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10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Personality

A personality is a combination of qualities that make someone who they are. When someone’s core characteristics are all added up, we can see their individual personality. Everyone has distinctive characteristics. Many of us share some common characteristics as well. These qualities or characteristics that we’re talking about are patterns in how people think, how they feel, and how they behave. 

Personality psychology is an attempt to study the similarities and differences between people’s personalities. When these patterns and behaviors are analyzed, we can see that personalities are rooted in our psychology. Pretty interesting, right? Let’s explore deeper. Here are 10 things to know about the psychology of personality…


The psychoanalytical theory was developed by Sigmund Freud and essentially claims that the human brain is made out of three structures:

  • the ID
  • the ego
  • the superego.

These structures create our personality. The trait theory argues that our personality is determined by 5 notable traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The humanistic theory claims that our personality and traits are a personal choice. The social cognition theory bases personality traits and characteristics off of social interactions and our environment. 


There are 4 personality theories.


Personalities are confusing. There are many factors and no brain is the same. However, there are some common denominators when it comes to simplifying the concept. These common denominators help us understand personalities and how they vary. There are four personality categories and they include:

  • psychoanalytic views
  • trait theory
  • humanistic views
  • the social cognition theory. 


There are core personality traits that we all have some of. 


While everyone is different, we are only human at the end of the day. We are all connected in many ways. Personality traits are one of the ways in which we are all connected. There are core personality traits that we can base all human personalities on. For example, friendliness, confidence, positivity, daring. We are on a sliding scale for how much of these traits we actually identify as. Some are more one category than the other, but we are all connected by these core characteristics. 


When do we develop a personality? 


Our personalities determine who we are, but when does this happen? As we age, we develop a sense of who we are. Through behavioral patterns, we develop our personality over a long period of time. While it’s very sweet to think that babies have personalities as soon as they’re born, this isn’t necessarily something we can see right away. Environment, genetics, parenting methods, and social factors are all thrown into one pot and develop a person’s personality. Research has shown that the most active part of this process happens between the ages of 20 and 40. The activity starts to slow down around 50 years old. 


Personality and nature vs. nurture.

For many psychology topics, the theory of nature vs. nurture is discussed. When it comes to developing a personality, nature vs. nurture has been an argument for quite awhile. Nature claims that humans are a certain way because of our genealogy and biology. Nurture claims that humans are a certain way because of outside factors that we exposed to after we are born. For example:

  • experiences
  • parenting methods
  • traveling, etc. 


While experts argue both sides, it may be that individuals’ personalities are influenced by both of these factors. There is the topic of behavioral genetics. Experts believe that if we in fact inherit traits, these types of traits may vary but they are usually recognized pretty early on. 


Our personalities may change depending on environment we are in. 


Have you ever felt like the person you are at work is not who you are when you’re around your friends? Ever felt like the person you are when you’re back home with your parents is different than the person you are when you’re in your home with your partner? This is because for many of us, we alter how we talk and how we act depending on our surroundings. While we are still ourselves at the core, we may read the environment and make some changes. This can be for the sake of being appropriate, for being considerate of others feelings, because of a lack of confidence, or any other reason. 


10-13% of the world suffers from personality disorders.

A personality disorder, just like any disorder is a variant in norms and expectations. For individuals suffering from personality disorders, they think, feel, and behave differently because of a psychological difference. This can cause struggles with human interaction, learning, etc. Most psychologists believe that there are 10 different personality disorders. Most group the  disorders into three categories. These include:

  • suspicious
  • emotional and impulsive
  • anxious

Each category varies in severity and symptoms. 


Personality tests are very popular.


Personality tests are a way to assess a human’s personality on a deeper level. The tests usually take the shape of a long and in-depth questionnaire. A personality test can be used to simply help us learn more about ourselves or see what types of careers we might be good at. It can also be used to aid in clinical diagnosis’s and help determine a method of therapy. While we often think about our personality and the personalities of those around us, personality tests allow us to dig deeper on a scientific level. 


Personality traits may be linked to success.

There are specific personalities that set people apart from the group. When you think of someone who is very successful, how would you describe their personality? Many people may answer that this person is a leader, a hard worker, intuitive, a complex thinker, etc. Noticing this helps us make the connection that being successful is something that we are psychologically capable of. 


Personality traits may play a role in friendships and social life.

Some personalities may be drawn to each other while some could not be any more different. In the middle ground, some personalities compliment each other. When it comes to friendships, humans may be drawn to people that they are the most similar to. For humans that are different, they may learn that their varied personalities actually compliment each other. For some individuals, they will just never click and get along. Because of this, personality traits may play a big role in our friendships and who we surround ourself with. 


Studying and analyzing personality psychology is a career.


Personality psychology is a popular and well known form of psychology. It is the study of personalities and the ways in which they vary among humans. People who study and analyze this form of psychology are looking to understand how personalities develop as well as how they influence how we think and act. Personality psychology is helpful for many reasons but perhaps the most popular is how it can change people’s lives. Someone who is a psychologist in this field can analyze, diagnosis and treat individuals who suffer from personality disorders. 

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