Introduction to Personality
Personality is difficult to describe, but nearly impossible to define in a universally acceptable way. Throughout history many definitions of personality have been proposed but none universally accepted. This is because of the reality that each individual’s definition comes with a unique spin placed upon it by that individual’s life experience, surroundings, and personal viewpoint. Personality can be described as the regular presentation of certain traits and attributes that lend cohesion and uniqueness to behavior and thought (Feist & Feist, 2009). Although there is not a single, universally accepted definition of personality, theorists agree on the word’s etymological roots. Persona, a Latin word used in reference to the masks worn by actors in Greek dramas seems to be the most likely origin of the word. The actors wore masks to facilitate the playing of their roles. Essentially a mask is a false face; however, one’s personality is the farthest thing from false. It is quite real, and it is relatively permanent (Feist & Feist, 2009). Personality is made up of traits and characteristics. Traits can be shared by entire species, completely unique to a single individual, or somewhere in between. They lend both consistency and individuality to behavior (Feist & Feist, 2009). While traits can be shared their pattern is unique to each person (Feist & Feist, 2009). Like trait patterns, characteristics are unique to each individual. Intellect, physique, and temperment are examples of characteristics (Feist & Feist, 2009). Theoretical Approaches to Personality
The theoretical approaches to the study of personality are varied and many. The first and possibly most widely known is the psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic theory is based on the internal desires of each human being. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was...