What Is Personality?

Since Hippocrates, people have attempted to categorize people by their personalities. The ancient Greeks proposed four basic temperaments based on varying degrees of openness and conscientiousness. Today, psychologists describe personality traits as five basic qualities (Big Five): openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. There is also a newer model of personality, called HEXACO, which incorporates the sixth trait of honesty-humility.


A person’s behavior and attitude toward other people are known as their personality traits. These traits are expressed in two basic categories, high and low agreeableness. High conscientiousness means that an individual is highly caring and has high standards of success. These people also tend to be highly organized. However, a person with low conscientiousness is usually more rational and confident. They also tend to have a very narrow worldview.


Many researchers have proposed a theory of personality that focuses on five broad factors: extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, and conscientiousness. Each of these traits embodies a different quality and may vary from individual to individual. The five major traits are described as ‘Big Five’ personality characteristics. All people have varying degrees of these traits, and each person’s combination of them produces an individual quality of personality.


There are several different types of tests for personality. There are self-report inventories (which use the responses of the test takers to determine their personality), projective tests, and IQ tests. The former types involve answering questions about a topic or relationship. The latter ones use pictures, insufficient sentences, and vague scenarios to determine how the respondent feels. This type of test is the most popular type, as it allows employers to determine the potential of an individual.


There are several types of personality disorders. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type that involves a preoccupation with orderliness, perfection, and control. Paranoid personality disorder involves an excessive suspicion of others. Schizotypal personality disorder is the opposite of these disorders, but people with this condition do not need close relationships. They exhibit odd behaviors and dissociate from their environment. Often, they may experience a traumatic event to bring out their extremes.

Environmental factors

The study shows that there are two groups of environmental factors that influence personality. The first group consists of latent factors that influence extraversion, neuroticism, and phobia. The second group consists of nonshared environmental factors, which do not contribute to the similarities between individuals. Environmental factors are a significant contributor to phenotypic variance, accounting for a large portion of the variance. However, these factors do not explain the entire variance of personality traits.