Topics: Personality psychology, Personality, Person Pages: 5 (1200 words) Published: May 19, 2013
The composition of human personality is the subject of innumerable theories. Each focuses on one or several particular aspects or dimensions of personality, but none appear to consider it in its full scope, depth and integrity. Some theories focus more on differences in type, others on the relative development of specific characteristics and competencies and still others on the dynamics of interaction between several psychological constructs such as Freud's ego, super ego and id.

A typological approach to categorize personalities fails to take into account wide variations in intensity that would adequately distinguish a Napoleon from a dominant local leader. Behavioral descriptions do not adequately distinguish between external expressions of personality and inner motivation. In an effort towards scientific objectivity and impartiality, most theories omit assigning values to differences in personal orientation to other people and the world around, yet the distinction between a good, kind, generous person who relates positively to everyone and one who is jealous, mean or evil-motive cannot be merely dismissed as a difference in type.

A comprehensive theory of personality would need to account for and integrate all these dimensions -- typal differences, varying levels of development and dynamics. A first step in evolution of such a theory would be to clearly identify the structural dimensions on which personalities differ.

Human personalities can be examined and differentiated on six core dimensions:

Direction: positive-negative attitudes
Depth: Manners-Behavior-Character-Personality-Individuality
Consciousness: physical-vital-mental development

This is a subjective measure of the strength or intensity of personality which is very tangible to observation and experience but extremely difficult to define and measure. Great personalities in politics, business and even in the arts are almost invariably described as 'high energy' people. Personality theory needs to identify the source and determinants of that energy. It needs to distinguish between qualitative differences in the type of energy observed, such as the difference between a Napoleon and Mahatma Gandhi. It needs also to account for varying intensities of energy at the mental, vital and physical levels of the being which is discussed below.


This refers to whether the person's attitudes, motives, intentions and actions are positively or negatively related to the welfare and well-being of other individuals and society. In common parlance, whether the person is 'good' or 'bad'. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Moriarty are both depicted as well-formed high energy, mental characters, yet they dedicate their lives and direct their energies in diametrically opposite directions. Goodwill is an expression of positive direction.


This refers quite literally to what is most important or valuable to a person. If direction is a horizontal measure of good vs. bad, values are a vertical measure of higher vs. lower. Selflessness is high, selfishness as a central motivating force is low. This vertical dimension expresses at all three levels of consciousness. Thus, idealism, honesty, integrity, self-respect, self-reliance and self-giving are high mental values. Loyalty, courage and generosity are high vital values. Cleanliness, punctuality and efficiency are high physical values. For a fuller discussion and illustration of personal values, see Values and Personal values.


Human personality can be viewed as an onion skin of many layers from surface behavior to inner depths -- including

Manners -- Behavior -- Character -- Personality -- Individuality

Depth refers to the degree to which these deeper layers are formed in the person.

Manners -- Superficial, external forms of formalized response, a subset of social or interpersonal skills. Behavior -- The capacity of a person for directed activities based...
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