A. What Is Personality?
• Personality is a dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system; it looks at some aggregate whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.
• Gordon Allport coined the most frequent used definition: o “The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment” • The text defines personality as the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others.
• It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits.
B. Personality Determinants
• An early argument centered on whether or not personality was the result of heredity or of environment.
o Personality appears to be a result of both influences.
o Today, we recognize a third factor—the situation.
♣ Influences the effects of heredity and environment
♣ The different demands of different situations call
forth different aspects of one’s personality.
♣ There is no classification scheme that tells the
impact of various types of situations.
♣ Situations seem to differ substantially in the
constraints they impose on behavior.
• Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception. • The heredity approach argues that the ultimate explanation of an individual’s personality is the molecular structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes.
• Three different streams of research lend some credibility to the heredity argument:
o The genetic underpinnings of human behavior and temperament among young children. Evidence demonstrates that traits such as shyness, fear, and distress are most likely caused by
inherited genetic characteristics.
o One hundred sets of identical twins that were separated at birth were studied. Genetics accounts for about 50 percent of the
variation in personality differences and over 30 percent of
occupational and leisure interest variation.
o Individual job satisfaction is remarkably stable over time. This indicates that satisfaction is determined by something inherent in the person rather than by external environmental factors.
• Personality characteristics are not completely dictated by heredity. If they were, they would be fixed at birth and no amount of experience could alter them.
• Factors that exert pressures on our personality formation: o The culture in which we are raised
o Early conditioning
o Norms among our family
o Friends and social groups
• The environment we are exposed to plays a substantial role in shaping our personalities.
• Culture establishes the norms, attitudes, and values passed from one generation to the next and create consistencies over time.
• The arguments for heredity or environment as the primary determinant of personality are both important.
• Heredity sets the parameters or outer limits, but an individual’s full potential will be determined by how well he or she adjusts to the demands and requirements of the environment.
C. Personality Traits
• Early work revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring characteristics.
o Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal, and timid. These are personality traits. o The more consistent the characteristic, the more frequently it occurs, the more important it is.
• Researchers believe that personality traits can help in employee selection, job fit, and career development.
2. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
• One of the most widely used personality frameworks is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
• It is a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations.
• Individuals are classified as:
o Extroverted or introverted (E or I).
o Sensing or intuitive (S or N).
o Thinking or feeling (T or F).