What is personality?
Personality refers to individual differences in
thinking pattern, feeling and behaving. The personality study emphases on two wide
areas: One is understanding the differences in individual’s specific personality
characteristics, like irritability or sociability. The other is understanding
how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.
No two individuals are similar. Every individual
has his own typical way of responding to emotions, behaving, and perceiving things
Personality is the collective accumulation
of incidents and memories in an individual’s whole life span.
Environmental factors, family background, financial conditions, genetic
factors, situations and circumstances also contribute to an individual’s
Personality influences what we
think, our expectations beliefs and values it
depends on our personality that how we think about others.
Definition of personality in Layman’s
In a layman’s language personality is defined as the personal
characteristics and qualities of an individual. How we interact with others is
our personality .It is the sum total of characteristics of a person which makes
him different from the others. It is our personality which makes us unique and
helps us stand apart from the crowd.
Factors of Personality
Factors that help in shaping one’s personality
Condition – the personality of individual changes with existing
circumstances and conditions
Environment – The environment to which an individual is exposed
to throughout his growing or developing years plays a vital role in shaping
individual’s personality. The varied cultures in which we are brought up
and our family backgrounds have a crucial role in shaping our
Heredity – Heredity refers to factors that are determined
once an individual is born. An individual’s physique, attractiveness, body
type, complexion, body weight depend on his/her parents biological makeup
It is a process of enhancing and developing one’s
personality. Through Personality development a person can gain high self-esteem
development is comparatively a persistent pattern of feelings, thoughts
and behaviors that differentiate the individuals from each another. The
dominant view in the field of personality psychology today holds that
personality emerges early and continues to change in meaningful ways throughout
traits are believed to have a basis in infant temperament, meaning that individual differences in disposition and
behavior appear early in life, possibly even before language or conscious
self-representation develop. The Five Factor
Model of personality has been found to map onto dimensions of
childhood temperament, suggesting that individual differences in levels of the
“big five” personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness to
experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) are present from young ages.
Process of personality
As we can see, how one’s personality develops
is not as simple as just saying that it is one thing; however, there is one
thing that most researchers seem to agree on: one’s childhood lays the
foundation for the personality that one will have as an adult. The genes we are
born with, coupled with the environment we are brought up in and the situations
we live through, all work together. They end up creating the personality you
see as an adult.
In this article, we will begin to look at the
stages of development that help to create who we are. These stages of
development begin when we are children and play a key role in shaping our
While there are quite a few theories regarding
development, some of them are more popularly known than others, such as the
Freudian stages of development, as well as Erik Erikson’s stages of
development. Here, we will look at both of these different theories
Freud’s theory of Personality Development:
Freud’s theory of personality development was
that it was a result of a series of stages during childhood. He believed that
the development process involved a pleasure-seeking source that revolved around
psychosexual energy. His stages of development include:
This stage comprises the first year of life of
a child. In this stage sucking at mother’s breast satisfies the need for food
and pleasure. Infant needs to get basic nurturing or later feelings of
greediness and acquisitiveness may develop, oral fixations result from
deprivation of oral gratification in infancy. Later personality problems can
include mistrust of others, rejecting others, love and fear of or inability to
form intimate relationships.
This is the second stage of Freud’s personality
development theory. It comprises the age from 1 to 3 years.in this stage the
anal zone becomes major significance in formation of personality. Main
developmental tasks include learning independence, accepting personal power,
and learning to express negative feelings such as rage and aggression. Parental
discipline patterns and attitudes have significant consequences for child’s
later personality development.
This stage comprises the age from 3 years to 6
years of life. In this stage basic conflict centers on unconscious incestuous
desires that child develops for parent of opposite sex and that, because of
their threatening nature, are repressed. Male phallic stage known as Oedipus complex, involves mother as
love object for boy. Female phallic stage, known as Electra complex, involves girl’s striving for father’s love and
approval. How parents respond, verbally and nonverbally, to child’s emerging
sexuality has an impact on sexual attitudes and feelings that child develops.
This stage lasts from 6 to 12 years. After the torment
of sexual impulses of preceding years, this period is relatively quiescent.
Sexual interests are replaced by interests in schools, playmates, sports, and a
range of new activities. This is a time of socialization as child turns outward
and forms relationships with others.
This stage lasts from 12 years to 18 years of
life. Old themes of phallic stage are revived, this stage begins with puberty
and lasts until senility sets in .even though there are societal restrictions
and taboos, adolescents can deal with sexual energy by investing it in various
socially acceptable activities such as forming friendships, engaging in arts or
in sports , and preparing for career.
Genital Stage Continues:
The genital stage continues from 18 years till
death. Core characteristics of mature adult is the freedom to love and to work.
This move towards adulthood involves freedom from parental influence and
capacity to care for others.
Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development
Another popular psychologist in the field was
Erik Erikson. His stages of development focused on trying to provide a theory
on social development. He was influenced by Sigmund Freud. Erikson’s stages of
development did not stop when a child turned 18. He believed that the person
continued to develop and have personality outcomes into adulthood as well. His
stages of development, considered his contribution to personality development,
Trust vs Mistrust
Childhood: Autonomy vs shame and doubt.
Age: Initiative versus Guilt
Age: Industry versus inferiority
identity versus role confusion
Adulthood: intimacy versus isolation
Ages: Generatively versus Stagnation
Age: Integrity versus despair
Infancy: Trust vs Mistrust
year of life
If significant others provide for basic
physical and emotional needs, infants develops a sense of trust. If basic needs
are not met, an attitude of mistrust toward the world, especially toward
interpersonal relationships, is the result.
Early Childhood: Autonomy vs shame and doubt.
A time for developing autonomy. Basic struggle
is between a sense of self-reliance and a sense of self-doubt. Child needs to
explore and experiment, to make mistakes, and to test limits. If parents
promote dependency, child’s autonomy is inhibited and capacity to deal with
world successfully is hampered.
Preschool Age: Initiative versus Guilt
Basic task is to achieve a sense of competence
and initiative. If children are given freedom to select personally meaningful
activities, they tend to develop a positive view of self and follow through
with their projects. If they are not allowed to make their own decisions, they
tend to develop guilt over taking initiative. They then refrain from taking an active
stance and allow others to choose for them.
School Age: Industry versus inferiority
Child needs to expand understanding of world,
continue to develop appropriate gender role identity, and learn the basic
skills required for school success. Basic task is to achieve a sense of
industry, which refers to setting and attaining personal goals, failure to do
so results in a sense of inadequacy.
Adolescence: identity versus role confusion
A time of transition between childhood and
adulthood. A time for testing limits, for breaking dependent ties, and for
establishing a new identity. Major conflicts center on clarification of self-identity,
life goals, and life’s meaning. Failure to achieve a sense of identity results
in role confusion.
Young Adulthood: intimacy versus isolation
Developmental task at this time is to form
intimate relationships. Failure to achieve intimacy can lead to alienation and
Middle Ages: Generatively versus Stagnation
There is a need to go beyond self and family
and be involved in helping the next generation. This is a time of adjusting to
discrepancy between one’s dreams and one’s actual accomplishments. Failure to
achieve a sense of productivity often leads to psychological stagnation.
Later Age: Integrity versus despair
If one looks back on life with few regrets and
feels personally worthwhile, ego integrity results. Failure to achieve ego
integrity can lead to feelings of despair, hopelessness, guilt, resentment, and