personality psychology

Introduction to Personality Psychology

Personality Psychology is the study of personality. No surprises there. Personality is a word commonly bandied about, often without much thought for its definition. In the common vernacular, an individual's personality refers to what makes him or her unique. We also hear talk of personality disorders, implying that it is somehow possible to break a personality.


Psychologists must employ a more tightly defined meaning of personality; the APA Dictionary of Psychology proposes the following working definition:

n. the configuration of characteristics and behavior that comprises an individual's unique adjustment to life, including major traits, interests, drives, values, self-concept, abilities, and emotional patterns. Personality is generally viewed as a complex, dynamic integration or totality, shaped by many forces, including: hereditary and constitutional tendencies; physical maturation; early training; identification with significant individuals and groups; culturally conditioned values and roles; and critical experiences and relationships.

As you will have already guessed, personality is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This is one of the biggest challenges to Personality Psychology - if we can't agree within the discipline, how are we supposed to present ourselves outside of the field?

The articles and videos below have been curated to present a wide range of materials. These will stand you in good stead for your A-Level, AP and Undergraduate Psychology Courses, as well as providing detailed, scientific information for you if you are here out of personal interest.

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