+
4 Tutorials that teach Introduction to Personality Theory
Take your pick:
Introduction to Personality Theory

Introduction to Personality Theory

Description:

This lesson will define personality, character, and temperament.

(more)
See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

25 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

221 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 20 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial


What's Covered

This lesson is going to cover personality by looking at:

  1. Personality Psychology
  2. Approaches to Personality Psychology


1. Personality Psychology

When you think about a person's psychology, what assumptions do you make?

Generally people assume that there's something regular, consistent, or normal in a person. They don't constantly change and act differently. Typically a person has a sense of self or a personality. Personality psychology is the study of a person's unique, consistent, and stable patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving over time.

  • Term to Know
    Personality
  • Unique pattern of consistent feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that originate within the individual across time and situations.

There are three important aspects when we study personality psychology:

  • A person's personality is unique- This means it differs from person to person. Although traits can be consistent over many people over time, the extent to which that trait is exhibited can vary.
  • Personality is consistent-it's the same, and a person performs similar types of behaviors in different kinds of situations.
  • Personality is stable- It stays the same over time. This is unlike things like mood, which will can change depending on things that happen to a person. 

Some important parts of personality include character and temperament. Character is an aspect of psychology and describes what we consider to be desirable or undesirable in a person. Character refers to the parts of personality that are valued or not valued. Personality is descriptive; it tells what a person is like. Character is prescriptive; it says how someone should or shouldn't be. Character is just one aspect of personality, and is developed by culture and social influences.

Term to Know

  • Character
  • Desirable or undesirable aspects of a person; characteristics that a person values or doesn’t value.

Temperament is our innate and inherited aspects of personality. Things like how emotional, irritable, or sensitive a person is are part of temperament. While these traits can be developed, they are innate to an individual. Temperament is an aspect of behavioral genetics, which is the study of behaviors and personality that are inherited. These traits are not necessarily situational which explains why personality can be stable and consistent over time.

Term to Know

  • Temperament
  • Innate and inherited aspects of personality, like emotionality, irritability, or sensitivity.
  • Behavior Genetics
  • Study the link between personality traits and heredity (genetic instructions).


2. Approaches to Personality Psychology

In the field of personality psychology, there are lots of different approaches, just like the rest of psychology. Biological approaches focuses temperament and how heredity affects personality, and social or sociocultural focus on things like character and the influence of others. 

There are three approaches that are important to know specifically:

  • Trait Theory
  • Psychodynamic Theory
  • Humanism

Trait theory is the identification of the basic stable and consistent qualities that people show. This is one of the most widely used aspects of personality psychology, and uses personality tests. It attempts to break down into single components that which make up a person’s psychology.

Psychodynamic theory emphasizes the importance of the unconscious on personality and temperaments. There are several aspects to this theory with ideas developed by several important psychologists:

  • Sigmund Freud- Theorized on the idea of competing forces and conflicts
  • Neo-Freudians like Horney and Adler-focus on anxiety, and the need for superiority.
  • Jung- emphasizes the collective unconscious 

Humanism- the discussion of the development of ideas of self. This area focuses on self-esteem and self-concept. It looks at the positive views of self, and how we can achieve the most ideal version of ourselves.

Summary

Personality psychology is the study of a person’s unique, consistent, and stable patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving over time. Character refers to the values a person places on specific traits, and temperament is the inherited aspects of a person’s personality. There are many approaches to personality psychology. They can include: Biological, social or sociocultural, trait theory, psychodynamic theory, and humanism.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Personality

    Unique pattern of consistent feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that originate within the individual across time and situations.

  • Character

    Desirable or undesirable aspects of a person; characteristics that a person values or doesn’t value.

  • Temperament

    Innate and inherited aspects of personality, like emotionality, irritability, or sensitivity.

  • Behavior Genetics

    Study the link between personality traits and heredity (genetic instructions).