What are the characteristics of a person’s personality? Can it be summed up by five traits? Most people would object, pointing out that this does not capture the complexity of human behavior. People can behave very friendly at parties and shy and timid in public, for example. It is important to understand that the characteristics of a person’s personality are not necessarily related to their traits, as there are exceptions to the rules. But we can use these traits to help us understand a person’s overall behaviour.
Trait theories for personality are based on the assumption that a person’s behavior is consistent across situations and time. Traits are persistent behaviours that indicate a person’s disposition to act or respond in a certain way. As defined by Allport in his 1937 textbook, a trait is an internal structure that is the product of one’s genetic predispositions and experiences. In contrast to personality disorders, traits do not cause behavior; they simply describe a person’s characteristics.
Psychometric models of personality are based on scientific research and are widely used to assess the traits of a person. These tests are designed by subject matter experts to identify the traits of a person and to predict their behaviour in a given situation. Psychometric personality tests can help businesses determine their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, as some employees are more likely to be effective in one role than another. In addition, psychometric personality tests are helpful for training current employees. Some employees have poor communication skills, are less productive than others, or do not contribute much to teamwork. Conflicts can develop over time, based on long-standing suppressed feelings of anger or frustration.
People with high levels of neuroticism tend to be hesitant, anxious, and prone to self-doubt. Their level of neuroticism may also lead to problems with self-esteem and low self-efficacy. This characteristic is linked to poor job performances and lack of motivation, and is associated with increased risk of substance abuse and mental health problems. High-scoring neurotics may even be temperamental, easily angered, and have low self-esteem.
Influence of nature
The ‘nature assumption’ suggests that nature plays the most significant role in shaping our personalities. This assumption is supported by research conducted by Charles Darwin and John Galton. These scientists used twins to study the relationship between environment and human temperament. The twin study in Minnesota removed the doubt that the environment had a role in personality development. The twins were separated at infancy, brought up in separate environments, and yet exhibited similar characteristics.
Influence of social environment
A child’s temperament is a biological trait that interacts with experience to shape personality. During childhood, parental care and environment both affect a child’s temperament and the overall development of his or her personality. Good-fit between a child’s temperament and lifestyle also influences his or her personality. For example, an adventurous child in a household full of outdoor activities would develop the same personality traits as someone with a more conservative lifestyle. The environment shapes a child’s personality throughout his or her life.
The study of positive qualities of the human personality has been ongoing for thousands of years. Some notable figures in Western and Eastern philosophy and religion have investigated these traits, as have early psychologists. In the twentieth century, studies of positive characteristics were published. Dahlsgaard et al. (2005) proposed 24 character strengths corresponding to moral virtues. These positive attributes were identified from a wide range of data sources. In addition to the scientific literature, numerous books, articles, and websites describing positive traits of the human personality are available.
Many people exhibit negative personality traits. Dishonesty, rigidity, and an inability to empathize are all examples of these traits. People who are more rigid are more likely to be aloof, unyielding, and self-centered. Other negative traits include being lazy, insecure, and bossy. The good news is that all of these traits can be controlled. These traits are listed below. Listed below are a few examples of how to improve your personality.