Various definitions of personality

"Deceptive masquerade or mimicry."
  • "The entire organization of a human being at any stage of development."
  • "Levels or layers of dispositions, usually with a unifying or integrative principle at the top."
  • "The integration of those systems or habits that represent an individuals characteristic adjustments to the environment."
  • "The way in which the person does such things as remembering, thinking or loving."
  • "Those characteristics that account for consistent patterns of behavior"
  • "Personality is not an existing substantive entity to be searched for but a complex construct to be developed and defined by the observer."
    (Smith & Vetter, 1982, p.5)
  • A contemporary definition for personality is offered by Carver and Scheier (2000, p.5): Personality is a dynamic organisation, inside the person, of psychophysical systems that create a persons characteristic patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Carver & Scheier (2000, p.5)
    • Dynamic Organisation: suggests ongoing readjustments, adaptation to experience, continual upgrading and maintaining Personality doesnt just lie there. It has process and its organised.
    • Inside the Person: suggests internal storage of patterns, supporting the notion that personality influences behaviors’, etc.
    • Psychophysical systems: suggests that the physical is also involved in who we are
      Characteristic Patterns: implies that consistency/continuity which are uniquely identifying of an individual
    • Behavior, Thoughts, and Feelings: indicates that personality includes a wide range of psychological experience/manifestation: that personality is displayed in MANY ways.
  • Carver & Scheier (2000, p.5) suggest that the word personality ‘conveys a sense of consistency, internal causality, and personal distinctiveness.  This issue of personal distinctiveness is very important. There are certain universal characteristics of the human race and particular features of individuals. We all for example experience stress and the elevated cortisol that goes with it, and we all suffer the immune suppressive effects thereof. BUT each of us is unique too.