The Echoes of the Mind (111) Personality


Character is the result of a system of stereotyped principals. ~ David Hume

Personality comprises the patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of an individual. The term personality derives from the Latin persona, which means mask. People adopt strategies for their behaviors in different situations: analogous to putting on a mask, but the representation is a reflection of one’s self-image rather than a false face.

Personality is commonly characterized by type or by trait. The idea of personality types is popular because of its relative simplicity in slotting people into categories.

People perceive much greater consistency in others’ behaviors than actually exists, mostly because it simplifies the task of typecasting, and thereby renders predictability. Despite behavioral tendencies, such as aggressiveness, humans demonstrate considerable inconsistency over time, or in different emotive or social contexts.

A large part of the reason that we expect personality consistency in others is that we expect it in ourselves. Under the end-of-history illusion people underestimate how much they will change in the future.

Experiences often alter a person’s outlook and behaviors. While personality changes only gradually, it may be quite different in late adulthood than it was in childhood.

Personality changes are strongly related to changes in well-being. ~ English psychologist Chris Boyce

Life-changing circumstances can have a significant impact. Military service is frequently a catalyst for personality change.

One of the goals of the military to break down the mentality you had in the outside world, and they’re going to build you up as a soldier. ~ American psychologist Joshua Jackson

Through the seasonings of experience, people generally get better at dealing with the ups and downs of life. The typical person tends to become more responsive and more caring with age.

Temperament is considered the innate part of personality. Taking his cue from Hippocrates, Galen suggested that temperament resulted from the balance of the 4 humors.

Though the idea that personality flows from bodily fluids lost favor centuries ago, typecasting by temperament remains a popular pastime for both lay personality prognosticators and psychologists.

The two streams in the human being combine to produce what is commonly known as a person’s temperament. Our inner self and our inherited traits co-mingle in it. Temperament is an intermediary between what connects us to an ancestral line and what we bring to us. Temperament strikes a balance between the eternal and the ephemeral. ~ Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner

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Types exist not in people or in Nature, but rather in the eye of the observer. ~ Gordon Allport

Whereas personality typing is qualitative, attributing traits is quantitative in ascribing aspects of behavioral preferences by degree. Statistically inclined modern psychologists prefer characterizing personality by behavioral traits.

Psychologists derive personality traits from expressions related to mental constitution (e.g., calmness, neuroticism), emotional stature (i.e., emotiveness, moodiness), focus (e.g., impulsivity, conscientiousness), ecological interactivity (e.g., curiousness, creativity), and sociality (e.g., gregariousness, agreeability). It is an academic exercise which reinforces the idea that individuality is somehow important in and of itself.

Personality is less a finished product than a transitive process. Any theory that regards personality as stable, fixed, or invariable is wrong. ~ Gordon Allport

And yet… as creatures of habit, both physical and mental, living in ruts is personality.

Individual inclinations are apparent in early childhood. Though socialization molds us, personal disposition also shapes attitudes and values.

The more distance we get from our early influences, the more idiosyncratic factors hold sway over our beliefs. ~ Walloon psychologist Vassilis Saroglou

By adulthood one’s belief system results from a mixture of personality and social environment. Religiosity is exemplary.

Certain personality types are predisposed to land on different spots of the religiosity spectrum. Personality determines religiousness. ~ Vassilis Saroglou