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Personality Psychology

Introduction

Your personality represents yourself and influences your thoughts, behaviour, emotions, and attitude towards yourself as well as how you see affairs other than yourself.

Do you know what your personality is like?

Personality Psychology, being one of the largest and most popular branches in psychology, answers this question. Psychologists, through understanding personalities, predict what people would most likely do in different situations.


Here are some of the Personality theories.

  1. Type theory

  2. Psychoanalytic theory

  3. Behaviourist theory


Type theory

This theory is the most popular and most common in personality psychology. Personality tests are really common nowadays, examples being MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) or Enneagram. Personality type refers to the psychological classification of people. For type theory, there are two types of people: introverts and extroverts. There are also two psychological functions that are connected with the terms: perceiving function and judging function. Perceiving function is sensing versus institution, sensing means trusting in facts and institution means trusting in imaginary things. Judging function is thinking versus feeling, which means logic versus emotion.

Please note that different psychologists may have different understandings of introversion, extroversion, perceiving and judging functions.


Psychoanalytic theory

An Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud, was the founder of psychoanalytic theory. He divided personality into three components:

  1. id: Pleasure principle. Needs and urges.

  2. ego: Reality principle.

  3. super-ego: Ideals and morals.


He emphasized that childhood experiences affect a child’s personality when they are growing up and all development during childhood contributes to future behaviour.

Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist, also believed that birth order affects a child’s development. He thought that the oldest child always has high expectations for oneself and sets high goals in order to get attention from their parents when they have a sibling. The middle child is usually ambitious because they have a sibling older than them and wants to surpass them. The youngest child is usually more sociable than their siblings. Meanwhile for an only child, they mature quickly, try to be independent but fail at last because they’re the main focus of their parents.


Behaviourist theory

The theorist, B.F Skinner, developed this theory. He thought that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. He created a ‘three term contingency model’ called ‘Stimulus--Response--Consequence Model’. The experiments included how to make positive behaviors more frequent and lessening/getting rid of negative behaviors. Conditioning, which is a predictable behaviour response, shapes our personality through interaction of a person and the environment.


Personality test

There are two major types of tests:

  1. Projective tests:

  • respondents are shown an ambiguous image and asked to say the first thing that comes to mind

  • test how people respond to a certain situation/scene

  • e.g Rorschach test, Thematic Apperception test


  1. Objective test:

  • consciously accessible

  • self-report

  • e.g MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)


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Personality disorder

  • affect one’s behaviour, thoughts, body functions

  • e.g antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

If you suffer from personality disorder(s), please do not feel ashamed of yourself. Remember that there are professionals who can help you, and you are not alone.



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