We explain what personality is, its components, factors, types and other characteristics. In addition, personality tests.
What is the personality?
By personality is understood the set of psychic dynamics that are characteristic of the same person , that is, to their internal mental organization, which determines the way in which said person will respond to a given situation.
In other words, personality is a pattern of recurring attitudes, thoughts and feelings , which are more or less stable throughout the life of an individual and that allow a certain degree of predictability regarding their way of being.
This term, taken from psychology , is commonly used in everyday language, but its origin is found in the Latin term “person”, which was the mask used by the actors of the theater of antiquity , when representing characters recognizable
Thus, initially that word had to do with the roles embodied by the actors, and somehow later it was moved to other areas of life, becoming “ people ” only the full citizens (and not, for example, the slaves). Eventually the term engendered the adjective “personal” and from there came personality.
Today we understand that personality is a series of mental traits that allow it to be distinguished from others, and that they are also more or less true to themselves over time. However, the personality can change , change gradually from time and experiences.
Personality is a functional pattern consistent with itself (although not without contradictions), generally consolidated and resistant to change. However, it is able to operate differently in different situations , since it is internalized psychic forms, which do not depend so much on the outside.
On the other hand, the elements of personality have to do not only with the responses to certain stimuli and situations, but also with the lifestyle, beliefs and motivations, and even the conceptions of the world.
According to the school and the psychoanalytic thinking model, especially from the studies of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the personality of individuals is made up of three important factors that operate together and separately:
- Yo . Also known as the conscious or consciousness, it is the component of our mind of which we have more perception, since it is constantly telling us where we are and doing what, or how we are. This implies both the perception of the external world, as well as thoughts and the inner world. Its function is to provide us with a Principle of reality regarding existence .
- The superego . Understood as the set of internalizations that define the “must be” about ourselves, that is, it is the instance where the existential, social, cultural laws, etc., that come from abroad are recorded, and that serve to provide us a Principle of improvement with respect to ourselves.
- It . Identified as Freud’s unconscious (although not synonymous), it refers to the blocked or repressed content of our mind, which is linked to our primary and biological needs, such as food , reproduction , etc. He is in charge of giving us the pleasure principle .
According to the model of the Big Five ( Big Five , in English), all personalities are determined by a series of factors that occur in different proportions in each individual. These five factors are:
- Factor O ( Openness or openness) . It refers to the degree of openness that an individual presents regarding new experiences, change and variety, and even curiosity. Individuals with great openness are restless, imaginative, original and eager for unconventional values . Its opposite pole is made by more conservative subjects in the social and in life, who prefer the family environment and the most controlled experiences.
- Factor E ( Extraversion or extroversion) . Extroversion refers to a high degree of sociability and interest in social situations, in the company of others and the tendency to avoid loneliness. Outgoing individuals require constant social stimulation and are very focused on the external world, unlike their opposites, introverts, who shy away from social situations, feel comfortable in their inner world and often value loneliness.
- Factor C (of Conscientiousness or responsibility) . It refers to self-control, planning and commitment , both in the organization and the execution of tasks. It is also known as “will to achieve” and individuals who have it in high doses are usually called workaholics or workaholics, who show high degrees of commitment to the tasks undertaken. On the contrary, their opposites are unreliable and unengaged, informal or lax people with their moral principles .
- Factor A (Agreeableness or kindness) . It refers to interpersonal trends, specifically empathy and the ability to bond with each other. People with a high level of kindness tend to be considered altruistic, confident and supportive , while people with low kindness tend to interact in more hostile ways.
- N factor (of Neuroticism or neuroticity) . This last feature has to do with emotional instability as a result of anxiety , worry and catastrophic perceptions of things, which are a consequence of the mind’s inability to anticipate and control everything. People with high levels of neuroticity are often anxious, stressed, unsociable, and can often incur depression , irritability or vulnerability . On the contrary, the low levels of this trait tend to more stable personalities, less concerned with control and more relaxed.
There are many and very different forms of personality classification, depending on the psychological or psychoanalytic approach and the specific method used to understand it. To cite an example, psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) proposed a classification of 8 personality types, which are:
- Thought-introvert . Those personalities who are more interested in ideas than in facts, that is, in their inner reality than in others. They are prone to reflections, abstract thoughts or theoretical challenges.
- Sentimental-introverted . Personalities contained in their own emotional world, unlikely to deal with the outside world, but capable of doing so from the emotional, rather than the reflective of the previous case. They are prone to attachment, but in an intimate and closed circle.
- Feeling-introverted . Typical of artists and creators, this is the personality most concerned with the subjective experience of being, which can lead them to live in an unreal world, built to their own measure.
- Intuition-introvert . The typical personality of dreamers, that is, of those who are more aware of what will happen, what could happen or what they would like to happen, than with the real present. They are, in their own way, in touch with their unconscious content and can be talented creators.
- Thought-outgoing . Those personalities more interested in the facts and abroad, than their internal world, especially as a source of theories and reflections, since it is rationally linked to the world. Their emotions and sensations are, therefore, repressed, and they often neglect their socio-emotional ties.
- Feeling-outgoing . It is the profile of the most empathetic, social and adjusted to the community environment, typical of those who like to take care of others or who feel good protecting third parties. Their intellectual activity is necessarily framed in what they feel.
- Feeling-outgoing . It is linked to the real from the sensations it evokes, that is, paying great interest to what the real environment and others make you feel. It is the typical personality of those who live in search of pleasure, and therefore often seek new stimuli constantly.
- Intuition-extrovert . The personality of the adventurer, who changes perspectives once he achieves the desired goal, but never stops moving. They are usually charismatic and excite third parties with their ideas, being faithful to their intuition rather than their feelings and reasoning.
Personality disorders are personality traits that are inflexible, maladaptive , rather than contributing to adaptation and vital performance. They sabotage the social or emotional performance of individuals, and often lead to more serious complications.
They do not usually have a cure or easy treatment , since they are part of the personality of the subject, that is, they are part of it.
Personality disorders can be very different from each other and always obey very particular conditions of the patient, but in broad strokes they can be summarized in three groups:
- Eccentric and rare personalities , such as Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder or Schizotypal Personality Disorder.
- Erratic, emotional and theatrical personalities , such as Histrionic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Naricisist Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Personalities with marked anxiety , such as Dependent Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder.
There are numerous personality tests, which promise to guide us around which of the possible classifications is the most suitable to our way of being. There are professional versions, applied by psychologists and scholars of the human mind, whose results are scientific .
There are also some of the informative type , whose results are not too reliable but may serve, perhaps, as guidance in the field. Some of the latter can be consulted here and here .