Measuring Aspects of Personality – Psychology Essay
Personality is defined as an individual’s unique constellation of consistent behavioral traits. A person is made up of many different qualities and behavioral characteristics that make him distinctively him. The
concept of personality stems from the assumption that a person is fairly consistent in the ways he perceives and deals with life across situations. Personality is measured in various different ways, usually categorized according to the particular traits that a person possesses. Research on personality ranges from sexual, social, or personal behavior tendencies to the examination of the different body types and other biological aspects. Over the years, psychologists from diversely different approaches have come up with innumerable theories for measuring personality. Some of the most well-known include the “Big 5” theory by McCrae and Costa, Roger’s Person-Centered theory, and Sheldon’s biological theory.
The first theory is known as the “Big 5” by Robert McCrae and Paul Costa. They simplified the concept of personality and came up with the idea of a five-factor model. They asserted that the majority of personality traits can be categorized into five higher-order traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Extraversion is characterized by talkative, sociable, fun-loving, affectionate behavior. Agreeableness is distinguished by sympathetic, warm, trusting, and cooperative character. Conscientiousness usually entails ethical, dependable, productive, and purposeful demeanor. Neuroticism is used to describe anxious, insecure, guilt-prone, and self-conscious conduct. Lastly, openness to experience characterizes daring, nonconforming, imaginative people who show unusually broad interests. By measuring these five basic traits, McCrae and Costa believed that a person’s personality could be sufficiently described. According to this “Big 5” theory, I feel that I am moderately extroverted, highly agreeable, emotionally stable, fairly conscientious, and largely open to experience. I feel that I am neither disengaged nor overly gregarious. I enjoy being around people, but also take pleasure in spending time alone. I consider myself to be an extremely agreeable person; I have a strong interest in others’ needs and well-being. I believe that I tend to put other’s interests above my own. I think myself to be a sympathetic, cooperative, and pleasant person. I also believe myself to be an emotionally stable person. I am sensitive, but strong. I think that I deal with stressful and frustrating situations fairly well. Although certain things upset me, I am fairly optimistic. I also consider myself to be sensibly conscientious. I am not an impulsive person; I tend to think things through carefully before making most decisions. Although I appreciate spontaneity and “living in the moment”, I am also quite dependable and responsible with my duties. Despite my frequently cluttered room, I would categorize myself as a perfectionist. I tend to become extremely irritated when things are not organized and planned. I am open to experience, which indicates that I like novelty, variety, and change. I am fond of art, and prefer to use my creativity and imagination whenever possible.
Unlike the “Big 5” personality theory, the Person-Centered theory by Carl Rogers is developed from a humanistic perspective. Humanistic psychologists stress the potential for good in all people. Rogers believed that personality centered on the self-concept, which is known as a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature, unique qualities, and typical behavior. In other words, his theory was based on the idea of a person’s self-perception of their own personality. He believed that individuals strived to make their personality as consistent as possible with their self-concept. He called the difference between one’s self-concept and one’s reality incongruence. He claimed that people would attempt to show their favorable self-concept by ignoring or distorting certain experiences that are contradictory, or even doing certain things to prove that their self-concept is accurately describing their actual personality. According to Roger’s theory, I would be adequately congruent with my self-concept, most likely due to the parental acceptance bestowed to me since birth. I know that I am worthy of affection. I see myself as an even-tempered, kind, generous, sensitive, warm-hearted, agreeable individual; therefore I unconsciously strive to be thus.
A third personality theory arises from the biological approach to psychology. It is vastly different in concept from the “Big 5” and Person-Centered theories formerly addressed. It was first proposed by William Sheldon, and is founded on the assumption that body type greatly influences personality. He categorized different people’s body types into three types: endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic. Endomorphy refers to fat, round, soft body types. Mesomorphic bodies were hard, strong, and muscular. Ectomorphy was characterized by thin, flat, frail bodies. Sheldon believed that behavior was determined by these physiques. He claimed that Endomorphic bodies were usually relaxed, affectionate, even-tempered, and sociable people. Mesomorphy was associated with energy, competitiveness, aggression, bondness, and a usually domineering personality. Ectomorphic people were supposedly inhibited, apprehensive, intellectual, introverted, and self-conscious. According to Sheldon, I would have probably belonged to the endomorphic category. Although his theories are accurate in my case, his findings are severely flawed.
The concept of personality is used to explain how and why people differ. It explains the consistency in the personal traits of certain individuals, as well as the behavioral differences among people thrust into similar situations. It explains how and why people tend to behave, feel, and think in certain situations. How personality should be measured is still, to an extent, a widely ambiguous question according to our current knowledge of it. Different theories like those mentioned above all contradict the rest, and the nature of personality, alongside all its aspects, is irresolute.