Theories of Personality


Published on

Attitude, theories of personality, determinants of personality

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Theories of Personality

  1. 1. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 PERSONALITY IS TO A MAN WHAT PERFUME IS TO A FLOWER The word "personality" originates from the Latin persona, which means mask. Personality can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations. Significantly, in the theatre of the ancient Latin-speaking world, the mask was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, but rather was a convention employed to represent or typify that character. Personality also refers to the pattern of thoughts, feelings, social adjustments, and behaviors consistently exhibited over time that strongly influences one's expectations, selfperceptions, values, and attitudes. It also predicts human reactions to other people, problems, and stress. There is still no universal consensus on the definition of "personality" in psychology. DC Funder defined personality as "…..individuals' characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms -- hidden or not -- behind those patterns. This definition means that among their colleagues in other subfields of psychology, those psychologists who study personality have a unique mandate: to explain whole persons." Feist and Feist stated that, “Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person's behavior." The multiple dimensions of personality led the US steel magnate, Charles M Schwab to aptly remark that "Personality is to a man what perfume is to a flower." Many of the ideas developed by historical and modern personality theorists stem from the basic philosophical assumptions they hold. The study of personality is not a purely empirical discipline, as it brings in elements of art, science, and philosophy to draw general conclusions. The following five categories are some of the most fundamental philosophical assumptions on which theorists disagree:  Freedom versus determinism: Whether humans have control over their own behavior and understand the motives behind it or if their behavior is causally determined by forces beyond their control. Behavior is categorized as being unconscious, environmental, or biological by various theories.  Heredity versus environment: Personality is thought to be determined largely either by genetics and biology, or by environment and experiences. Contemporary research suggests that most personality traits are based on the joint influence of genetics and environment. One of the forerunners in this arena is C. Robert Cloninger, who pioneered the Temperament and Character model.  Uniqueness versus universality: Discusses the extent of each human's individuality (uniqueness) or similarity in nature (universality). Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers were all advocates of the uniqueness of individuals. Behaviorists and cognitive theorists, in contrast, emphasize the importance of universal principles, such as reinforcement and self-efficacy. 1
  2. 2. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013  Active versus reactive: Explores whether humans primarily act through individual initiative (active) or through outside stimuli. Behavioral theorists typically believe that humans are passively shaped by their environments, whereas humanistic and cognitive theorists believe that humans are more active in their role. Most modern theorists agree that both are important, with aggregate behavior being primarily determined by traits in their interaction with short-term behavior, whereas situational factors in interaction with aggregate behavior are direct predictors of behavior on the short term.  Optimistic versus pessimistic: Whether humans are integral in the changing of their own personalities. Theories that place a great deal of emphasis on learning are often more optimistic than those that do not. Personality theory has developed over the last century. The most common models of traits incorporate three to five broad dimensions or factors. All trait theories incorporate at least two dimensions, extraversion and neuroticism, which historically featured in Hippocrates' humoral theory. Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of people. Personality types are distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels or degrees. For example, according to type theories, there are two types of people, introverts and extroverts. According to trait theories, introversion and extroversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle. Psychoanalytic theories explain human behavior in terms of the interaction of various components of personality. Sigmund Freud was the founder of this school of thought. Freud drew on the physics of his day (thermodynamics) to coin the term psychodynamics. Based on the idea of converting heat into mechanical energy, he proposed psychic energy could be converted into behavior. Freud's theory places central importance on dynamic and unconscious psychological conflicts. Behaviorists explain personality in terms of the effects external stimuli have on behavior. The approaches used to analyze the behavioral aspect of personality are known as behavioral theories or learning-conditioning theories. One of the major tenets of this concentration of personality psychology is a strong emphasis on scientific thinking and experimentation. In cognitive theory, behavior is explained as guided by cognitions (e.g. expectations) about the world, especially those about other people. Cognitive theories are theories of personality that emphasize cognitive processes, such as thinking and judging. Humanistic psychology emphasizes that people have free will and that this plays an active role in determining how they behave. Accordingly, humanistic psychology focuses on subjective experiences of persons as opposed to forced, definitive factors that determine behavior. The study of the biological level in personality psychology focuses primarily on identifying the role of genetic determinants and how they mold individual personalities. Ever since the Human Genome Project allowed for a much more in depth understanding of genetics, there has been an ongoing controversy involving heritability, personality traits, and environmental vs. genetic influence on personality. The human genome is known to play a role in the development of personality. This theory examines how individual personality differences are based on natural selection. Evolutionary theory states that through natural selection, organisms change over time through adaptation and selection. Traits are developed and certain genes come into expression based on an 2
  3. 3. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 organism's environment and how these traits aid in an organism's survival and reproduction. The study of personality is based on the essential insight that all people are similar in some ways, yet different in others. There have been many different definitions and theories of personality proposed but most now converge on the Big Five, in sum and substance that, lead back, in many ways, to trait, behavioral and other theories of personality with some variable(s) in combination. However, many contemporary psychologists agree that “Personality is that pattern of characteristic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguishes one person from another and that persists over time and situations.” Accordingly, the Big Five personality traits are five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. The Big Five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, often referred by collective acronyms OCEAN, NEOAC, or CANOE. However, none of the five traits is in themselves positive or negative, they are simply characteristics that individuals exhibit to a greater or lesser extent. Each of these 5 personality traits describes, relative to other people, the frequency or intensity of a person's feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Everyone possesses all 5 of these traits to a greater or lesser degree. For example, two individuals could be described as ‘agreeable’ (agreeable people value getting along with others). However, there could be significant variation in the degree to which they are both agreeable. In other words, all five personality traits exist on a continuum rather than as attributes that a person does or does not have as the following diagram shows: Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious) reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. Extraversion is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, are full of energy, and often experience positive emotions. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented, individuals who are likely to say "Yes!" or "Let's go!" to opportunities for excitement like an army covert operations group leader. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves like politicians and many godmen like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Introverts lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extraverts. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and disengaged from the social world like Sri Aurobindo. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; the introvert simply needs less stimulation than an extravert and prefers to be alone. The independence and reserve of the introvert is sometimes mistaken as unfriendliness or arrogance. In reality, an introvert who scores high on the 3
  4. 4. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 agreeableness dimension will not seek others out but will be quite pleasant when approached as was the case with Sri Aurobindo. Openness is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine like my stentorian father at work. Open personalities have an appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience, what many psychologists call intellect like philosophers, politically dissenting artists like Marlon Brando, entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and nonconformist painters like Late MF Hussain. Openness is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. People who are open to experience are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. Depending on the individual's specific intellectual abilities, this symbolic cognition may take the form of mathematical, logical, or geometric thinking, artistic and metaphorical use of language, music composition or performance, or one of the many visual or performing arts. People with low scores on openness to experience tend to have narrow, common interests such as auditors and accountants. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change such as members of the Ku Klux Klan and religious groups. Open people tend to be, when compared to closed people, more creative and more aware of their feelings. They are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs. On average, people who register high in Openness are intellectually curious, open to emotion, interested in art, and willing to try new things. A particular individual, however, may have a high overall Openness score and be interested in learning and exploring new cultures but have no great interest in art or poetry like my voracious devouring of information on the Internet and print media but a strict no-no to poetry. There is a strong connection between liberal ethics and openness to experience such as support for policies endorsing racial tolerance. Thus I do not believe in caste and religious prejudices, instead chide others who have them. Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience such as surrealist and cubist painters like Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso. Conscientious people (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless) have a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement, show planned rather than spontaneous behavior, are organized, and dependable. Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations. It is related to the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. High scores on conscientiousness indicate a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior. The average level of conscientiousness rises among young adults and then declines among older adults. Extraverts (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved) exhibit energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and show tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and are talkative. Extraversion is characterized by breadth of activities (as opposed to depth), encouragement from external activity/situations, and 4
  5. 5. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 energy creation from external means such as the leaders of the French Revolution who derived inspiration from the US Declaration of Independence. The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy interacting with people, and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, actionoriented individuals. They possess high group visibility, like to talk, and assert themselves. Introverts have lower social engagement and energy levels than extraverts. They tend to seem quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; they are simply more independent of their social world than extraverts. Introverts simply need less stimulation than extraverts and more time alone. They should not be seen as deliberately unfriendly or antisocial, instead they are reserved in social situations. Agreeable (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind) people show a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. Agreeableness reflects individual differences in concern with cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are therefore considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature like Mother Teresa. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy. Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others' well-being, and therefore are unlikely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others' motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative. Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. On the other hand, agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or absolute objective decisions like a Prime Minister when a nation needs to declare war or emergency to protect its international borders. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics, or soldiers like a dictatorial Adolf Hitler, an intolerant Meghnad Saha or overweening US General Douglas MacArthur. It is also a measure of one’s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not. Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. The trait reflects individual differences in general concern for social harmony. Although agreeableness is positively correlated with good team work skills, it is negatively correlated with leadership skills. Those who voice their opinion in a team environment tend to move up the corporate rankings, whereas the ones that don't remain in the same position usually labeled as the followers of the team. Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others’ well-being, and are less likely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others’ motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative. Neurotics (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident) show a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control, and is sometimes referred by its low pole – "emotional stability". Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression as in 5
  6. 6. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 case of the juvenile delinquent in the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi. It is sometimes called emotional instability, or is reversed and referred to as emotional stability. Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Impulses are not inherently bad; occasionally time constraints require a snap decision, and acting on our first impulse can be an effective response. Also, in times of play rather than work, acting spontaneously and impulsively can be fun. Impulsive individuals can be seen by others as colorful, fun-to-be-with, and zany. Nonetheless, acting on impulse can lead to trouble in a number of ways. Some impulses are antisocial such as murder for failing to share a cold beverage with others. Uncontrolled antisocial acts not only harm other members of society, but also can result in retribution toward the perpetrator of such impulsive acts such as kidnapping for ransom or in pursuance of business rivalry. Another problem with impulsive acts is that they often produce immediate rewards but undesirable, long-term consequences such as animosity between individual businessmen and co-workers. Examples include excessive socializing that leads to being fired from one's job, hurling an insult that causes the breakup of an important relationship, or using pleasure-inducing drugs that eventually destroy one's health. Impulsive behavior, even when not seriously destructive, diminishes a person's effectiveness in significant ways. Acting impulsively disallows contemplating alternative courses of action, some of which would have been wiser than the impulsive choice. Impulsivity also sidetracks people during projects that require organized sequences of steps or stages, such as intolerance of constructive dissidence in a group. Accomplishments of an impulsive person are therefore small, scattered, and inconsistent. A hallmark of intelligence, what potentially separates human beings from earlier life forms, is the ability to think about future consequences before acting on an impulse. Intelligent activity involves contemplation of long-range goals, organizing and planning routes to these goals, and persisting toward one's goals in the face of shortlived impulses to the contrary. The idea that intelligence involves impulse control is aptly captured by the term prudence, an alternative label for the Conscientiousness domain. Prudent means both wise and cautious. Persons who score high on the Conscientiousness scale are, in fact, perceived by others as intelligent. The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable like my father. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics, again like my father. Furthermore, extremely conscientious individuals might be regarded as stuffy and boring like many of my father’s professional colleagues. Unconscientious people may be criticized for their unreliability, lack of ambition, and failure to stay within the lines, but they will experience many short-lived pleasures and they will never be called stuffy like the majority of civil servants in India. According to Eysenck’s (1967) theory of personality, neuroticism is interlinked with low tolerance for stress or aversive stimuli. Freud originally used the term neurosis to describe a condition marked by mental distress, emotional suffering, and an inability to cope effectively with the normal demands of life. He suggested that everyone shows some signs of neurosis, but that we differ in our degree of suffering and our specific symptoms of distress. Today neuroticism refers to the tendency to 6
  7. 7. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 experience negative feelings. Those who score high on neuroticism may experience primarily one specific negative feeling such as anxiety, anger, or depression, but are likely to experience several of these emotions. People high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive like actor Sanjay Dutt. They respond emotionally to events that would not affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. For instance, neuroticism is connected to a pessimistic approach toward work, confidence that work impedes with personal relationships, and apparent anxiety linked with work – a trait common to most bosses at work. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic's ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress. At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings; frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain. Furthermore, those who score high on neuroticism may display more skin conductance reactivity than those who score low on neuroticism. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish the ability of a person scoring high on neuroticism to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress. Lacking contentment in one's life achievements can correlate to high Neuroticism scores and increase a person's likelihood of falling into clinical depression such as many movie stars, singers and models when they careers go down the hill. At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings. Research suggests extraversion and neuroticism are negatively correlated. Neuroticism is similar but not identical to being neurotic in the Freudian sense. Some psychologists prefer to call neuroticism by the term emotional stability to differentiate it from the term neurotic in a career test. Each of the big five personality traits is made up of six facets. These can be assessed independently of the trait that they belong to as shown in the following diagram: 7
  8. 8. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 Extraversion facets include friendliness, gregariousness, assertiveness, high activity levels, excitement-seeking and cheerfulness. Friendly people genuinely like other people and openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others. They make friends quickly and it is easy for them to form close, intimate relationships. Low scorers on friendliness are not necessarily cold and hostile, but they do not reach out to others and are perceived as distant and reserved. Gregarious people find the company of others pleasantly stimulating and rewarding like Narendra Modi and other politicians. They enjoy the excitement of crowds. Low scorers tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. They do not necessarily dislike being with people sometimes, but their need for privacy and time to themselves is much greater than for individuals who score high on this scale. Assertive ones like to speak out, take charge, and direct the activities of others. They tend to be leaders in groups. Low scorers tend not to talk much and let others control the activities of groups. Active individuals lead fast-paced, busy lives. They move about quickly, energetically, and vigorously, and they are involved in many activities. People who score low on this scale follow a slower and more leisurely, relaxed pace. High excitement-seekers are easily bored without high levels of stimulation. They love bright lights and hustle and bustle. They are likely to take risks and seek thrills. Low scorers are overwhelmed by noise and commotion and are adverse to thrill-seeking. Cheerfulness measures positive mood and feelings, not negative emotions (which are a part of the Neuroticism domain). Persons who score high on this scale typically experience a range of positive feelings, including happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and joy. Low scorers are not as prone to such energetic, high spirits. For instance, I speak little but keep my eyes and ears open, am not too fond of visitors at home, seldom attend parties, am glued to the Internet and my notebook. On the contrary, my father, is outgoing, generally sociable with a fondness for parties, fond of writing columns on contemporary events in the print media, a voracious reader of the Internet and print media with fairly strong opinions about a subject. He is also quite assertive and often adopts ill-suited courses of action for which he repents later. My mother is more laid back – midway between the two extremes. As she welcomes visitors, she is not too enamored of parties other than within her friends’ circle, while she is a passionate information-gatherer from the media, yet she generally is circumspect about her opinions. Agreeableness facets include trust, morality, altruism, cooperation, modesty and sympathy. A person with high trust assumes that most people are fair, honest, and have good intentions. Persons low in trust may see others as selfish, devious, and potentially dangerous. They see no need for pretence or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank, and sincere. Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People find it relatively easy to relate to the straightforward high-scorers on this scale. They generally find it more difficult to relate to the low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth. Altruistic people find helping other people genuinely rewarding. Consequently, they are generally willing to assist those who are in need. Altruistic people find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfillment rather than self-sacrifice. Low scorers on this scale do not 8
  9. 9. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 particularly like helping those in need. Requests for help feel like an imposition rather than an opportunity for self-fulfillment. Individuals who score high on this scale dislike confrontations. They are perfectly willing to compromise or to deny their own needs in order to get along with others. Those who score low on this scale are more likely to intimidate others to get their way. They are modest and do not like to claim that they are better than other people. In some cases this attitude may derive from low self-confidence or selfesteem. Nonetheless, some people with high self-esteem find immodesty unseemly. Those who are willing to describe themselves as superior tend to be seen as disagreeably arrogant by other people. Such people are also sympathetic, tenderhearted and compassionate. They feel the pain of others vicariously and are easily moved to pity. Low scorers are not affected strongly by human suffering. They pride themselves on making objective judgments based on reason. They are more concerned with truth and impartial justice than with mercy. For instance, I often ask my father to donate for a charitable cause but seldom pay out for the same purpose from my own pocket money. I do not mind if my mother gives away my old clothes to the domestic help but do not take any initiative of my own. Yet I participate in all team activities in College and University and generally trust about a half of the people I meet. Often I am short-changed but I let that pass but remember it for future relationships. My father is as agreeable as he is disagreeable. He is prone to stifling dissent at his place of work and drives his officers and staff to great lengths, albeit toward professional achievement. He rewards those who succeed in keeping pace with him while the less fortunate often get punished. At the same time he maintains an open door policy at work and is available to all his officers and staff. Yet he also helps staff in their distress, particularly the low-paid ones. While my mother is a hard taskmaster, particularly for me and her domestic helps, she cares for the indigent when she gives away my old clothes and food/sweets to her domestic helps and their children and gifts them a token sum on every religious occasion, including on my birthday. However, she is relatively short on her temper and trust of others and is often not able to hold either, that sometimes costs her friends and acquaintances. As for my paternal grandfather, he is deeply solicitous of the indigent and sometimes overdoes it, is a great conversationist that endears him to a large number of friends, neighbors and well-wishers, yet very precise and clear-headed when it comes to rendering an opinion or taking any decision that invariably is in the greatest interest of his family, including us. Like my father, he too is not very tolerant of dissent, yet selectively antagonistic to others. Conscientiousness facets include self-efficacy, orderliness, and dutifulness, striving for achievement, self-discipline and cautiousness. Self-efficacy describes confidence in one's ability to accomplish things. High scorers believe they have the intelligence (common sense), drive, and self-control necessary for achieving success. Low scorers do not feel effective, and may have a sense that they are not in control of their lives. Persons with high scores on orderliness are well-organized. They like to live according to routines and schedules. They keep lists and make plans. Low scorers tend to be disorganized and scattered. Dutifulness reflects the strength of a person's sense of duty and obligation. Those who score high on this scale have a strong sense of moral obligation. Low scorers find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining. 9
  10. 10. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 They are likely to be seen as unreliable or even irresponsible. Achievement-Striving individuals who score high on this scale strive hard to achieve excellence. Their drive to be recognized as successful keeps them on track toward their lofty goals. They often have a strong sense of direction in life, but extremely high scores may be too single-minded and obsessed with their work. Low scorers are content to get by with a minimal amount of work, and might be seen by others as lazy. Self-discipline-what many people call will-power-refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks-even tasks they want very much to complete. Cautiousness describes the disposition to think through possibilities before acting. High scorers on the Cautiousness scale take their time when making decisions. Low scorers often say or do first thing that comes to mind without deliberating alternatives and the probable consequences of those alternatives. For instance, my father plans our itineraries down to the last Google directions map, restaurants, sights to see, public transportation, etc for all our vacations. He even saves all his appointments to his mobile most dutifully. To the contrary, my mother and I go along with him since he is seldom wrong. Yet my father is also spontaneous and is able to fit in with most audiences with his effervescence and sense of humor. However, he is a workaholic and seldom gets home before 8 pm after a day’s professional achievement. At home, he loves to decorate the house and clean up the mess that I leave behind, of course, not without chiding me, for not following his discipline. To the contrary, my mother is none too organized, particularly when it comes to keeping important documents in her custody and frequently misplaces them. In contrast, my paternal grandfather is even more disciplined as he even has his original order of appointment to his job from 1949 – that he keeps wrapped in a red cloth along with other important documents, many of which date back over 50 years. He also assiduously takes his morning and evening walks, come rain or shine. He too has a wonderful sense of humor and is supremely proficient in both English and Bengali, many steps ahead of my father and me. Neuroticism facets include anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness, immoderation and vulnerability. People who are high in anxiety often feel like something dangerous is about to happen. They may be afraid of specific situations or be just generally fearful. They feel tense, jittery, and nervous. Persons low in anxiety is generally calm and fearless. Persons who score high in anger feel enraged when things do not go their way. They are sensitive about being treated fairly and feel resentful and bitter when they feel they are being cheated. This scale measures the tendency to feel angry; whether or not the person expresses annoyance and hostility depends on the individual's level on agreeableness. Low scorers do not get angry often or easily. Depression measures the tendency to feel sad, dejected, and discouraged. High scorers lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. Low scorers tend to be free from these depressive feelings. Self-conscious individuals are sensitive about what others think of them. Their concern about rejection and ridicule cause them to feel shy and uncomfortable abound others. They are easily embarrassed and often feel ashamed. Their fears that 10
  11. 11. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 others will criticize or make fun of them are exaggerated and unrealistic, but their awkwardness and discomfort may make these fears a self-fulfilling prophecy. Low scorers, in contrast, do not suffer from the mistaken impression that everyone is watching and judging them. They do not feel nervous in social situations. Immoderate individuals feel strong cravings and urges that they have difficulty resisting. They tend to be oriented toward short-term pleasures and rewards rather than long-term consequences. Low scorers do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find themselves tempted to overindulge. High scorers on Vulnerability experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress. Low scorers feel more poised, confident, and clear-thinking when stressed. For instance, like my mother, I too have a short fuse and tend to lose my cool even over insignificant things and tend to carry long-term prejudices against my family members too even when they may not be entirely responsible for it. I am not overtly social but I not unsocial either. I am easily dejected and disheartened by falling grades in University and hyper-nervous on the days of my exams, even panic. Yet I was extremely happy when my first published book was released, during family vacations, shopping and dining out and remains thankful to my hosts for indulging me. My mother has characteristics similar to mine. In contrast, my father gets extremely angry at times, even flushed, but, after cooling down, is generally in a forgiving mood. However, it is often difficult to judge who he forgives and those he does not, oblivious of the closeness of their relationship with him. Yet he does not care much for what people think of him and not easily fazed by failure. In fact, his agreeable facet more than compensates for his failings on the neuroticism front. My paternal grandfather shows occasional outbursts of temper but is forever contemplating future possible courses of action to remedy wrong or taking appropriate decisions for the family. He is certainly dejected on some counts, viz. that his friends (he is 91 years old now) are passing away, he is no longer as nimble and physically strong as he was and suffers major ailments. Yet these do not faze him as he remains a voracious reader, television addict, an addictive conversationist that attracts new friends by the day and is a regular invitee at many senior citizens’ meets, et al. Openness facets are imagination, artistic interest, emotionality, adventurousness, intellect and liberalism. To imaginative individuals, the real world is often too plain and ordinary. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world. Low scorers are on this scale are more oriented to facts than fantasy. High scorers on the artistic interests scale love beauty, both in art and in nature. They become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. They are not necessarily artistically trained or talented, although many will be. The defining features of this scale are interest in, and appreciation of natural and artificial beauty. Low scorers lack aesthetic sensitivity and interest in the arts. Persons high on Emotionality have good access to and awareness of their own feelings. Low scorers are less aware of their feelings and tend not to express their emotions openly. High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Intellect and 11
  12. 12. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 artistic interests are the two most important, central aspects of openness to experience. High scorers on intellect love to play with ideas. They are open-minded to new and unusual ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. They enjoy riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers. Low scorers on Intellect prefer dealing with people or things rather than ideas. They regard intellectual exercises as a waste of time. Intellect should not be equated with intelligence. Intellect is an intellectual style, not an intellectual ability, although high scorers on Intellect score slightly higher than low-Intellect individuals on standardized intelligence tests. Psychological liberalism refers to a readiness to challenge authority, convention, and traditional values. In its most extreme form, psychological liberalism can even represent outright hostility toward rules, sympathy for law-breakers, and love of ambiguity, chaos, and disorder. Psychological conservatives prefer the security and stability brought by conformity to tradition. Psychological liberalism and conservatism are not identical to political affiliation, but certainly incline individuals toward certain political parties. For instance, having authored my own book of action short stories in 2011 – Thrills, Chills & Frills - my rich vocabulary, and vivid imagination, ability to understand and reflect upon current events for themes for my stories projects me to be an Open personality. Conversely, things abstract do not interest me as I have difficulty in understanding abstract ideas. On the other hand, my businessman neighbor has excellent business ideas that I do not, has a limited vocabulary (other than for money), lives in the present and is not interested in abstractions, yet has a great collection of art and artifacts that he collects during his foreign visits. While I am conscientious as far as my studies and personal appearance are concerned, I am quite careless about my physical environment at home. I also do not easily trust others and am always trying to best my friends and acquaintances. Yet I have large number of friends that understand me. While I do not discuss too many current affairs with my father and grandfather at home, yet I listen intently when they discuss with my mother. Only computer and automotive technology interest me but not others. I also do not have an eye for the beauteous but for my personal apparel. For instance, my mother loves traveling abroad but is unable to plan ahead that my father does with his awareness and gathered experience of the world. While my mother is most conscientious of our welfare, she is usually resistant to any major change without prolonged diligence. She is also mistrustful of the true intentions of others till she is fully convinced. My paternal grandfather is a similar mixture of open and closed personality. His vocabulary is far richer than mine, in Bengali and English, poetry recitation is a pastime, he understands and reflects on current events and even relates them to his historical experiences. Yet he hates abstraction because he is unable to understand them. My father is imaginative and a highly creative writer, possesses a rich vocabulary, thinks far ahead of his times, is a connoisseur of beautiful paintings and artifacts, and a great traveler but closed to abstraction. Yet he is often involuntarily insensitive, has certain frozen ideas about people and does not retrace his steps easily even if he takes a wrong decision. Personality is shaped not only by external factors but by internalized ones as well. It is also shaped by handed down customs and conventions, physiological changes, maturation, physical environment, availability of resources, etc. Twin studies 12
  13. 13. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 suggest that heritability and environmental factors equally influence all five factors to the same degree. Among four recent twin studies, the mean percentage for heritability was calculated for each personality and it was concluded that heritability influenced the five factors broadly. The self-report measures were as follows: openness to experience was estimated to have a 57% genetic influence, extraversion 54%, conscientiousness 49%, neuroticism 48%, and agreeableness 42%1. Many studies of longitudinal data, which correlate people's test scores over time, and crosssectional data, which compare personality levels across different age groups, show a high degree of stability in personality traits during adulthood 2. It is shown that the personality stabilizes for working-age individuals within about four years after starting working. There is also little correlation that adverse life events can have any significant impact on the personality of individuals.3 More recent research and meta-analyses of previous studies, however, indicate that change occurs in all five traits at points in the lifespan. The new research shows evidence for a maturation effect. On average, levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness typically increase with time, whereas Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness tend to decrease.4 Research has also demonstrated that changes in Big Five personality traits depend on the individual's current stage of development. For example, levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness demonstrate a negative trend during childhood and early adolescence before trending upwards during late adolescence and into adulthood 5. In addition to these group effects, there are individual differences: different people demonstrate unique patterns of change at all stages of life6. Another area of investigation is the downward extension of Big Five theory into childhood. Studies have found Big Five personality traits to correlate with children's social and emotional adjustment and academic achievement. More recently, the Five Factor Personality Inventory – Children7 was published extending assessment between the ages of 9 and 18. Perhaps the reason for this recent publication was the controversy over the application of the Five Factor Traits to children. Studies by Oliver P. John et al. with adolescent boys brought two new factors to the table: "Irritability" and "Activity". In studies of Dutch children, those same two new factors also became apparent. These new additions "suggest that the structure of 1 Jang, K.; Livesley, W. J.; Vemon, P. A. (1996). "Heritability of the Big Five Personality Dimensions and Their Facets: A Twin Study". Journal of Personality 64 (3): 577–591. doi:10.1111/j.14676494.1996.tb00522.x. PMID 8776880 2 McCrae, R. R. & Costa, P. T. (1990). Personality in adulthood. New York: The Guildford Press. 3 Cobb-Clark, D. A.; Schurer, S. (2012). "The stability of big-five personality traits". Economics Letters 115 (2): 11–15. doi:10.1016/2011.11.015 4 Srivastava, S.; John, O. P.; Gosling, S. D.; Potter, J. (2003). "Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change?". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84 (5): 1041–1053. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.5.1041. PMID 12757147. 5 Soto, C. J.; Gosling, Potter (Feb 2011). "Age differences in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100 (2): 300–348. doi:10.1037/a0021717. PMID 21171787. Retrieved Sep 14, 2013. 6 Roberts, B. W.; Mroczek, D. (2008). "Personality Trait Change in Adulthood". Current Directions in Psychological Science 17 (1): 31–35. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00543.x. PMC 2743415. PMID 19756219. 7 McGhee, R.M., Ehrler, D.J., & Buckhalt, J. (2007). Five Factor Personality Inventory – Children (FFPI-C). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. 13
  14. 14. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 personality traits may be more differentiated in childhood than in adulthood"8, which would explain the recent research in this particular area. In addition, some research suggests that the Big Five should not be conceived of as antipodes (such as extraversion vs. introversion) but as continua. Each individual has the capacity to move along each dimension as circumstances (social or temporal) change. He is or she is therefore not simply on one end of each trait dichotomy but is a blend of both, exhibiting some characteristics more often than others.9 Medico-psychological research regarding personality with growing age has suggested that as individuals enter their elder years (79–86), those with lower IQ see a raise in extraversion, but a decline in conscientiousness and physical well being.10 Some research has been done to look into the structures of the brain and their connections to personality traits of the five factors. Two main studies were done by Sato et al. (2012)11and DeYoung et al. (2009)12. Some results of the two show that extraversion is positively correlated with orbitofrontal cortex metabolism, increased cerebral, volume of medial orbitofrontal cortex while conscientiousness is positively correlated with volume of middle frontal gyrus in left lateral PFC. Cross-cultural research has shown that women consistently report higher Neuroticism, Agreeableness, warmth (an extraversion facet) and openness to feelings, and men often report higher assertiveness (a facet of extraversion) and openness to ideas.13 The difference in neuroticism was the most prominent and consistent, with significant differences found in 49 of the 55 nations surveyed. Gender differences in personality traits are largest in prosperous, healthy, and more gender-egalitarian cultures. Differences in the magnitude of sex differences between more or less developed world regions were due to differences between men, not women, in these respective regions. That is, men in highly developed world regions were less neurotic, extraverted, conscientious and agreeable compared to men in less developed world regions. Women, on the other hand tended not to differ in personality traits across regions. Frank Sulloway argues that firstborns are more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, and less open to new ideas compared to later-borns. Large scale studies using random samples and self-report personality tests, however, have found milder effects than Sulloway claimed, or no significant effects of birth order on 8 John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford Press. 9 Fleeson, W. (2001). "Towards a structure- and process-integrated view of personality: Traits as density distributions of states". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80: 1011–1027. 10 Mottus, R. (2012). Correlates of personality trait levels and their changes in very old age: The Lothian birth cohort 1921. Journal of Research in Personality 11 Extracted on Sep 14, 2013, from 12 Extracted on Sep 14, 2013, from 13 Costa, P.T. Jr.; Terracciano, A.; McCrae, R.R. (2001). "Gender Differences in Personality Traits Across Cultures: Robust and Surprising Findings". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (2): 322–331. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.81.2.322. PMID 11519935 & Schmitt, D. P.; Realo, A.; Voracek, M.; Allik, J. (2008). "Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in Big Five personality traits across 55 cultures". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 94 (1): 168–182. doi:10.1037/00223514.94.1.168. PMID 18179326. 14
  15. 15. KUNAL BASU LLB SEM-1 CCI&C FACULTY: DR. ATUL JAIN & MS. MAHIMA BHARADWAJ DATE: SEP 25, 2013 personality14. Thompson has demonstrated the Big Five structure across several cultures using an international English language scale15. Cheung, van de Vijver, and Leong (2011) suggest, however, that the Openness factor is particularly unsupported in Asian countries and that a different fifth factor is sometimes identified16. Recent work has found relationships between Geert Hofstede’s cultural factors, Individualism, Power Distance, Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance, with the average Big Five scores in a country17. For instance, the degree to which a country values individualism correlates with its average extraversion, while people living in cultures which are accepting of large inequalities in their power structures tend to score somewhat higher on Conscientiousness. Charles Schwab was therefore not wrong in stating that “Personality is to man what perfume is to a flower.” In the same manner that perfumes blend fragrances from millions of flowers, oils and other extracts to create mind-boggling combinations jostling for space on store shelves, personality combines the Big Five variables with six control variables each, all eleven of which have billions of permutations and combinations that determine the personality of human beings on the terra firma of planet Earth. Again, like all perfumes, no two humans are identical in their respective personalities, not even identical twins. Such diversity within families (such as mine by illustration) and individuals within and outside them are the essence of humankind. Equally, it would violate the laws of Nature to have a unified nature of humankind that would militate and be incapable of sustaining such population. As the French aviator and novelist, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry18 aptly remarked “He who is different from me does not impoverish me - he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves - in Man... For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.” 14 Harris, J. R. (2006). No two alike: Human nature and human individuality. WW Norton & Company & Jefferson, T.; Herbst, J. H.; McCrae, R. R. (1998). "Associations between birth order and personality traits: Evidence from self-reports and observer ratings". Journal of Research in Personality 32 (4): 498– 509. doi:10.1006/jrpe.1998.2233. 15 Thompson, E.R. (2008). "Development and validation of an international English big-five minimarkers". Personality and Individual Differences 45 (6): 542–548. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.06.013. 16 Cheung, F. M.; Vijver, F. J. R. van de; Leong, F. T. L. (2011). "Toward a new approach to the study of personality in culture". American Psychologist 66: 593–603. 17 McCrae R. R., Terracciano, A., & 79 Members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures Project. (2005). Personality Profiles of Cultures: Aggregate Personality Traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89, No.3, 407–425. 18 Extracted on Sep 15, 2013, from 15