Theories of Personality and How to Measure Them

Although genetics play a role in the development of our personality, other influences also play a role. Numerous theories of personality have been proposed to explain the factors that affect our behavior. Among them are social roles and environmental factors. This article aims to discuss the factors that influence our personalities and how we can measure them. To get started, read our Introduction to Personality Theories. Also, check out our article on Traits and Measures of Personality.


Various theories of personality have been proposed. The additive genetic theory claims that certain personality traits are largely determined by genes, while the behavioral gene theory states that some traits can be shaped by our environment. These theories vary in their degree of scientific validity, but all share some common principles. For example, both theories suggest that people with similar characteristics are more likely to have those traits. However, there is no definitive way to determine whether a trait is hereditary or learned.


A comprehensive model of human personality includes five dimensions: extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. Everyone possesses some of these traits in some combination, and their unique combinations make up each individual’s unique personality. Some traits are more dominant than others, with extraversion being associated with high energy and a strong sense of social connection. Neuroticism, on the other hand, is associated with negative emotions. High neuroticism scores have been linked to health problems and shortened life spans.


Theories of personality differ in the way they explain the differences between healthy and unhealthy people. The study of personality is often required for those studying clinical or abnormal psychology. There are various types of personality tests, each of which has its own set of limitations. But there are some general rules. Psychologists can use personality tests to identify healthy and unhealthy people and to make treatment decisions based on these tests. Listed below are some examples of the different types of tests and their limitations.


Psychologists use different types of tests to measure personality traits. A self-report inventory, for example, consists of several items that ask respondents to introspectively assess their own personality traits. These assessments are highly subjective, however, and subject to the distortion of motivation. For instance, a test may ask respondents to rate a statement on a scale of one to five. However, other tests use a purely numerical approach, and the responses will be expressed as numbers.


Some psychologists suggest that personality is determined by the traits of our four major temperaments – optimistic, pessimistic, trusting, and envious. According to a study from Carlos III University in Madrid, 90 percent of the human population can be classified into one of four categories: envious, optimistic, and pessimistic. The theory behind these categories is based on the ancient theory of the four humors.