The word personality is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means the mask of music and dance which eventually became a personality. Human Personality refers to the sum total of all the patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, and behaving that distinguishes one person from another.
Gordon Allport(1937), “Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment.”
Determinants of Personality
The traits, habits, and learned behavior generally are shaped and featured by biological inherited and social environmental factors. Heredity, gene(nature), nurturing and environment situation determines the human personality.
The development of human personality is done by :
- Biological factors
- Environmental factors
- Economic Factors
- Cultural Influences
- Structural Influences
A. Biological factors
Personality is shaped by minute influences. Some of them are;
- nervous systems,
- physique, etc.
The process of selective breeding is impossible with human beings. The best source of evidence comes from two types of study;
- Comparison of identical and fraternal twins
- Comparison of identical twins separated in early life
Freeman(1948) found that the two processes drive arousal and discharge control, interacts with each other. The person with a strong drive arousal and weak controls are likely to commit crimes and make poor adjustments (the psychopath).
The person with weak arousal is afraid to try anything special and passive, pessimistic, suicidal in nature. The students with strong parasympathetic reactions are judged to be cool and optimistic.
William Sheldon, a psychologist with medical training suggested that the shape of one’s body determines one’s personality. He developed the system of three body types;
- Endomorphs- have a soft round body and generally are short and fat. They love comfort and outgoing(Socially comfortable).
- Mesomorphs- have a rectangular like body and are generally muscular. They are energetic, asserting and aggressive.
- Ectomorphs- are thin and have a delicate body. They are usually reserved, lonely, fearful temperament and self-conscious.
B. Environmental factors(Social Factors)
The child’s personality is shaped and molded by the common unity in which he/she lives. Parents, friends and relatives make society and s/he behaves like the way the society behaves. Social factors are :
- Home influence
- Peer pressure
C. Economic Factors
It can be related to the occupational system, the income pyramid, and social expectations. Personality differs from categories of classes in society:
- Upper class
- Middle class
- Lower class
D. Cultural Influences
Culture is an organized set of beliefs, rituals and institutions that shape an individual. The relations between culture’s beliefs and practices manipulate the family structure, child-rearing patterns, rituals, etc. Also, religious beliefs help in determining the typical personality characteristics of the members of that culture.
E. Structural Influences
Individual’s personality is revealed when both the person and the situation interact with each other. The situations may determine a person’s behavior, but the person’s traits often determine what situations the person finds himself in.
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