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Most people use the term "personality" to identify the most obvious characteristic of a person, or to refer to a person's human nature, social skills or something that is typical of them (Kosslyn and Rosenberg, 2001).

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Personality Most people use the term "personality" to identify the most obvious characteristic of a person, or to refer to a person's human nature, social skills or something that is typical of them (Kosslyn and Rosenberg, 2001). According to Allport (1961, as cited in Pervin and John, 2001) personality can be described as an active process which involves continuous patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings that characterize a person in a variety of situations which distinguish individuals from each other (Pervin and John, 2001). In contrast, Adams (Kosslyn and Rosenberg, 2001) states personality is "I". Adams suggests that we get a good idea of what personality is by listening to what we say when we use "I", which in effect sums up everything about ourselves - our likes and dislikes, fears and virtues, and strengths and weaknesses. The goals of personality theories are used to investigate a set of phenomena. It attempts to explain and predict new information which is not yet known (e.g. why do people respond differently to similar situations) (Carver and Scheier, 2004). These theories seek to explain what people are like (their characteristics), how they become that way (their determinants), and why they behave as they do (their behaviour) (Pervin and John, 2001). The Five areas covered by comprehensive Theories of Personality are: 1) Structure - These are the building blocks that refer to the more stable and enduring aspects of personality. These features include response, habit, trait, and type. ...read more.


The type of data used in the Experimental approach is self-report data (S-data) and largely test data (T-data). T-data is obtained from experimental procedures (i.e. directly watching what someone does) or standardized tests. Then again, T-data is criticized as not being relevant to 'real life' situations but valued on other measures (AllPsych, 2004). Correlational research allows generalization, and provides one way to study certain topics, while Experimental research can identify cause, but cannot be used to study certain topics. Therefore, the two differ in what they test, but are both excellent ways to test research (Pervin, 2002). Dispositional and Psychodynamic Perspectives: The dispositional approach creates systems for classification and describing psychological characteristics for which people differ consistently between situations and over time (PyschLab, 2004). The "trait" approach (which focuses on understanding which dimensions of personality are important and developing optimal ways of placing people on these dimensions) clearly emphasizes the dispositional perspective, but another way to approach the concept of dispositions in terms of their motivational characteristics that vary in strength from person to person, is their "needs and motives" (Carver and Scheier, 2001). There are two major assumptions underlying a dispositional approach: 1) Stability of personality - The idea behind this assumption is that you are the same person you used to be and will be in the future; 2) Differences between people - Each person's personality consists of a pattern of dispositional qualities which form a unique combination in each person (Carver and Scheier, 2001). ...read more.


She was also starved of her mother's attention and could easily have blamed her for not protecting her from her father. As a result of her strained relationship (particularly her father), Wendy married the first man who paid real attention to her. He seemed to possess all the attributes that she was not receiving from her father. He was kind, and he made her feel attractive and wanted. Throughout Wendy's life she had experienced many unresolved conflicts, and had not developed her own identity. Although she now feels with the support of her daughters that she is valued, she is still unsure how to deal with it all. Cross Cultural Perspective One reason for looking at cross cultural consistency of the Big Five model is that it could provide an evolutionary interpretation of the way individual differences have been processed as personality categories in language (PsychLab, 2004). "The Big Five" factor has been interpreted in seven different languages. This model helps to understand personality, but the underlying analysis of our behaviour and biological attributes should, to some extent, be characteristic in the development of our personality (PsychLab, 2004). Studies in this field are somewhat temperament and we may be able to predict the outcome, however unless nature, nurture and cultural approaches are not synchronised, the study of personality will be limited and contain ongoing setbacks (PsychLab, 2004). Conclusion Personality is difficult to define. My impression of personality is that it is made up of many different approaches - each asking a different set of questions and therefore getting different answers. It is complex - it is diverse - it is controversial - it is necessary. ...read more.

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