INTRODUCTION TO PERSONALITY
B.Ed. Teaching Notes
Lecturer in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
The word personality is derived from the Latin word ‘Persona’ means mask, used by the actors to change their appearance but in Roman period it was taken to mean the actor. The meaning of the word personality has changed little since classical times. We often say ‘fine personality’, ‘good personality’, ‘poor personality’ etc. on the basis of physical make up, manner of walking, talking, drawing and other similar characteristics of the individual. However this is a very limited view and the psychological concept of personality goes further and deeper than mere appearance or out ward behavior.
Different View Points to define Personality
1) Philosophical view point
Philosophers are of the view that the personality is ideal of perfection or self-realization or the internal self.
2) Sociological View Point
This view point thinks that the individual is nothing but a reflection of the society. Personality is the integration of all traits which determine the role of the status of the person in society, ie. “Social effectiveness”. In the Warren’s dictionary it is defined that “Personality is the integrative organization of all the cognitive, affective, conative and physical characteristics of an individual as it manifests itself in local distinction from others.
3) Layman View Point
From this point of view, personality means those qualities which cast their influence on others. How an individual affects other persons with whom he comes in contact or the effect or impact which an individual leaves on other people is called personality. It is also understood that personality is the stimulus value which one individual has for others or the total picture of an individual’s organized behavior.
4) Psycho analytic view point
According to Freud, personality is the combination of three components ie. Id, Ego and Super Ego which are manifested through behavior.
5) Psychological view point
Psychologists are of the view that personality is the sum total of all the biological innate disposition, impulses, tendencies, aptitudes, attitudes and instincts of the individual and the acquired dispositions and tendencies acquired by experience. This approach was criticized and other psychologists emphasis on integration and organization in defining personality. They define personality is the entire organization of a human being at any state of his development. The way the individual adjust with the external environment is personality. Thus psychologically personality is the integrated and dynamic organization of the physical, mental, moral and social qualities of the individual as that manifests itself to others in social life.
Definitions of Personality
Some of the important definitions of personality are
1) Morton Prince (1914):- “Personality is the sum total of biological innate dispositions, impulses, tendencies, aptitudes and instincts of the individual and the dispositions and tendencies acquired by experience”
2) Gordon R.G. (1928):- “Personality is a comprehensive term which includes character”
3) Watson J.B (1924):-“Personality is the sum of activities that can be discovered by actual observation over a long enough period of time to give reliable information.”
4) G.W. Allport (1937):- “Personality is the dynamic organization with in the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustment to the environment”.
5) R.B. Cattel (1967):- “Personality is that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation”
6) Eysenck H.J. (1947):- “Personality is the more or less stable and enduring organization of persons character, temperament, intellect & physique, which determine his unique adjustment to the environment”
7) Guilford J.P (1967):- “An individual’s personality then is his unique pattern of traits”
8) Lewin. Kurt (1935):- “Personality is a dynamic totality of systems”
9) S.R. Maddi (1976):- Personality is the stable characteristics and tendencies that determine those commonalities and differences in the psychological behavior (thought, feelings and actions) of people that have continuity in time and that may or may not be easily understood in terms of the social & biological pressures of the immediate situation alone”.
10) Moynihan & Peterson (2001):- Personality is the key antecedent of an individual’s cognitions and affective states that may influence his/her to and interpersonal or socio-emotional role behavior.
Factors Influencing or Affecting Personality
Personality is dynamic, growing, and different in each person in physical appearance, temperament and motivation. The differences become more pronounced and complex with increasing and maturity due to continuous interaction with the environment and accordingly each one of us develop a personality different from others. Now the question arises; how does personality develop? What causes these variations? Why do we develop different personality’s inspite of basic similarities? All these can be answered if we examine the various factors which influence the structure & functions of personality. Thus the development of personality depends upon the following factors.
(i) Physiological and physical factors (genetic or biological)
(ii) Environmental or Social factors
(iii) Psychological or Mental factors
(iv) The cultural factors.
1) The physiological & physical factors (genetic or biological)
The biological factors affecting the development of personality are mainly three. They are
(c) Nervous system.
An individual’s personalities differ according to his physique. These aspects are height, weight, body-built, color appearance and proportion etc, which determine to a large extent the way in which he behaves towards other and how others react towards him. It is seen that in daily life the fact men are easy going and social while thin men are self controlled, irritated and unsocial. Even tall & fair persons enjoy an advantage over their short and ugly associates. Thus the physical structure has some relation with environment and makes a change in their personality.
Chemique is meant the possible effects of the ductless glands on the personality development. Ductless glands called endocrine glands releases hormones into the blood stream which carries them to all parts of the body. It brings about changes in physical appearance, motor functioning, intelligence and emotional stability. Eg:-Pituitary, Thyroid, Adrenal etc. Individuals with profound imbalance of ductless glands are rarely happy or well-adjusted. Glands play an important part in bodily, mental and emotional development
c) Nervous System
Nervous system is mainly classified as Central Nervous system (Control of our will) and Autonomous nervous system (autonomic). The conditions of the body brought by drugs, disease, diet, toxins etc. may also influence one’s personality and behavior.
Hence heredity lies at the root of all the possibilities of personality development.
2) The Environmental or Social Factors
Physical and geographical conditions of the environment play an important role in shaping the personality of human beings at every stage of development. The type of home atmosphere parent child relationship, financial conditions, types of school and the community or society etc are some of the factors of environment which affect the personality.
a) Influence of Home & the family on personality
Besides the role of parents in personality development the atmosphere in the family is greatly influencing. A peaceful and loving atmosphere results in children being orderly peace-loving and very affectionate and develop mature and pleasant personalities, where as in family where there is tension, constant quarreling, incompatibility among parents, the child is likely to develop insecurity, inferiority and becomes emotionally confused and unstable. Rigid atmosphere, deprivation, autocratic styles of living, absence of affection and sympathy affect adversely and the child often turns criminal. Thus the child’s personality is a creation of family and its development is fully dependent upon the child’s parents and the child himself at home.
b) Influence of School on Personality
School plays an important role in molding the personality of children because a significant part of a child’s life is spent in school. In school the personality and behavior of the teacher, class fellows and playmates, the richness of the curriculum, co-curricular activities, method of teaching, nature of school organization and discipline that prevails etc. are effecting the child’s personality. The child tends to identify himself with the teachers and tries to imitate his ways & manners. Thus a good teacher and the congenial atmosphere in the institution develop the child educationally and mentally, and helps in formulating balanced personality development otherwise an unethical behavior could have been found out with children.
c) Influence of Society on Personality
In the society each individual has same peculiar status and roles corresponding to him. It is found out that social control is exercised by traditions, myth, legends, customs etc. and determines the style of life of an individual. The individual has to follow rules, regulations, norms and law to govern the individual. Thus social norms influence even the ways and attitudes of the individual. This ultimately influences his personality.
3) The Psychological or Mental Factors
The psychological factors like motives, interests, attitudes, character, thinking, intelligence, reasoning, imagination, creativity, habits, mental health etc developed by the individual also affect their personality to a great extent.
4) The cultural Determinants
Every society is characterized by its cultural heritage which is transmitted from generation to generation in the form of social heredity. Thus personality of an individual is gradually shaped by the culture where he is born in. Culture is a way of life. It is a fact that we are able to distinguish one person from other on the basis of effect of his culture over his personality characteristics. Thus the attributes and values practiced in a culture have a great effect on the personality development of its members.
Features and Characteristics of Personality
Various researches & observations have led to the identification of the following characteristics of personality.
1) Personality is something unique and specific. Every one of us is unique person and different from one another.
2) Personality is dynamic and moving force. It is never fixed & rigid. However it seems to remain stable to a large extent.
3) Personality is the sum total of various human qualities. It includes all the behavioral patterns. It includes cognitive, connative, affective domains and covers the conscious, semiconscious & unconscious activities.
4) Personality has a structure. It consists of certain dimensions. It is the combination of inner as well as outer qualities.
5) It is not mere physical appearance but it is the study of both physical & psychological factors as an integrated system.
6) It is the product of Heredity & environment
7) Personality exhibits self consciousness as one of its main characteristics. Man is described as a ‘person’ when the idea of ‘self’ enter into his consciousness.
8) It is subjected to disorganization & disintegration leading to severe personality disorders.
9) Learning & acquisition of experiences contributes towards growth & development of personality.
10) It can be described & measured.
Thus it may be said that personality is a complex blend of a constantly evolving and changing pattern of one’s unique behavior, emerged as a result of one’s interaction with environment and directed towards some specifications.
Related terms & Explanation
Mc Dougall used the team ‘instinct’ to define the innate behavior of an individual. Instincts provide the driving force for action. Some sort of control over instincts is necessary and the aim of education is to modify and direct instincts into healthy channels.
The development of character & personality depends on modification of instincts. Instincts are said to be the bricks out of which an individual’s character is fashioned.
2) Character and Temperament as parts of personality
Character is something different from personality. It is said that personality is intelligence plus character.
Temperament is said to designate a certain class of raw material from which personality is fashioned. Temperament is the affective nature of an individual.
3) Personality Traits
According to Woodworth “A trait is some particular quality of behavior which characterizes the individual in a wide range of his activities and which is family consistent over a period of time. Only those traits that are found in an individual’s behavior more or less consistently similar situations are called personality traits. Unity consistency & continuity mark the personality traits.
The behavior of each individual is mainly influenced by one or more strong and in depth specific trait or a set of traits. The influence of such traits will be reflected in all the behaviors of the individual. They are said to be the robust personality traits of that individual.
Eg: Dominance -Submissiveness, Introversion - Extroversion etc.
4) Concept of Mature Personality
According to G.W. Allport a mature personality has three characteristics.
1) Self extension: Never be ego centric, have a definite goal
2) Self objectification: Having a sense of reality
3) Unifying philosophy of life: value oriented & values are for welfare of all.
5) Concept of Integrated Personality
An integrated personality is one in which the various aspects are integrated in a harmonious and effective manner. The concept of integrated personality differs according to different theories of personality. Psycho analysts view is that stable ego functions contribute to balance & integration of personality. The Humanists believe that self concept of person is the key concept that decides an integrated personality.
Characteristics of Integrated Personality
1) An Integrated personality
1) Is flexible, strong and organized as well as balanced.
2) Has realistic assessment of oneself-one’s strength and weakness.
3) Maintains harmony between ones abilities, capabilities, interests, self concept, social constraints life goal and social codes and conduct.
2) In an integrated personality
i) There is no conflict
ii) Mind and emotions, desire & determination and all mental activities work in an organized way.
iii) Ambitions & aspirations are in accordance with one’s mental capabilities.
‘Example is better than percept’. A teacher teaches not only by ‘What he says and does’ but by ‘what he is’. Children’s are easily influenced by their ‘model’ teachers. So teachers must possess an integrated personality.
Teacher’s personality influences student’s personality. This process is called psycho osmosis. This is a gradual & often unconscious process. The ideas thus absorbed are to be conducive to the development of an integrated personality.
Role of teacher in Personality development
Teacher has to play a vital role to ensure favorable environment to poster the development of good personally of children. Teacher can develop a good (balanced) personality among the children by projecting these qualities through his own personality, showing related personalities of eminent persons through audio-visual aids creating conductive social and emotional climate and environment in the school.
Recent Research in Personality
Recent researches in personality includes the dimensions of
1) Various models of personality (e.g.: Big five model)
2) Personality disorders
3) Genetic influence on personality
4) Predicting child’s future personality
5) Concept of personality science-For personality measurement.
Throughout history philosophers, politicians, physicians, jurists, and psychologists were interested to explain how and why the differences among people occur. Most had the goal of explaining or predicting human behavior. The study and understanding of personality is important within the field of psychology and many other disciplines including Education. Despite various definitions, personality is difficult to define precisely, as the many experts in the field of personality psychology differ in their standards and instruments of defining and measurement. Education aims at the all round development of personality of the learner. The personality factors of the learner do affect their learning and performance in class, and knowledge of personality characteristics of the pupil is needed to give them proper guidance. That is why both psychologists and educationists were always interested in this aspect.
1) Educational Psychology-by Wool fold (Pearson education)
2) Personality & personal growth-by Frager Fadiman
3) Personality classical theories & Modern Research -by Friedman, Schustack
4) Advanced Educational psychology - by S.K. Mangal
5) Educational psychology - by S.K. Mangal
6) Essentials of Educational Psychology - by J.C. Agarwal
7) Advanced educational psychology-by Dandapani, S. (Annmol Publications. Pvt. Ltd.)