whatsoever (Bruder & Moore, 2002). On the other hand, Mills is a bit clearer when others accuse him of a  continuous cynic by clarifying that the underlying laws of human nature can only be applied to, “…the quite wide biological limits and potentialities of the human species” (Mills, 2009, p. 52). The basis for personality of the initial extent of human nature. However, skeptical scientific act of human provides for the biological limitations and potential for development, in addition to human diversity.

Factors that Influence the Development of Individual Traits and Characteristics

Numerous factors affect the progress of a person’s characteristics and traits and throughout his or her lifetime. Factors, which may include intrapersonal conflict, biological processes, social forces, both conscious, and unconscious.Five Factor Theory of Personality Development. The opinion within the social sciences is that a person’s personality traits can be placed into five different domains, often referred to as the Five Factor Model (FFM) or Big Five (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). McCrae and Costa were the first to relate FFM as a lifetime personality maturity, or growth, which explains the transformation a person’s traits over time, because of the biological processes (Lucas & Donnellan, 2009). This approach of the personality development is similar to the empiricist, materialist traditions that started the science of mechanics to help explain human behavior, and conditioning theories. McCrae and Costa have tried to explain personality development through environmental terms yet the stigma and biased have placed limitations on the practice of this independence.

Social Investment Theory

The nature versus nurture controversy fueled for decades by the competing scientific discoveries of monozygotic twin studies on the one hand and behavioral engineering studies, on the other hand (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). The social theory takes nurture position and argues that evolving social roles, and their investment in  developing  particular traits to accommodate role which  accounts for personal development. For example, when an adults become parents new demands are now placed on his or her abilities and development and personality traits that are needed or thought of before becoming a parent. Therefore, the  social investment theory now explains the change of a person’s personality, The circle of life will change an individual’s personality, as he or she watches the child grow from birth, the child’s first years. The parent and child will begin to school, and all will go through personality changes, from the child’s first day’s in school until his or her graduation from high school, or perhaps college, leaving home, or deciding to marry, becoming a parent his or herself. All of these stages

Freud and Personality Development

Freud was the first man to place interest in the structure of the ideas and relate those ideas to real-world case studies (Gould & Howson, 2009). Freud believed by developing his theory and explaining his thoughts effectively in which there were others with a completely or extremely different train of thought that existed between unconscious, immaterial forces. His main point was the attachment that made the individual act in opposition to individuation and self-definition to create real-world dysfunction through the mechanisms of unconscious and preconscious conflict. Freud’s personality development is the task of effectively addressing the difficulties of the different stages of life to avoid cruelty and control for the subconscious wants and desires.


The complete the extent of the focus of one’s personality, it appears appropriate that the  human psychological development, remains the foundation of the six dimensions of human nature  by the biological limits and potential development of human growth and diversity, and  the results many other influences, as stated above. Social, biological, social, conscious, and unconscious influences. Furthermore, even though a person’s personality is somewhat permanent the uniqueness of each individual can change due to the introduction a new social group or surrounding not to mention the biological changes that continually happen during a person’s life. 


Bruder, K., & Moore, B. N. (2002). Philosophy: The power of ideas (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2006). Theories of personality (6th ed.). Boston : McGraw Hill.

Gould, M., & Howson, A. (2009). Freud & personality development. Research Starters Sociology, 1-6. from EBSCOHost Database.

Lucas, R. E., & Donnellan, M. B. (2009). Age differences in personality: Evidence from a nationally representative Australian sample. Developmental Psychology, 45(5), 1353-1363., from EBSCOHost Database.

Nevid, J.S., & Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in thenew millennium (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Mills, C.W. (2009). Psychology and social science. Monthly Review: An Independent SocialistMagazine, 61(7), 47-52. EBSCOHost Database.

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