Personality: Wikis


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Personality may refer to:

  • Personality psychology is the theory and study of personality types, personality traits and individual differences
  • Personality development, the study of personality development over time
  • Personality disorders, a class of mental disorders that is characterized by long-lasting rigid patterns of thought and actions
  • Personality pathology is characterized by adaptive inflexibility, vicious cycles of maladaptive behavior, and emotional instability under stress
  • Personality quiz, a series of questions (usually multiple-choice) intended to reveal something about the person who answers them
  • Personality tests aim to describe aspects of an individual's character, thoughts, and feelings
  • Personality type refers to patterns of relatively enduring characteristics of behavior and the psychological classification of different types of individuals
  • Personality traits refer to attributes by which people may vary in relative terms, rather than their being divided into absolute types
  • Personality alteration, a theory often associated with cults or brainwashing


  • Cult of personality, political institution in which a leader uses mass media to create a larger-than-life public image
  • Personality rights, consisting of the people to publicity and to privacy



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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PERSONALITY (from Lat. persona, originally an actor's mask, from personare, 1 to sound through), a term applied in 1 So Gabius Bassus in Gell. Noct. Att. v. 7, 1. Since, however, it is difficult to explain persona from persbnare (Skeat suggests by analogy from xporcorov the Greek equivalent !), Walde, in philosophy and also in common speech to the identity or individuality which makes a being (person) what he is, or marks him off for all that he is not. The term "person," which is technically used not only in philosophy but also in law, is applied in theology (Gr. 7rpooonrov) to the three hypostases of the Trinity. It was first introduced by Tertullian, who implied by it a single individual; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were three personae though of one and the same substance (unitas subsiantiae). The nature of this unity in difference exercised the minds of the early Christian theologians, and was the subject of many councils and official pronouncements, according as emphasis was laid on the unity or on the separateness of the persons. There was perpetual schism between the Unitarians and Trinitarians (see for example Sabellius). The natural sense of the word "person" is undoubtedly individuality; hence those who found a difficulty in the philosophic conception of the three-in-one naturally tended to lay emphasis on the distinctions between the members of the Trinity (see Heresy; Monarchianism; Locos, &c.). A further theological question arises in connexion with the doctrine of immortality, and it is argued that immortality is meaningless unless the soul of the dead man is self-conscious throughout.

In philosophy the term has an important ethical significance. The Greek moralists, attaching little importance to individual citizens as such, found the highest moral perfection in the subordination of the individual to the state. Man, as 7roACTCKOY is good only when he is a good 7roXITrls. Subsequent ethical systems on the contrary have laid stress on the moral worth of personality, finding the summum bonum in the highest realization of the self. This view is specially characteristic of the Neo-hegelian school (e.g. T. H. Green), but it belongs also in various degrees to all intuitional and idealistic systems. Utilitarian universalistic hedonism and evolutionist ethics so far resemble the Greek theory that they tend to minimize the importance of personality, by introducing ulterior reasons (e.g. the perfection of the social organism, of humanity) as the ultimate sanctions of moral principles, whereas the intuitionists by making the criterion abstract and absolute limit goodness to personal obedience to the a priori moral law.

Still more important problems are connected with the psychological significance of personality. What is the origin and character of the consciousness of the self? The consciousness of the identity of another person is comparatively simple; but one's own individuality consists partly in being aware of that individuality; a man cannot use the word "I" unless he is conscious of the unity of his "self," and yet there is involved in the word "I" something more than this consciousness. In what does the unity of the "self" consist prior to its being recognized in consciousness; how does the consciousness arise? The answer to this problem is to be found - in so far as it can be found - in the subject-object relation, in the distinction between the external world and the subjective processes of knowing and willing which that relation involves. I will something, and afterwards perceive a corresponding change within the unity of my external world. Hence, we may suppose, arises the consciousness of a permanent self and not-self.

It should lie observed that self-consciousness varies according to the intellectual development, and the term "personality" is usually connected only with the self-consciousness of an advanced type, not, for example, with that of an animal. Even among human beings there is considerable difference. The most elementary form of human self-consciousness includes in the self not only the soul but also the body, while to the developed self-consciousness the physical self is part of the external or objective world. Finally it is necessary to refer to the Kantian distinction of the pure and the empirical ego, the latter ("the Me known") being an object of thought to the former ("the I knowing").

From the use of the term "person" as distinguishing the Lateinisches etymologisches Worterbuch (1906), suggests a derivation from Greek cwn, a zone. In Roman law persona was one who had civil rights. For the ecclesiastical persona ecclesiae, see Parson.

self from the not-self arises the phrase "personal equation" for those peculiar characteristics or idiosyncrasies which have to be taken into account in estimating the value of an individual judgment or observation. This phrase, which is commonly used in any connexion, was first applied to the errors detected in the astronomical observations of a Greenwich observer named Kinnebrook in 1795. The recognized fact that the greater or less inaccuracy is habitual to individual observers has been investigated, e.g. by Bessel (Abhandlungen, iii. 300) and by Wundt (Physiol. Psychol.), and machines have been devised which make allowance for the error caused by the personal equation (see Micrometer).

For the psychological problem, see Psychology. For the problems connected with sub-conscious action, &c., see Subliminal Self; Trance; Hypnotism; Telepathy.

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Simple English

Personality is what makes a person who they are. For example, a person's usual behaviour which shows what they think and feel is a personality. It may also refer to:

  • Personality psychology - a type of psychology which study about personality.
  • Cult of personality - used in politics for when a leader uses the praises of the media to make all the people think they are the best.

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